「くさびらと鬼の住処」 (Kusabira to Oni no Sumika)
“Edible Herbs and the Oni’s Dwelling”
Now that I’m done with Best of Anime 2019, I can resume blogging regular season content. Hooray!
This episode of Somali to Mori no Kamisama was a notable step-up from the first one, in terms of visual immersion and story quality. Visually speaking, these hand-drawn and colourful backgrounds remain extremely impressive. Some of the best I’ve seen in quite a long time. From what I’ve heard, a French background director by the name of Vincent Nghiem is in charge. It’s the first time he is working at this position and wanted to create something very special – which he’s doing a great job of so far. And the fact we’re only seeing improvement , as opposed to the usual fall off in quality, instills me with confidence too. This should be great by all rights, if they continue faithfully sticking to the source material – though I’m quite sad to see old man Zaza getting cut out. Anyway, when heaping praise onto the second episode I do not mean to disparage the first one. It was still an undeniably necessary step to establishing context, including the stakes we’re dealing with when it comes to a society intent on hunting humans like Somali down. Consequently, episode two was able to follow through and build upon this foundation.
A dwarf oni by the name of Shizuno conveniently appears when Somali scrapes a knee – thought it’s pretty darn obvious he possesses an ulterior motive of inspecting the golem. After taking everybody back to his house, he agrees to teach the golem how to make medicines in return for a piece of the golem – which the golem gladly complying, much to Somali’s dismay. Witnessing the Golem sacrifice what was essentially a chunk of his own meat for their sake, Somali feels compelled to work hard so that they can help the golem with tasks to avoid becoming a burden. Somali pesters Yabashira for chores to do – and the assistant gladly complies, leading to some quality time spent together plus a cute montage where we can see Somali trying their very best. Such a sweet and adorable kid.
So the golem’s arms were ominously flaking last episode, which led to some concerns from a couple of readers. Our worst fears were confirmed when he admitted to only having about a year left to live. Even though he’s meant to be an emotionless creature serving as a guardian to nature, he finds himself compelled to abandon that task to look after Somali and reunite the kid with their real parents. As Shizuno pointed out, it definitely feels like the golem has a heart with emotions, deeply loving this child as if they’re his own. After all the golem pretty much described themselves as experiencing heart-ache when they saw Somali getting hurt. We know the golem to be strong. He demonstrated that by easily protecting Somali from danger too. While he’s alive, there shouldn’t be issues.
However, there’s now an immediate time limit that’s been introduced. And the consequences would be extremely high if he were to perish before finding a safe haven for Somali. There’s no way a child that young could fend for themselves. At best, Somali might become a slave. At worst, Somali will be killed and eaten. Not to mention, would Shizuno and Yabashira have behaved cordially had they known that Somali was a human? As father and child set off to continue on their journey, it’s hard to say how this series will straddle the fine line between soul-healing parent and child adventures, against tense situations revolving around life and death. But I shall eagerly watch how it develops with keen interest. After all, Somali to Mori no Kamisama really does have potential to be something special.