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Anime / Spider Riders

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"There exists within the planet Earth a fantastic lost world. In this Inner World, elite warriors ride huge spiders and bravely fight against evil. When the wicked rise, the word goes out: Calling all Spider Riders!"
— English opening Narration

Within the Earth exists the Inner World, created and blessed by a being known as the Spirit Oracle. There, a war has been waging between the humans and Insectors/Invectids. Following the journal of his late grandfather, 13-year-old Hunter Steele finds himself drawn into the Inner World. He soon encounters the independent spider Shadow, who eventually becomes his partner, as well as the mysterious girl Corona, one of the elite warriors known as Spider Riders, who welcomes Hunter into their team.

Along with Corona, Igneous, Prince Lumen, Princess Sparkle, and the former wanderer Magma, Hunter fights against Mantid and his Insector army, trying to prevent them from collecting the four Oracle Keys.

A rather underrated anime, due to its strange title and premise, a broadcast cut short on American TV, and its Genre-Busting. Despite its inability to generate interest with general anime fans, the show did relatively well in Canada, where it was dubbed and funded.


There is also a novel series, online game, and canceled manga as part of the franchise.

This show provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Corona, Aqune, and Sparkle are all competent fighters, even though Sparkle gets less opportunity to prove it than the other two.
  • Action-Hogging Opening: The second OP has a lot of action going on. While the show typically has a fight scene per episode (although some have none), it's not as much as you would expect from the genre.
  • Against the Setting Sun: Used when Hunter declares that he'll save the people of Nuuma.
  • Audience Surrogate: Hunter, in that he's new to the Inner World, thus things need to be explained to him, as well as viewers.
  • Awesome McCoolname: In the Japanese version there is one Insector soldier with the name Great Genius. Grasshop is impressed when he learns this.
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  • Backup from Otherworld: Quake/Brade fills the spot of the 8th Rider needed to awaken the Spirit Oracle, even though he's dead. The Sea Buff Mariner/Lost Mariner, also dead, helps the Riders escape an attack at sea.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": While starring in a play to help out a struggling theater owner. Hunter plays the leading man, but his performance is stilted due to nerves, and his speech turns monotone. Corona isn't much better, turning into a Large Ham, while Lumen's performance is decent (until he's Distracted by the Sexy audience member). Igneous gets stuck playing an Invectid commander, and takes his frustration out on Hunter on stage.
  • Badass Normal: Stags and Buguese. Normal as in they don't have any super powers.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: Unlike in the first OP, Hunter never fights against Magma. It's unclear why blood is leaking from Aqune's mask in the 3rd ED.
  • Battle Couple: Hunter and Corona, who consider each other battle partners, and clearly have feelings for each other, though they aren't officially a couple.
  • Beach Episode: Somewhat subverted, in that it's one of the more serious episodes, but when Hunter, Corona, Magma and Aqune are taken to a paradise in order to draw them away from fighting, it includes a beach and skimpy swimsuits.
  • Beast and Beauty: Buguese and Aqune. Even if Buguese is the most humanoid Insector, he's still not exactly... human. Aqune is the gentle, empathetic one who tries to see the good in everyone. Buguese is the brooding, angry one. Despite his hatred of humans, it's clear he has a soft spot for Aqune. Freeing her is the last thing he does before confronting Mantid, which he expects will lead to his demise.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Hunter and Corona disguise themselves as one to sneak into an Insector/Invectid base.
  • Bee People: The Insectors/Invectids. Though ironically, Mantid is more their "queen" than Beerain.
  • Beginner's Luck: Subverted, in that Hunter begins as a complete loser. In his first fight against a member of the Big Four, it's Corona who deals the final blow. He's also humiliated when fighting Igneous to prove himself as a Spider Rider.
  • Beneath the Earth: The whole Inner World.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Sparkle. Most of the time she's a sweetheart. Threaten her or her friends, however, and she might just pound you with a yo-yo.
  • BFS: Stags' sword definitely counts.
  • Big Damn Heroes: It happens regularly. A notable example is episode 41, in which the Riders pull this off twice. Once after returning from Nuuma, and again later that night.
  • Bishōnen: Most of the male characters are handsome.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Not too bad, but errors still occur here and there, such as when Portia was voiced by Brutus' VA in episode 31.
  • Bloodless Carnage: There's never a drop of blood in this show, regardless of the injury.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Aqune is frequently mind-controlled, but towards the end of the series Mantid's Ultimate Machine-Sector turns out to be a trap, and her mask merges with it. She then drains the power from Hunter's Oracle Keys, much to the surprise and horror of Buguese, who was sitting next to her and perfectly convinced that he was in control. Afterwards, Mantid lends her additional power and pits her against the Spider Riders. Fortunately, Buguese stops her from killing Hunter.
    • Also, both Igneous and Corona in the 4th episode thanks to a flower, but it ends once the flower is exposed to light.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The dub does this in the very last episode.
    • Grasshop also does this at least once, in regards to the heroes' transformation sequence. In the Japanese version, he breaks the fourth wall constantly, such as when he thanks the sound crew for playing fitting music.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Lumen. He would rather sleep than do anything, making it hard to believe he's as skilled as he actually is.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: There must have been a reason the dub cut a certain scene of Lumen watching Sparkle play and calling her "cute". And that's not the only instance that comes to mind.
  • Bug War: It's there, but very much subverted in that the Insectors are both humanoid and sympathetic.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: In the dub, the phrase that activates the transformation sequence is "Arachna Power!" Each Rider has their own transformation phrase in the Japanese version.
  • Calling Your Attacks: All the Riders do this.
  • Canon Foreigner: Several in the anime. Brade/Quake, Grey/Slate, Lily, Queen Elma/Illuma, Toure/Solan, Lorraine... just to name a few.
    • On the other hand, Portia manages to be something of a Canon Immigrant. She first appeared in the anime, and her existence was at least mentioned in the 4th novel. Problem is, the 4th novel makes bizarre retcons to the original ones, and might not even count.
  • Can't Catch Up: Basically all the Riders when compared to Hunter using the Oracle Keys, Aqune and Brade/Quake serving as the only exceptions. Igneous even comments about just how far Hunter has come after their training session in episode 24, and that was when Hunter only had one Key.
  • Catchphrase: "Never give up" is Hunter's phrase in both versions, though his Japanese secondary catch phrase, "It's alright" (often mimicked by the others as well) was turned into the much cheesier "Arachna Power" in the dub.
  • The Chessmaster: Mantid. The Insectors don't realize that they're serving his master plan, and he plans to kill them all once it's complete.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Lumen is 12 and Sparkle is 8. There's no king or queen to be mentioned.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Hunter, who even reaches the point of wanting to save the Invectids/Insectors, after realizing that they're being oppressed.
  • Comforting Comforter: In the 2nd episode, when Corona sees Hunter's leaf blanket fall off, she puts it back on him. This is one of the first hints of her romantic infatuation with him.
  • Cooking Duel: Corona and Aqune literally have one in episode 32.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Oracle Keys.
  • Curious Qualms of Conscience: Despite having pledged his loyalty to Mantid, one Invectid sergeant decides he's tired of the war with the humans, and has already been suspicious of Mantid's behavior for some time. He helps the Spider Riders infiltrate Mantid's palace.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Lemin/Katy fits into this trope. She is adorable, but Beerain subverts it.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:The spiders themselves. It takes being brought directly into Mantid's citadel for Hunter to finally grasp what his "enemies", who live in a world of darkness, are really fighting for. Of course, Mantid himself turns out to be insane anyway.
  • Dead All Along:
    • The Sea Buff Mariner/Lost Mariner.
    • Quake/Brade.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Shadow.
  • Desolation Shot: The Insector world gets a few of these, as do some other places that were wiped out in battle, like the town where the Riders stay the night in episode 34.
  • Determinator: Hunter. His catch phrase is "never give up" for a reason.
  • Disco Dan: On one occasion, Hunter dresses up as "Dan the Disco Man" in order to help Lumen out in a scheme to get girls.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Mantid. My girlfriend died, so the world who took her away from me needs to be destroyed. Yeah... In all fairness, he said he'd suffered many losses, implying many other people he cared for died.
    • And for whatever reason he decided to throw Imma go to the outer world again and take it over in.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The 2nd OP is performed by Corona's seiyuu and the 3rd ED by Shadow and Aqune's.
  • Driven to Suicide: Buguese, after finding out the truth and realizing how much he wronged his comrades in his efforts to capture the Oracle Keys, decides to crash Dark Opal into Mantid's castle, taking out Mantid with him. When he fails, he admits that he doesn't feel he deserves to live.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Grasshop does this once... only with milk. Though this may be a bit more plausible than most cases due to his being an Invectid/Insector.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: According to episode 23 of the dub the sun was taken from the "Invectid" world as punishment for their race eating all the plant life. What actually happened was Mantid caused its disappearance when he collected the four Oracle Keys, and the plant life died as a result. The dub goes with the true story later, making the already bizarre edit seem even more awkward.
  • Dub Text: Hunter and Aqune's promises to each other. Most indications that Hunter had romantic interest in her were dub only. The same could probably go for Buguese calling her "my beautiful" and "my sweet." Considering that the dub even went as far as to remove some of the Hunter/Corona moments, perhaps they just wanted to hook Aqune up with someone. Heck, the dub even hints at Aqune being interested in Quake/Brade.
  • The Emperor: Mantid, although the specific term isn't mentioned in the dub. Buguese probably becomes this at the end.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Well, just the Inner World.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Of course there's Grasshop and his beloved family. Much later we learn of Lorraine, the woman Mantid loved.
  • Expository Theme Tune: "Calling All Spider Riders" for the English dub.
  • Expy:
    • Similar to other Bee Train anime (Madlax, Noir), Spider Riders features Corona and Aqune, two girls with no memory of their past, and some sort of connection. Aqune and Madlax even share the same seiyuu.
    • Slate/Grey is debatably an Expy of Petra from the novels, with a gender flip.
  • Facial Markings: The Insectors/Invectids have them. Whether they're genetic or painted is never brought up.
  • Fantastic Racism: Between humans and Insectors/Invectids.
  • Filling the Silence: The dubbers love this. In the Japanese version, long dramatic silences are everywhere. Roughly every time this happens, the dub will add a character whose face can't be seen on screen talking, often stating the obvious. If that's not possible, then we'll hear a character's inner voice instead.
  • Finishing Move: Any of Hunter's Oracle Key attacks.
  • Flying Dutchman: The Lost Mariner.
  • Genre-Busting: An action/adventure story with a twist... The Hero riding a Giant Spider.
  • Giant Spider
  • Gladiator Games: On several occasions, the Riders fight minor Insector/Invectid soldiers, or Machine-sectors inside a generated "Coliseum".
  • Green-Eyed Monster: At first, Corona refuses to accept Aqune as an ally, mostly due to jealousy over her closeness to Hunter. In turn, Buguese despises Hunter for multiple reasons, one being Aqune's affection.
  • Handsome Lech: Lumen. The fact that he's 12 doesn't lessen the effect.
  • Hands-On Approach: As Hunter isn't a handmaiden, he's unable to place an Oracle Key into the barrier in Nuuma castle. Corona helps him by putting her hand on his, and they break through together.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Applies to all of the Big Four.
    • Grasshop first, when he ultimately decides to rescue Sparkle (as well as Igneous and Lumen). He then remains an ally to the Spider Riders, traveling with them until the end.
    • Then Stags, who purposefully quits after being defeated by Hunter.
    • Next Beerain, who aids Grasshop by reminding him of an alternate way that the Riders can cross into Insector/Invectid lands. After that she leaves, and isn't seen again until she and Stags rescue Buguese.
    • And finally Buguese, who turns on Mantid after being betrayed. He then frees Aqune from Mantid's control, and makes it his mission to defeat his former leader himself.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Buguese, who continued to follow Mantid loyally, despite knowing some of his intentions, believing that there would be no other way to restore sunlight to his land. He didn't even consider that the ultimate weapon Mantid handed to him might've been part of a trap.
  • Hostage Situation: Corona by way of Buguese, in exchange for both the Oracle Keys and Aqune. Although Aqune was willing to return to him anyway in the Japanese version, and he's only able to get her back because the other Riders return to retrieve the keys.
  • Humongous Mecha: All of the Machine-Sector's fit this category, though only the last can actually be piloted.
  • Idiot Hero: Hunter. He's not too bright, especially early on.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Corona, in one particular episode. The rest seem to have no problem being Spider Riders, Hunter loving it enough to abandon whatever old life he might have had.
  • Improbable Hair Style: Igneous, who keeps it up in one massive spike.
  • International Co Production: Produced with Cookie Jar Entertainment in Canada and Bee Train Production Inc. in Japan. The Japanese producers did most of the work (writing, directing, and animation), with the Canadian producers providing the funding and the basis they had to work with.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Not to debate whether their relationship was romantic or platonic, but fitting to Buguese when he reluctantly freed Aqune, allowing her to be with her comrades.
  • Kid Hero: This basically applies to the whole Spider Rider team.
  • Killer Yoyo: Sparkle's signature weapon.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Magma is a huge fanboy of Brade/Quake, to the point where the man is somewhat afraid of him.
  • Little Miss Badass: Sure, Sparkle's cute, but if you piss her off, she AND her adorable spider will kick your ass.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Beerain-Buguese-Aqune-Hunter-Corona. Sparkle seems to have a thing for Hunter too. Lumen also hits on Sparkle in the Japanese version, and has declared his true love for Beerain. But he'll fall in love with just about anything female, so neither case was probably meant to be taken seriously.
  • Lighter and Softer: The anime, in comparison to the novels they were based off of. The novels include much more sinister and less sympathetic Insectors (they eat humans, for one), as well as more depressing themes like Spider Riders ultimately aging out of their powers and losing the ability to speak with their spider partners.
  • Love Martyr: Although they're not actually in a relationship, Beerain is basically this. Buguese does not treat her well. At all. And it doesn't seem to change her feelings.
  • Love Triangle: Igneous-Elma/Illuma-Toure/Solan. Not that the end resolution was ever a surprise, as Igneous' love was wholly unrequited.
  • Mask Power: Oracle Key power boosts aside, Buguese and Aqune are easily the most powerful characters in canon. Beerain subverts this by being generally less combative.
  • Mentor Archetype: Quake/Brade to Hunter. Igneous also plays this role to an extent.
  • Miko: Corona and Aqune. They're referred to as this in the Japanese version, though not in a traditional sense.
  • Mind-Control Device: Aqune's mask. However, she serves the Insectors/Invectids by choice; it's just the fighting she has a problem with, so she might count as Not Brainwashed too.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Quake/Brade. He was much taller in flashbacks to his younger days.
  • Minionshipping: Beerain is deeply infatuated with Buguese, who in turn has a strong care for Aqune, debatably romantic attraction. Aqune cares about Buguese, but not necessarily on a romantic level. Buguese also respects and cares for Beerain as a comrade, though never returns her romantic feelings.
  • Mood-Swinger: Stags. Especially in the Japanese version, where he'll burst into fits of maniacal laughter for no reason.
  • Mook Promotion: The Big Four were minor characters in the novels.
  • Morality Pet: Sparkle to Grasshop, and to an extent, Aqune to Buguese.
  • Motor Mouth: Grasshop. He can talk for several minutes straight without stopping.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Lumen gets jealous whenever someone gets close to Sparkle.
  • Mysterious Past: Corona and Aqune. But at least we get to find out most of Corona's.
  • Never Say "Die": Actually averted in some of the dub episodes.
    • It's played straight in the short-lived Kids WB cut of the same dub, however. Some awkward changes were made just to avoid references to death.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Hunter is treated quite well when taken prisoner by the Insectors/Invectids. Mantid even offers him Aqune. But as it turns out, Mantid was just trying to convince him to give them the Oracle Keys, which he didn't even have with him. Fortunately, Quake/Brade intervenes and rescues him.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Any of the spiders.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Stags manages to survive after purposefully falling backwards off a building, which was already floating high in the air. More surprisingly, he didn't even appear hurt. note 
  • Obvious Trap: How about following the only villager left in a conspicuously empty village into a cave? Genius, if you ask me.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: "Spider Riders: Yomigaeru Taiyou," (The Resurrected Sun) made no sense until the last episode when the sun finally did get resurrected.
  • Older Than They Look: Mantid. Keep in mind that he fought against the first Spider Rider, and Brade/Quake, who was either from King Arachna III's generation or later, is old enough to be an adult's great great grandfather.
  • The Only One: The Arachnian military is generally incompetent, leaving the Spider Riders to bail them out on occasions.
  • Only One Name: Everyone from the Inner World. The dub gave Grasshop a full name, though.
  • On the Next: Although cut from the dub, all the Japanese episodes featured previews narrated by various characters. The ones in the first season in particular could be pretty hilarious, and often very OOC, even when Mantid was the one narrating.
  • Parental Abandonment: No one in this show has parents who are mentioned. Magma's family is at least confirmed dead, but with the rest of the cast, it's anybody's guess what happened to them.
  • The Pawn: The Big Four and Aqune.
  • Plot Armor: Could anyone honestly believe Hunter was killed in his fight against Stags, 3/4 into the show?
  • Raised by Wolves: Aqune was raised by Insectors/Invectids. The Insectors/Invectids act like human beings, so she does as well.
  • Rebellious Princess: Sparkle. She doesn't appreciate being left behind, and will sneak out to fight with everyone else if she has to.
  • Recap Episode: Episode 41. A creative one in that it doesn't really use much stock footage, but it re-accounts the Nuuma arc.
  • Reincarnation: According to original plans for the series, Aqune was the Oracle's reincarnation. Because the plot was changed so much, there's no way of telling if that's still true.
  • The Reveal: A big dose is revealed near the end of the series when Mantid admits that he's an Earthen like Hunter. On top of that, it's also a subtle Call-Back to the beginning of the series. A prophecy stated that an Earthen would bring great evil to the Inner World... and one did.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Hotarla, the smallest spider. The messenger bugs are also kind of adorable.
  • The Rival: Buguese vs. Hunter.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Igneous, when he pursues Elma/Illuma.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Lumen and Sparkle... although Lumen would prefer to be lazy.
  • Running Gag: Both Corona's terrible cooking and Lumen's tendency to flirt with anything female, regardless of age, species, or relation to him.
  • Satellite Character: Grey/Slate. His friendship with Igneous is basically all there is to his character. And most of the spiders for that matter, aside from Shadow and maybe Brutus.
  • Save Both Worlds: Averted. The Big Bad says that he intends on conquering the Outer World, but he's defeated before he can even get there. Considering that this is an anime that involves a boy from earth getting sucked into a subterranean world beneath our own, the fact that we didn't even see some strange phenomenon going on in the outer world is rather strange.
  • Say My Name: Watch any episode (besides the first). Try and guess Corona's favorite word. This is abused in the series in general.
  • Seashell Bra: Aqune's transformed outfit.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Although a gender isn't actually confirmed, one of Grasshop's children was made to sound more feminine in the dub. In the Japanese, both are confirmed to be male.
  • Shrines and Temples: Likely places for Oracle Keys to be hidden.
  • Show Within a Show: The play titled "The Adventures of the Legendary Hero Quake".
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • "Aqune" is "Aquine" in the online game. Her name is often mistakenly spelled as "Akune" or "Aquna" by the fans.
    • "Igneous" became "Ignus" in the anime (the dub brought it back to "Igneous", as it was in the novels) because it was easier for the Japanese to pronounce.
    • Try to find people in the fandom who know how to spell "Buguese". You'll have trouble. Doesn't help that the way his name is written in Japanese reads more like "Baggus".
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The show takes this trope very seriously, especially during the Nuuma arc and beyond. Mantid is one himself; it's what led him to his Start of Darkness.
  • Shipper on Deck: On a few occasions, Magma has tried to help Hunter and Corona's relationship, such as restraining Igneous so Corona could be the first to greet him after they were separated. Then there's Corona's sisters, and many other residents of her hometown.
  • A Simple Plan: The episode "Ghost Spider", easily the most pointless filler episode in the series.
  • Spider Tank: The entire show is based around this trope.
  • Spoiler Opening: The second OP is really bad about this. For one, it shows Aqune with the Spider Riders, even though she doesn't officially join them until the fourth-to-last episode. Next, it reveals the existence of Quake/Brade, as well as the fact that he's a Spider Rider, and has a younger form. Although viewers could assume that younger Quake/Brade was a different person entirely.
  • Synchronization: Since they're handmaidens, hurting the Oracle also harms Corona and Aqune.
  • Super Soldier: Mantid creates a stronger type of Insector/Invectid soldier after acquiring a second Oracle Key.
  • Sword Fight
  • Sword Sparks
  • Take My Hand: Towards the end of the series, Beerain saves Buguese this way. Hunter also offers his hand to Mantid, which he accepts.
  • Theme Naming: With Hunter and Aqune as exceptions, the humans have mostly sun-related (Corona, Sparkle, Lumen) or Earth-related (Igneous, Magma, Grey) names. There are even more cases in the dub, due to the name changes. The Insectors names are all bug-related.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: In one episode, Aqune hums the 2nd ED theme (Japanese version only).
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Aqune. Towards the end of the series, the other Riders pick up this way of thinking, thanks to Quake/Brade.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Subverted in that it missed, but it's not like Buguese intended to kill Beerain, so it really did work as a threat.
  • Transformation Sequence: Always a sign of lazy animators. In the English version, Grasshop actually comments that the children take too long to transform during a battle.
    Grasshop: So you finally finished transforming? About time!
  • Transformation Trinket: Manacles.
  • Trapped in Another World: Hunter in the Inner World.
  • True Companions: The Spider Riders.
  • Turncoat: Grasshop.
  • Upgrade Artifact: Besides the manacles that allow the Riders to transform, using the Oracle Keys allow more powerful transformations.
  • The Unchosen One: Hunter is believed by all to be The Chosen One due to his apparent ability to control the power of the Oracle keys, but it turns out Corona was the one with the ability to call upon the Oracle and her keys for help. Of course it's eventually revealed, but doesn't affect the plot much.
  • We Are "Team Cannon Fodder": The last episode pits Hunter against Mantid. Everyone else just sits there looking helpless. Corona and Aqune give him power, and then go back to looking helpless.
  • Whip It Good: Beerain.
  • Whip Sword: Lumen has one.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Hunter and Corona. So much Ship Tease...
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Despite being known as Insectors in both the novels and the Japanese version, they were changed to Invectids in the dub due to legal reasons, or so says Word of God.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Igneous' is blue, Aqune's is purple, Hunter's is pinkish-orange, Lily's is lavender, and Elma/Illuma's is green. Most other characters actually have plausible colors.


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