This Week in Anime
You Have to Catch Up on Golden Kamuy

by Michelle Liu & Steve Jones,

Golden Kamuy is an outstanding manga with a troubled anime adaptation, but its story shines through incredibly strong in this latest arc. This week, Micchy and Steve marathon the season and share their favorite moments that make this series so rewarding to follow.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead. Not Safe For Work warning for content and language.

@Lossthief @Liuwdere @A_Tasty_Sub @vestenet

You can read our weekly coverage of Golden Kamuy here!

Hey Steve, I found a picture of us from when we were down in the anime catch-up mines.
That's definitely how I felt after marathoning most of Golden Kamuy's second cour in a single day. But in a good way this time!
What a season! We went from the world's most wholesome human taxidermist to gay orgies to explosive shake-ups and betrayals that I'm still reeling from.
It's a lot! So it's probably best to go through everything that happened bit by bit. We start with the gentle soul of Edogai, whose passion just so happens to be turning human skin into works of, um, art?
Like, let's break that image down: he's turned an arm into a elephant trunk that hangs off his dick. He has ears on his nipples. And his head is poking through someone's taint. If that isn't haute couture, I don't know what is. And that's just how the season starts.
Golden Kamuy was wild before, but Edogai's introduction took it from curiously silly to legendary. I don't know how Satoru Noda does it, but he manages to take heinous criminals from history and reimagine them as the most lovable dorks to ever exist. Maybe it's because Lt. Brain Damage offers unconditional love and support for Edogai's weird hobbies, I dunno.
In any case, their short-lived alliance leads to this wonderful (?) rendition of the last supper. Yes, the three guys on the left are stuffed corpses.
Golden Kamuy is an adventure of contrasts, but that's absolutely a big part of its appeal. It's peerless in its ability to derive both absurd humor and sincere sentiment out of the most goddamned depraved situations. Like, Tsurumi is in many ways a tragic character and outright scumbag, but much of this season is also about him gathering a harem, which is amazing to watch.
This guy should not be anybody's love interest, but he has a collection of underlings fawning over him, and tbh I do kinda get it.
I think it's the mustache?
Definitely the mustache. I keep forgetting Sugimoto and friends are even in this show when Tsurumi's regiment consistently steals the show.
There's definitely more focus on the ensemble characters this season, which makes sense considering the ever-ballooning size of the cast, and the fact that every new character is an inexplicably likable homicidal weirdo.
well, except for maybe this guy
At this point, the cast has gotten so big that it would be hard to keep track of them and their ever-shifting affiliations if not for their immediately distinctive personalities.
Like this guy! His role in the show is pretty minor, but he immediately makes an impression as a high-strung weirdo and massive loser who can't hold down a conversation to save his life.
Satoru Noda is also just really good at drawing and designing distinctive faces. Many anime use hair colors and styles to distinguish their characters, but everyone in Golden Kamuy has their personality embedded into their face somehow.
When the anime's artistic chops can manage to keep up with his designs, anyway...
Yeah, unfortunately the anime's worst shortcoming continues to be its inability to render the exquisite art of the manga. Thankfully, the story and characters are compelling enough to make up for the inadequacies in adaptation.
Also there are much fewer CG bears this season, which is good.
Part of me misses the days of CG bear punching, but I'll take erotic sumo matches and food adventures instead.
This is the most GoldenKamuy.txt line.
In hindsight, the revelation that the cannibal woman eats her victims' brains in front of them was a logical conclusion.
And to that end, this season is where Satoru Noda's proclivities shine even brighter, by which I mean "drawing many buff naked dudes together all the time."
These men spend an entire episode fighting with their dicks out, it's the absolute best.
With extremely subtle censorship.
That said, some of it does go too far.
No. Shiraishi must never be sexy.
Blame it on the sea otter aphrodisiac! Speaking of which, I always say the mark of good art is shameless nudity, and the gay orgy episode DELIVERS.
I do have a screenshot that's literally just Shiraishi's entire bare ass, but I'm not going to share it because I respect you and our audience too much.
jk here it is
I'm flattered.
Oh, and I guess there were some major plot developments near the end of the season, that happened too. They finally meet Asirpa's father for a hot five seconds!
Oh yeah! So the crux of this season is that the gang needs to break into prison in order to unite Asirpa with Nopperabo, who everyone thinks might be her father. And it turns out that yes, he is. Hope y'all heeded that spoiler warning at the top!
After much waffling over his identity, it's finally revealed that Nopperabo is in fact Asirpa's father. What's still unclear is whether he was the one who slaughtered the Ainu for their gold, or whether something happened between him and Kiroranke that caused one to betray the other. Unfortunately, Ole No-Face gets a hole in his brain before any of that can be cleared up, whoops. I guess there's a reason they don't call him Immortal Wilk.
Sugimoto is more fortunate in that regard. By the way, I remember actually yelling at Ogata in this scene.
Ogata you absolute FUCKER.
I love him, but he is a bastard man.
That part of the story was actually sad! He and Tanigaki both get heartbreaking backstories in this season.
That speaks to Golden Kamuy's sincere emotional core. Under the goofy comedy and nudity and weird violence, there's a tragic story of all these victims of circumstance: war veterans, bastard children shunned by society, people looking for misguided revenge, and so on. Then there's Tsurumi, who might just be broken in the head.
Golden Kamuy is about as explicitly anti-war as it gets, so it's telling that the villain who loves war the most is missing huge chunks of his brain (which is itself
a result of war).

Meanwhile, Sugimoto is still processing his trauma from that war. The moment this season that choked me up the most was his memory of eating dried persimmons with his friends. It's a part of his life that he can never get back.

These folks have been through a lot, and even if they spend much of their time eating squirrel brains and walking around naked, there's never a doubt that they're always carrying the weight of their past with them. It's good stuff! Golden Kamuy's so good at that balance between heavy drama and silly antics.
Also, Asirpa faces. Good Asirpa faces never go away.
That flashback with her father tugged at my heartstrings, but mostly it was reassuring to see that Asirpa has always been Asirpa. Precious stink-face child.

I just hope our precious stink-face child doesn't get dragged into conflicts she's not ready for, poor kid.
Wilk's scars resembling Sugimoto's definitely has no symbolic importance, I'm sure. Though to be fair, that might also be Satoru Noda's proclivities coming through.
I choose to believe Inkarmat is his insert character, and nobody's convincing me otherwise.
Agreed. Inkarmat is so good, by the way. Just wanna throw that out there.
She is! It's a shame about that whole stabbing thing, huh?
She got better. I hope.
Cured by the healing power of button-popping hairy pecs, I guess.
Inkarmat's arc is that she learns fate is powerless against buff dudes ripping their shirts open, and given what I've seen of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure,
that's 100% true.
This show really might be tapping into some deeper truths after all.
Maybe the real Golden Kamuy was the burly gentlemen we saw naked along the way.

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