Mar 26, 2020
Groenboys (All reviews)
When you watch lots of anime like me, you tend to notice tropes and cliches, to the point you consider them generic. Tsunderes are old news, all shounen are the same and stories featuring guys getting transported into a fantasy world are more common than air. It gets tiring… or does it? Honestly, even if anime use tropes/cliches, it just depends on how they are used. Case and point, Somali and the Forest Spirit. This anime does not break new ground: The father - daughter story has been done plenty of times before (just look at two seasons ago) and the type of fantasy setting this anime is set in is also not new, but despite that, this anime is my favorite anime of the winter 2020 season. And here is why.

Let's begin with the production values: this anime is stunning. The artstyle is nice, he character designs are great, the OST is nice and the backgrounds are jawdropping. We are talking about Made in Abyss levels of backgrounds. This anime just oozes effort and love.

Now for what actually happens in this anime. This anime is about a golem and a human girl (named Somali) on a quest to find other humans. It is a simple story but damn is it an effective one. On the surface it is wholesome. The anime focuses a lot on the relationship between Golem-san and Somali, which results in many wholesome moments. But the anime isn't just that. In this world humans are being persecuted, so when traveling Somali has to hide her identity. This puts Somali in constant danger, knowing that each moment she could be discovered and persecuted. So while the anime is wholesome on the surface, the anime constantly has a dark aura surrounding it. This anime isn't afraid to show disturbing imagery and at the halfway point it felt like I was watching Made in Abyss. It also isn't afraid to tug heartstrings and man did it tug mine. Early on it sets up something that is inevitable to happen and as this anime slowly nears it end it becomes harder to accept this inevitability and by the end I was crying my eyes out.

Despite everything I just said, the anime never loses its wholesome roots, so expect plenty of cute Somali moments. And since we are talking about Somali, how about dem characters?

The obvious star in this anime is Somali. She is super cute and unlike the girl from Uchi Musume, Somali feels like an actual child. Energetic, always curious, constantly gets into trouble and reacts really emotionally to everything. Her relationship with her father, Golem-san, is also damn wholesome. Golem-san is a stoïc character which actions are all calculated and logical. Despite claiming he has no emotions, Golem-san cares for Somali, which in results in many awkward but heartwarming moments. The side-characters in this anime are also pretty good. They aren't that unique, but they all compliment the main duo well.

In conclusion, Somali and the Forest Spirit is a beautiful anime that is equally wholesome and heartbreaking. Despite it not breaking new ground, it tugs your heartstrings with great visuals, a touching relationship and heartbreaking scenes. I can't recommend this series enough.