A visually striking manga that follows a young human girl Somali and her 'father' a golem - one of the guardians of the forest. Somali to Mori no Kamisama follows their travels as the Golem seeks to reunite Somali with humans in a world full of 'monstrous' anthropomorphic beast-men.
The setting of the story is rich and deeply fleshed out. It follows the large, peaceful, anarchic society of the beast-men, a generic term for dozens of non-human races, who peacefully coexisted with each other for centuries until they ran in to humans. The beast-men eagerly invited the human's to join them in their paradise, but the
humans who mistook them for savage monsters attacked, sparking a war.
An untold amount of time later, humanity is on the brink of extinction having been slaughtered in a series of wars and hunts by the beast-men, who realize that to continue to live peacefully, cannot allow humans to exist.
It is in the morally grey world that the Golem must smuggle Somali who will be killed if her identity is discovered, as the two desperately search for any remaining humans while under a strict time limit.
This is my first review here on MAL, so feedback would be appreciated.^^
If I had to describe this manga in one word, it would be: Soothing.
A simple slice of life anime or manga is something to watch or read while not concentrating. It's perfectly calming. And the artwork perfectly adds to that feeling.
The story is simple in its design and it slowly develops like an rpg. At every point, you stumble across another hint for the final destination of your quest. The same thing happens in this manga. A young girl named Somali is shackled and left alone in a forest for (yet)
unknown reasons until the guardian of the forest - a golem - finds her. After having protected the forest for many centuries, he sets out with the girl to find her parents. Looking for hints, they meet many interesting animals, witches and other fantasy characters, most of which act more mature than humans, who are nearly eradicated after a long fight with the fantasy characters. Because of this, they are still at bad terms with humans. Therefore keeping quiet about the fact that Somali is a human, they travel through amazing places with luscious fruits, soothing lights, antique houses and wonderful details in a perfectly illustrated cheerful world. Truly, I've read my fair share of manga, a couple of which had amazing artwork, but nothing comes close to Somalo to Mori no Kamisama. If anything, it makes me want to live in the world illustrated here. Every single detail is nicely drawn and only adds to the wornderful atmosphere. I found myself in a trance looking at some of the pages. Especially the witches library. If we had a library even remotely looking like that, I could read books all day there.
Even though I say this now, there have been a few serious moments that caught me off guard. Feeling like such a child friendly manga, the setting still asks for more serious themes. One of which is the war between humans and fantasy characters. This implies murder and it indeed happens at some point. But, as said, I did not expect that, which added weight to it. A life is not someting to take lightly, wether it be a human or a rabbit like creature.
The artwork is not the only good point about the manga. The story is simple, but effective. Although it sounds repetitive from this review, it doesn't feel that way. Every step to take is logically explained and only feels more magical combined with the extraordinary artwork. At every new location, they obtain information in the form of a backstory or explanations of how things work there. It's definitely not an outstanding story, but it has no need for that. The focus is on adventure: exploring new areas and meeting interesting and often cute characters rather than a deep intriguing story. Perhaps it will get more complicated near the ending, but for now, I do not see that happen.
As mentioned before, most of the characters act quite mature. Seeing a small girl and her guardian, a golem, they often engage joyful chatter and explain the interesting elements of each area as both of the main characters are often unfamiliar with the rest of the world. The golem lived in solitude in the forest and his awkward speech with other species and the cute little Somali who often hides behind him make this manga truly enjoyable. Some manga have a food freak who eat a lot. In this case, Somali is awed by the deliciousness of the food, sometimes to the point of crying and understanding this should not be taken for granted, hence the maturity of the characters. At this point (after 20 chapters), there is a small cast of characters already, each with his own treats, notably and beautifully illustrated with the amazing artwork, which only adds to the liveliness of the characters. Almost all of them are side characters as the focus is on Somali and the golem, but they leave a certain impression. And most have their reasons for their actions and don't resort to violence if not necessary. They too want to live a normal life.
Story: 6. Simple, but gets the job done.
Art: 10. See for yourself. Seriously, just open a random chapter and random page. They are all equally detailed.
Characters: 8. Sometimes overused elements, but I like them a lot.
Enjoyment: 10. There has not been a moment I did not like this manga. If anything, it is yet too short.
Overall: 9. The artwork and enjoyment weigh the most for this rating. A simple story can be overlooked if the manga is a blast to read.
Everything that happened in this manga simply calmed my soul. The stunning artwork (I cannot run out of positive adjectives to describe this) truly gives you the feeling you are living within the illustrated fantasy world. The likeable cast and a simple story that is wonderfully executed is soothing to see. If my enjoyment wasn't clear yet, go read this right now and see for yourself how I was automatically immersed in the story and the chapters flew past in the blink of an eye.
Ive never written a review on MAL before so bare with me ! i will try to keep this spoiler free
"We're all equal in times of need."
I came across Somali and the forest spirit yesterday when i was on reddit looking for high fantasy setting manga recs, i ended up binging all the current chapters because it was almost everything i have been looking for, when lately i just seem to come up short in my findings! (28/27.5 chapters at the time of this review)
Its literally gorgeous, the art is outstanding and i'm constantly in awe at the landscape detail and art style.
To me, every character is memorable even ones just appearing in one chapter, i've grown very attached to them and specifically Somali and Golem's father daughter bond, its so sweet and easy to get into. I can see this series sticking with me for a very long time since it really is my kind of story
Its not action packed or anything like that but there are plenty of themes and aspects about its setting that have violence, at occasion there are some gruesome elements. But at its heart its a fantasy slice of life, and i love reading chapter by chapter learning something else new about the world of Somali. Some people would call it slow paced but for what it is i kinda disagree? if it was any faster id feel i couldn't keep up as well, it has a nice easy pacing for me, if you're looking for thrilling and exciting though i wouldn't say this is your manga.
I think i would describe Somali in comparison terms as a sort of cross between Ancient Magus Bride, but with a bit less tragedy/gruesomeness and a ghibli movie like Totoro's delightful charm and other wordly intrigue. And beauty of course. Its sweet and impactful, while also having its serious themes and feelings
Obviously nothing is Everyone's cup of tea, but if you're like me who just wants to dive into a completely fantasy based world with adventure and lovable characters, i'd say give it a shot :)
Somali and The Forest Spirit is like a cold beverage on a hot day.
You're covered in sweat, eager to rush something cold down your throat, then after you take a big gulp out of that sweet beverage, you let out a cry of utter satisfaction.
This manga revolves around a world, in where humanity declined, and non-humans have taken over.
Somali, a human girl, was lost and bound with chains in a certain forest, until that forest's guardian, a golem, finds her.
The golem then leaves the forest, which he spent all of his life protecting, to search for the girl's family.
Now the premise might sound like
another fantasy manga, but I personally, never actually read something this soothing.
The scenery presented is amazing, and the atmosphere leaves off a sense of childlike wonder, something that I've been craving to feel again.
The father-daughter relationship, between the golem and Somali is super cute, and every panel of them doing something together is just heartwarming.
Without going into details, I recommend this to anyone who seeks a lighthearted, cute and wondrous adventure story, that leaves you feeling happy.
If you're having a bad day, this is an effective form of medication