Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 5

Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 5

The Wandering Birds

Somali and the Forest Spirit episode 5 is actually everything I’ve wanted from this series ever since it began. Of all the episodes so far, I think this one does the best job at exploring the world in which we find ourselves. Sure, episode 3 did a pretty good job with Anthole City and the cavern beneath it, but episode 5 is even better.

I love Made in Abyss, and I think that’s currently my highest rated adventure anime. But if Somali and the Forest Spirit continues on like it was in this episode for the rest of the series, it might actually take that top spot for me.

In this episode alone we learned a lot about the Osuna Desert, Winecup Village which is located within it, and a number of races found within the world. Additionally, and potentially my favorite part, was that we also got to see the unique ways in which people live in this part of the world.

Without going into too much detail just yet, we learned about customs, food sources, modes of transportation, navigation, and general survival. And that’s all on top of the geography, wildlife, and plant life we saw. It’s kind of amazing when you think about how much we learned about the world in just one episode without exposition dumps.

And speaking of exposition dumps, was that one in the first episode the only one we’ve had so far? I can’t think of another one, so if I’m right about that, the series is definitely improving.

Winecup Village

Winecup Village is an outpost village located somewhere within the Osuna Desert. It’s name sort of has a double meaning. On one hand, it could be physically describing the caldera holding an oasis as a wine cup, but on the other it references the founding legend of the village.

It’s said that travelers used to seek shelter within the caldera from the sandstorms and tornadoes which frequent the region. And, according to legend, a traveling wine salesman shared his wares with his fellow travelers on one occasion, which resulted in all of the travelers making it across the desert safely.

This legend has even seeped into society within Winecup Village, with travelers treating each other to drinks as a way to ensure safe travels.

Winecup Village from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Winecup Village

But, while we’re told that Winecup Village thrives due to the fact that it’s an important rest stop in the desert, we can see that’s not all it is. From the aerial view we get to see of the caldera (which has some great, vibrant colors in it) we can see there are also quite a few springs in the center of town.

With the village being located in the caldera of a collapsed volcano, we can assume that these are hot springs. And if there’s anything you should know about hot springs, it’s that they’re a major tourist attraction no matter where they are in the world. I wouldn’t be surprised if people traveled from far and wide to visit the Winecup Village hot springs.

Also, we know that corn is a staple of the Winecup Village diet. They have both corn-based alcohol and ice cream. But my question is, where does this corn come from? Clearly they aren’t growing it in the middle of the desert.

Harpies and Falcohols

The two new sentient species we learn about this week are harpies and falcohols, two different kinds of birdfolk. Harpies are exactly what you expect. They look a bit different in this series than your traditional harpies, but overall the concept is the same. Falcohols, however, are a bit different.

Let me first mention that I think the name falcohol is stupid. And now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, falcohols are apparently just humans with falcon (or other bird) heads. I mean, they’re a separate race from humans, but as far as we know their only “non-human” feature is their head.

But, as you’ll know if you’ve watched the episode, we haven’t actually met a falcohol. Haitora is a human disguised as a falcohol, much like Somali is a human disguised as a minotaur. And, at first I thought that because of this, falcohols may be a made up race. However, as a golem, Golem inherently knows a lot about the world, and he didn’t question the existence of falcohols.

Uzoi the harpy from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Uzoi the harpy

Later on we learn a couple of interesting facts about this harpy and fake falcohol pair — the most important of which is that Haitora isn’t really a falcohol, as previously stated. But two of the other pieces of information we receive may actually be connected to each other.

First, we’re told by Uzoi that she and Haitora aren’t related in any way, but Haitora has watched over Uzoi ever since her mother’s death. Second, we’re told that Uzoi never met her father. And third, we learn that Haitora isn’t only a human, but he’s a human who has some sort of disease which is causing his body to grow feathers, even within his lungs.

I think he’s Uzoi’s father and his disease is related.

Osuna Desert

As we’re both told and shown, Osuna Desert is an extremely dangerous part of the continent. For starters, it’s extremely hot and dry, which alone is enough to make crossing it a treacherous journey. But then you also have to worry about the sandstorms, tornadoes, and perhaps scariest of all, sandsharks.

So, how do people travel and navigate through this region of the world while staying alive?

As far as travel goes, wagons pulled by some sort of desert animal seems to be the go-to. I doubt very many people even attempt to cross the desert on foot — there’s no way they would make it. But, these aren’t just any wagons; they’re upgraded with sand paddle wheels to help them navigate the dunes.

An Osuna Desert sandshark from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
An Osuna Desert sandshark

And while I’m more interested in the mechanical solution to traversing the desert that are paddle wheels, I have to say that the navigation instrument used within the desert is pretty cool too. It’s referred to as a crystal-finder, and it’s basically a lamp with a crystal in it that makes a pinging noise.

This sonar-like crystal pings louder as it nears similar crystals, which are solely found in caves (perhaps only in the Osuna Desert). So when the pinging noise gets louder, you know you’re nearing a cave in which to seek shelter. Also, since travelers seek shelter in caves, light sources are important as well. For this, torchflies are gathered and kept in cages.

But shelter is only one piece of the survival puzzle. You also need food, which is where cactus thorns come in. As far as we saw, they’re the only plant living in the desert, and luckily for travelers, they’re edible.

Conclusion

What did you think of Somali and the Forest Spirit episode 5? Would you have liked to explore Winecup Village a bit more? Do you think Haitora is actually Uzoi’s father? Or that his disease is related to living among harpies in some way? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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