Somali and the Forest Spirit is a very sweet, wholesome anime about a young human girl and her adoptive golem father venturing through a richly detailed fantasy world in an attempt to find her real parents. But, since humans are an endangered species, that will be no easy task. Instead, this series is really about finding family in the people who are already with you and love you, even if you’re not biologically related to them. Let’s see how this show explores that concept!
Spoilers for Somali and the Forest Spirit up to episode 8!
Nobody’s Perfect, But Everyone Tries
Somali and Golem make friends with some colorful characters along their journey, many of whom have unusual family structures just like they do. There’s the spritely oni doctor Shizuno and his devoted assistant/house husband Yabashira, the rabbit child Kikila and his parents, the harpy Uzoi and her mysterious protector Haitora, the witch librarians and their exalted leader, and many more. The common thread among all of them is that, no matter what differences set them apart, they always do their best to support one another.
Kikila’s father says it best when Golem is overcome with guilt for running Somali so ragged that she comes down with a fever—even though neither of them can be perfect fathers, they always remember to show their children how much they love them. Golem searched in the middle of the night and gave up all of his hard-earned money to buy medicine for Somali, and he doesn’t regret it one bit because all he cares about is her wellbeing.
Butterflies of the Soul
Unfortunately, Golem may not be able to keep his promise to Somali that they’ll be together forever. He’s reaching the end of his preset 1000-year lifespan and will crumble to bits in a matter of months, so he believes that he needs to find her parents so that she’ll be protected from the dangers of a world that hates humans. He tries to keep this hidden from her, but it’s inevitable that he’ll break her heart one day. And, since humans have a history of xenophobia and genocide toward monsters, her parents may not be worthy of raising her at all. So, what can he possibly do?
In episode 8, the leader of the witch clan passes away and dissolves into hundreds of blue butterflies that soar over the witches who mourn her passing. These butterflies also appear in the opening song when they drift from Golem to Somali, which leads us to believe that they symbolize how someone who dies will always be in the hearts of the people they loved. We sincerely hope that Shizuno or another intelligent character can prolong Golem’s life somehow, but if that turns out to be impossible, Golem will still always be with Somali in spirit. He even says that, when he met her, he ceased being simply a forest guardian and became a real person just so that he could be her father.
Somali and the Forest Spirit shows that family isn’t defined by blood, but by loving connections between people. Nothing can tear apart true family—not arguments, past wrongdoings, or even death itself can sever that bond. We know that, no matter what happens by the end of the series, Golem and Somali will always be father and daughter.
What did you think of our overview? Have you been enjoying Somali and the Forest Spirit this season? Who are your favorite characters? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!