Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 1 Review

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Tranquil and Adventurous

It’s a new anime season and I’m so behind on the last one that I’m going in even more blind than normal. That said, there’s fun to be had in starting a new anime knowing nothing but the title as was the case with Somali to Mori Kamisama. At first glance it is a visual feast with some beautiful landscapes and a lot of focus on rays of light all accompanied by suitably atmospheric music. Needless to say I had no idea what I was getting into but this first episode left me feeling quite chill.

It almost seems a reverse of If It Was For My Daughter I’d Even Defeat the Demon Lord with a golem finding a human child in his forest and taking care of her rather than a human adventurer finding a demon child. In this world humankind annoyed the other creatures so much they drove them away and there are none left. Whether that means they were killed or simply went back to some separate place remains to be seen but the golem is travelling with the child, Somali, in search of other humans.

It would be impossible to watch this so soon after If It Was For My Daughter and not compare Latina and Somali. They are certainly working the cute child angle here but unlike Latina, Somali is a mischievous and free-spirited girl who doesn’t hesitate to correct her ‘father’ when he tells her not to leave his sight. She regularly gets distracted and wanders off to play and while she has no ill-intent, she isn’t the flawless child that Latina always seemed to work at being. It makes for a somewhat more genuine tone to the relationship even if the golem literally has no obvious emotions and likes to call holding hands an ‘effective means of inhibiting activity’ or something to that effect.

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That said, the slice of life label I found on this anime after watching the first episode isn’t joking around. After the opening we simply follow the golem and Somali as they visit a city, eat lunch, stay at an inn, trade, chase a cat and then watch the golem track Somali down and the two leave the town. Everything is charming enough but it isn’t exactly working to build any kind of tension or drama. It just is.

Try and hide from him.

I don’t know yet whether I’ll follow this one weekly, watch a couple of episodes at a time, or just let it go. This season I am going to have a reduced watch list and this one isn’t a really high priority even though it looks like it should be relatively fun to watch. For now I’ll wait and see.


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Karandi James



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Images from: Somali and the Forest Spirit. Dir. Kenji Yasuda. Satelight. 2020.

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3 thoughts on “Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 1 Review

  1. I thought the underlying tension was set up pretty well: Somali is at risk wherever they go and whatever they do; she could well end up eaten or enslaved. So I don’t think it’s just a typical slice of life.

    I agree about the comparison with Latina, though.

    1. Objectively that tension is there but it wasn’t something I felt throughout the episode. Maybe when something happens that makes Somali feel it a bit more it will become a more concrete feeling.

      1. Actually, I’d say that the lack of tension you’re feeling disproves Golem’s words that he is without emotion. Somali knows–as do we, the audience–that Golem is going to protect her. And not only does he have no obligation to do so, but his obligation to his role as protector of the forest really should have seen him exterminate the human child upon first contact. Hers was a species that caused great harm and–as a rare commodity–her very presence threatens the peace of the forest. So, were Golem as emotionless and logical as he pretends, the simplest action would have been to kill the child and leave her body as carrion for scavengers. The most profitable action would have been to sell her as livestock. Golem instead threatens his own existence–and that of his forest–by journeying away from his home in order to help Somali find hers. It’s just how parents of young children are–protective.

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