Somali and the Forest Spirit is an anime I knew from the start I’d enjoy. I could tell there was ‘something’ there when I watched the first episode… my goodness was I right. This is a review of Somali and the Forest Spirit and spoiler alert… it’s really good.
Before getting into things, I’m gonna avoid covering story arcs and going into specific so I don’t ruin any readers viewing experience. Wouldn’t wanna spoil everything in case you or they are just seeing if it’s worth a watch.
In a world where humans are nothing but fodder for monsters to trade, use as slaves, and even consume, we follow the journey of an unlikely pairing; a golem and a young human child. Somali, the young child, is taken in by Golem (who is never specifically named) creating a father-daughter pairing of the two. This story tells of the bond that develops between the two on their travels, but Golem can only live for just over another year. Before his time runs out, he must find other humans so that he may return Somali to her own kind.
From the first episode alone you’ll understand that this anime is a tear-jerker. Seeing the bond between the two protagonists grow as time passes is heart-warming and yanks on your heartstrings. What is even more well done than the character development between Somali and Golem is how the world is developed. The more we learn of the denizens of the world, the more we the viewers come to understand about these people we meet and the history of the world itself. This perfect harmony between the characters and world-building helps to bundle the story and its progression in a very natural/methodical way. There was never an episode where I felt like I was having exposition forced down my throat (except for episode one… isn’t bad though); nor did the story rush through character development. It is an expertly told tale of an unlikely pairing that had my heart and emotions in its grasp the entire time.
Somali is a young human girl found by Golem in the forest. Her curiosity is endless which typically gets her into trouble. Wearing a hooded cloak, she is disguised as a young minotaur to avoid suspicion of other species as humans are seen as a delicacy in this world.
Voiced by Inori Minase, the character Somali encaptures the true sense of being young through good writing and excellent voice acting. Her energy, emotions, and even frailty due to youth is all captured on a dime. Somali is truly innocent. Even as we learn that the human race in the world was prejudice and fearful of the “monsters”, Somali never shows any ill-will towards another living being. A truly remarkable character, and one that you will fall in love with very quickly.
Golem is…. A golem, what a twist am I right?… Seriously though, Golem is a forest guardian created to never leave his forest and to simply watch over the territory only intervening if necessary. After happening upon Somali, he takes it upon himself to watch over the human child. Throughout the series, Golem has an overprotective parent personality always doing his best to keep a watchful eye on Somali. As we soon find out in the anime, Golem only has over a year of life remaining, knowing this, he is forced to seek out humans to care for Somali when he is gone.
There are more side characters who all get excellent back-story and character building but the sense of “can Somali and Golem trust these two?” wouldn’t really exist if I were to cover every important character in the anime. I’ll tell you this though… everyone is very well written. The side characters are all loveable and creative with interesting backstories to boot. Possibly some of the best character development done in an anime in a long while (for me at least).
Art, Animation, and Sound
This anime looks GOOD! The artwork is stunning. The world is so vibrant and almost feels like it itself is alive. It isn’t just some Earth look alike either. There are scenes and locations that just say “fantasy”, it’s tough to describe so I pulled together some pictures to checkout.
The world is beautiful, alright? If I keep saying that I’ll sound like a broken record, so let’s continue on. The animation synced together with the art-style looks superb, everything is fluent and perfect as you may expect from my current hype for the art… How’s the sound though?…
I’m happy to report that the sound is equally gorgeous. The environmental sounds of whether they’re in a forest, a bustling city, or traveling through the desert; the environmental sound is spot on. Paired with a soundtrack that is always perfectly in sync with the scene… it’s a recipe for perfection. While on the topic of sound, the OP is beautiful. The vocals are like butter and I can’t help but hum along to it whenever the opening theme plays. Just… my goodness, so good!
I cried, alright? I’m not ashamed to admit it! I loved every second of this anime and was emotionally invested throughout. The character development is surreal; not only do Somali and Golem both develop an incredible bond between the two that feels genuine, but even the supporting characters get development of their own. The events that take place, the people Somali and Golem meet… everything in this anime is perfectly constructed to form a believable fantasy world. I could not recommend this anime enough, so I implore you to find time to give Somali and the Forest Spirit a watch, I promise you that you won’t regret it.
Somali and the Forest Spirit
Somali and the Forest Spirit Review
All all-around beautiful anime. From art, story, characters, voice acting, and world-building… everything was wonderfully executed. If you’re looking for a high-quality anime that takes you on a wholesome emotional journey then give Somali and the Forest Spirit a watch. Easily my personal favorite anime of Winter 2020