Somali and the Forest Spirit is a Japanese fantasy manga series by Yako Gureishi. It has been serialized online since April 2015 via Tokuma Shoten’s online manga magazine Web Comic Zenyon. It has been collected in five tankobon volumes. An anime television series adaptation by Satelight and HORNETS premiered on January 9, 2020. It is co-produced by Crunchyroll.
Finally a great anime which focuses on a dad-daughter duo without incestuous tones.
Our story takes place in a world where the human race is beginning to become extinct due to other races hunt humans. In this world, golems are creatures who protects forests' order and one of those golems finds a human girl in his forest. With this girl, he goes on a journey to find the surviving people because of some spoiler-ish reasons. In this journey, they encounter with another travelers like them and start learn real reason that behind the human's extinction. However, even though Somali to Mori no Kamisama has a good background story about "Humans vs. Other Races" I didn't care about that. Because, the reason why I watch this show was never a story about possible human extinction in a random fantasy world. I watched this show because of it's beautiful world and a wholesome relationship between a daughter-father. And I got what I want from this show. The father-daughter relationship between Somali and Golem was realistic and heartwarming. With every new step in their relationship I started to see them as a real father-daughter duo instead of a golem-human duo. This was something I rarely experienced in anime and I'm very happy for be able to experience it.
Somali is one of the most realistic children I've ever seen in anime shows. She is a very curious girl, and this curiosity often puts her in trouble which makes her father worry about her. Also she has a very cute side too. We see that she is constantly trying to do something for her father. Like collecting some mysterious flower or making a handmade wristband. Sometimes she can be really simple about relationships, if she loves someone race or anything else doesn't matter to her. And most importantly, she is very stubborn.
On the other hand, Golem is pretty realistic too. He doesn't understand human emotions so most of the things that Somali does look like exaggerated to him. Despite being strict to Somali because of not understanding human emotions, he began to understand what it meant to be a father as the story progressed and starts to understand Somali's emotions. In short, these two are grow and develop each other throughout the anime.
Aside from Somali and Golem, we have another mentionable characters: Shizuno & Yabashira and Uzoi & Haitora. Shizuno and Yabashira are member of an oni clan. Our main characters meet with this duo at the beginning of the anime. Shizuno is an oni who interested in officinal plants and Yabashira is his assistant who makes the dishes and cleaning. Golem learns helpful things about plants and dishes from this couple but their real help to our main duo is in the later parts of the anime. Because of this "help" contains spoiler I won't talk about that in this review.
Uzoi and Haitora are a traveler human-creature duo, just like our Golem and Somali. But this time the person in the role of daughter is creature, while the person in the role of father is human. The story that is told over these two is quite dark and it can disturb some of viewers. Even though I didn't care about extinction of humans, I've cared about Haitora and Uzoi's story since it was very effective and touching.
~ART & SOUND~
Art is the strongest element of Somali to Mori no Kamisama. Even though animations aren't that good, art style and character designs are amazing. With every new place (it can be a desert, a random city or a forest; that doesn't matter) or character that I saw, I felt like I'm really watching a story in a fantasy world. Although this sounds like a simple thing, it's actually a very difficult thing to do. The number of anime shows with this feature is very low. The only anime that comes to my mind right now is Made in Abyss. This is definitely a top class feature among fantasy anime shows and execution of this feature in Somali to Mori no Kamisama was excellent. Looks like Satelight spent the money from the Symphogear series in the right place.
Voice actings are excellent too. Especially, Somali's voice acting is very good. It's definitely Inori Minase's one of the best performances. Somali's voice is very realistic; if you had a bad time with a child in time, you can remember those days whenever you hear Somali's voice. Although not as much as Somali's, other characters' voice actings are very good too. But soundtracks aren't as good as voice actings. Even though Somali to Mori no Kamisama's soundtracks fit a fantasy anime very well, none of them were remarkable for me. I don't remember any specific soundtrack from Somali to Mori no Kamisama.
As a fan of the fantasy genre, I can sincerely say that Somali to Mori no Kamisama is one of the best fantasy anime I've seen recently. With relaxing atmosphere that makes me feel like I'm in a fantasy world and heart-warming father-daughter theme, it was an experience that I won't forget for a long time. If you are a fan of fantasy genre like me, you should definitely watch Somali to Mori no Kamisama.