Anime Best in Show

Review: Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 6 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Somali and the Forest Spirit episode 6, “Dying Flowers Look Up at the Birds,” the harpy Uzoi prepared to take Somali’s blood — all of it — in the hopes it would save her surrogate father Haitora from whatever disease was killing him. Meanwhile, Haitora was afraid of what Uzoi was going to do, so he warned Golem. By the time he got his point across, minutes had passed, and they hurried into the cave in search of the other two. Uzoi and Somali had traveled deep into the cave in search of water, and the harpy was ready to do what she thought she had to. Can Haitora and Golem get there in time? And why did Haitora seem like he was holding something back when he spoke to Golem?

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

Best Moment in the Show

Golem did what he had to do to help Somali. That meant staying utterly rational. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

This episode was tough to watch. I’m not saying that as criticism. At least, I don’t think I am. But for the first five episodes, it looked to me like the show was preparing us for an emotional cataclysm — that was relatively bloodless (at least on screen). In this episode, we got something much more visceral. I suspect Haitora’s back story would haven been every bit as effective had it would have been presented in a less graphic way. It’s not that I mind graphic violence. I mean, I really enjoyed Magical Girl Spec Ops Asuka and Elfen Lied. Heck, I even enjoyed Blood-C, and I don’t even think of Attack on Titan as either violent or graphic. This episode, though…

To be clear, I have no intention of dropping the show. The events in this episode aren’t inconsistent with the world itself; they were just inconsistent with what the series has been willing to show us so far.

With that out of the way, the episode still presented several candidates for my favorite moment. I picked this one because it felt so similar to moments I’ve had in the past. Because it dealt with Golem, I have to wonder what that means!

It was the morning after Uzoi found out that she was an orphan because Haitora had eaten her mother (let that sink in for a moment). As they traveled through the desert in their wagon, the wind started picking up until they finally realized a dragon twister was coming straight for them. Before they could do anything, it was upon them. Its powerful gusts picked up Uzoi and Somali and yanked them from the wagon. Uzoi managed to hold onto Somali under her left arm while she clung to the canopy. As Haitora called out to her, he could see in her eyes that she knew. In a fit of despair, she let go.

This was a really rough episode on Uzoi. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Haitora had just witnessed his two greatest fears come true, literally right in front of his eyes. He’d been afraid of Uzoi getting hurt, and he’d been afraid of Uzoi finding out the truth. He was about to fling himself into the wind when Golem firmly placed a hand on his shoulder (15:50).

“Restrain yourself,” he said, and if he were a human I would have said “sternly.” Golem explained that if he acted irrationally, he’d only end up getting himself killed. He had to remain calm if he were going to help the girls. Now, keep in mind that Golem’s mission in life is to get Somali to a human settlement. He’s made it his life’s goal to keep her safe. He, too, had just witnessed the dragon twister rip her out of the wagon. But instead of going to pieces, he seemed to become more like the Golem he’d been in the forest. He was utterly without any hint of emotion. Instead, he opened his eye, calculated their trajectory, and laid out the plan to retrieve them.

I’m going to ignore the probability of humans or similar creatures living through such an experience…

What I liked about this moment is how much it reminded me of how I’ve reacted to threats to my family. I was driving my wife and two kids down a country road to visit my parents. It was a little hilly, and it was a two lane road. There was about three feet of grass on either side. On my side, it dropped down two or three feet into a ditch. As we came over the top of a hill, a pickup truck (I can’t remember much more about it than “truck”) came over the hill, going the opposite direction.

Half of it on my side of the road.

I just had to turn a steering wheel. Golem had to come up with a much more elaborate plan. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The truck had been passing a bicyclist. The truck had tried to make an illegal pass on a double yellow line — in a text book example of why such a maneuver is a bad idea. My wife had time to scream, and I went into what in retrospect I could call Golem-mode. My emotions went silent. I remember a flash calculation or estimation or whatever you want to call it. I knew if I didn’t swerve, we’d collide head-on. If I swerved too much, I’d plow into the bank. To this day, I’m not sure how I managed to keep us alive. But I distinctly remember the hyper-rational mindset I found myself in.

It seemed to last as long as the adrenaline surge lasted, because when I tried to calmly talk about the maneuver, my wife told me to shut up — she was still processing what had just happened. Looking in the rearview mirror, I could see the bicyclist had stopped and seemed to be freaked out. So I really get where Golem was coming from — and Haitora, too. We all react differently to those circumstances. It’s a good thing for Haitora that Golem was there.

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

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