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  • Anticlimax Boss:
    • After all the hype Dinoponera gets as an antagonist, she grasps the Idiot Ball firmly and the fights devolve into her just doing the same backstab attempt over and over while Alice inexplicably blinks around her so fast even she doesn't see, until it is all resolved by string traps already being set in place since God knows when, as usual. In hindsight, this is justified by Dinoponera turning out to be too naïve, emotionally fragile and not as experienced or skilled as she thinks she is.
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    • Sasori further humiliates Dinoponera and cruelly throws the girl to be raped (thus making everyone else look twice as incompetent for losing to her), then "kills" Yoriko from out of nowhere on top of that. Alice, however, has less trouble dealing with her deadly mechanical tail than she had figuring out Dinoponera. Partly because, yes, her traps were already set in place the day before. And then it looks like Kuramoto has Alice at her mercy with the spider girl being none the wiser, but no, Alice had uncovered Kuramoto's ruse all along too and was already ready to instantly kill her.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    • About 3/4 of the story takes place over a single day inside a school, so one can get this impression. Too bad that when Alice finally gets to fight a new menace on the outside, the story just ends on a cliffhanger.
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    • Dinoponera got so much build up (there's two whole volumes of slapstick fighting until she finds Alice) and screen time as an Arc Villain that the later fights seem to end too quickly instead. Moreover, she had little to no importance to the story's Myth Arc, accomplished nothing and ultimately was completely forgotten about as soon as she was done being a stepping stone to Alice.
    • Kabutomushi fighting Dorcus in the Caterpillar prequel is pretty much Dinoponera's arc all over again, which is not helped by how the story is following about four plot lines at once. Again, once the chapter count surpassed that of Arachnid, it made the latter quarter of that story look kind of rushed in comparison.
  • Ass Pull: A common complaint about the more outrageous stunts the characters pull in order to turn a battle around. The main character, a classic magic string user, wins every battle instantly when it turns out her deadly threads had the enemy ensnared all along. Although it's nothing unusual for a shonen manga, the insect comparisons that attempt to justify everything make those kind of scenes even more eye-rolling.
    (Geji knocks Oki out and prepares to kill her, only for Oki to keep running and attacking while unconscious)
    Narrator: "Cockroaches have two brains."
  • Base-Breaking Character:
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    • Some people grow bored of Alice's thread trap routine, but she is a badass heroine and so many things so wrong for her there's no way to not want her to eventually be happy. The author actually acknowledged how overpowered she was and ended up nerfing her between the ending and Blattodea.
    • Dinoponera is a cruel and sadistic villain whose takeover of the manga was polarizing. She's seemingly irrelevant to the plot at large and can come off as an obnoxious Smug Super to some, but the spectacularly confident way she fights and toys with her foes can also be very fun to read. Her child-like excitement, naiveté and sincere dream to make friends still leave the impression she could be a better person if she tried or if anyone ever actually reached out for her, making her more endearing to many readers. Her reception was a lot more positive in Japan and Korea, with most Japanese comments to the first few chapters of Blattodea on Twitter being from people gladly surprised that she's getting screentime again despite her defeat in the Arachnid Hunt. She even ends up resisting the army ants' rape-brainwashing on her own to team up with Chiyuri, the story's new heroine.
  • Broken Base: Opinions on the work as a whole vary wildly. While some liked it in general, others just wanted to see how crazy the ride would get. The frequency of sexual harassment and rape tropes inevitably put off some people, and others either felt the story had a ton of wasted potential or were outright bored from the first volume alone.
  • Crazy Awesome: Hibiki 'Kamadouma' Fujioka, the Ax-Crazy, Manly Gay, Kahen Rider-obsessed disciplinary council head who liberally dispenses love and justice through repeated kicks to the face. Possibly the best example of how delightfully bizarre he can get is when he tricks his rival, Riokku, into helping him with a Combination Attack by having him punch him as hard as he can in order to build up momentum for a 'Double Rider Kick'. For the record, Riokku's punches can remove heads and go through concrete walls, and he had been trying to murder Hibiki for most of the day.
  • Critical Research Failure: When Caterpillar went on a year-long hiatus due to the passing of its artist, Isuka Hakozaki, some Western sources mixed him up with the author, Murata Shinya. This misinformation stuck well enough that many readers thought for years that Murata was really dead.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Geji is an obvious stand-in for Tomoko Kuroki of No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! fame who seems like she's going to be a recurring character but just gets worfed and abruptly written out, with Oki assuming she got infected by the ant zombies. Getting "Tomokopede" apparently raped like that is kind of a low blow, but Shinya went through the trouble of adding her at all because he was a fan: when some Gangan authors drew Tomoko illustrations to promote the Watamote anime, his picture was of his avatar hugging a Tomoko body pillow. This was around the time Shinya married Fragtime author Sato, who drew the short Watamote parody in one volume... and Geji shares her birthday with her, which adds some interesting implications to the character and her supposed fate.
    • The idea that Japan nuked itself on purpose during World War II because of the whims of an ageless child who brainwashed Hideki Tojo.
    • The sheer escalation of sexual violence leading to a traumatized rape victim attempting to use her Living Aphrodisiac powers to take over Japan but getting killed, which causes a Zombie Apocalypse referred to in-universe as a "Gang-rape Terrorist Attack".
    • At the end of the story, Gokiburi tries to exploit Alice's depression to have sex, even if she must "forcefully rape" her. All while the aforementioned "rape zombie apocalypse" happens outside and after specifically praising Alice for saving her from Hibiki's rapist goons the other day. While rather upsetting, this attitude manages to come off as tame compared to everything else and it's not like Goki doesn't sincerely care for Alice. Caterpillar mirrors this by having Imomushi declare she will fuck her now missing friend Hanakamakiri even if she has to violate him.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: This series' setting is under the control of a very unorganized Organization full of violent, selfish and sadistic psychos. Even the most endearing among them, such as Hibiki and Dinoponera, are arrogant bastards who want to screw Alice over for next to no reason. Alice herself ends up enduring such a comically high amount of misfortune that even she goes kind of crazy, all while Japan falls apart around her. And yet, for something that somehow ends with a "rape zombie apocalypse", it knows to be whimsical and never quite got as gory or as doomy and gloomy as its contemporaries like Akame ga Kill.
  • Ending Aversion: The ending of Arachnid has next to no closure. It also shafted nearly all of the supporting cast, either leaving matters related to them up on the air or offhandedly confirming them to have been zombified offscreen. Fortunately, as of 2020 the sequel can adress this.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Kabutomushi is the one supporting character who sticks around until the end while being the focus of various memorably cool or amusing scenes. Although she can be ruthless and is a Sadist Teacher with some Offscreen Villainy, she ultimately means well and is one of the very few characters who comes off as a genuinely reliable friend in a sea of people who want to ruin Alice.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Towards the end of Arachnid, some readers looked back at the little nods towards Jackals and wondered if the Organization was in fact the same one Lee Mei Lang was planning to establish at the end of that story. It turned out it wasn't the case, but Caterpillar does confirm that the two series share the same setting.
    • Geji is an evil sexualized Expy of Tomoko Kuroki with Foot Focus that was introduced the year the author married fellow mangaka Sato. She drew the Watamote parody extra chapter and Geji's birthday is the same as hers. This has readers wondering what is the Reality Subtext behind that...
  • Evil Is Sexy: Sasori, Ageha, Ichijikukobachi and Kuramoto are all pretty, shapely and also not at all right in the head.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Ever since Killing Bites began and got adapted into an anime, people caught on to the author's recurring themes in his multiple concurrently published works and often discuss all of them at once on imageboards and the like.
  • Genius Bonus: Through both stories, one can find scenes where characters act like their bugs in some interesting way that aren't given any wild life documentary exposition by the narrator.
    • Kumo forcing Alice to a duel to the death evokes spiders preying on their offspring after they're born.
    • Dinoponera's name is given with "Giant Needle Ant" in brackets, referring to Pachycondyla chinensis. Pachycondyla is the sister group of Dinoponera, but none of the bug facts for Dinoponera ever point that out. Her being lonely and looking for friends reflects Dinoponera colonies being small and how their workers forage individually.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Alice's friendship with Yoriko. After already being betrayed by Kuramoto and begrudgingly killing her in self-defense, it turns out the spider-girl risked life and limb for another person who didn't actually exist either and who even rubs on Alice's face that deep down she's nothing more than a unhinged murderer. Yoriko's bullying of Alice and her internal thoughts over Alice being a depressed orphan come off as horribly cruel once one knows it was her fault Ayana was killed in the first place. The end result is that Alice becomes fully alienated from other people and pointlessly attempts to fight a damn zombie apocalypse all on her own. Gokiburi also not being so trustworthy despite all the hardships she and Alice overcame together is the icing in the cake.
  • He's Just Hiding!:
    • In Arachnid, Imomushi gets backstabbed by Suzumebachi while she was focused on fighting Dinoponera. She falls on her face and any plot threads she brought were dropped, with nobody speaking of her again. But isn't it far too much of an unceremonious way for the protagonist of the ongoing prequel to die? Read chapter 96 of Caterpillar, published several years later, to find out what happens next!
    • Yoriko gets killed by Sasori's deadly red poison. Although her death is portrayed as definitive and she has no powers, readers have been suspicious of her status, arguing that some characters have already survived death in most bizarre ways and that Sasori might have wanted to keep Yoriko alive for later while lying to Alice to break her resolve. As it turns out, Sasori did use her lethal poison on Yoriko, but it only put the twisted-wing parasite girl to sleep due to her poison immunity.
    • At the end, Gokiburi thinks Kamadouma and Geji got zombified since she last saw them, but that proves nothing.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Army Ant Queen really wants to know how Alice will react upon being betrayed by someone dear to her, hoping Alice will fall into despair. Thing is, Alice sees it coming and kills Kuramoto without hesitation when she doesn't surrender. Moreover, once Yoriko is the one who turns out to be evil, Alice is utterly baffled about Yoriko somehow being a centenarian yakuza boss with psychic powers. And then Alice gets furious at how this means Yoriko was the one behind everything bad that ever happened to her all along.
    • The 2017 game Hollow Knight has an Action Girl named Hornet who despite her name uses spider-esque Razor Floss skills, including attaching a needle to string and crafting traps from thin air. In Arachnid, Alice the spider-themed girl is the daughter of a hornet man.
    • In the afterword for Voulme 7, Shinya talks about how he's blessed to be writing Arachnid, Caterpillar and Vaian Maiden simultaneously. That last one got axed, but did he let that stop him from working on a minimum of three critter fighting manga at once? Hell no!!
    • The animated adaptation of Watamote had Product Placement scenes of some fellow Gangan Joker including Arachnid (oddly volume 8 with Dinoponera on the cover instead of 7 with Tomoko's expy Geji). Of those, only Arachnid never got an anime...
  • It Was His Sled: Arachnid is "that manga about rape zombies", referring to all the debauchery that starts happening on the 2/3 mark. In Blattodea, this is obviously a Late-Arrival Spoiler.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Yoriko lives alone and has family issues much like Alice does, but even after dropping her bully behavior is harsh to her because she thinks Alice shouldn't let it such things affect her at all. Depressingly enough, once Yoriko opens up to Alice and assures she cares for her, she gets killed. However, she comes back and turns out to be the real boss of the Organization, responsible for all the misery Alice has been going through ever since Suzumebachi left his family. At least it seems Yoriko did lead a unfulfilling life despite pulling Japan's strings for a century and does, in her own odd way, care for Alice as a friend.
    • Dinoponera is a war orphan who was raised by a psychopathic mercenary and became an elitist bitch, but ultimately she's just starved for affection and has no idea how to go about it. Alice eventually giving Dinoponera a well-deserved beating is one thing, but her being paralysed by Sasori right after and gang-raped by the army ants is just uncalled for.
  • Les Yay: Even discounting anything involving the canonically lesbian Oki, the author seems incapable of writing or drawing a scene between two female characters that is not dripping with sexual tension. Since most of the cast are out to murder each other, this naturally overlaps with a hefty dose of Foe Romance Subtext.
  • Memetic Badass: Alice. She practically solos the whole manga despite a ton of damage thanks to her Crazy-Prepared, Instant Expert traits and her Razor Floss that despite lacking the "razor" part sees a variety of awesome uses on top of having very few weaknesses and limitations.
  • Moe:
    • Alice is called moe in-series by Oki when she puts an eyepatch on. She's plenty cute, clumsy and kind-hearted; and the sheer amount of misfortune she goes through, to the point she starts believing she's nothing but a murdererous psycho, can get on one's nerves. It doesn't help that by Blattodea she's as lonely and traumatized as ever and can't even be an overpowered heroine anymore.
    • Dinoponera is the "gap moe" kind — despite all her cruelty, she is portrayed sympathetically and has a child-like glee that makes it hard to hate her no matter what she does; on top of an emotional vulnerability that makes readers root for her to turn a new leaf and be happy.
  • Narm: By most accounts, Arachnid isn't something you should take seriously. For better or for worse this series has plenty of cheesy moments.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In a gross take on ant breeding, the Queen's Rule virus creates a zombie outbreak of sorts inside a school from orgies that brainwash the students involved. Even readers who called Gratuitous Rape on this manga didn't see that coming. Kuramoto's backstory and motivations are very dark as well, as it's revealed her bodily fluids have always drawn everyone from strangers to her own family into raping her. She decided to roll with it and attempts to take over the world by turning it into a massive orgy of zombies, so Alice kills her. This does not turn the students back to normal and the series ends with them screwing everything in sight until Japan is turned into a ruined wasteland.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Sweaty semi-naked Goki playing with Alice's panties is a staple of manga recommendation threads around the web. And also her brief time as a brainwashed dominatrix in a skimpy leather costume.
    • The scene where Kabutomushi survives having her heart stabbed because it is armored turned infamous among readers, as it illustrates the series' campy tencency for characters pulling ridiculous tricks out of nowhere and the narrator flimsily justifying them with (sometimes questionable) animal fun facts.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Many readers feel Arachnid has bad plot and characterization, but are nevertheless compelled to read it for the fight scenes and to see how ridiculous the super powers and plot twists can be.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • A deliberate example: Imomushi is introduced in Arachnid to great effect but is anticlimatically defeated and isn't seen again for the rest of the story. Want to know what ever happened to her? Go read Caterpillar.
    • Geji eventually tries to help Alice and Oki so the three can escape from the zombie-infested school, but she doesn't get to do much of anything before she and Oki are captured. In hindsight, Geji only existed so Gokiburi had someone at all to win against. To make it worse, it is offhandedly mentioned at the end that she might have been zombified offscreen.
    • Hibiki/Kamadouda suffers the same fate as Geji, as he never settles his issues with Alice and gets comically and anticlimatically kicked by Gokiburi into a literal plot hole to never be seen again.
    • And speaking of Gokiburi, despite being Alice's sidekick she doesn't get to do much either. She mostly serves to get beaten up to show off the new villains and spends a lot of the story offscreen. It took the prequel to elaborate on her backstory, and even then she's kind of a Butt-Monkey there. At least she did get back to the plot in time to save Alice at the end of Arachnid.
    • Dinoponera is one odd character. She appears midway through the story out of nowhere and is an Evil Counterpart to Alice that practically hijacks the plot for several volumes... but has no real impact on it other than unintentionally making Alice even more overpowered. Her character arc is aborted as she is just uncerimoniously tossed into a pit of rapist zombies, never to be seen again. The sequel, Blattodea, remedies this by retconning the new protagonist Chiyuri into Dinopo's backstory as her Only Friend, allowing the ant-girl to resist the rape-zombification and show the Hidden Heart of Gold she was always hinted to have.
    • Early on the story, Ginyanma the sniper says she's going to keep an eye on Alice. We then never see her again until a ironic Bookends moment at the climax of the story, after which she's quickly killed by Alice.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • A story about a lone girl against an insect-themed yakuza organization becomes a common, if quirky, shonen Fighting Series confined to a school setting. As such, it doesn't elaborate much on how crazy and messed up the setting really is just under the surface. It then ends with a cliffhanger that leaves much of the side plot threads unresolved.
    • Despite the title, the only arachnids seen in the story are spiders and scorpions. And the characters use the term as if it is just a synonym for "spider", anyway.
    • The commentary on dinoponera ants seems to just regard them as bigger and meaner paraponeras when one of the interesting things about them is that they're a "gamergate" species. All the female workers have reproductive potential and may attempt to challenge the current alpha. This is actually relevant to Dinoponera's fate in the story, which went unadressed to the end. Interestingly, Blattodea outright expands Dinoponera's motif into covering other ponerine ants, cleverly using a Megaponera analis comparison to justify Dinopo overcoming her zombification for the sake of friendship.
    • The prequel gives us two characters based on mangakas Shotaro Ishinomori and Osamu Tezuka, pits them against each other... and it's this of all battles that it decides to push offscreen.
    • Not a lot is done with this series being a Stealth Sequel to Jackals. The Alligator blade somehow got passed down the ages until it reached Kabutomushi, and that's all.
    • When Caterpillar caught up with the events of Arachnid, readers expected it to pick up from where the latter ended and give a proper ending to both stories. Instead, this P.O.V. Sequel arc turned out to be only a 4-chapters long epilogue with a Sequel Hook. Fortunately for them, Blattodea started on early 2020.
    • Oddly enough, Paraponera's relationship with his smarmy daughter Dinoponera isn't ever explored from his point of view during Caterpillar.
  • Too Cool to Live: Kumo appeared to be a cool stern master and parental substitute to Alice, but soon forced her to kill him because of his suicidal tendencies.
  • Unconventional Learning Experience: This series could double as an animal documentary thanks to the occasional moments where the narrator explains insect facts to the audience.
  • The Un-Twist:
    • Sara being the boss can be considered this, because she's shown sending orders about the Arachnid Hunt to Suzume Bachi and is a Obviously Evil Student Council President. However, she's a Red Herring. Even so, Kuramoto being her master was still a obvious reveal to readers who suspected Sara's too-early reveal and over-the-top acting. In the end, though, it turned out neither of them are the Organization boss after all.
    • A few chapters have Dinoponera's opponents wondering just what kind of power she has to dodge and block everything thrown at her, but she had already stated that she and Alice have the same power. Her reveal of Concentration Driving Free to Alice is dramatical in-universe, but hardly a surprise to the reader.
    • Yoriko has been from the beginning a suspect of being the boss due to her mysterious wealth and past. Her apparent death at Sasori's hands didn't really fool many people, either. Even her being an strepsiptera parasite or similar had been called by a person or two due to her possession of the wasp assassins.
    • The butterfly villainess in Caterpillar is actually Imomushi's own sister with a few screws loose. Other than it being an obvious twist to have, she and the woman who she replaced are lookalikes.
  • The Woobie:
    • Alice starts out as a miserable orphan who is bullied because of a mental disability and who lives with a scumbag uncle who wants to rape her. The rest of the story sees her enduring a ridiculous amount of physical and mental trauma over a short time, with nearly everyone trying to kill her or betraying her for the most arbitrary and petty reasons. In the end, it turns out she's been a plaything of the Organization from birth. It's a wonder she doesn't really turn unhinged like everyone else by the end, despite what her self-loathing and the plot would tell you.
    • Kuramoto is treated by Sara as a slave and is put through sexual abuse to further her goals. She only endures this because Sara is the closest thing to a friend she ever had. However, it turns out their roles are inverted. Kuramoto is more of a Jerkass Woobie, a broken girl who was frequently targeted by rapists since her childhood and who discovered she could mind-control anyone who had intercourse with her by accidentally killing her own father. Throw in a little training from a syndicate of demented killers and there you have it.
      • The revelation makes Sara a good candidate for this, as it turns out that she was never actually evil, and was once a perfectly normal and incredibly lonely girl. She just had the bad luck of running into Kuramoto, and her life is ultimately completely ruined by nothing more than her desperation to make a friend. After being mind-controlled and raped by Kuramoto, she spends the rest of her short life enslaved through some form of extreme Stockholm Syndrome, then sees her beloved master get gruesomely murdered, before being turned into a brain-dead zombie.
    • Alice's mother Ayana was left alone by her husband for no apparent reason, so she raised Alice on her own by working on a low-income job, unable to talk to her much. She's apparently overcome by despair and commits suicide. Or rather, Suzumebachi came back after 15 years just to kill her, possessed by the orders of his boss despite having hoped to let his family live peacefully.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Despite the fairly dark setting, occasional gore and regular use of rape tropes, Arachnid is published under the shonen Gangan Joker magazine. Caterpillar is seinen, though, so it gets away with more violence and nudity (mostly nudity).
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