Why in the world didn’t we cover this by episode? How Evil is Golden Kamuy’s first season?
The story takes place in the mighty Northern field of Hokkaido, the time is in the turbulent late Meiji Era. A post-war soldier Sugimoto, aka, “Immortal Sugimoto” was in need of large sums of money for a particular purpose…. What awaited Sugimoto, who stepped into Hokkaido’s Gold Rush with dreams of making a fortune, was a tattoo map leading to a hidden treasure based on hints inscribed on the bodies of convicts in Abashiri Prison?! The magnificent nature of Hokkaido vs vicious convicts and the meeting with a pure Ainu girl, Ashiripa!! A survival battle for a hidden treasure hunt begins! -Crunchyroll
That is not an accurate description of this show at all. That makes this show sound way too serious. I mean, yes it is a treasure hunt with tattoo’s being the map and all that but it’s not only that. There is a lot more to this show than a free for all for treasure. I think the best way to describe this show is “It’s a western but Japanese.” That is exactly what this show feels like, and it’s amazing. First off, meet Sugimoto.
He’s a strict soldier with no weird quirks or anything. This starts off panning for gold to fulfill a promise he made to a long-dead friend. His intentions from the start are not selfish, he even makes it clear in the show that he isn’t really trying to get rich. He just wants enough gold to fulfill that promise. Though it does seem like he would take a little extra to live on but not an overabundance of it. I also want to point out that as crazy as he is, he gets things done no matter how ridiculous they become. He’s the opposite of a certain protagonist I’ve covered this season.
Ashiripa, the Ainu girl, wants revenge and doesn’t seem to care about the money. She kind of acts like a guide for Sugimoto and for the most part she seems more grown up than him. For the most part. Actually, that’s one of the funny things about this show. Ashiripa is the youngest member but she acts more mature than the rest of the cast. Speaking of the rest of the cast, let’s talk about some of the antagonists. First up is Lieutenant Tsurumi.
This guy survived some kind of explosive damage to his head which destroyed part of his skull. His injury sometimes causes his head to leak Greymatter and tends to make him a bit overly violent. While he isn’t exactly what I would call stable, he controls the 7th Division – a military force that’s feared and known for being the strongest. There’s a scene where he’s cutting off the ear of a traitor and even threatens to cut off the guys nose with a straight razor.
As crazy as he is, he does have something he wants to do with the gold. He wants to start a military coup to pay back those who have betrayed him and the soldiers like him. It goes a little deeper than that but that’s the gist of what he’s after. The next antagonist is possibly my favorite of this show. His name is Toshizou Hijikata and he’s a samurai survivor of the last war.
Toshizou is also the leader of some of the tattooed prisoners that the main cast is searching for. The thing is, he’s built up a gang around himself and is actively searching for the other tattoos as well. His tactics are more refined than Lieutenant Tsurumi’s too. Lieutenant Tsurumi will charge headlong into a dangerous situation while Toshizou will create a distraction and then do what he needs to do. We even see this happen in the show when Toshizou robs a bank to get his sword back.
Toshizou’s goal is also similar to Lieutenant Tsurumi’s. He wants to change the way the country is run by overthrowing the current government. I think he was on the side that lost the last war so he wants to change that. I’m purposely leaving out one of the antagonists here, though. The last one has to be experienced as he’s one of the most fun characters and I refuse to spoil him. On top of the cool antagonist, they added a new character in the last episode that was also interesting.
The reason she’s interesting – to me, at least – is that she claims to be a fortune teller and appears capable of actually predicting the future. The entire last episode they play it up like she’s a con artist but she is never truly wrong in her prediction. In fact, the one time she appears to be wrong she bets against the prediction she said. This leads me to believe that maybe there is a small chance that she does have some supernatural sense that helps her make predictions but it’s never confirmed.
That’s another thing this show does that I love. When it comes to supernatural stuff, it will set something up by telling us a tale and then flat out turn that on its head by doing something to make you question the tale they just told you. For example, Ashiripa tells us a story about a mermaid and in the same episode one of the characters gets eaten by a giant fish and then this happens.
I could spoil everything that happened this season but I’m not going to do that. If this sounds like a show you might be interested in it’s on Crunchyroll check it out if you get the chance. Fair warning though. As funny as it is, it’s not for kids. There are a ton of disturbing things in this show too. And no I’m not talking about the bad CG on the bears. That’s bad but it wasn’t bad enough to pry me away from the world or story being shown.
Overall I’d say this show is about as Evil as a Villian (9). It might be my number one anime this season, but these ratings are based on my enjoyment and not the merit of the series. There are a few parts of this show that made me uncomfortable. I do have to say though this show is really good and I’ll be waiting for the second season. Maybe next time we’ll cover it sooner. If you’re more into fantasy stories you can always check out CVoyage’s reviews for Black Clover. Well, that’s all I have for you today. Thanks for letting me waste your time, people.
Keep It Classy,