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 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. An initial meeting went peacefully, until some humans mistrusted the demihumans and started attacking them. What started with stones on a small personal scale slowly erupted in a large war. 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 the journey of their 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. Especially not now that the manga is cancelled due to bad health of the author.
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 archetypical, but I like them a lot.
Enjoyment: 10. There has not been a moment I did not like this manga. If anything, it is 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.