Somali and the Forest Spirit Cover Photo

Somali to Mori no Kamisama // Episode 1 Review

Episode 1: Journeying Parent and Child

Somali to Mori no Kamisama is definitely one of my most anticipated series this season, and the first episode proves to me I am right to be excited. The show is obviously not going to be an action packed anime, but there is some genuine emotion I get from the pilot. It is the adventures of Somali and her surrogate father, the Golem. Somali is an adorable human, lost in a world hostile to her. She is under the protection of the Golem, a spirit of the forest she is found in.

One of the first things most attractive about the show is that it is at the most basic level a story about a father and a daughter. This is what I was interested in seeing coming into the pilot. The show starts off clearly defining and delving right into this dynamic. Throughout the first episode Somali is your prototypical child, exploring and running off on her own, only to get into trouble. Its up to the Golem to bail her out and protect her from her own mistakes.

The familial relationship isn’t 100% there yet though. Even with a quick time-skip ahead a few weeks/months, the Golem is still learning how to handle the handful of the little human girl. There is room to grow in this relationship. That is what I am looking forward to most watching this show.

The World of Somali to Mori no Kamisama

The actual setting of Somali to Mori no Kamisama is the second biggest draw of the show so far. The forest where the Golem meets and rescues Somali from has a gorgeous and ethereal feeling to it. It has its own rules which the Golem details in his inner-monologue. Design-wise this is a place I would love to visit. Its lush with green beauty and mystical creatures not too unrecognizable.

I wish there is more time in the forest itself. There feels like there could be more time getting to know the Golem and Somali as the interact beyond the first encounter. From a story perspective, they can get more done skipping forward, but this narrative feels like it does well dwelling in place for a while. That is fortunately taken over by the city they visit shortly after.

The City of a Thousand Beings

The first city the show depicts really reminds me of Ding Dong Dell from Ni no Kuni. They both have a magical medieval look to them. Its a world I want to get lost exploring. It is a colorful world full of unique creatures dwelling in among the streets.

The denizens of Somali to Mori no Kamisama struck in in two ways. First is how many different peoples are living with each other so peacefully. That is in stark contrast to the story of humans in this world. Perturbed by the differences between themselves and the fantastical creatures who have made the world their own. Almost no single being is of the same race. In a world with so many different people no one can discriminate. Almost.

Second is how this fantasy world differs from the prototypical fantasy world. Having just finished watching the first season of The Witcher, seeing a world where humanity is the minority is an interesting change of pace. No longer the magical folk are the ones hunted, but rather the human race is under threat.

The Golem and His True Purpose, Somali

In his opening monologue, the Golem speaks to his purpose of maintaining his forest world that he lives in. It is in the title of the show. He is the forest spirit. Spurning the needs of the forest to help the child he discovers is this greater purpose he finds. The Golem is abandoning everything that he knows because deep down he understands that he is more than just the forest spirit.

The Golem’s character is very sweet. He spends a lot of time telling the audience that golems feel no emotion, yet his actions speak much louder. Somali isn’t his true purpose, unlike the balance of nature in the forest. He must in fact feel for her in order to abandon all that he knows in order to begin the search for humans. Its just the start of the Golem seeing himself in this light, but I anticipate he understanding of his own feelings to grow with the story and Somali.

Final Thoughts

One thing that stood out in this episode was the nice and direct exposition of what happened to humans. I didn’t expect something as direct, yet still leaving some mystery for later. It is a bit disheartening to hear the story of humanity’s sins and downfall.

There is a calm almost slice-of-life feeling to this show. It is a little more than that with the search for humans. Somali might just become a breakout character this season. She is absolutely adorable, and her minotaur outfit is the cutest thing.

[Image via Official Site]

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