OP: 「Winding Road」by MAN WITH A MISSION
On this week’s Shokugeki no Souma: raw squirrel brains! *insert foodgasm here*
I’m not actually too grossed out by the consumption of brains, more by the idea of eating them raw. Brains are basically just fatty tofu, good stewed, barbecued, or deep-fried. But raw? I know it’s traditional Ainu cuisine and I want to respect the culture, but I’m also wary of tricky prion diseases. Cooking with fire is one of humanity’s greatest inventions. Cooked food takes less energy to digest and the heat kills parasites. Also, barbecue smells great. Is it so bad to want your meat at least medium rare? That said, I have also enjoyed sashimi of all kinds (horse sashimi? Tastes like kangaroo) so maybe squirrel brain sashimi is par for the course. And perhaps squirrels back in the day were just… cleaner? Maybe someone who has been to Hokkaido can tell us first-hand if their squirrels are good eating.
And no matter what they do to squirrels this episode, at least it wasn’t a bear.
It’s actually surprising how much time this episode spent on Ainu cuisine considering how brisk the pace is. We meet two more of the tattooed prisoners this week, one is summarily dispatched, and the other gets away. I certainly won’t mind if they slowed down a tad, but ff there really are 24 of these guys then this pace is probably necessary. It does makes Golden Kamuy a very busy anime every episod, though. And this is before factoring in all the other factions out for Ainu gold, including the army (and this scary guy) and the original thief himself (i.e. this scary guy). I’m glad that they’re taking the time to let Asirpa explain her way of life, because Sugimoto does seem to be the kind of guy who would benefit from some culture. I’ve been hoping that Asirpa would be a positive influence on Sugimoto, and for the time being it seems that she is. Simply sketching the tattoos is certainly less bloodthirsty than killing and skinning a human being, but it’s also less expedient. Paper costs money, and killing removes potential threats and leaves a larger share of the gold for those who are still alive. If Immortal Gugimoto wanted to maximise survival, it’d be prudent to remove the competition. But Asirpa shows that there may be more to life than expedience and survival. Both she and Sugimoto profess to enjoying squirrel meat, but for Sugimoto they were probably just a source of protein. For Asirpa, every meal has spiritual significance. And hey, good things come when we take a roundabout path. Nothing useful could be extracted from Prisoner #3 by threats alone, but all it took was a a bonding moment (through force of circumstances, but still) for him to be completely cooperative.
Overall, though, Golden Kamuy is still an uncomplicated adventure and there’s not too much need to think about it too hard. I imagine that it’s still putting its pieces one the board right now and come episode 03 big things will start happening, I’m willing to be patient. I imagine that at some point I’ll be sick of snow and trees and will wish for a change of setting, but for now Golden Kamuy has been working well as straightforward entertainment and I think it should be fine just doing its thing. One conflict for me, though: I really want to respect Asirpa as a proud Ainu hunter, but at the same time she’s just the most adorable thing. Ah, dilemma.
ED: 「Hibana」by THE SIXTH LIE