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.

Somali and the Forest Spirit ep8-6 (4)

11 thoughts

  1. I liked the look of the tree wound through a library with the flooded basement (books magically protected I’m sure). I think the head witches story could have been handled better. I know there’s a time constraint but surely it could have been told with a bit more grace. and just as I was thinking, at last,we’re going to get some answers about why humans were hunted to death and where they are hiding and how did one toddler come to be in a forest so far away? And…no. None of the above. Not really. Sort of vaguely maybe. I was shocked that the golem didn’t sink like a rock, drowning Somali in the process. He can swim? Well wTF IS he made of? Somehow I had it in my head he was made of stone. Or something like. Magic, I know, magic. So, artwise – pretty episode that I did like. Story-wise – less so. And I wasn’t tired when I watched it. I’ll agree with Pinkie that there are some anime you have to be in the mood for and when you aren’t, they just won’t quite suit you. But I think this episode did leave a little to be desired.

    1. Oh that’s a great point about Golem. I guess Golems are most commonly made of clay but he looks metallic…

  2. On the “liar” aspect: I think that to be a sentient being without emotion would be a lie in situ. Awareness–even if limited to self-awareness–generates emotional response. (So perhaps the fault lies in the term. Perhaps it’s not so much a lie as sentience without fully developed cognizance?)

    *dammit, I tried to sound smart and now my brain hurts!!!

    1. Interesting theory. I’m not as certain that sentience requires emotionality, att least not on a level we would recognize. We know that plants are sentient but most people wouldn’t categorize them as emotional beings. However, that may be a failure on those people’s part. Maybe plants are imbued with emotion.

      1. Well, it has been proven that certain plants communicate with one another, so perhaps we just haven’t yet identified their emotional expressions. . .

  3. Yeah, it’s pretty heavy handed, and it’s also rather simplistic. I think I might have mentioned before that I’m not watching this for the story. What are the odds that they’ll find a hidden human civilisation which mass-produces golems. The green party uses them to protect the environment. Also they’re fans of Asimovian laws…

    I havel ittle to say about this episode, too. It was nice to watch, but it’s not going to be what I remember this show for.

    1. See I was watching it for the story I think. Or at least for the characters so I have to adjust

  4. I love your positivity senpai!
    I did not like this episode very much.. but I am sure I would like it at another time. I really appreciate that. There is so many anime you have to be in the mood for and I do appreciate that you keep this in mind instead of just condemning the episode. As always it’s nice to see the super postive you shine trough even when you are tired!

    I also really like Hazel’s design ever somehow she really pops of the screen for me. She’s cute! I got a thing for Nerdy Akwardly looking girls.. the pointy hat kinda helps as well for some reason… is that weird?

      1. Aww that was such a sweet reaction! I am glad to have met you as well! Your mindset makes me feel a bit less alien in this world at times.

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