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Golden Kamuy – 24 (END)

「呼応」 (Koou)
“Call Out”

You all know the plot twist in The Empire Strikes Back, right? With Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, that only makes sense from a certain point of view? Well, back in the day it was quite a big deal and few saw it coming. Obviously it was meant to shock audiences since there wasn’t really all that much leading up to it and it surprised Luke Skywalker as much as it did us. Contrast this with this episode of Golden Kamuy. The possibility of Nopperabo being Asirpa’s father has been entertained for some time. The ultimate truth had its impact but it certainly wasn’t intended to be shockign (especially considering how we’ve known since the end of last episode). The difference is, I think, that while Star Wars is fundamentally about confronting evil — making the true identity of the evil a valuable card for the plot to play. Golden Kamuy, on the other hand, is interested in exploring the nature of evil. Throughout the series we’ve been exposed to everything from simple pragmatic cynicism to the depths of human depravity. Nopperabo is arguably at the centre of all of that, being both the inspiration for great evil yet also apparently a loving father. How he went from that to the faceless wretch he was before killed with impeccable timing is likely a story all to itself.

That begs the question, though: is Nopperabo evil? Is his position morally justifiable? Sugimoto finds him unforgivable, so willing to send his peaceful people, including his own daughter, to war. Admiral Koito interprets Nopperabo’s actions as his duty: he must be willing to send Asirpa to war if he is to send the Ainu to war. But isn’t the corollary true as well? If it means having to send sons and daughters to kill and die, perhaps leaders shouldn’t be so eager for war in the first place. Evidently, though, Nopperabo is one for whom the ends justify the means. Assuming that the whole tattooed prisoners plan continues to be his, it means he was willing to kill and skin a lot of people for the sake of his gold. Criminals they may be, and perhaps we don’t need to kill all the prisoners, but it still paints the picture of a rather brutal ambition. Contrast Asirpa, who wants to keep the killing to an absolute minimum. How does such an idealistic girl follow in her father’s footsteps?

All that said, apparently it Nopperabo/Wilk wasn’t the one who killed all the Ainu, so maybe he’s not as bloody-minded as may first appear. But we’re not going to learn the truth of that for a while yet. With that, onto the final impressions!

Final Impressions ~ I don’t want to blog on Christmas

Damn, Golden Kamuy was good. I know it’s been said before, and by more reputable folk than me, but it bears repeating, and often. In the preview I described Golden Kamuy as excellent value for your anime time, and thankfully this second season — which is really just the first season++ — did not go out of its way to prove me wrong. Truly, Golden Kamuy can do anything. It was capable at both drama and comedy, took us through horror and adventure, both entertained and educated, swinging between all its aspects with ease all the while building a completely credible period piece filled with a sizeable cast of interesting characters. The only thing missing is a romantic arc but we can launch a thousand ships with scenes like this and… this? I am reminded of Akatsuki no Yona another show that seemed intent on entertaining from all angles and somehow managed to pull it off. This is no easy feat. Done poorly, the constant mood swings can give your audience whiplash or, worse, completely undermine the drama and leave the audience at once insulted and unsatisfied. Thankfully, Golden Kamuy is designed from the ground up to do its juggling act; it’s a character driven show, and its characters are largely goofballs who can nonetheless hulk out at a moment’s notice to become IMMORTAL.

Speaking of, it’s remarkable that Golden Kamuy can have protagonist who is so blatantly unkillable and still manage to build tension. I mean, he got an involuntary lobotomy this episode and it didn’t seem to have affected him in any way. It’s surprising what one can get used to as long as it’s been properly developed in a story. ‘Yeah. He’s the Wolverine. Of course he’s fine.’

Alas, any tension Golden Kamuy managed to build will work against us now, as the seson has ended and we’re left with a cliffhanger. Actually, make that cliffhangers, plural. The cost of doing everything, even if well, is that it takes a lot of time and we don’t actually get to go through a lot of plot. Akatsuki no Yona, if you remember, basically spent all its episodes just assembling its main cast in what was essentially its prologue. Golden Kamuy moved significantly faster than that, but even then these entire 24 episodes had something of a ‘Part One’ feel to it. I want more! I want more of the 7th division, now that Sugimoto has switched to hanging out with them now. I want to know more about Hijikata beyond just enigmatic smirks. I want to see Shiraishi finally shape up. And of course, there’s a new quest, gotta rescue Asirpa, yada yada. Everything has been set up so perfectly but now it’s ending! We’re all dressed with nowhere to go! How frustrating.

It’s the Made in Abyss problem. Blog a show, it’s really good, but, whoops, we’re running out of manga so no more of that. But at least Made in Abyss is confirmed to be getting a second season. Akatsuki no Yona never did. Let’s hope Golden Kamuy has more anime in store — and considering its strength thus far, I certainly expect it.

December 25, 2018 at 8:58 am
13 comments »
  • December 25, 2018 at 10:18 amChris hall

  • December 25, 2018 at 1:04 pmLyfe

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but this seems like one of those shows made specifically to sell the manga. So the physical disc sales won’t mean a huge amount if it does the job well enough.

    • December 25, 2018 at 5:55 pmzztop

      The good news is the manga’s actively translated, so you can catch up with the ongoing story.

  • December 25, 2018 at 6:07 pmzztop

    Is there enough manga material for a S3?
    I understand the source is still ongoing. Is there an end in sight?

    • December 26, 2018 at 8:21 amcvb

      Not now. I think we could see a new anime announcement in a year or six months at least. Then fourth season will have a very long wait for sure if they want to pull the third by the end of 2019 or early 2020.

  • December 25, 2018 at 8:54 pmVyseLegendaire

    Apparently a great deal of manga was skipped over and now they’re ahead of themselves. It could be a while if they’re waiting on new material for a 2nd season.

  • December 26, 2018 at 4:10 amMoreno

    We’ll probably see S3 in a year. The manga seems to be reaching another climax, and I’m guessing the next major arc will be the final one, so Fall 2019 seems like a reasonable estimate for the next season. It could even be sooner, if the mangaka has many unreleased chapters already finished and supplies them to the anime team.

    What a shame that this series didn’t garner more attention and enthusiasm from the start. A single CGI bear likely prevented this from staying on a ton of people’s radars.

  • December 26, 2018 at 9:43 amAmorok

    I really want to transfer onto the manga. Which volume did this final episode come from or would you advise to start from the beginning?

    • December 26, 2018 at 6:57 pmKaris

      Start from the very beginning. The manga has more details, and Everyday Hero Scans are up to date.

  • December 26, 2018 at 12:39 pmewok40k

    I am now convinced after getting beheaded Sugimoto will pick up the head, replace it on his neck and exclaim that he’s immortal…
    Sorry guys but military rifle bullet would have killed him instantly.
    Anyways we have now suddenly Lt. Tsurumi picking up the leftovers of the Asirpa party (sans Shiraishi who will probably have to escape again with Asirpa in tow), the Hijikata faction following some previously unknown trail, and Kiroranke “mini-faction” with Ogata being wildcard in play as likely to shoot Kiroranke whenever opportunity arises, currently in control of Asirpa the living MacGuffin.
    I am betting my hat off the t it was Kiroranke that kileld the Ainu guardians of gold. Now he has (by Ogata’s hand) killed Wilk, it is pretty much established he is no good uncle to Asirpa.
    So many characters cheated death this episode -it seem that Sugimoto’s immortality is contagious and only wilk had been so short in contact that he did not contract it…
    (Ewer17 “immortality virus” anyone?)

    • December 26, 2018 at 6:11 pmsealouse

      It was quite surprising that Sugimoto was with the 7th now. I’m gonna assume Tsurumi thinks he’s too useful to just kill and saved him and that’s why Sugimoto is helping him now. What about that crazy guy with the ear that just wanted to kill Sugimoto no matter what though? Is he still alive?

      • December 26, 2018 at 9:05 pmewok40k

        now this makes up for interesting dynamic in the 7th camp managing Sugimoto and “black knight” Nikaidou in one team…

  • December 29, 2018 at 10:11 amNork22

    No mention of the scooping out of brain and eating it in front of victim with ginger soy sauce?
    I’m disappointed in you Clarice.