Miss my previous review? You can find it here!
Been slacking on my Golden Kamuy reviews – so time to play some catch-up!
The last few episodes have really escalated the treasure hunt, as the various parties involved in hunting for the lost Ainu treasure are introduced, and Asirpa, Sugimoto and Shiraishi form a more cohesive unit.
Sugimoto spends a great deal of time in the Ainu village where Asirpa is from. He meets her grandmother, and learns more about Asirpa’s father. Not wanting to disrupt their way of life, or bring the weight of the 7th division down on them, Sugimoto escapes during the night on his own, only to be captured by the 7th division shortly after entering town.
Asirpa is dismayed and angry that Sugimoto left without her, and sets out with Retar in an attempt to find him. When tracking Sugimoto’s scent mistakenly leads them to Shiraishi, Asirpa enlists his help as well to locate the Immortal Sugimoto.
Sugimoto, in the meantime, is being tortured by members of the 7th division, and is ultimately invited to join their ranks by Lt. Tsurumi. Rejecting him outright, it appears he’s in for some real pain. A set of twins from the 7th division have a bitter vendetta with Sugimoto, and when they come in the night to attempt to kill him, he ends up killing one of the twins, and using his guts to make it look like he’s been grievously injured. Tsurumi rushes him to a nearby hospital on the grounds that he will tell him about the treasure, but finds out that he’d been fooled as Asirpa and Shiraishi help him escape into the forest.
Episode 6 introduces one of the most…memorable characters from the manga thus far: a grizzled hunter known as Nihei Tetsuzou. He’s known to have killed over 200 bears, and also has one of the fabled tattoos needed to find the Ainu treasure.
His goal is to hunt and kill Retar – the last of his kind and a true challenge for a hunter like Nihei. With a boisterous attitude and a rugged determination to survive that nearly matches Sugimoto’s, he’s a formidable foe.
With Nihei closing in, we get some touching character development between Sugimoto, Asirpa and Shiraishi. The three share drinks and good times in their camp, with Asirpa drunkenly begging Sugimoto not to die, ever. Of course, Sugimoto lets her know that he’s immortal, so there’s nothing to worry about!
The group eventually collides with Nihei and a former soldier of the 7th division that Sugimoto had tangled with before. It looks like Nihei is about to get the kill he’s been itching for, but at the final moment, another wolf appears and tears out his throat. It’s revealed that Retar is not the last of his kind, but that he actually has a mate, as well as cubs. There’s hope for the wolves of Hokkaido yet!
Following Nihei’s burial, the group learns more about the treasure: that it is actually far more than they originally thought. Likely 1,000 times more gold than the stories portray. With this kind of money, Tsurumi could make his dream of establishing a whole new country a reality!
Episode 7 ends with Shiraishi heading into town and running into none other than Ushiyama the Undefeated. In his attempt to escape, he sends a group of men, a tower of ice and snow, even a stampeding horse after Ushiyama! However, none of them can stop Ushiyama as he closes in.
Shiraishi runs into some soldiers from the 7th division, and tells them that Ushiyama is chasing him, and that he has “strange tattoos”. Guns aimed and at the ready…will this be enough to help Shiraishi get away?
Golden Kamuy continues to draw us into the sprawling treasure-hunt, while treating us to some great insights on Ainu culture and cuisine. While there have been some missteps with the animation at times, overall the series continues to maintain the same appeal and excitement as the manga.
The pacing can be hit or miss at times, with some extended explanations of traps, recipes or notes on culture dragging a bit.
With Shiraishi joining the group, I’m glad to see a bit more comic relief, as well as a bit more utility added to the overall group. Fans of the manga will know that the relationship will get a bit more complicated soon enough, and I’m interested to see how that plays out in the anime.
In short, Golden Kamuy is a staple in my weekly viewing, and will continue to be. While it has some stomach-turning scenes of violence, the general feeling is one of thrilling adventure, and I’m happy to be along for the ride.
You can watch Golden Kamuy weekly on Mondays at Crunchyroll!