Anime Best in Show

Review: Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 4 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Somali and the Forest Spirit episode 4, “The Wishing Flower and the Promise Request“, the sight of Musurika froze Somali and Kikiira in their tracks. The wolf-like being had just prevented a huge mushroom-like animal from eating Somali, but does that mean Somali can trust him? Kikiira began to talk to Musurika as if he’s trustworthy, but can Somali be sure he doesn’t know she’s human? And on top of that worry, Somali saw that the flower she had unwittingly risked her life to pick was dying before her eyes — which doomed her plan to stay with her father Golem forever! Will she have a chance to find another?

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

Best Moment in the Show

The choice to make Golem’s face almost featureless — certainly with any expressive traits — emphasizes his ambiguous emotional state. Somali seems to see beyond his visage, though! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Golem encountered another difficulty in his quest to be a good father. He has no literal heart, so he has a very hard time emulating what feelings are like in his mind. Because of that, he says things in a way that comes across as situationally inappropriate or downright cruel to those around him — including Somali.

Somali and Kikiira came home late. It was quite dark outside and they were supposed to be home by sunset. Somali was all excited that she’d found the flower that was supposed to grant her a wish. But Golem was stern. Even though he doesn’t have emotions per se, he still seems to experience some kind of apprehension. Maybe we can call it a heightened intellectual response to Somali-in-danger? If it were a hearted-parent, I would have said they were experiencing the normal fear-anger pair. Child was in danger? Fear! Child is now home safe? Anger!

Golem basically lit into her. She tried to cheerfully present the flower to him, but he explained that she hadn’t kept her promise to be back by nightfall. Then he said (11:34), “If you continue to act with similar recklessness, I will be unable to travel with you any longer.”

I honestly don’t think Golem meant it the way it sounded. But to Somali, it had to sound like the end of the world. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Keeping in mind that Somali’s mission was to obtain the flower so she could wish to be with Golem forever, he might as well have punched her in the face. Somali’s emotions shattered. Dropping the flower onto the floor, she ran to her room in tears.

Now, Golem was just being Golem. I suspect he was trying to instill in her a respect for danger. She’s always getting into something, after all. And I have to say that when Musurika told Golem he should never instill fear in a child, I’m not sure I agree. Growing up on a farm, fear was sometimes the clearest way to communicate something to me. Don’t want to die? Don’t climb into the pen with the angry bull.

When Somali got sick, though, the tension between them, plus his realization that he’d been pushing her too hard, seemed to trigger something in him. He raced to the doctor and basically begged him for medicine that would work for all clans. He even convinced Somali to swallow some of it despite its terrible taste. As she started to feel better, he began to discuss their future plans, which included him staying on as a waiter to earn more money. She realized he’d spent almost all he had saved for her medicine, and she felt terribly guilty.

His response was my Best in Show moment.

Given his emotional place (void — or maybe not…), he probably didn’t engineer this to support her emotionally. He was probably just relaying the facts as he saw it. But this was an occasion where the facts and what Somali needed to hear overlapped.

He said (19:44), “I can always work to acquire more money. But there is no replacement for you, Somali.”

Based on the position of his hands, I don’t think Golem expected Somali to react so strongly to what he said. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I cannot tell you how many times I looked back in retrospect and realized I’d been a good parent by accident. I hope the count’s higher than the number of times I was accidentally terrible. But as a dad, Golem’s situation and his statement really resonated with me.

What did you think of the city’s underground? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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