Phew, Tanigaki lived. I was so afraid that he didn’t. He even got a lucky break and hopefully he can now cut ties with the 7th for good. Usually when a veteran is thinking about retirement that’s a huge death flag, especially when they only need to do one last job. Thankfully, Tankigaki managed to escape Death By Trope, at least for now. It seems he’s being left in the Ainu village, and the story will move on without him. Usually one of the reasons for bumping off a character is simply to tie off loose ends, but Tanigaki remains both alive and loose. I wonder what Golden Kamuy is planning to do with him, along with other floating characters like Ogata. That guy got shot straight in the chest and seems fine (well, more fine than others). I’m sure they’ll prove to be a bother for Sugimoto and co yet.
Speaking of future developments, the plot starts to turn towards a different direction this episode. As we predicted last week, Asirpa does face a Darth Vader moment; I guess Obi Wan never told her what happened to her father. I did expect it to be a bigger reveal though. The Greek theatre tradition has something called an ‘anagnorisis’, big revelatory moment, like when Oedipus realised he killed his father, shagged his mother, his son was his brother and his daughter was his sister. This moment reshapes the protagonist’s relationship with other characters, in particular the antagonist, and by extension also reshapes the narrative. Luke Skywalker’s confrontation with Darth Vader on Bespin did that, and I expected Asirpa’s anagnorisis to be a similarly big deal. I’m not saying that it’s not a deal — Asirpa has found new resolve, they’re putting aside the prisoner hunt, and we may have more revelations when Asirpa actually confronts her father. I was just expecting more buildup and a good deal of angst and gnashing of teeth, instead of the reveal casually dropped in conversation and given away by this Kiroranke guy. I don’t know how much a trust such a convenient new character, one who was literally fished up. Obviously, Sugimoto doesn’t, and he’s always been the prudently cagey type; immortality is hard work. Plus, Kiroranke wants to return the gold to the Ainu, and I’m not sure he represents his people here; isn’t that gold cursed? Sure, Asirpa likes Kiroranke enough, but she was also totally off about her father, so perhaps we can’t rely on her instincts here. Well, at least he has stylish facial hair, much better than whatever Shiraishi is sporting. I’ll put my faith in his beard for now.
Overall, I think we can summarise this episode of Golden Kamuy as: spring is here. Something new is starting, both in the setting and in the plot. Finally, we’re leaving Otaru. The snowy mountains weren’t a bad look and all the winter gear is chic, but I think we’ve all had quite enough of it by now. So I’m glad we’re moving on to the next step of the journey, perhaps beneath warmer skies. Episode 10 is strange place to do this, though. We’re near the end of the season and it feels that we’ve only covered this first chapter of Sugimoto and Asirpa’s adventure. Golden Kamuy hasn’t exactly been a ‘slow’ adaptation, so I guess it just goes to show how much Golden Kamuy there is. I hope this one season will not be all of it.