Somali made a second friend it seems. I think Kikila was a better influence. General rule of thumb, when in doubt, pick the friend that hasn’t seriously tried to kill you. Maybe that’s just me.

Cards of the table you guys, I haven’t liked this mini arc much. I have nothing against Uzoi and Haitori as characters. They’re a bit one dimensional but I really like Uzoi’s character design. It’s absolutely stunning in my opinion. And the show has a lot of partly developed characters which mostly works for this type of story but I think not as much for the last two episodes.

Long time readers might also know that I am impatient and picky when it comes to drama. Unreasonable so. Which means that on average, I’m less likely to enjoy dramatic works than most people. And oh boy was this episode dramatic! So much for the beautiful tone of gentle agony and understated tragedy that Somali and the Forest Spirit has been fostering until now. The episode spelled everything out in wretched detail.

The cliffhanger of Uzoi wanting to kill Somali was resolved in the first few minutes. As a show, Somali jumps from one mini arc to the next and aside from the core plot of trying to find humans to take care of Somali, most issues are resolved very quickly, as such I wasn’t surprised by this and for a moment it seemed like it might just resolve into a bitter sweet episode with an uncertain future for Haitori as Uzoi is forced to accept unpleasant truths and reconcile her morality with her loyalty and priorities.

I think I would have liked that a lot. If that opening scene in the cave would have been extended to most of the episode, making it more action oriented and ending on Golem and Haitori finding them after Uzoi realized that she couldn’t go ahead with her plan, that would have been pretty good in my opinion. But the episode didn’t end there.

Oh, I should mention that Uzoi is only trying to kill Somali based on some vague prophecy they heard from an eyeball creature that Haitori needs to replace his blood. She doesn’t know if it will work or how exactly to replace said blood so she figured she would just make Haitori drink Somali’s blood. Haitori himself doesn’t seem to believe it at all and I wonder why he hasn’t tried to tell her it wouldn’t work.

In any case, we got Haitori’s back story and it was tragic. And then it got more tragic. They piled it on pretty thick here. Ultimately, we also find out that Haitori is riddled with some (very justifiable) guilt and it’s tearing him up inside. And of course Uzoi overheard everything and now she’s (very justifiably) in turmoil.

The flashback of Haitori’s past was a bit more gruesome than the series has been so far. I wonder if it’s an indicator of things to come.

Ultimately a sandstorm separates the girls from their fathers and Somali says “love is never a lie” which is a great line but I’m a jaded evil person so it made me laugh out loud after everything that had happened in the episode. Fortunately Uzoi is much sweeter and fresher than I am and it convinced her to stop thinking that her entire past is just a series of betrayals from the person she cares about most and stat getting over it.

In this little situation Golem goes back to being logical to the point of sounding cold and slightly inhuman. Of course he isn’t human so I can’t blame him. It’s a bit of a step back from the Golem that was fretting about when Somali was a little late getting back with Kikila. Here, Golem stops Haitori from going after the girls when the wind picks them up and calmly assess the situation when they are threatened by a huge bug. He says things like, if we are not careful we will just cause harm to ourselves and the girls. He’s absolutely right and really saves the day, but in small subtle ways, to me at least, he just seemed a bit different in character.

To be clear, I like this. I thin it makes Golem a more complex character and adds a unique twist to this story. A reverse Pinocchio where the puppet is the adult that has to instill values in the child. And we got reminded of that side of Golem this week.

By the end, I was a bit checked out. I’ve mentioned before that the heroic last stand is not my favourite trope and we got one sort of. Haitori gets saved at the last minute though so it was an attempted heroic last stand. Uzoi and Haitori reconcile and I guess both have an uncertain future ahead of them.

I’ve read a post and a few tweets about the episode so I know that so far I’m in the minority as most fans I’ve heard from seem to have loved this episode. I didn’t. Somali and the Forest Spirit is a beautiful anime and I still enjoyed looking at it. I noticed for the very first time that the show is not very “animated”, as in there aren’t many very dynamic sequences and a lot of still shots. It’s so pretty that I hadn’t even realized which is a big compliment. And this slower and more still animation suits the story a lot. As such I enjoyed the technical merits of this episode. This type of story just isn’t really for me. I hope we start a new mini arc next week.

Somali and The Forest Spirit ep6-9 (2)

7 thoughts

  1. You know my reaction to the backstory? Hmm, if they tear their legs off while the run away, they’ll likely bleed out, die, and the meat will spoil. Maybe gangrene? Yum. If you stay around to patch them up with expert care, you actually risk more running regardless. Also, they’re probably poachers, since they don’t seem to mind overhunting and thus ruining the ecosystem… That’s probably not what the show was going for, but I sort of liked reading SF, so that’s the sort of thoughts that usually come to me. Especially, when they’re laying it on thickly. See, what if they’d come and just take a few, and treat them fairly well – you know, like organic farmers or something? What if they were going for breeding couples… Okay, I’ll stop now. But my writing philosophy is this: if you have a gruesome concept, it’s better to work with counterpoint instead making sure that people think the villains are [b]EVIL[/i], by writing it in bold capital letters.

    It’s really consistent with the baby monsters of the previous arc, though, just a little more extensive. I’m watching Somali as nice, simple story, with great visuals mostly. I do actually agree that most arcs so far worked better than this. But it’s no big deal for me. I’d agree there’s too much drama, but it’s more the style of it all than the content I object to.

    Oh, and I was fascinated by the extendable wings: is there a limit or can harpies hug the world?

    1. “See, what if they’d come and just take a few, and treat them fairly well – you know, like organic farmers or something?”

      Hmmm. Kinda like The Promised Neverland?

      1. Sort of, but without the subterfuge. I mean, the obious parallel is what humans do to animals: sometimes we’re cruel, sometimes we’re callous, and sometimes we treat them well and even like them but it’s just the internalised food chain. The point here isn’t that what we’ve seen this episode is unrealistic (except for the practical isuues I mentioned). The point is more that we tend to pile cruelty on top of the deeds as a sort of enhancement. It’s like cutting out as much complexity so that we can actively dislike the “culprits” while not having to think about the implications.

        In that sense, Neverland, by excluding non-humans and focussing on the system, hasn’t really done what I’m envisioning here either. What few “demons” we’ve seen so far fall into the category of “callous”, I’d say. And there’s a good chance that any “good demons” we’ll see in that show are going to align with a let’s-not-eat-humans faction. But we’ll see.

    2. No limit. Harpies are actually boundless. That mama could probably still bee feeding and entire village.
      I also had some inappropriate bouts of laughter. For me, this was just the most boring episode. I do watch Somali for content though. I’m sort of a sucker for father daughter relationships and that drew me in.

  2. “General rule of thumb, when in doubt, pick the friend that hasn’t seriously tried to kill you. Maybe that’s just me.”

    No, it’s not just you. That’s really sound advice!

    “’I’ve read a post and a few tweets about the episode so I know that so far I’m in the minority as most fans I’ve heard from seem to have loved this episode.”

    I’m not going to stop watching the series or anything, but this episode didn’t have the same spirit as the rest of the series. Sure, it’s alluded to the non-human sentients nom-ing the humans, but it was just that — alluding. The level of graphic detail as Haitori had to watch his family die was too much in the context of the show.

    “I wonder if it’s an indicator of things to come.”

    I hope not. Like I said, I’m not going to drop the series, but it almost feels like the show changed tone in mid-stream.

    Or maybe I’m overreacting.

    1. It was a tonal shift but I read that this was an anime only arc so that may explain why it was not quite in line with the rest of the series. I.m thinking we’ll go back to the calmer and more understated narrative next week.

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