This season on my blog I’m reviewing Somali and Haikyuu. The two shows that have been most damaging to my screencap disease recovery efforts… Just saying you’re going to see a lot of pretty pictures! I hope you like them!
Somali and Golem are still on their journey to find humanity and we opened on home turf: the Forest. As beautiful as these nature scenes were, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see a new town. I would love to explore the social system in this anime as it seems quite varied and interesting.
I had forgotten just how hyper a well childish Somali is. I’m not a big fan of child characters in general. I really like Somali though and that may be because she actually acts like a child. Or at least what I think a child acts like. I have no actual idea. But her delayed reaction to hurting her knee just felt real and not that dissimilar to how I still act…
I saw the little oni in the preview last episode and I had big hopes for him. Not sure why. I think he may have vaguely reminded me of a mix between Hoozuki and Hakutaku. Obviously that’s a lot to live up to. I wasn’t all that far from the Hakutaku front. I wont’s lie, in these early scenes I was thinking to myself that Somali and the Forest Spirit is still a beautiful and perfectly lovely series but maybe not quite as amazing as I thought during the first episode.
It’s very cute and quite pleasant which is more than enough for an anime. But I wasn’t sure there would be much more to it.
There were hints of it in episode 1. Through all the sweetness and the pretty images, there are these tiny needles of pain that stab through Somali and the Forest Spirit. A vague melancholy that permeates everything. After all, it is the story of an emotionless puppet dragging and abandoned and abused child back to a dying species. But it’s easy to push that solicitude aside when getting lost in a candy coloured wonderland.
After the first act, episode 2 of Somali made sure we didn’t forget that happiness and pain tend to go together. That great love means great loss.
But it also reminded us that the reverse is true. That grief is only there if you’re lucky enough to know joy. That life is still your own and you can shape it at least a little. And although I’m sure she doesn’t explicitly know all of this, on some level Somali understands it. And she is the type of little girl that deals with anxiety by working very hard to fix it. By doing chores and helping out so that her father will be happy.
I’m have a feeling Somali is going to be just fine with that kind of attitude.
By the halfway mark I had remembered what charmed me about the series. There’s a certain ease to it. The narrative and dialogue flows without beating you over the head with .its thesis. It offers up its sentimentality and lets you take as much or as little as you want.
For lack of a better explanation, it’s not a pushy show. It’s confident in it’s story and execution. Or at least, it comes off that way to me. That’s why it can afford a certain stillness.
Of course this was the climax of the episode, the crux. Spoilers for those of you that haven’t watched it yet. We find out that Golems live for precisely 1000 years and that Golem is getting close to 999. He has to find Somali’s parents in a bit over a year or else she will be alone again.
We kind of knew something like this was coming but I was surprised it was revealed so early. This said, it’s not a bad move. It brings a sense of urgency and purpose to their quest and it frames the narrative pretty well.
One thing that jumped out at me is that Shizuno and his assistant where tense and sad at the idea of Golem being at the end of his life until he explained the 1000 year expiry date. Then they really relaxed. I’m not sure if it’s because they realized that Golem had led such a long life or because it was just the natural course of thing. But as they relaxed, so did I. It’s sad, but it’s o.k. I’m impressed the show managed to get me to that emotional catharsis in only two episodes. But poor little Somali doesn’t know.
I wanted to keep this review shorter but so much spilled out of me. That sounds grosser than it needs to. I really like Somali and the Forest Spirit. I’m a little scared that it’s going to make me cry….by ending the season on a cliffhanger and not getting a second season!