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Golden Kamuy – 14 »« Golden Kamuy – 12 (END)

Golden Kamuy – 13

「江渡貝くん」 (Edogai-kun)

It hardly seems that we’ve gone, does it? After a short one season break Golden Kamuy returns, picking up basically where we left off, with Asirpa and gang, after 12 episodes of winter, freshly experiencing the Hokkaido spring. It’s ironic that although spring is the season of new beginnings Golden Kamuy does not seem to be in a hurry to reinvent itself, even as it launches into a new chapter. Instead, the first thing Golden Kamuy does is remind us what it really is all about.

One may mistakenly get the general impression, from promotional materials and elsewhere, that Golden Kamuy was all about gritty violence. Super edgy, super bloody. And yeah, sure, Golden Kamuy is capable of some stomach-turning stuff from time to time, and I’m sure some of you watching it are here for hard-boiled action sequences, and that’s all good. But that’s not how the second season of Golden Kamuy has chosen to open. Instead, it’s all sunshine, greenery, and Ainu culture, a stark contrast to the first season. There, we were greeted with war and Sugimoto stabbing some guy in the face. Golden Kamuy is a show of two halves, one about humans coexisting with nature while enjoying its bounties and one about humanity’s internal conflict as we destroy each other, and while traditionally conflict is the fuel of all stories it’s curious how Golden Kamuy keeps coming back to and even emphasises its more positive side. I’m glad for that; not only is cultural Ainu stuff simply interesting, Golden Kamuy would be a rather nihilistic show without it.

Violence and nihilism in anime is often associated with maturity. While there is certainly a correlation, in that they’re the kind of things we keep away from the immature, nihilism is more an adolescent thing that most adults manage to grow out of. Indeed, while Golden Kamuy‘s outlook on humanity is hardly idealistic, it never descends into nihilism. Its violence, brutal though it can be, always has a greater purpose and it’s never murder for the sake of a body count. In fact, in this episode nobody was killed at all (nobody who wasn’t already dead, anyway). There is nuance here, an additional layer to the character of Lt Tsurumi, showing that he knows that he can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (even though just tatooing random people and skinning them would be more expedient). He’s not just a maniac, he has a charisma, and there is a reason why his men follow him. And in an obvious homage to Alfred Hitchcock it is a study in madness, in extreme obsession. And we are left wondering if Tsurumi is able to form a bond with Edogai because he is the voice of reason, or because he is, deep down, just as mad.

These are all things that we’re accustomed with in Golden Kamuy. Again, it’s not in a hurry to change its formula. But it does want to give a sense of progression, it seems, so rather than changing the script it settles for muddying the waters. The possibility of betrayal is raised, with all characters seeming to possess their own agenda. Honestly, the only characters I feel like I can 100% trust is Asirpa and Sugimoto — and maybe even that is naive on my part. But I’m glad to see that Golden Kamuy is keeping to its core while mixing things up, and as the plot thickens I’m excited to see where this second season is going to take us.

October 9, 2018 at 9:10 am
  • October 9, 2018 at 11:47 amZaiden

    Golden Kamuy is back… hinna hinna! Edogai is a really entertaining psycho who Tsurumi has intelligently wrapped around his finger and Inkarmat should certainly not be trusted, though her predictions are rather ominous. Let’s see where this new season will take us, and I’m certain it will be anything but boring :3

  • October 9, 2018 at 9:58 pmHaru

    Why doesn’t someone just blog about Ulysses:Jeanne d’Arc.

  • October 10, 2018 at 12:03 amBambi

    Yay! Why should be talking about Edogai’s avant garde kitty walk fashion show

    I feel the story tries to show humanity as two sides of a coin as we often see it, the life and death of it. Kind of like how in Ainu culture, they will obviously hunt and utilise things to survive, but they don’t forget to have gratitude for the power that nature is providing. Obviously the duo want answers to their quest (Asirpa regarding the Ainu gold heritage; Sugimoto with helping that woman whose name I can’t remember), but in the midst of war hopefully Asirpa will show Sugimoto that they can obtain happiness through what’s already theirs, rather than becoming consumed with greed and trying to achieve their desires through any means like one-sided slaughtering.

    • October 10, 2018 at 1:53 amcvb

      But greed is not their motivation. Like you said Sugimoto needs money to support his best friend’s wife and former first love and Asirpa flat out rejects using the gold because it’s the river kamui’s property, she wants to give it back to the village like it was before. Unlike the others, they are on a quest for what their own most imporant things.

  • October 10, 2018 at 12:39 amBROOKLYN otaku

    im SORRY…but whenever i look at mask dudes eye area i get a SEVERE craving for FLANK steak.

  • October 10, 2018 at 10:13 pmLoliHat

    If you ever wondered what would happen if Norman Bates from “Psycho” and Jame Gumb from “Silence of the Lambs” were to raise a child together… wonder no more.

  • October 11, 2018 at 2:43 amdilutedwater

    “boner” makes a comeback too.

  • October 11, 2018 at 12:10 pmewok40k

    Yay! I loved the show’s gallery of – mostly twisted – characters contrasted with amazing nature of Hokkaido…
    And now more mysteries are added to the mix, from true identity of Asirpa’s father to hidden (beyond being agent of lieutnant) agenda of the mysterious fortune telling woman…