I talked about the first series of Golden Kamuy about four months back. It was a piece with an interesting premise and some solid moments. When we left off, Sugimoto and his group were competing with Tsurumi and his soldiers as well as Hijikata Toshozou and his former prisoners. Unbeknownst to Sugimoto or Asirpa their comrade, Shiraishi had made a deal with Hijikata and was playing both sides of the street. Let’s see where things go from there.
When we open, Tsurumi is meeting with a grave robbing taxidermist for what I’m sure are completely sane reasons. Meanwhile, Sugimoto and his group are on their way to Abashiri prison to meet with Nopperabo. Which also seems to be the goal of Hijikata’s group. Back in Asirpa’s village, Inkarmat persuades Tanigaki to help her find Asirpa. They’re joined by an Ainu boy who’s just starting to take an interest in boobs.
This series suffers from the same big issue as the first. Namely, it can be overly slow with overly long scenes about how to hunt different game or how to prepare it. I’m sorry, but if I wanted to know how to prepare snares for this particular bird or how to properly cook Salmon heads I’d watch a proper hunting or cooking show.
The series also continues to have some jokes that don’t land very well. At least they stopped having Asirpa refer to miso as faeces. In this series our not really funny comedic moment is Asirpa referring to Ushiyama as “Chinpo-Sensei.” Next season, she’ll probably call Inkarmat vaginal squirt woman or meet a dog called prolapsed anus or something. Since all the worst, most drug out jokes in this franchise are just Asirpa referring to something in a toilet joke fashion.
That being said, the narrative is still interesting with a strong concept backing it. I also appreciate that it doesn’t drag out events. Yeah, it has its other forms of padding but at least the plot moves briskly when the series is actually covering the plot elements. The more comedic elements do largely work. This one has some very morbid humour, mostly involving the taxidermist but that works for me. I’m a fan of well executed macabre elements. This series also follows the first one’s example in that it stops off at a very good point. We get some closure for some major plot points while also having plenty of intrigue to carry another series.
Our big three are still Sugimoto, Asirpa & Tanigaki. This series gives us some more development for Shiraishi, Ogata, Inkarmat & Hijikata. But the characters aside from that core group still gravitate towards the weaker side. They’re lucky to get some very simple motivation and hints of something more to them.
Honestly, the series would look better without the goofier character designs. I understand that it’s not entirely serious but it’s hard for the more serious elements to have the full gravity they should when you’ve got goofy looking characters like Tsurumi or Ushiyama floating around in the middle of it all. On the positive side, the nature scenes look fantastic, the action sequences are appropriately intense and the backgrounds are nicely detailed.
The acting remains a very strong element. The performances are beyond what they need to be. Particularly for those characters who don’t have that much depth to them. Suehiro Kenichiro gives us another strong soundtrack.
It’s heavily implied that three of Tsurumi’s men have the hots for him. I don’t see the appeal he has personally, but I won’t judge them for what they’re into. There’s also a scene that gets really homo-erotic in a way that borders on being a gay joke but with clever execution that actually makes it work quite well.
Areas of improvement:
This is honestly pretty much the same as my list for the first series. Since this one has basically the same issues.
- We don’t need long explanations of how to hunt and cook. They’re just padding.
- Can we have a series of this where Asirpa doesn’t drag a semi-dirty joke into the ground? First it was confusing Miso for excrement Now it’s the Chinpo-sensei thing.
- Rework the goofy designs.
The second series is on par with the first. It’s a strong, well crafted anime that has the definite potential to get stronger. I’m giving it a 7/10, like the first series. Maybe the third will raise that score a bit when it comes out. We’ll find out.