Hello and welcome to a new series here on ReplayWire, ANIME BOOK CLUB! Join me each week as I take a look at an anime airing this season and breakdown the good and bad points of each show I come across. To start with, I’m taking a look at Somali and the Forest Spirit, an anime that interestingly enough has aired a week ahead of Japan over on Crunchyroll.
Before it was an anime, Somali and the Forest Spirit was a web manga created by Yako Gureishi in 2015, as of now, the manga is still ongoing, so there’s still time to catch up with it before the show gets too far along.
What’s It About?
Despite the fact we’ve only got the first episode to go on, thanks to Crunchyroll’s series description, we already have a basic outline of the series plot. Somali, a young human child is left abandoned in a magical forest where she’s found by a golem, the guardian of the forest. The Golem, despite purportedly having no emotions, decides to take young Somali in and raise her as his own. Time passes and the two set out on a journey with the Golem seeking to reunite Somali with the last remnants of humanity.
You see, in this world, humans have been hunted to extinction by beastmen and otherworldly creatures, meaning that it’s going to be a long road ahead for our two protagonists, especially as Somali must keep her identity hidden lest she is hunted as well.
What first struck me about the show, was its vibrant color palette. From the get-go, the world we’re introduced to is alive with beautiful shades of green and blue hues, that help to cement the surreal magical nature of the world in the mind of the viewer.
The story moves off fairly quickly, and the show immediately cements the bond between the two main characters, something that’s crucial in shows of this nature. I’d be lying if I said my cold, dead heart wasn’t moved the first time Somali called the Golem “Dad”. Unfortunately, having watched my fair share of anime, I know that this joyful moment can’t last forever and as the episode progresses, it’s clear that we’re being set up for some traumatic and possibly heartbreaking moments in the coming weeks.
What struck me the most, was how effortlessly the first episode establishes the overarching narrative, the dangers ahead, and the rules for the world in which our story is set. More attentive viewers will also be able to pick up on key details that are sure to come into play as we move forward, but in the interest of not spoiling things for you, our dear readers, I won’t say too much else.
Is It Worth Watching?
If you’re looking for something heartfelt, yet intriguing this winter season, I’d say Somali and the Forest Spirit fits the bill, going forward, it looks like we can expect the show to pull at our heartstrings, so I’d keep a box of tissues handy just in case. but in all seriousness, I think this will be one of the stand-out hits of the season, so it’s got my recommendation.
And Now For Some Housekeeping
That’s it for the first edition of Anime Book Club. Going forward, I’m hoping to cover at least one anime every week and I’m also going to use this as an excuse to broaden my horizons a little and look into types of anime that I normally avoid, so be sure to check back in and see how that goes!
Also, let me know your thoughts on Somali and the Forest Spirit.