I’m not sure what to say about this week’s Somali and the Forest Spirit. That’s a great way to start a post isn’t it… I watched it last night, I remeber what happened, it’s not like I forgot the episode, but I just haven’t really formed any thoughts about it yet. It was one of those episodes that just slid off my back.
When in doubt, describe what happened!
Somali and Golem manage to convince Hazel and Praline (great now I’m hungry) to tell them how to get to the head librarian to ask her about “humans”. After a few obstacles they manage to reach her chambers only to be accosted by heavy witch security. That’s both exactly what you imagine it to be and also not at all what you imagine it to be. Fortunately, the head with has telepathy and foresight powers and asks for Golem and Somali to be brought to her unharmed. Which they are.
I feel like seriously ill people in anime all look the same. They’re always lying on there backs in the very centre of the bad with their hair artistically fanned out about their face. Someone has to go in and arrange that hair every day. That’s not just a coincidence. That’s giving the kids unrealistic bed hair expectations!
The witch doesn’t have any questions for them or anything, she just wants to tell them a story…
This is where the episode actually starts. Feodora Nebsolv (likely an ancestor of the head witch) was injured during a journey in her youth and rescued by a young human girl and what seems to be an Earthen Golem. She is brought to a human village where she’s nursed back to health. The villagers and kind and welcoming and Feodora quickly realizes that they have no tolerance for anyone who isn’t human and that these perfectly lovely people will turn savage and aggressive with fear at the mere presence of something *other*, what they call grotesque.
There’s this really aggressive and heavy handed scene of villagers killing a wandering dragon creature for no reason as it begs for it’s life. I skipped most of it because it made me queasy. It was only there to drive the point that bigotry is bad and honestly, if you hadn’t gotten it by then, even I think you should consider drinking less.
Just like in the Haitora flashback, humans are presented as a more or less uniform mass. They all seem to act and think in the same way with the only stand out being the little red headed girl whose name I forgot and couldn’t find. Being still young and innocent, she follows the other villagers because she doesn’t know anything else but she seems like she would be open minded. Feodora and her develop a fast friendship with the younger human looking up to the little witch as a big sister.
And of course, there Haraiso the Golem. Just like the Golem we’ve come to know and love, this one is very caring and kind and careful of others. And just like the Golem we know, when he is told this, he replies he has no feelings. Either Golems be liars (and Haraiso did ensure the villagers that Feodora was human without any hesitation) or Somali and the Forest Spirit is implying that lack of emotions would naturally cause a person to be kind and caring, implying that emotions are responsible for people being cold and selfish. That’s an unusual stand point. I don’t hate it.
Haraiso is very interesting in many ways. He seems to be a protector of the humans even though they do seem to have encroached on nature to build their village and are openly violent. He openly acknowledges that humans are weak and petty creatures who are ruled by fear and driven to atrocities. He just states it. Somali has never been a very subtly show. And yet he doesn’t make any effort to curve their behaviour or point of view. And the villagers consider him something of a god. It’s a very different relationship and we just don’t get to explore it much in this episode. But the implications are pretty vast.
In the end, the little red head falls off a cliff and Feodora reveals her true nature in order to save her. The villagers are aghast and turn on her but the little girl still calls her a friend and Feodora is extremely touched. Then End. Of the story not of the episode…
All the best revelations happen in the last few minutes of the episode. Feodora gets back to the world of non humans and doesn’t tell anybody what happened. Eventually she tells her daughter swearing her to the same secrecy. The story is kept alive in this fashion through the generations until Isolde (the current head witch) decides to break the rules and write it down. Witches live an very long time so it was written over a century ago. We don,t get to know exactly what happens but she blames herself for some great tragedy.
Of course what’s not being said is that as the The Chronicles of Haraiso (the book in question) spread in popularity, people started to know about these hateful creatures called humans. The way the villagers were portrayed is likely on important element that led to the war that nearly eradicated humanity.
But as Somali and Golem are clearly parallels to the little red head and Haraiso, maybe there’s a chance that peace and coexistence will bloom a new. After all Somali is clearly not afraid of creatures that are different. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt if she was a bit more afraid…
I was pretty exhausted when I watched this episode and I guess it was a bit on the nose and too simplistic in the moralities for the mood I was in. It was still a very nice episode and I’m sure I would have enjoyed it a lot under different circumstances.