Anime Best in Show

Review: Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 8 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Somali and the Forest Spirit episode 8, “Meetings and Bonds Paid For,” Praline gave Golem and Somali her own secret map of the library so they could find their way to the Head Librarian, who was on the bottom floor. What Praline didn’t tell them was that they needed to be careful not to trip any alarms, or the witch guard would attack. Was that an innocent oversight? As Golem and Somali picked their way down a huge central ventilation shaft, small insect-like sentinels spied them and sounded the alarm. With the guard witches racing in, Golem only has seconds to decide what to do. Can he protect Somali as they plunge down into the shaft? Does he have any other choice?

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

Best Moment in the Show

Feodora knew what would happen if she showed the humans she was a witch. But could she stand by and watch Miya fall to her death? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Feodora Nebsolv was a young witch who had been blown off course and ended up accepting the hospitality of the humans in the village named Harasio. She’d has a close call just after awakening when the villagers suspected her of not being human — which she wasn’t, being a witch. But a golem named Lord Harasio (not our Golem!) vouched for her, and they accepted and treated her injuries.

Feodora couldn’t fly right away. She’d hurt her leg when she’d crashed, and she needed to give it time to heal. Fortunately, she’d made friends with Miya, a young human girl about her age, and they enjoyed each other company’s.

Then came a day when Feodora heard a commotion. When she got to the scene, she was sickened to see that the villagers had captured a two-headed dragon. It didn’t fight back; it was peaceful and begged for its life. But the humans butchered it. Feodora was sickened, but it was even worse when Miya hurled stones at the dying creature, too.

Watching what the humans did to the helpless creature broke Feodora’s heart. And when Miya threw a stone and verbally abused the dying creature, Feodora knew she couldn’t stay. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

it was too much for Feodora. She withdrew to the top of a cliff where she and Miya used to hang out. She wanted to leave right away, but it was too windy. She’d need to wait until morning. Unfortunately, the villagers were worried about her, and they started a search. Miya knew exactly where to look. She had no idea why Feodora was upset and tried to lead her back to the village. But a huge gust of wind caught her and hurled her off the cliff. She landed among some straining vines; a hundred meters below here were sharp rocks pounded by surf.

The searchers heard Miya’s scream and converged on the cliff. As they debated how to save her, Fedora saw that the vines supporting Miya would not hold. If she tried to rescue her friend by flying on her broom, the villagers would turn on her — maybe even kill her as they’d killed the dragon. But if she didn’t act, she have to watch her friend fall to her death.

It was an exquisite moment (17:20). We had seen how tender-hearted and kind Feodora was. We knew she loved her friend; we knew she didn’t want the humans to treat her as they’d treated the dragon — the way they almost had treated her before the golem had vouched for her.

So when the vines snapped, there was a breathless moment — would Feodora act?

Would Feodora save Miya and show the village her true nature, knowing how they’d likely react? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

She did. Knowing how the humans would react, she used her broom to intercept Miya before she crashed into the rocks. The humans acted just as she’d been afraid, and it took golem’s intervention to keep her alive. I don’t want to talk much about that — in this episode, human cruelty was almost too realistic; too reminiscent of headlines from a modern world where I’d thought such things had been banished. What I want to focus on is Feodora’s brave and kind choice to save her friend in spite of the danger to herself.

That’s the sort of thing that can change people’s hearts.

What did you think of the story of Harasio village? What what your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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8 thoughts on “Review: Somali and the Forest Spirit Episode 8 Best in Show

  1. I can’t help but wonder why Harasio didn’t just tell the humans to stop being such a bunch of crazies? It was clear they would accept anything it said.

    It’s also worth noting that this is a story that has been passed down and is likely embellished and honed to the point that humans come off as monsters. We weren’t necessarily seeing exactly what happened.

    1. “I can’t help but wonder why Harasio didn’t just tell the humans to stop being such a bunch of crazies? ”

      That’s a good question! It’s one of those things that scratches away at the edges of the suspension of disbelief.

      “We weren’t necessarily seeing exactly what happened.”

      Very good point. The head librarian might have been an unreliable narrator. And her perspective is certainly not pro human.

      Though from what I can tell so far, I don’t blame her. The memory of Uzoi’s mom being brutally killed as she picked berries is a bit off-putting, to say the least.

      1. She may not even be unreliable or against the humans, but the story isn’t a first hand account. It’s probably changed and been embellished which is why everything seems so over the top.

        1. Fair enough — she’s multiple generations removed. And if the writing’s smart enough, and I think it is, then they could easily be emulating the path all oral traditions go through, even the ones that result in written material.

  2. I thought it was a bit rushed perhaps? And a bit too blunt for me. I keep thinking this series is for small kids and people get oddly defensive when I bring it up but it spells everything out so much…

    1. I’m not sure I’d say it’s rushed. It’s a matter of style. The show’s been presenting scenes pretty black and white. They have a simple message to impart, and they won’t let pesky complexity get in the way. I mean the village was so over-the-top that I half expect them to keep caged fairies so they can teach their children how to kill. Then they have to have this huge dragon be victimised without fighting back, so we can’t have a shred of doubt who’s at fault. You could get the same effect with something smaller and more helpless; I suppose we got something big and strong looking so the creature can come off more clearly as not a threat because of its attitude rather than its weakness. So after spending all that time in such an over-the-top village, I’m supposed to believe that a single life-saving event is going to be that great ray of hope? That’s just not likely. First, even if Miya were to start having doubts in this situation, she’s certainly smart enough to realise that all those grown-ups around her wouldn’t take kindly to her outburst, so if she was being brave, I’d expect a little moment of gathering courage, here. I mean, as over-the-top as the village was, I’d have expected them to push Miya right off the cliff, because she’s now tainted by the grotesques. I’m not saying that things have to happen that way, but they chose not according to what would happen, but what sort of emotional outcome they want. More time won’t help. The show wants this kind of bluntness.

      That entire flashback is the sort of story that’s entertaining enough while I’m watching it, but I’ll never think of it again afterwards, and that’s actually good, because thinking this through makes it worse. I’m not sure what my favourite scene was this episode, but it’s not very likely part of the flashback. Frankly, I think Somali is at its worst when it’s trying to tackle bigotry.

      1. “Frankly, I think Somali is at its worst when it’s trying to tackle bigotry.”

        That’s what I’m seeing, too. I mentioned it toward the end of this review, but Somali sometimes strays too close to real life in depicting senseless, mindless bigotry.

        We have that in real life all time time; it dominates our politics at the moment. Trouble is, fiction has to make sense. I don’t think they’ve connected all the dots, at least not enough to convince me.

        And it’s too bad, because there are some fantastic elements here. I still enjoy the show; I joke about characters like Hazel, but I really do like her as a character. Praline, too. They’re interesting; their society is interesting. I want to know more about them and about Uzoi and Shizuno. It’s like the less time spent with humans, the better!

    2. “I keep thinking this series is for small kids and people get oddly defensive when I bring it up but it spells everything out so much…”

      I really enjoy the series, and at the same time, I have to say there’s truth in what you’re saying.

      I’ve been watching Somali as if it’s a Grimm’s Fairy Tale. Not the light and fluffy kind that’s been Disney-ified. The originals where harsh realities played a part.

      Even through that lens, this wasn’t my favorite episode, and it’s not only because there wasn’t enough Hazel in it. There wasn’t, but there was something else that just didn’t flow quite right.

      Maybe it was the realism? I think Dawnstorm was on to something when he said, “as over-the-top as the village was, I’d have expected them to push Miya right off the cliff, because she’s now tainted by the grotesques.” In fact, if Feodora needed to save Miya twice to bring her back to live out her remaining days among the witches, I think that would have been an improvement.

      So I think I get what you’re saying, but I can’t fully articulate it. All of the elements didn’t quite come together, and I’m inclined to think that started with episode 6. It’s like that episode crossed a line and disoriented me. Episode 7 seemed to realign, but this episode felt off. But that might just be me and my expectations.

Please let me know what you think!

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