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Category:    Home > Reviews > Anime > Science Fiction > Mecha > Social Economics > Fantasy > Adventure > Supernatural > OBSOLETE (2019 - 2020)/Somali and the Forest Spirit (2020/both Sentai Complete Collection Blu-rays)

OBSOLETE (2019 - 2020)/Somali and the Forest Spirit (2020/both Sentai Complete Collection Blu-rays)

Picture: B+/A- Sound: C+/B+ Extras: C Main Programs: B+

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The aliens are here. However, they just want to trade, just for a few pounds of the cheapest rocks on Earth they give EXOFRAMES. They don't care about politics, culture or even reveal what they look like, but just about anyone can get a frame. And in just a few short years, the world is filled with them. However, the human scientists are unable to make them or much less understand how they work, but they continue to revolutionize the world, and now people can't stop using them, the frames have endless power, strength and speed. They're not tanks (and they can be destroyed) but humans realize they revolutionize warfare and they are soon seen on battlefields everywhere in the new mini-series OBSOLETE (2019 - 2020.)

EXOFRAMES are mechas about the size of a motorbike or small car, but they are clean energy, faster, stronger and more agile and adaptable on or in any terrain on Earth. While some thought it was a joke, the aliens don't matter as much as when any country can get them and militarize them. Anyone with EXOFRAMES has a tactical advantage in battle, only others with EXOFRAMES can fight on par with each other. In the end, humanity doesn't change much and they adapt to a new technology even when they can't understand, but mankind doesn't care as long as they believe they are the ones in control. So how will that play here?

This was an interesting mini-series, there are no main characters, but mainly just soldiers using/learning to use the mecha, but the show is not about the mecha as much as it is about human nature. Each episode is only about 10 minutes long and each episode explores how the mecha would 'revolutionize' the world. It gives an idea of how world could change but human nature would not. Extras include clean closing animation, VOTOMS tribute and trailers.

Somali is a young girl living in a world of 'monsters' and is journeying with her 'dad', a Golem (mythically protectors of Jewish people, but not specifically so here). Together they are searching for humans and what remains of the human race, but all they find is rumors, legends and stories. After the war between monsters and humans, humans had lost and became the hunted and eaten and now humans are the endangered species. Somali disguises herself as a child minotaur, as they travel, they meet and make friends and enemies. The Golem's goal is to return Somali to her kind, but Somali wishes to stay with her 'Dad' forever. What will happen when they reach the end of their journey? Will Somali's 'Dad' be able leave her in the end?

In Somali and the Forest Spirit (2020,) Golems are guardians and protectors of the forest but after saving Somali he must learn what it is to be a 'father', but the Golem is hiding a secret from Somali, every Golem lives exactly 1,000 years and his time is almost up and that why he needs to find humans. As they search for humans, the Golem must protect her from dangers and monsters that would see Somali a (literally) a tasty dish. In time, Golem in turn learns he has feelings too and what it means to be a family.

This was a fascinating anime, it was a series which was not only about the main characters but the story of the world it is set in. In a monster filled world, you can't help but wonder what the humans did to make the monsters hate the humans so much. Extras include trailers.

Episodes include:

Journeying Parent and Child - A Golem, a guardian of the forest journeys with a young human girl in a monster filled world, but he must keep other monsters from discovering she is a human. As they journey, he must teach her how to survive.

Edible Herbs and the Oni's Dwelling - Somali and the Golem meet two Oni's, Shizuno and Yabashira and the Golem learns to make medicine to better take care of Somali. The Golem reveals that his time is coming to an end and in about a year he will cease functioning and that is why he must reunite Somali to humans.

The Sea at the Bottom of the Cave - Somali and the Golem arrive in a town and the Golem takes a part time job in a restaurant to earn enough money so they can journey across the desert.

The Wishing Flower and the Promise Request - Somali goes into an underground world to search for a flower that grants wishes and she wishes to stay with the Golem forever.

The Wandering Birds - The Golem and Somali meet another traveling pair, Uzoi a harpy and Haitora and offers them to travel together across the desert, but Uzoi and Haitora have a secret of their own, Uzoi is traveling looking for a cure for Haitora who is ill and requires the blood of Somali.

Dying Flowers Look Up at the Birds - Haitora reveals he was once human, but when he killed and ate Uzoi's mother he became cursed and he is slowly dying. Uzoi after learning the truth, will she accept Haitora or reject him?

The Footsteps That Stalk the Witches - Somali and the Golem journey to the village of the witches where they record all knowledge and history of the monster world and search for clues to where humans might still exist. But the book they have is eaten by demon fish.

Meeting and Bonds Prayed For - Somali and Golem meet the leader of the Witches and learn of her past and how she met humans and how humans feared and killed monsters and why now monster kill humans. Seeing Somali and the Golem, she tells them they are the hope, they are the proof that humans and monsters can co-exist.

Memories of Minor Days - Somali and the Golem take shelter from the storm and run into Shizuno and Yabashira again and go into town. Somali becomes worried when she gets her first loose tooth and tries to keep it a secret.

The Infant Child and the Fortress - The Golem reveal how he met Somali and she was the sole survivor of monsters with human slaves and she kept following the Golem and called him 'Dad' and eventually the Golem learned to care for her.

Those Who Protect and Those Who Threaten - Somali makes a gift for the Golem, but then they became hunted by a party of human hunters.

Bonded Father and Child - Somali and the Golem get trapped, and the Golem goes into a berserker mode killing everything, but then Somali steps in front of him and brings him to his senses. During a fair, the Golem tries to leave her saying he is a danger to her if he ever loses control again, Somali tells him she is only safe because he is with her and convinces him to come back. The Golem then promises to spend whatever remaining time he has with her.

Now for playback performance. The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on both releases look great, with Somali having the edge (and why no 4Ks from Sentai yet?) with fine color range, depth and detail. They are as state fo the art as they can get. As for sound, both are available in their original Japanese and lesser English dub mixes, but OBSOLETE offers DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that are not always convincing in separation, but it is a welcome item from Sentai, who does not issue enough in multi-channel releases. Somali is only here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes, but I thought it worked a bit better.

- Ricky Chiang


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