Anime Best in Show

Review: Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 12 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Somali and the Forest Spirit episode 12, “Bonded Father and Child,” Auntie Rosa’s plan began to come to fruition. Her hunters had captured Somali, and since Golem’s first attempt to defend her ended with one of his arms exploding, they didn’t think he was a threat anymore. Yet, as they prepared to dispatch Somali, Golem lumbered to his feet, a fierce red glow emanating from his chest. He no longer seemed able to tell friend from foe as he unleashed fire and destruction. Will this last-ditch effort save Somali, or destroy her? Will any of them survive in the aftermath of Rosa’s treachery?

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

Best Moment in the Show

This was probably the bravest thing Somali ever did. Fortunately, her faith in her dad was well-founded. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I try to be a reasonable man. I try to be honest with myself and understand my limitations. So I’m not blind to the idea that the way I try to watch anime — or read a book, or watch a movie — can be problematic in very specific ways. How? Well, I try to celebrate all of the art I encounter. That means I try to remain sensitive to all the ways art can touch us. The drawback? As a dad myself, the central emotional punch of this show might as well have been aimed right at my heart. It didn’t matter that there were narrative short-cuts or flaws. I had filtered those out to see what the show was trying to do. And wow, the ending hit me pretty hard. So, I hope you’ll understand why I don’t pick a moment from the ending (or close to it) as my Best in Show moment!

Instead, I’ll choose a moment close to the beginning of the episode.

Golem had gone into in extremis attack mode. The hunter were fleeing in terror after Golem’s initial barrage of fireballs missed them — maybe because he had trouble aiming, he was so damaged? Whatever the reason, Rosa tried to follow them, but she was slower and lagged behind. Golem leaped after her. His first bound landed in front of Somali, who was terrified of how her dad’s face looked: his exposed eye was red, and his mouth was agape.

Golem in full combat mode was pretty impressive. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Somali and Shizuno ran after him. They caught up with Golem as he was about to smash Rosa to pieces. As Shizuno pleaded with Golem to stand down, Golem moved to slash Rosa. But Yabashira pushed her out of the way and tried to reason with Golem. That didn’t go so well. Golem swatted him aside. He landed painfully against the cave wall.

As Golem turned his attention back to Rosa, Somali dashed in front of her. She blocked Golem’s attack. She’d just seen what he was capable of. She could see the dead bodies of at least two hunters nearby. She saw Shizuno attending to the fallen Yabashira. She knew the reason for his rage. Yet, she still trusted that he could not destroy her. She still trusted that her dad would come to his senses.

Slowly, Golem reached for her. Shizuno and Yabashira pleaded for her to get out of the way. But Somali said, “I’ll be okay” (04:30). “Dad’s just… He’s just going to pat me on the head, like always.”

For an agonized second, Golem hesitated. His fingers spasmed. Then, he gently placed his hand on her head. Just like always.

I really admired Somali’s courage and her decency. She protected someone who wanted to eat her — and I’m pretty sure that’s way more consideration than I would have shown. Pretty sure? No, let’s make that absolutely certain.

But it was her faith in her dad that really got me. In spite of the doubts that any human would feel, especially a child gazing at an enraged Golem, she believed that he wouldn’t harm her. He is, in his basic essence, a good dad.

What did you think of the ending? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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