Tag: Somali and the Forest Spirit

Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 3

Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 3

The Sea at the Bottom of the Cave

In case I haven’t mentioned it in one of the previous two episode reviews (I definitely have), the thing I look forward to the most from this series is world building. Yes, Somali’s smile is another thing to look forward to, but the world building of this series is really what intrigues me.

And guess what major world building item we got in today’s episode? That’s right, a map!

The unfortunate part about this, however, is that although we get to see a map of the continent, we have no idea where anything is. And by that I mean we don’t exactly know where Golem and Somali are currently, and we don’t know where their journey began.

Golem holding a map of the continent from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Golem holding a map of the continent

So what do we know, and what can it tell us about the journey they have ahead of them? Well, we know their journey began in a forested region, presumably marked on the map in green. My guess is that the medium-sized forest we see depicted in the northeastern quadrant of the map is where this series started.

We know that most of what they’ve traveled through thus far has been forest and grasslands, so the green area should be large enough to be depicted on this map.

There’s also the fact that they’ve now entered a more arid region of the continent, and are heading in the direction of a large desert. And, off to the west of that forest we can see a dry region with what appears to be a desert on the other side.

It’s also important to keep in mind that it was stated that they will need to cross the desert to get to the west end, meaning they’ve come from the east — where the forest is.

Anthole City

For anyone who’s played Breath of the Wild, the entrance to Anthole City looks like it could fit right into that version of Hyrule. I can almost picture it being located somewhere between the Gerudo Desert and the canyon which takes you there from central Hyrule.

As with the other city we saw in the first episode of the series, Anthole City is home to monsters of all sorts. However, I didn’t spot any Oni within the city. Maybe I just didn’t notice them, but I’m still convinced that the Oni have their own village set up somewhere away from everyone else.

Anthole City is also a bustling center of trade, probably because it lies right on the edge of a vast desert. This is the trading post for all goods coming and going from across the shifting sands. It’s also a fairly large city, built in layers with a large hole down the middle — much like the city from Made in Abyss.

There’s even a cavernous world below ground where dangerous creatures lurk.

Anthole City from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Anthole City

But, one of the more interesting aspects of Anthole City is what you get when you combine its position as a major trade hub, the labyrinth-like layout of the city, and some of the people we meet within it. It seems pretty clear that Anthole City is probably one of the major stops in the human trafficking business at the core of this series.

Now, I’m not going to say the wolf guy with an eye patch who’s been following Somali around is a human trafficker, but he could be. However, I actually think he’s on Somali’s side. My guess is that he’s someone who fights against human trafficking in the region, and recognizes that Somali is a human due to her scent.

Journey Across the Desert

While Golem is working at Kokilila’s restaurant, there are two important pieces of information we receive. One comes from Kikila in the form of a song about the first meeting between humans and monsters, and the other is the possible location of humans according to some patrons.

Kikila’s song doesn’t really give us any new information on the surface, but it does show us another view of the relationship between humans and monsters. It’s not a good relationship, but it’s one that’s important enough to have been passed down as part of an oral history.

The fact that there may be humans on the west end of the Osuna Desert is a much more tangible piece of information. Golem and Somali are searching for humans, and now they’ve been presented with an account of a human sighting — albeit not a firsthand account.

But, even if there are humans on the west end of the desert, will Golem and Somali find what they’re looking for? I doubt it.

All the information we received was that there was a sighting of humans there. There’s no reason to believe that these were free humans. Considering the relationship between humans and monsters on this continent, I find it hard to believe that there’s a group of humans living freely anywhere.

What’s more likely is that the traveler who spotted the humans actually saw a human trafficking caravan which was about to start the trek across the desert towards Anthole City. After all, I’m pretty sure that large island off to the west of the map is where the humans are currently located, so geographically this all checks out.

These are likely humans being transported from the shores of the continent into the interior — and from there they’ll be sold all over.

Life Underground

After Somali reveals that she believes she and Golem are on a journey so that Golem can dump her off somewhere, Kikila suggests the pair go in search of a particular flower in the cavern under the city. This flower is said to grant whoever finds it one wish — which should have been the first red flag.

The second red flag should have come when they entered the cavern and Kikila mentioned that children aren’t supposed to be down there unsupervised. And the third, major red flag should have come when Kikila and Somali had to hide from that giant bug which was roaming around.

Somali and Kikila watching walking mushrooms from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Somali and Kikila watching walking mushrooms

Down here, life is a bit different than on the surface. There doesn’t necessarily appear to be intelligent life, but it’s adapted in ways which might make you think otherwise. For example, there are mushrooms which are able to walk around on two legs in formation and attract insects to eat with their bioluminescence

There are also more dangerous creatures, such as the large plant(?) which almost ate Somali towards the end of the episode. It’s capable of traveling via floating through the air, so it seems that it’s positioning right next to the largest yozame flower was no coincidence.

This creature is clearly smart enough to set up an ambush — which is something you never want to say about a plant that’s larger than you are.

The only thing that was really missing from this foray into the underground is the “sea” mentioned in the title. There was a lake down there which Somali and Kikila sat next to for a bit, but I wouldn’t call it a sea, and I definitely wouldn’t say it was title-worthy. Perhaps it’s referring to the “sea of life” found underground.

Conclusion

Did you like episode 3 of Somali and the Forest Spirit? I’ll admit that Golem working at the restaurant wasn’t the most exciting part of the episode considering I want to explore the world more. But aside from that I thought it was good.

Also, where do you think Somali and Golem began their journey on the map? And what do you think is the deal with the eye patch wolf? Let me know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤ down below. Also follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And, come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN and CaptainRainbowPizza for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika and Sensei tiers respectively this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 2

Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 2

Edible Herbs and the Oni’s Dwelling

Somali and the Forest Spirit episode 2 wasn’t the most exciting thing I’ve ever watched, but it’s not like I expected this series to have action or anything. The problem with this episode was that it didn’t really explore that many new things, and instead doubled down on things we already know about.

For example, there was the “reveal” about Golem taking Somali to find her family before he dies. We already knew this from the first episode, it just wasn’t explicitly stated back then. It’s like how in the previous episode we got that information dump about humans after it was already heavily implied.

Another example of this is Golem telling Somali that he can talk to animals. It seems strange that Somali would just be learning this considering her fascination with both animals and her dad. And that leads me to believe this conversation took place solely for the benefit of the viewers.

Somali holding a horned rabbit from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Somali holding a horned rabbit

The problem with that, though, is that we already knew Golem could talk to animals from episode 1. He talks to animals in order to find where Somali ran off to when they were in town. And I think we saw him talking to animals even before that — so this explanation seemed unnecessary.

In fact, some of the only new information we received about the world in this episode had to do with the various creatures (and plants) that live within it.

At the beginning of the episode we’re given the name of the horned rabbits by Golem, and later on we meet Shizuno and Yabashira, a Dwarf Oni and Oni respectively. Shizuno then tells us the name of two plants used to make medicine, Hypericum erectum and Pueraria.

The Oni Clan

Now, it’s probably fair to say that the names of the horned rabbits, Hypericum erectum, and Pueraria don’t actually matter. However, the Oni do matter because they can teach us a bit more about the inhabitants of this continent.

We know that this continent is home to monsters, but until now they were all grouped together. Obviously the Golems are in a separate category, but aside from them it appeared like all the various monsters were part of one, cohesive group. That is, until we meet members of the Oni clan.

The existence of the Oni clan tells us one of two things. Either the Oni are somehow special and different enough to receive their own distinction, or all of the monsters are actually broken into various groups. My bet is on the former, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Shizuno seems to understand that Somali is actually a human, or at least not a Minotaur. And from this, I’m going to guess that the Oni also originated from a different continent — only they assimilated into life on this monster continent unlike the humans.

Also, even within the Oni clan there are distinctions between types of Oni. Yabashira appears to be your standard Oni based on his size, while Shizuno is confirmed to be a Dwarf Oni. So far it’s unclear if Oni and Dwarf Oni normally interact the way these two do, or if they’re a special case.

But that question may be answered in the next episode.

Although Shizuno and Yabashira live in the forest, they do so only because it’s closer to the herbs they need for their medicine. There’s a town nearby, and perhaps it will turn out to be an Oni town.

One Year and 112 Days

As I mentioned previously, and two weeks ago during my review of the first episode, Golem is nearing the end of his life. This week, we’re actually given an exact time frame for when he’s going to die. Golems live for exactly 1,000 years, and he has one year and 112 days remaining.

The first thing I want to mention about this stated time frame is that it puts a definitive end on the series. It’s very possible that the series could continue after Golem’s death, but that seems unlikely. Would I like for it to continue though? Of course.

But having a set number of days until Golem’s death is actually a pretty good thing for the series. It means there’s going to be a definitive end of the series, and it’s not something which can be drawn out forever. Unless, of course, Golem discovers a way to live, but that would be dumb.

Golem's cracking body from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Golem’s cracking body

The second thing I want to mention regarding Golem’s life expectancy has to do with his body. It’s clearly deteriorating, and the idea was thrown out there that he wears all his clothes in order to hold his body together. Whether or not that’s true, it’s an interesting thing to think about.

I had assumed that he wore those clothes so he wouldn’t stand out as much on his travels, but what if Shizuno’s assumption was correct? Does this mean that Golem could die before 1,000 years if his physical condition worsens?

Or, could it be that although Golems live for 1,000 years, most of them become immobile due to damage sustained over the years before they reach that point? Might you find Golems which appear dead, but are actually still alive while the forest slowly reclaims their bodies?

Conclusion

What did you think of the second episode of Somali and the Forest Spirit? Was it as good as the first? Do you think this series is going to be good overall? And, what are your thoughts on the fact that the anime continuously explains things to us that we can already infer? Let me know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤ down below. Also follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN and CaptainRainbowPizza for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika and Sensei tiers respectively this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of the next episode is available here.

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Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 1

Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 1

Journeying Parent and Child

Somali and the Forest Spirit is an anime I’ve been waiting for for months now. Maybe even a full year. Ever since I first learned that this series existed and was getting an anime adaptation, I knew it was one I had to watch. And honestly, the first episode didn’t disappoint.

But before I get into this series and the first episode in particular, I want to mention my winter 2020 schedule. Although this episode review is going live on Friday, future Somali and the Forest Spirit episode reviews will be on Thursdays. However, since this episode is technically airing early, I’m not sure if there will be an episode next week.

With that out of the way, let me just quickly run through everything I like about this series so far in no particular order.

Somali and Golem meet for the first time from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Somali and Golem meet for the first time

First of all, while the character designs are great, I don’t think the character art is anything special. But, the background art is amazing and I can’t wait to see more of this world depicted in that art style. Whoever the main background artist is for this series, good job.

Second, I’m already a fan of Inori Minase as a VA (no, not because of Rem), but I was surprised by how well she voices Somali. Off the top of my head I can’t think of another character she voices who’s so young, and I wasn’t quite sure how it would be. But it’s safe to say she’s done a great job.

Also, Daisuke Ono, who most people probably know as the VA for Jotaro Kujo, voices Golem.

And I also need to point out that the soundtrack is great so far as well. Hopefully we’ll get some truly amazing insert songs for this series later.

Golem of the Forest

So before we even discuss the predetermined “best girl of the year” Somali, I want to talk about her “dad,” Golem. From this first episode we learn quite a lot about Golem, and golems in general.

At the start, it’s said that golems are guardians of the forest who watch over nature. They don’t get involved with the struggle between predator and prey, they simply observe. However, although we aren’t told this, we can assume the golems would intervene if someone or something threatened their forest.

We’re also told that golems live for either exactly or roughly 1,000 years. We don’t know how old Golem is, but based on the way his arm is shown to be cracking, we can assume he’s nearing the end of his life. In fact, he may be in a race against time to return Somali to her people — which I’ll get into later.

Golem searching for Somali from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Golem searching for Somali

Additionally, we can infer that he has superhuman strength and agility based on the fact that he jumps off a rooftop like it’s no big deal. Clearly that implies the golems were originally designed with combat in mind — again, likely to protect their forests.

And the final ability we know he has is his one, giant eye which usually remains closed. He uses this to help him find Somali whenever she goes missing, so he probably has exceptional vision. However, the main thing we see this eye used for is determining the molecular structure of objects such as jewelry.

It’s also said that golems don’t have emotions, but this doesn’t appear to be entirely true. Golem clearly has strong feelings for Somali beyond simply being her guardian.

Somali the Minotaur

So, this is where we get into the part of the episode I don’t think was handled well — what’s the deal with Somali?

She’s obviously a human — Golem says as much when he first meets her. She was also clearly a slave who escaped somehow based on her clothing and collar. So right from the start we know that Somali is a human (escaped) slave; that’s good information to have.

Then, later on, we learn that the reason Somali’s cloak has horns on it is to hide her race. When asked what she is by a restaurant employee/manager, Golem says that she’s a minotaur, which is seemingly confirmed by these horns.

Somali talking to Golem from the anime series Somali and the Forest Spirit
Somali talking to Golem

Golem also mentions that they’re in search of humans, to which the “monsters” reply that they haven’t seen humans in a long time. That’s where this conversation should have stopped, but unfortunately it didn’t.

Piecing together the mystery surrounding Somali’s past and the disappearance of the humans throughout the series would have been great. Instead, we’re given an exposition dump by the restaurant waiter which explains everything in an unnatural way.

Apparently the humans discovered this monster continent and ended up getting into a war with the monsters. The monsters easily defeated the humans, and then went on to hunt down the survivors. They even went so far as to eat humans, which apparently taste pretty good.

So, that explains why Golem wants to find humans while also hiding the fact that Somali is one. He wants to return her to the safety of her own kind. It’s just such a shame that the series had to explain all of that to us right in the first episode rather than slowly over the course of the series.

Conclusion

Aside from that exposition dump, there was one other thing I wasn’t a particular fan of — the ED. There’s nothing extremely bad about it, but I think it would have been better without the use of CGI for Somali and Golem. Just do the ED in the same art style as the series and it would have been fine.

But anyway, I have extremely high hopes for the rest of this series and can’t wait to see all the various locations Somali and Golem travel to together, and all the people they meet along the way. I’m also curious to see if Golem’s age will become an important element of the story later on. Will he return Somali to her people before he dies?

What are your thoughts on the first episode of Somali and the Forest Spirit? Did you like it? Do you think this could be the best anime of the season by the end? It’s going to have some fierce competition, but I think it’s possible if Magia Record doesn’t turn out well. Let me know what you think in the comments.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤ down below. Also follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content or updates. And, come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier, and CaptainRainbowPizza for supporting at the Sensei tier, this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of the next episode is available here.

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