The Joys of Parenthood
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Adventure, Demons, Drama, Fantasy, Slice of Life
- Airing Date : January 2020 – March 2020
- Producers : Satelight
Somali and the Forest Spirit follows the lives of a little human girl named Somali and a golem who finds her out in the wilderness one day. Finding her in dirty rags and chains, the golem takes Somali in as his daughter, leaving behind his duties as the guardian of the forest. In a landscape where humans no longer rule and have been driven to the point of extinction, the world is ruled by all manner of magical and fantastical creatures who persecute human beings and thus threaten little Somali’s life. Despite the clear difference in their appearance and physiologies, Somali believes that the golem guarding the forest is her father. The golem is in search of Somali’s parents and leaves the forest to that end.
The reality is that all things must come to an end. Golems live for exactly 1000 years and their lives end in the 1000th year. The golem who takes care of Somali has lived for 998 years and 112 days, meaning that his life is very close to its end. This means that he has to find Somali’s parents before the end of his lifespan. This world is hostile towards humans and Somali is still very young, without the golem, her life would be in tremendous danger, not to mention emotional and psychological distress. Somali is extremely happy with her life with her father, enjoying each part of the journey as they meet various mythical creatures.
1. Fantasy Elements
Somali and the Forest Spirit is heavily based on supernatural and fantasy elements. These elements in a slice of life setting like the one in Somali make for some very interesting character journeys and worlds. This world, in particular, is built on some very dark history, like the near-extinction of the human race and Somali’s inevitable grief in the event of the golem’s death. Despite some of these somber themes, the feel of the anime does not play into that too much. The golem disguises Somali in a black hooded cape with horns–an attempt to make her look like a minotaur–before heading out on their journey.
2. Great Art
Visually, Somali and the Forest Spirit is very appealing, with bright colours filling out stunning backgrounds and landscapes. Each scene is intricate, especially when it comes to the colouring. The characters of Somali are each very different in design and yet it all feels cohesive in the context of their mythical world. The art has a particular softness to it that reflects an overall heartwarming tone present within the story.
3. It’s More Than Just Cute
Somali and the Forest Spirit looks like it could be the kind of anime that focuses solely on the relationship between its main characters; however, it doesn’t do that. Unlike other shows where a parent/child relationship is depicted, Somali takes the time to introduce viewers to the world and its harsh realities. It gets very dark at certain junctures and such is to be expected given the nature of the plot and the setting.
1. It’s Dark
Somali and the Forest Spirit is a little bit deceiving in how it presents itself. It starts out feeling like it could be a heartwarming slice of life, but it takes a dark turn on multiple occasions. The nature of the world of Somali and the Forest Spirit is also harsh and violent, especially towards humans. If you’re expecting wholesome and cute, prepare for the really dark and ugly too. Really dark.
One of the best things about the slice of life genre is that it can be so many different things and Somali and the Forest Spirit proves that. It’s cute and pleasing to the eye; however, it’s also really dark and even unsettling at times. Perhaps it’s the contrast that makes the dark elements even more pronounced. Most times, shows like this miss out on world-building; Somali and the Forest Spirit, however, does a whole lot in a short span of time. Overall, Somali is worth the watch and is definitely going down as a 2020 favourite.