Anime Best in Show

Review: Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 1 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Somali and the Forest Spirit episode 1, “Journeying Parent and Child,” the Golem stoically executed his responsibilities as the forest’s guardian. Despite being responsible for the forest’s health and existence, it didn’t interfere at all in the food chain — that being necessary for many of the animal’s continued existence. It did not often reflect on its lot in life. It simply accepted that its job was to oversee the forest, until it returned to the forest when its life was done. That is, until one day, when one of the animals reported seeing something strange. Upon investigation, Golem discovered something indeed strange — and most unexpected. Something that would send the golem’s life in a very different direction. Golem had discovered a human child. Why was the child bound in irons? Where were her parents? And what in the world would Golem do with a child?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Best Moment in the Show

It was a subtle movement, but it told me everything I needed to know. Though to be honest, in this GIF it looks more like Golem’s jamming to a forest tune! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Every show that’s ever pierced my heart gave me a clear sign early on. That sign was my Best in Show moment for this episode. It wasn’t the last sign. But it was a good start.

But wait, you might say. As a dude, are you even allowed to admit something pierced your heart?

See, that’s the cool thing about being an older anime fan. An older due. I do what I want, when I want, because I want. It’s not to impress anyone. It’s not to look cool or uncool or anything.

I like what I want because I want to know the limits of fiction’s impact on humans.

And I’m pretty sure this show’s going to test that limit.

The moment was both subtle and early. A forest animal had told Golem that there was something unusual in the forest, so Golem went to check it out. He found a small human girl, clad only in a gray rag, with shackles around her wrists, ankles, and neck. He didn’t know what to make of her, so he just stared. Looking at him with owl-like amber eyes, in a stuttering voice, she said (2:15), “Dad?”

This show’s going to put an ice dagger in my heart before it’s done, isn’t it? The little girl looked at Golem and asked, “Dad?” I think I caught a note of hope or desperation — or both — in her voice. I wonder how she came to be in the forest… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

His reaction told me I was going to have to watch and review this series. His head pulled up, almost as if someone had given him a gentle push from behind. It was a simple gesture. It took less than a second. But it told me everything I needed to know about the animator’s sensibilities. It told me what’s important to this story.

And I want to stick around to see it play out.

What did you think of the beautiful scenery (I asked in an example of a leading question)? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Review: Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 1 Best in Show

  1. “with the golem becoming more and more human-like as a result of the time it’s spending with Somali”

    You’re probably right, but if you don’t mind me plugging my upcoming review of episode 2, I hope they go in a _slightly_ different direction!

  2. I, too, got this overwhelming sense that this anime is going to be something really quite special while watching this episode. For me, it was during the scene when Somali looked on wistfully at all the other parent-child duos holding hands in the marketplace. I don’t know what it was about that scene that resonated with me (maybe Somali’s desire for genuine connection?), but it gave me chills!

    1. ” For me, it was during the scene when Somali looked on wistfully at all the other parent-child duos holding hands in the marketplace. ”

      Oh, yeah! Wasn’t that just a masterpiece of understatement?

      Somali is just such an authentic child character. And golem? Yeah, he’s not nearly as emotionless as he thinks he is!

      1. It’s pretty apparent, how the show’s going to play out (with the golem becoming more and more human-like as a result of the time it’s spending with Somali), but I’m looking forward to watching it all the same!

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