Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 7

Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 7

The Footsteps That Stalk the Witches

Before we get into what happens in this episode, let’s take a moment to discuss the title, “The Footsteps That Stalk the Witches.” What exactly does this mean?

As far as I can tell, there’s nothing physically stalking the witches we meet in the episode. Although they look very similar to humans, they seem to be assimilated into “grotesque” culture just fine. They don’t appear to have any natural enemies, besides potentially humans and the pescafish which I’ll talk about later on.

Do witches also eat humans? Or are the witches on friendly terms with both sides?

But I think it’s fair to assume that the witches aren’t being stalked by humans. And if we’re being honest, “The Footsteps That Stalk the Witches” doesn’t really seem to describe the pescafish either. After all, they don’t even have footsteps. So what is this title really all about?

I have no idea.

Nothing I saw in this episode implied that anything, physical or metaphorical, was stalking the witches. Pescafish are basically the witches’ version of rats, so it’s not those. And we weren’t led to believe that anything negative from the witches’ collective history is sneaking up on them.

However, it wouldn’t be any fun to just leave it at that. So let me make a prediction regarding the next episode. I think that we’re going to learn from the head librarian that the witches had the ability to stop the war between humans and grotesques, and either chose the side of the grotesques or stayed neutral.

That could very well be the secret which stalks the witches.

Out of the Desert

In the first third of the episode Somali and Golem part ways with Uzoi and Haitora after the group reach the western edge of the Osuna Desert. I would have liked a bit more desert adventure. But, since most of the desert arc focused on Uzoi and Haitora, it feels natural to move on with their relationship disputes settled.

Before they go their separate ways, Haitora tells Golem about a nearby settlement which supposedly houses information from all over the world. With the idea being that someone there may know something about the humans’ whereabouts.

Somali and Golem traveling through grasslands from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Somali and Golem traveling through grasslands

Not far outside the desert Somali and Golem reach some grasslands, which we haven’t really seen them explore before. They don’t explore them here either, but that’s probably just because grasslands don’t have all that much going on. There aren’t settlements and there’s no rugged terrain to make for good adventuring.

And not long after they enter the grasslands, they already find themselves surrounded by forest once again.

But, although their journey across the desert may have seemed quick, it wasn’t. In the second episode of the series, before Somali and Golem ventured to Anthole City, the gateway to Osuna Desert, Golem had 477 days to live. That’s about 1 year and 4 months.

In this episode, Golem states that he only has 301 days to live. This means that roughly six months have passed since the pair left the oni’s residence. And, that means Golem only has 10 months left to live at this point in time.

The Witches’ Crest Library

I don’t believe we learned the name of the witches’ town, but we do know that the main attraction is the Witches’ Crest Library located in the center. Witches travel around the world in search of books to bring back to this library, which is how it’s grown to such a scale.

However, not all witches partake in these knowledge-finding adventures. There are actually three distinct classes within witch society, with those who go out in search of books only being one. There are also those who remain in the town to sort the collected books, and there are those who guard the information housed within.

When Somali and Golem first entered the forest they contracted a mysterious person to ferry them down the river. This figure reminded me of Charon, the ferryman of the underworld in Greek mythology — but it turns out this was simply one of those guards.

Somali reading a book about food in the Witches' Crest Library from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Somali reading a book about food in the Witches’ Crest Library

The library itself is a massive building which looks like something out of Harry Potter, with its many bridges, but with the aesthetics of the local town. And it’s clear from the many grotesques we see within the library that they’re a very cultured civilization as a whole — it’s not just the witches.

So how different are the grotesques and humans really? We know the war between the two started after the humans came to the continent and acted like they were better than the natives, but were they better? No. And I’m not saying that as if they’re equal.

The grotesques are clearly more advanced. Based on what we’ve seen of both grotesque and human settlements, it’s clear that the humans were on the back foot.

Pescafish vs. Witch

We’re told that the witches are another clan just like the oni, harpies, and allegedly the falcohols (I’m still not entirely sure that’s a real race). This seems to imply that they are, in fact, included within the umbrella category of “grotesque.”

And although they look similar to humans, there are two things which set them apart. The first is obviously their use of magic, which we get to see both Hazel and Praline use. The second distinction is their apparently natural instinct for collecting, maintaining, and protecting the knowledge of the world.

The way Hazel referred to this as an instinct makes it clear that witches are distinct from humans. However, it also implies that she doesn’t know why witches do this. Why do they collect, maintain, and protect the knowledge of the world? Could it have something to do with their past?

Hazel using magic to defeat the pescafish from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Hazel using magic to defeat the pescafish

I’ve mentioned this in previous episode reviews, but aside from the war against the humans, the grotesque continent is a relatively peaceful place. Sure, there are dangerous creatures such as those found in the cavern under Anthole City or in the Osuna Desert, but there’s no inter-clan fighting.

So who, or what, are the witches protecting the knowledge kept in their library from? Pescafish.

Pescafish (literally meaning “fish fish”) appear to be ectoplasm-based creatures which resemble skeletal fish. Their favorite food is ink-soaked paper, so they aren’t typically much of a threat, more of a nuisance. But even so, these creatures are what the witches spend their days combating in the library.

Conclusion

What did you think of Somali and the Forest Spirit episode 7? Are you glad to finally be out of the Osuna Desert? What do you think is “stalking” the witches of the library? And, do you think the witches are more related to humans or the other grotesques? Let me know in the comments.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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