Watching Golden Kamuy made me realize how amazing a series is when it’s anchored so firmly to the concepts of war and survival. Even though it has an archaic feel, this anime convinced me that there’s hope for more great historical fiction tales. I say this honestly as someone who isn’t a big fan of historical fiction. On my first viewing, it was incredibly easily to dive into the show as we meet Sugimoto, a survivor of the Russo-Japanese war. It shouldn’t take long for fans to realize what they’re in stored for and I’m talking about a story that is much deeper than war
or survival itself.
Based on the adaptation of the same name, Golden Kamuy takes on shape from the creator’s mind to bring a war survivor adventure into anime medium. While the show takes place in the aftermath of a war, there’s still clear conflicts that are unsolved in their present world. The first episode indulges on how Sugimoto earned his nickname, Sugimoto the Immortal. His encounter with Asirpa, an Ainu girl who saves his life almost seems like fate. Despite their differences, it really shouldn’t take long for viewers to realize their eyecatchy character chemistry. Our main protagonists are on this adventure and their skills supplements each other. Sugimoto’s military skills as an ex-soldier is invaluable for fighting the enemies that they encounter. Meanwhile, Ainu is a survivalist and possesses many important skills such as hunting, cooking, and taming animals. The two become partners in search for treasure but many obstacles stand in their way. A show like this doesn’t need a complicated storyteller because how straightforward it can be.
Now you’re probably wondering if the series will feel more like a cat and mouse game with such a premise. The idea of hunters being hunted is a classic concept that have been used over and over. What Golden Kamuy does different is able to take great care of its characters. I’m actually flabbergasted at how much the show made me invest into learning more about Sugimoto and Asirpa. From a cultural standpoint, the show explores the Ainu people as an indigenous ethnic group. We learn about their lifestyle, family ancestry, traditions, language, and behavior. This translates to how well Asirpa's character can be accepted as we learn more about her. She preaches the lifestyle of Ainu and has great respect for nature. Through her experience, Asirpa has learned how to tame certain animals, hunt, and cook for herself and family. On the other hand, Sugimoto makes an oddball impression to me at first because how violent he seems. While he’s not a bloodthirsty man, Sugimoto can be very ruthless when confronting his enemies. War has really affected him and he became the present man as we know now. The brief PTSD moments that we witness in the series shows how guilty he feels about losing important people in his life. Thus, Sugimoto is always determined to survive and protect those he cares of. Thanks to his military experience as an ex-soldier, he does a damn good at job at that.
Led by Lieutenant Tsurumi, the 7th Division of the Imperial Japanese Army stands as a main obstacle of Sugimoto and Asirpa in their quest to find treasure. While not everyone in the division shares the same goal, they do treat the duo as a threat. It becomes a suspenseful plot as viewers will likely wonder how far they these characters go to accomplish their goals. Make no mistake. This anime doesn’t tease death and often portrays it in a realistic manner. Beyond just the PTSD moments we see from Sugimoto’s point of view, there are also times when characters question about killing others. A prominent example is how Tanigaki deals with the people he’s killed. Similar to Sugimoto, it’s clear that he feels guilty and that his sins will live with him forever. Like most war stories, death is a reality and what’s dead stays dead. War has broken characters and it’s not uncommon to realize how much people can change from the past to their present selves.
Even though everything I mentioned so far in the review suggests a moody show to get tissues for, it really isn’t. The series offers creative comedy mostly thanks to the character cast. If I’ve said it once, I’ve say it a hundred times. Never look away from Sugimoto and Asirpa when they interact with each other. The two often trades in small talk that blends between their different cultural beliefs. The jokes they throw at each other are hilarious and sells its comedic factors perfectly. Refreshing comedy isn’t easy to create but Golden Kamuy hits the right mark especially with the character reactions. I lost count how many times this show made me laugh positively to the character interactions and humorous dialogues. Characters such as Yoshitake Shirashi adds in even more comedy gags such as being a magnet head for animal bites. That is to say, Golden Kamuy is a serious show that deals with sensitive themes but also finds its way to have fun. To me, that’s important and valuable to sell itself.
I’m pretty sure most people aren’t familiar with Gene Studio. That’s because it’s a new studio that only recently began to produce projects such as Kokkoku and Gyakusatus Kikan. Early impressions of the show may have people pointing fingers at the atrocious CGI usage such as the poorly animated bear. Luckily, the visual quality manages to redeem itself as each episode begins to improve itself through its natural elegance. The landscapes of show looks gorgeous and larger than life. From snowy mountains to dense forests, it’s how nature should look like with its lush backgrounds. Even the food looks real that’s crafted right from the wilderness with survivalist skills. Character designs also offer distinctive features such as the military uniforms of the 7th Division. Sugimoto is a man that’s hard to overlook with his soldier uniform and masculinity. Asirpa may have a petite look but she’s noticeable for her blue and greenish eyes. Some characters even addresses this like a gem that’s hard to ignore. The Ainu coat she wears also shows her cultural style of clothing with the deerskin boats to protect her from the cold. She looks like a hunter that shouldn’t be underestimated. As a new studio, I would say that Gene Studio made an interesting impression. I’m not overwhelmed or disappointed by the production quality as it manages to capture the elements of the battle scenes and is faithful to the character designs. However, it does fall short occasionally on capturing the full vivid details of the manga.
The soundtrack and music overall creates the sensation of a survivalist show. The OP song contains electric beats and montages of characters in action. Meanwhile, the character voices really does sell their personalities. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at intimidating of a man Tsurumi really can be.
Golden Kamuy is a historical fiction that can be a bit deceptive once you really get a bite of the show. Director Hitoshi Nanba took the important concepts of the manga and gave this adaptation a breath of life. As someone who has read the manga, I definitely recommend giving it a try if you’re hungry for more. It previously won the 9th Manga Taishou award and rightfully earned so. As an anime series, Golden Kamuy is also a show that’s fortunate to receive a golden treatment.
Just because the setting isn't highschool doesn't make the anime automatically good.
Golden Kamuy is a combination of a National Geographic/History channel program about the Ainu and rush for gold.
Before the Spring2018 began, I had gone over the trailers of the shows to air this season.
Golden Kamuy presented a nice cast of voice actors I like, an era around 1900, guns, wolves and rush for gold.
Sounds like a pretty solid action anime.
Now, I can't deny that Golden Kamuy had some sweet action, but unfortunately, both the action and the story took a backseat to the "Ainu culture".
I don't know, after watching most of the show, people
came and said "The action wasn't the point of the show, but the point was to show the Ainu culture".
Well, I can say for sure that the trailer made it look a lot better than it is in reality. If they showed the "Ainu culture" mostly in the trailer instead of the action and thrill, I doubt it would've attracted as many people.
So, what exactly is shown that I found tedious and boring?
For the first half of the show (and even a bit later), ~7 minutes every episode were about the Ainu Cooking. Take Shokugeki no Souma, remove the Ecchi, remove the competition, remove the Shounen aspects.
We're left with 7 minutes out of ~20 every week of "Oh this broth is so good, the squirrel meat isn't heavy and the chopped bones make it crunchy" etc. etc. etc. Then also don't forget to put "Hinna Hinna" afterwards.
Then, the hunting, and of course explanation how everything works.
"This trap is a barrel with a few nails in it. The foxes come to lick the bottom of the barrel and then get stuck. We hit them with a stick to finish them off"
"It is said that fox pelt is bad luck, [...] you can sell fox pelt for 1 yen, and these animals' pelts for 1 yen too, and this for 3 yen..."
Sorry, but it was just not interesting.
The real plot of the gold rush, along with a few groups all trying to get the big gold prize is.... pretty damn good.
It features a few groups, some are military veterans from the Russo-Japanese war, some are even older but all of them... are interesting. And are voiced by great voice actors.
It's a shame that the real plot kicks in only around episode 10, and even then it still has the "filler" stuff like before.
For example all of episode 12 was about horse racing, and how the Ainu use fortune telling. We got only 3 minutes maximum of continuation for the clash between the groups after the gold.
The art didn't do justice as well. The controversial "CGI Bears" as well as the "CGI fire" and other CGI stuff just didn't fit well.
I understand the staff wanted to make it look special (If I remember correctly, what's what they said why they made CGI bears) but it just doesn't look good.
If I wanted to commend to Golden Kamuy, it would've been the OP/ED. MAN WITH A MISSION and THE SIXTH SENSE did absolutely an amazing job.
Overall, was Golden Kamuy good? So-so, it depends what you're expecting and what you want to watch. And also, a second season was announced so there's a chance it'll cover the failures or at least continue the story in S1, and not show us almost a full episode about kids playing with a stick.
At the time of this review, the series has been greenlit for Season 2 this Fall, and I could not be more than happy for a continuation of the series! But what all the hoopla, what is this series actually about?
Golden Kamuy (in Ainu language: Golden Gods) is more than just the typical action-adventure anime like so many others out there. It's fun, great and enjoyable for many reasons, to the point where it’s proof that we want at least a 2nd (to 3rd if possible) season to continue the series (if possible).
The story goes of the 20th century Russo-Japanese war, centered in the city
of harsh-northern-filled-wilderness Hokkaido, where we got to know and learn the most fearsome yet determinant of the series: the male MC Saichi “Immortal” Sugimoto, a veteran soldier who has fought in the war and miraculously survived after the deadly ordeal. It was there that he is promised to upkeep with his now-dead comrade (Toraji) from a dubious story of a large chunk of hidden Ainu gold (that’s worth about 800 mil yen), and the main goal to steal it and finance his widow (Umeko) for years to come.
The problem? It was stolen by a man called Nopperabo during transportation, and knowing his near-arrival death, so once captured and imprisoned, he carved out a map on 24 of the fellow imprisoned inmates on the location of the gold. And now, with that info, Immortal Sugimoto is set on the journey to find the gold.
Alas, not everything is well as there are other groups and individuals who are eyeing on the same gold as Sugimoto does: The Imperial Japanese Army’s 7th Division, led by Lieutenant Tsurumi for use on military dictatorship to run an independent Hokkaido that’s separated from Japan; a group formed by former samurai Toshizou Hijikata, who escaped alongside the tattooed 24 inmates to steal the gold to fund Hokkaido and its loss from the Russo-Japanese war, and some others who are just stealing for themselves.
In the wilderness, Sugimoto comes across the wild bears of the wilderness, and seeing that survival is in the eyes of the beholder, it looks as if he will be taken down by the bear. And so, enter Asirpa, an Ainu girl who knows the way of the Hokkaido wilderness, and her ulterior motive: to avenge her father’s death, because of his involvement of the transportation of Ainu gold that Nopperabo had successfully stolen in the first place (but not the main culprit who murdered her father). With that, with the intentions of Sugimoto and Asirpa, both set their journeys into a common place with different goals in mind.
Fun fact: Lo and behold, as much as a native Ainu she is, she does have a Japanese name (Asuko Kochoube) that reveals the plot even further, and one step closer to knowing the real murderer and her roots. Will this be explained, let's hope for Season 2 to explain what's left!
As much as the story setting and its storytelling is pretty much a perfect 1-to-1 adaptation from the manga source, I personally think that everything here is consistent, matches what the manga sprinkles on its historical context, and the icing on the cake is the native Ainu dialect (that’s exclusive to Hokkaido), supervised by the same guy who did the manga translation (Hiroshi Nakagawa), and it’s a great job learning and watching the show in its entirety.
The characters here are also what made the series more enjoyable to tackle and journey with. On the good side, we have Immortal Sugimoto, the courageous yet unstoppable man of valor, Asirpa the lone Ainu girl, but is just as fearless and is able to interpret her surroundings well, the Escape King Yoshitake Shiraishi, who's able to escape from just about any level of danger, which forms the good team to get the gold for justice.
However, the enemies are just as brutal, from the relentless Lieutenant Tsurumi, whom by his half-android-like face shows no qualms of authority, and his motto is to snatch the opportunity in whatever ways possible. Hijikata Toshizou is no brute either, whilst looking for the Ainu gold, he is manipulating behind the scenes in some forms and ways that like Tsurumi, is firm and no questions asked.
The art and animation by Geno Studio is once again, great, inspirational and a visual treat. Their previous work (Kokkoku) is a testament to this anime, and the once-founded studio to take over the defunct Manglobe is now becoming a reality to look out for quality content. With that said, it wouldn't be true if the series was all good. The elephant in the series is with the CGI-laden wild bears, and it's quite apparent that it didn’t mesh well with the background visuals, not to mention that it's outrageously visible. Everything else on the side is truly well done, a big shout out to the people handling the facial expressions of the characters (during the characters’ meal times, shouting “hinna hinna!”), it's just so uncanny and comical, it always gives off much laughter each and every time.
The music is phenomenal, and one of the best OSTs you could have this season. All reputable music artists in play with their new songs (MWAM’s “Winding Road” for the OP and THE SIXTH LIE’s “Hibana” for the ED), I still stand by my testimony from my prelim and say that in terms of musicality, it's one that’s worthy of listening to on it's own and evokes the emotions of the characters, and is the best representation of the series as a whole.
In the end, you might be wondering, is the anime better or as well adapted as its acclaimed manga counterpart? From an overall standpoint, the anime adaptation replicates as much from the manga as possible, but due to it being a 1-cour, the historical context is downplayed significantly, and not to mention that the anime adaptation sometimes doesn’t give off the same vibes as how well the manga did. Had this been a 2-cour (24-26 episodes), we would have appreciated much more, but I'll give props for what was presented here generally, and I would say that both are even as much as manga adaptation goes.
With that said, Golden Kamuy is definitely one of the better and premier shows of this season and it's comes recommended if you want a slice of history that’s not too heavy, and more so on the diversity of the culture behind it all.
Rarely do we get action-adventure stories with as much depth and intrigue as Golden Kamuy. Made all the more fascinating by it’s setting, a period of Japan’s history not often explored in anime. What sets it apart from other historical post-war stories is the focus given to the Ainu; a marginalized group of indigenous Japanese people that I’m willing to bet most of us hadn’t even heard of until this series.
While Golden Kamuy tells an action-packed treasure hunting story, it deftly weaves in an unflinching portrayal of Ainu culture. The in-depth detail that the culture is shown in is likely thanks to the Ainu
consultant on the production staff, ensuring the greatest accuracy possible. Moreover, this series never shies away from discussing the ugly way Japan treated the Ainu in the past either, in turn making the story more realistic and believable.
The story follows Saichi “The Immortal” Sugimoto, a gruff survivor of the Russo-Japanese war. Famous for violently slaughtering his foes to escape from dozens of life-threatening combat situations; as we see in many thrilling action sequences he’ll never be content with death, motivated by his unfinished business. Panning for gold during winter in Hokkaido’s wilderness is how he spends his time nowadays, desperate for money in order to keep a promise he made to his friend who died during the war. Lucky for him, he hears of a wild tale about a man who murdered a group of Ainu men, stole hundreds of pounds of gold, hid it in Hokkaido before his arrest, then tattooed a treasure map onto the bodies of his fellow prisoners.
In the opening episode, Sugimoto fights for a prisoner’s tattooed body with a bear who wants to make them both its next meal. Through a lucky encounter, he’s saved by a skilled Ainu hunter, a young girl named Asirpa. He confides the tale of hidden treasure in Asirpa, and together they begin their journey in search of it. As the story progresses it takes on a ‘prisoner of the week’ structure, but through constantly adding new characters the series avoids feeling formulaic. The prisoners have their own weird dispositions and stories of their own, gradually forming the greater narrative of what this treasure is all about. In spite of its premise, Golden Kamuy’s plot structure flows in a surprisingly natural way. Sometimes an episode may revolve around the duo escaping authorities who are after the treasure as well. A handful of sadistic villains add a constant sense of danger even when they’re not locked in combat with a prisoner. Then there’s the prisoner Shiraishi, a foolhardy escape artist, who joins the lead duo on their journey. This liberated form of writing makes every episode feel like you're getting something new, despite it occasionally causing the pacing to meander on certain parts rather than consistently developing the story.
At first, Sugimoto and Asirpa’s relationship is an uneasy alliance, he needs her help to find the gold and she needs his help to find the man who murdered her father. In spite of this beginning, they become friends and genuinely care about one another. Sugimoto sees firsthand how awfully people treat Ainu people by being around Asirpa, and he stands up for when he can because she accepts it being used to the racism. Fantastic commentary and discussion on the Ainu culture are deftly woven into their satisfying character arcs, never sounding preachy and somehow always presenting historical facts in an exciting way. Seeing them hunt with one another using Asirpa’s Ainu techniques is awesome; she teaches Sugimoto them as well and it brings plenty of chemistry but also strengthens their bond. The hunting methods she uses are always quite clever and lend themselves excellently to action scenes. Like Asirpa may teach Sugimoto and the viewer how to make squirrel traps to foreshadow its use later during a higher stakes combat scene. This is how you write an action scene! We’re presented clever ideas then they return later on to be used in creative ways, a satisfying outcome for any viewer keeping track of the Ainu lessons. Rewarding payoffs like this that make Golden Kamuy such an enjoyable experience.
The show well to avoid framing Sugimoto as better than Asirpa’s at the Ainu techniques that she taught him. Many stories land in this pitfall while trying to portray indigenous tribes, having the foreigner beat them at their own game not realizing how condescending that framing could be seen by the natives. Thankfully this does not happen in Golden Kamuy because it is intelligently and respectfully written.
Weighing down Golden Kamuy's adaptation the most is the mediocre visuals that fail to elevate the strong writing beyond the manga. It's clear the newly opened Geno Studio tried their best, but picking an action series to work on may have been out of there full capabilities. Backgrounds are messy and flat, character animation is passable but oversimplifies the manga’s great designs, and that hideous CGI bear looks like something out of a PS1 game. However, the opening "Winding Road" by Man With a Mission is fantastic, well edited and intensely performed, it's well suited to a survival series like this one. The ending theme "Hibana" is also one of the best of the season, great alternative rock that showcases detailed art from the manga.
Even with all of the high points Golden Kamuy has, I would consider the pitch-perfect tone to be its biggest strength. The show blends comedy with the gritty premise, the tone is balanced amazingly. Noboru Takagi, the guy who adapted Baccano also adapted this series’ already great source material, which is likely why the dialogue is so snappy and never feels slow or lacking. And this writing is only elevated by the fantastic voice acting; Asirpa’s seriousness played to comedic effect, Shiraishi’s goofy disregard for danger, Sugimoto’s fierceness in action sequences, it’s all excellent. The banter between Asirpa and Sugimoto is wonderfully lighthearted too, some of their expressions are hilariously over-exaggerated too. The action scenes are typically over-the-top with gore because of the wild personalities of all the characters, there is a scene with Sugimoto punching a bear! None of the violence feels like it's there for shock value either; they are in a survival situation, after all. Their lives are constantly in danger from enemies and them hunting for food is shown in visceral but realistic detail.
The tone is further balanced by the wonderful detail put into describing the food the group eats, using Ainu’s strangely delicious looking recipes to showcase their culture. While there’s a fair share of dramatic scenes, the show always maintains it’s wry charm thanks to the characters. Regardless of how absurdly dangerous their survival situation might be.
[Story: 8/10] Compelling premise, great commentary.
[Character: 8/10] Likable, well developed, believable.
[Art: 5.5/10] Bad CGI, lacking detail, serviceable action.
[Sound: 8/10] Strong voice performances, great OP/ED.
[Enjoyment: 9/10] Funny comedy, exhilarating action.
[Final Score: 7.7/10]
Regardless of Golden Kamuy’s production flaws, it’s writing is way too good to not recommend. I would also recommend seeking out the manga as well if you want to see the series art at a higher quality. With a second season coming in the Fall Season, we can only hope it is produced by someone other than Geno Studio. Nevertheless, Golden Kamuy is an insightful and worthwhile adventure that manages to thrill with compelling action and endear with its fantastic characters in equal parts.
Golden Kamuy is that rarest of things among anime: a pleasant surprise. It combines elements of action, slice of life, and military anime into a period historical drama that is both harrowingly tense and a whole bunch of fun. For the characters and action alone this show is worth watching, but the small window it gives us into the history and culture of the Ainu people makes this show a must-watch.
In the frigid northern reaches of Hokkaido we meet Saichi Sugimoto, a legendary veteran of the recent (1904-05) Russo-Japanese war who is said to be nearly immortal. It is good that he is apparently immortal,
because pretty soon everybody and everything starts trying to kill him. Sugimoto has decided to search for a hidden cache of stolen Ainu gold, which does indeed seem like a really good idea. The problem is that a bunch of other veterans have had the same really good idea, and let us just say that they do not much appreciate the competition. A shocking amount of violence ensues. I may or may not have failed to mention that the location of the treasure is tattooed on the backs of 24 escaped convicts, and that the convicts do not take to kindly to being hunted down and skinned...
Sugimoto soon realizes that the harsh wilderness of Hokkaido will be an even bigger problem that the army of unpleasant people trying to shoot and hit him with things, but a deus ex machina in the form of a young Ainu woman named Asirpa appears and takes an interest in Sugimoto's hunt for the gold that was stolen from her people. Asirpa is an experienced survivalist whose competence and wealth of knowledge perfectly compliments Sugimoto's terrifying hardiness and physical prowess. Together they set out to take the stolen Ainu gold for themselves.
Art and Sound:
Both good, neither amazing. It looks perfectly clean and is very well animated, and it also definitely feels cold. They did a good job of conveying the harshness of the winter. The voice work is also great. A special shout out goes to the Ainu language that we get to hear. Apparently they hired an Ainu Linguist to make sure it was legit, and that kind of attention to detail is super impressive IMO.
Sugimoto is relateable, complicated, and most of all a total badass. Asirpa is strong, endearing, and just as capable as Sugimoto at putting up a fight. Together they are a perfect team, and they seem to know it. They are pretty clearly interested in each other, and because I like them both I totally want them to get together. I can't wait to see what happens with them. I suspect it will be tragic because the show is kind of like that, but if it is it will be super fuckin tragic and full of feels and I'll probably cry. So that's cool too.
My favorite part so far has been getting to meet the Ainu characters and see them cook, worship, hunt, and live their lives. It feels like whoever wrote this really cared about showing aspects of the Ainu culture in a way that is both educational and fun to watch. There has been as much food porn as a really slow episode of Shokugeki no Souma, so that's awesome too.
The majority of the rest of the characters are either tattooed cons or hardened and borderline unhinged veterans of the 7th division of the Imperial Japanese Army. Anybody who survived the war and the harsh conditions of Hokkaido has got be one grizzled bastard, and they do not disappoint. Special shout to their commander who is especially grizzled and especially a bastard. He's the guy with the scary face. You'll know who I mean when you see it.
Enjoyment: I am absolutely loving this show so far, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I suppose it contains too much violence for a young kid (although I totally would've loved it as a kid just sayin) but otherwise anybody who wants to have a pretty kick-ass time and learn some stuff about the history and culture of Japan at the same time should watch this show.
WATCH GOLDEN KAMUY YOU GUYS IT'S REALLY GOOOOOOOD!!!!!
Golden Kamuy looks like yet another seinen which anime adaptation aims to destroy everything its source material accomplished. These were my expectations anyway, but I was wrong.
The writing is a bit lacking with its "pray and spray" war tactics and telepoting buddies who save the day on last possible second, but the atmosphere quickly makes up for this. In the first 5 minutes of episode 01, we get a scene where drunken man sits on a snowy river bank, gazing into nothingness while the heat from his campfire seems to be his only comfort. This scene is perfect. It gives us understanding of the series
universe and shows us with what type of mindset the series should be approaced with. Not to mention that the animated fire itself is glorious as hell. Almost like from triple A video game. Golden Kamuy doesn't take its time, it directly goes into business by explaining what it is all about. Something which most seinen anime adaptations and shows from current season in generally have failed to do.
From its production, Golden Kamuy has clearly learned from others' mistakes. I was afraid this would suffer from the downgrade effect we have seen in the past with series such as Blade of the Immortal, Hellsing and Shin Angyo Onshi. On the other hand, I was afraid the overall feel of the series would be destroyed with CGI/art directing like Kingdom did with its S01, or Drifters or *shivers* Berserk with its newer adaptations. Reality is the opposite. This gives us hope that maybe Wit Studios won't make Vinland Saga unwatchable after all. Smarter choices. Golden Kamuy art and animation perfectly represent the series. I am genuinely surprised.
The story and characters were never the strongest part of this series, and the production team seems to be well aware of this. It plays with tensions, build-up and audiovisual execution exactly as it should. On top of that, every new episode has been better than the last. I highly recommend this series especially to manga readers who have already given up hope on the lesser medium. The fans of 'Seirei no Moribito' and 'Blade of the Immortal' should check this out ASAP as well.
Geno is a very new study, coming from people who used to work in Manglobe. His quality is by novice, now with the director of Goshik and with the screenwitter of Baccano?
A soldier named "Sugimoto the Immortal", after the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, starts looking for gold to pay for the operation of sight of the widow of a friend fallen in combat. There he discovers that there is a treasure map of the "Ainu" (Nippon Eskimos) and joins with a loli of this tribe to get hold of it. And there are CG bears.
the story is quite interesting, there is a lot of hidden
gold and the only clues to find it are tattoos of very dangerous people, this leads to two things, one to be interested in who will be the next rival to face and two, learn about the culture Ainu, and see some decent moments of action, which will make Golden kamuy a pretty entertaining story
-Art,Sound and staff-
Produced by Geno, it looks pretty decent, chapter two is pretty loose in terms of section, but the 3rd and the recent have a quality that is passable, the soundtrack captures some scenes very well and the opening and ending are very good, up here ok, the only bad thing is the CGI
Sugimoto is by far the best character in the series, similar to guts (berserk), it is very well sized and it is interesting to see how it goes from crazy assassin to serious and calm man, Asirpa is also a very solid character, and is not a immature loli as we are used to seeing in the industry, and Yoshitake is quite charismatic, the rest of the characters are interesting and as they move forward they may find themselves with some pretty solid villains.
The story is interesting, the Ainu culture too, and if the quality does not decline we may see incredible action scenes with sugimoto facing people in search of gold oh people who carry tattoos, highly recommended if you are looking for a series of action and adventures
Golden Kamuy is an anime from just last year. It's based off a Noda Satoru manga that's been going since 2014 and the anime was handled by Geno studio. No relation to a certain marionette with a gun arm. So, I don't know anything about either the writer or studio. Let's dive right into the series. We'll just be looking at series one today. I might look at the second another time.
The story is set shortly after the Russo-Japanese war. Our hero, "Immortal" Sugimoto fought in the war as a soldier and always managed to survive in spite of being put into many deadly situations. Since
the war ended, he's panning for gold to try to help an old friend's widow. He's listening to a drunken idiot who tells him the story of a bunch of escaped convicts with tattoos leading to a great treasure. At first, he doesn't believe it but then the drunkard sobers up enough to really regret telling the story and Sugimoto discovers that he is, in fact, one of the tattooed convicts. Sugimoto quickly ends up pairing with a young Ainu hunter named Asirpa in order to find the treasure before the other groups hunting for it do.
The only glaring narrative problem with this series is that it can be overly slow at times. There are a lot of scenes with Asirpa just explaining hunting techniques or outdoors survival information to Sugimoto and they don't do much for the major narrative. They're just kind of dragged out, boring segments. You could cut out the bulk of these scenes and really lose nothing. It's like Noda did a lot of research into the Ainu, how they lived and hunted and really wanted everyone to know.
To the series' credit, the concept is a strong one. Having two major groups and a small one all looking for the same treasure with their own motivations to do so makes for a good, dynamic conflict. And even if the hunting scenes do go on too long, I do appreciate the details about Ainu life and culture. They give the series a strong grounding. The series also does a decent job of balancing the more serious aspects of the story with some more comedic elements. Although the joke of Asirpa thinking that miso is faeces does get old pretty quickly. The series also does end at a good point. There's enough intrigue to get you interested in the second series and enough content that you don't feel cheated.
The series does a good job of developing its major characters, Sugimoto & Asirpa. It also does a good job with certain side characters, most notably Tanigaki. I'll also credit it with fleshing out the differing motivations for wanting the treasure pretty clearly. That being said, a lot of the convicts they encounter are pretty much nothing characters and there are some other side characters who don't really have anything to them.
The artwork is nicely done. It's got some good details. The backgrounds are well done. The various animals we see are drawn nicely. The action sequences are great. The only real issue I have with it is that it does suffer at times from "shounen design." Basically, having characters who are supposed to look interesting and unique but look kind of stupid. The big examples are Tsurumi & Ushiyama. I know we're supposed to find them both somewhat intimidating, but it's hard to view them that way since they both look goofy.
Kobayashi Chikahiro, Shiraishi Haruka & Nakata Jouji deserve a lot of praise for their performances in this. While all the performances are pretty good, those three are fantastic in their roles. Suehiro Kenichiro's soundtrack is nicely composed as well.
There's a bit where a couple guys fall for a cross dressing man, but that's about it. And when they find out he is a man one of them really freaks out and the other isn't too happy when he comes to his senses.
Areas of Improvement:
Skip the vast majority of the hunting scenes. We really don't need to see a long explanation for how to hunt bear or a fox or a rabbit. If we wanted to know that, we'd be watching Huntin' and Killin' with Jimbo & Ned. If you need to put in some filler to stall for time, at least have the characters talk about something interesting or use the time to develop some characters. Long explanations about hunting techniques aren't either.
Let Asirpa realise that Sugimoto is not, in fact, practising coprophagia. The joke works at first but after a while it just gets old and you want it to end.
Rework the designs for Tsurumi & Ushiyama. The idea behind Tsurumi's design might work if you had his scalp torn open and his skull clearly visible in a more disturbing way rather than making it look like he's wearing a white plate strapped to his forehead, but Ushiyama's flashy square in his forehead will never not look stupid.
In the end, Golden Kamuy is a pretty solid series. There might be some things that don't work very well, but at its core the series has a compelling concept, well written major characters, strong artwork and animation and good performances. Is it among the best anime ever made? No. Is it a good, entertaining series? Yes. My final rating is going to stand at a 7/10.
Hello there this is ma first review on MAL...
On my first review am going to write about the Anime 'Golden Kamuy'.First thing is this anime is about a guy who team up with a Ainu girl(a Japanese tribe)to search a vast amount of gold which is hidden.
Story: As mentioned above its like a treasure hunt but the thing is anime takes place during Meiji era.(Japanese ruler who ruled japan around 1914 and who supported modernization in japan)So the theme of war can be seen.A guy kills the members of Ainu tribe and steals their gold n he hides it somewhere.When he was arrested he draws
tattoos on the bodies of prisoners n that will lead to the 'treasure' that is hidden.So bla bla happens n prisoners escape from prison n they spread out.After that they come to know in order to get the gold they need all the tattoo patterns and the story goes...Story is decent but one more plus thing is this anime also covers about the tradition of Ainu tribe,the way they used to live and also the practice of peoples in that era...Story is good as well as informative so i gave it a score 9...
Art: I will keep this short.Artwork is good..the background ,fight scenes are decently animated and looks fine..but only thing i thought which didn't fit is the 'bear' animation(you will understand when you watch the anime)
Sound: Background music,voice acting,Opening as well as ending are just fine..Especially the voice acting of both Sugimoto and Asirpa are good...
Character: Main characters are great..Asirpa a wise girl who knows how to handle tools as well as the nature in order to survive and hates killing people..N our hero the 'Immortal' Sugimoto who don't even hesitate to kill people if his life is on the line...And If i take other characters into consideration they just do their role perfectly..Overall the characters are decent and the design is unique...
Overall and Enjoyment: Trust me if you are a fan of historical anime you will love this for sure..Overall anime is great as well as informative.I would say one of the best currently airing anime..I suggest give it a try..Ty:)
Apart from the 3D CGI animals this anime is pretty well done they follow the manga and the facial expressions was pretty well done and the colours in this show was outstanding, I also have to give credit to the opening and ending but mainly the ending because the visuals during the ending was brilliant and the ending track was awesome as well 👌 I gotta say among the shows that was airing at the same time this seires was the most enjoyable to watch every week I did feel a bit sorry for the animals that they killed and ate tho R I.P but
besides that this series was awesome I can't wait for season 2, the Japanese voice actors for this series was good especially hijikata loved him everytime he spoke
In case someone just wants the quick review right away, my verdict is that if you have even a bit of curiosity in the manga series or manga in general, then read this over watching it.
Story: The source material for this manga is absolutely great. A comedy adventure Seinen which is a dream come true for my interests. The world is fairly fleshed in the anime, although the manga does moreso through the introduction of historical context and small tirades about local wildlife and food. The characters themselves become very interesting, more get introduced with their distinct personalities and reactions. One thing about adventure manga
and anime that is fantastic is that eventually, you come to know how a character should react, because you become in tune with their personalities. Golden Kamuy does a good job at introducing these kind of characters. One BIG fault in the anime i saw is that my personal favorite arc, (focusing on an old samurai, his comrade, and a sniper wandering into a lawless town. It was explicitly Kurosawa thing to do, the author wrote a love letter to the samurai films of old.) That was completely cut out. Now it's a nitpick maybe to some,at 12 episodes things have to be skipped and streamlined. But even then, the final episode landed on an arbitrary note. It could have easily ended on the samurai arc. Again personal nitpick that highlights that the manga is filled with more information. 7/10
Art: CGI bears everywhere. Good lord i hope they make them look better because there is an arc with 3 bears constantly in frame as a foe. Besides that though, the artstyle is adequate. People are identifiable, movement is sometimes a little choppy but it works, the comical facial expressions translate well. 6/10
Sound: nice opening theme and ending theme, but i can't say i remember much of the music within the actual episodes. In fact, at times i felt the show was too quiet, although that kinda adds to the natural aspect of it. 6/10
Characters: I have already stated above that the characters are amazing. Interesting dynamics arise as you follow 3 groups that have their own goals, getting even more interesting when they bleed into each other as members start using various groups for their own gain. I can't get too into detail because i feel it is much more effective to watch it. 9/10
Overall: Good introduction, but the manga is much closer to the authors vision so if it interests you please go read it. If not and you enjoy the manga, rejoice because you get a second season this same years.
Golden Kamuy (meaning Golden Gods in the Ainu Language) is one of the better Original Anime that came out this Spring 2018 season. Even before it aired it had a lot of Hype behind it since the manga already had a big folowing. So, Did it live up to it's hype? Let's Find Out.
The Story Follows Sugimoto "The Inmortal", A soldier that survived the Russo-Japanese war of the Meiji era that Wants to help his deceased Comrade's wife, along with Asirpa, an Ainu girl that saves Sugimoto from the harsh, cold Climates of Hokkaido, in their Quest to find a stash of gold hidden
by some criminals. In order to find that treasure they need to find several escaped prisioners, each with a diferent tatoo that when put together give away the location of the treasure. In my opinion the story was pretty good. The stakes are always rising And I never felt that someting happened just to keep the stoy moving. The story flowed naturally and didn't really feel too forced.
The Art in this Anime can be clasiffied in 2 Parts, Traditional Animation and CGI. The traditionally animated parts were pretty good. The characters felt expressive and the animation was all around Smooth and Beutiful. On the Other Hand, the CGI Was atrocious. Most CGI Used (Mostly the bears) felt forced and not really needed. I think they could've used traditional animation to do the bears and other Animals but Whatever. If you don't mind the use the use of CGI in anime then you will really like this Anime's style. the good thing is that the CGI was only used in the early episodes so no need to worry.
The OST Ws really good. Most Background music was nice and not to distracting. The OP is done by Man with a Mission, One of my Favorite Japanese bands. Even if the anime itself doesn't catch your interest I recommend you go watch the Opening. the ED was also good, just not as memorable.
All Characters are very Charismatic and play off each other perfectly. Just not to spoil some interactions, I'm Gonna mention one of the earlier ones. One of the Times Asirpa and Sugimoto are eating, Sugimoto decides to add Miso to what they were eating (I don't remember the details). Asirpa thenmakes a Disguted face and starts calling Miso "osoma" (meaning Sh*t in Ainu basically). This becomes one of the recurring jokes of the show and it never gets old.
This Anime is really enjoyable. The Action Moments are Epic AF and the Funny moments are really funny. its a roller coster from start to finish. not really a lot to say.
The Show is really good. It is a Nice Historical Comedy action anime and its definately worth a Watch. Its only 12 episodes so its not that much of a compromise. Even if you don't like the historical premise I recommend you watch it. You may be pleasently surprised by its really good humor. With this I Sign off. Until the next review. bye
This Cabela's Hunting simulation game was amazing. 10/10 would definitely buy this game again. This is a wonderful anime about hunting. You follow our heroes as they hunt foxes, whales, fish, bears, squirrels and other game. It will teach you how to survive in the wilderness when the crap hits the fan. Need to know how to gut a deer and warm yourself with its innards? Golden Kamuy has got you. Need to know how to burn poop in order to antagonize a wolf? Golden Kamuy has got you. Need to know how to skin a squirrel? Golden Kamuy has got
you. Need to know how to skin a human? Yes, even then, Golden Kamuy has got you.
This anime was brought to you buy a team of psychopaths who will simultaneously teach you how to track and hunt people, and laugh while doing it. You'll wonder if you're losing a part of your soul as you laugh as people are gutted and attacked by wild orcas. Death has never been so hilarious.
In all seriousness, this is a good anime. It's pretty insane, but not the most insane thing I've seen today, since I also watched a the first few episodes of Zombie Land Saga, but it's pretty close. Basically, a war hero who survives every attempt to kill him and an ethnic hunter girl, team up to track down and skin inmates who have a map to a mountain of gold that was stolen from her people. As word spreads about the maps, former military elites, and remnants of the Shinsengumi start hunting for the gold, too. Which leads to lots of chaos and death and gore and...laughs?
That's probably the most surprising thing about this anime, is that it's really funny. Animes like this are usually very serious, but Golden Kamuy manages to mix in tons of humor while war veterans and convicts pretty much massacre each other in very gory ways.
Outside of that, the characters are likable, the story is interesting, and while the animation could be better, it's not bad. I really have no complaints about the anime. It's pretty good. Although, the ending of the season was kind of flat as it was just a bridge for the second season. Fortunately, I'm watching this late, so I don't have to wait for a second season after finishing this.
Golden Kamuy follows the journey of Japanese soldier Sugimoto and the Ainu girl, Aspira, partner up to track down the whereabouts of stolen Ainu gold with the map of it being tattooed in portions to the bodies of escaped convicts. Also in the search for the convicts are a couple rival parties consisting of a criminal alliance and Japanese imperial officers who are seeking out the gold for their own ends.
Golden Kamuy sticks out particularly for its historically accurate depiction of the Ainu indigenous people. Through Aspira and other members of her tribe, the series offers a look at the indigenous customs, appearance, language, and
beliefs of the Ainu. The Ainu trends focused on in Golden Kamuy included their belief in animism, following specific hunting trends depending on the season, and having their own unique language different from the Japanese. The series also took time to explore some of the historical challenges faced by the tribe at the early part of the 20th century. The Ainu were finding their lands and culture marginalized by the Japanese government as the Ainu were being assimilated with Japanese culture due to the country's efforts to try modernizing its culture to fit the Western style and wishing to claim the abundant natural resources found within Ainu territories. This is seen with some imperial Japanese soldiers trying to lay claim to animals and resources within Ainu lands at a number of points throughout the series, as well as Sugimoto occasionally having to stand up for Aspira when she is discriminated against by Japanese folk.
Beyond its focus on Ainu culture, Golden Kamuy offers a solid mix of gritty adventure, action, and comedy exploring Sugimoto and Aspira's adventures to claim more of the tattoo skins from the escaped convicts. Our two leads offer some solid and fun chemistry with one another throughout the series as both delight in the company of one another, fight against animal and human threats together, and will tease one another during the anime's more lighter scenes. In addition, Golden Kamuy also takes the time to flesh out both characters to depict their moral beliefs and motives for committing to their journey. The series offers solid exploration of the different factions in the Ainu gold hunt as more is revealed about the motives of each faction and more details on the tattoos are revealed in regards to locating the Ainu gold.
The show does have some imperfections. For an action anime, the visuals to Golden Kamuy are a bit on the subpar side for a 2018 anime as character designs looked a little rough with visual details, the animation okay though nothing remarkable, and some bad use of CGI animation (notably with the rendering of some of the animals confronted). While I enjoyed Aspira and Sugimoto's interactions together, the comical banter between them was a bit hit-or-miss for me. Also, the series does end inconclusively as Sugimoto's group and others are still seeking out the whereabouts of the Ainu gold. But with news of a second season of Golden Kamuy coming out for the Fall 2018 season, the third issue would be a minor one compared to the rest.
Minor gripes aside, Golden Kamuy offers an engaging, gritty, and solid mix of action, adventure and comedy in the search for the lost Ainu gold as well as being unique for its believable exploration of the Ainu culture during the turn of the 20th century in Japan. With the news of a second season coming along in the near future, I look forward to seeing more of what this series can offer up.
This is a really unique, surprising, dark, funny, and fun show. I highly recommend it. Honestly, the description doesn’t do it justice.
What I liked about it:
1. I love that it was set in Hokkaido. It’s a part of Japan that doesn’t get much love in anime and it was refreshingly different. Plus, they utilized every aspect of that unique setting to their advantage and did it well. It wasn’t just a setting or backdrop. It was an integral part of the story.
2. The hero is a truly morally gray antihero and he was delightful.
3. All the characters were
What I didn't like about it:
1. I could have done without the campy, Gintamaesque, toilet / sexual humor. It really didn’t fit with the story or the tone and was more often jarring than funny. There were plenty of other ways that they were funny without having to resort to that.
2. It got a little confusing to me at times. There’s A LOT of twists and turns, a lot of shifting loyalties, and a lot of characters, all traits that are part of what make it great, but just means you really have to pay attention.
STORY: As I said already, this was a really unique story. It’s not just a quest to find a vein of gold or a secret treasure. It’s actually a quest to find the pieces of the “map” that will lead to the gold. Except the pieces of the “map” are people. It’s not a spoiler to tell you what the anime tells you in the middle of the first episode. The “map” is a series of tattoos made across the entire upper bodies of twelve ex-prisoners. The only way to “read” the “map” is to skin the people and lay all the “pieces” out properly. Macabre! And genius!
So not only does Sugimoto have to find people who don’t want to be found, he has to keep hold of the few “pieces” he gets and dodge all the other factions that are searching for the same thing. There is a lot of deception and betrayal and intrigue and suspense and in short, it’s a helluva lot of fun to watch! This is such a unique take on the Quest / Treasure trope and I love it.
CHARACTERS: There are a lot of characters in this anime and it can be difficult to keep track of who’s who, especially because they keep changing loyalties all over the place. But that’s part of the fun of it. The characters, good guys and bad, are mostly well-developed and complex. Yes, there’s some tropey ones but they’re done well and fun to watch in their tropey role.
Each major player seeking the treasure has his or her own motive for searching for it and all those motives are sympathetic to one degree or another, even the “evil” ones. In the case of Tsurumi, we get a good look at how an initially good motivation, when taken to the very end of the spectrum, can turn evil. There’s no evil for the sake of evil but there are characters that we love to hate.
Sugimoto is, as I said above, a truly morally gray antihero in the most classic sense of the word. He’s not so far into the black that he’s a villain in disguise but he’s also perfectly ok with “acceptable losses,” as it were, and has no trouble doing what needs doing. He has his own motivations and acts according to those. It makes him unpredictable and keeps things fun and suspenseful.
I was worried that Asirpa would be an annoying child sidekick and thankfully, she wasn’t that at all. She’s a very genuine and believable and likeable character, which is REALLY rare for me to say of a female character.
CULTURE: Because Asirpa was Ainu, there were a lot of cultural differences and I really liked that aspect of the show. It could have gotten real preachy but it didn’t. There were more instances where the Japanese characters learned to appreciate Ainu culture than the other way around, but it was a two-way street, even if one lane was busier than the other. There was growth on all sides and in the current political and social climate of our world, it was a great message, wonderfully presented.
ART: The art was unpredictable. The characters are well drawn, especially Asirpa and Hijikata, in my opinion. The bears …. I don’t know what the eff they were thinking with the bears. Some of the panning landscape shots lacked detail but aside from the bears, nothing about the art detracted me from the story.
MUSIC: I loved the OP and almost never skipped it. The EP was ok but I did often skip that one. The music during the show was good too. It did a really great job of laying down tone and atmosphere, and was even used strategically for comedy.
OVERALL, I highly recommend this anime and I’m looking forward to the next twelve episodes.
Long story short, Golden Kamuy is a cooking show featuring a sideplot of a murder mystery scavenger hunt and the traditions of a largely unknown indigenous people. Whether or not this is a good thing is objectively questionable, but hey, it's fun as hell.
Our story takes place during Japan's Meiji Restoration after a bout in the Russo-Japanese war. Discharged military officer Saichi Sugimoto comes across a story from a friend during a night of drinking in the woods about a horde of gold rivaling that of the nation's coffers hidden by a prisoner who tattooed a map to it on the backs of his fellow
prisoners. After his 'friend' tries to kill him after spilling the beans, Sugimoto finds himself to be in possession of one portion of the map, and, aiding an Ainu girl by the name of Asirpa, embarks on a quest to find the hidden treasure.
The show is a clash of a bunch of different elements, ranging from a gruesome action show with blood, torture, and gunfights, to a comedic cooking show where our protagonists live off of the land hunting animals for their next meal, doing the traditional tribal trait of 'using every part of the animal' from their organs to the nails on their toes. And yet somehow, despite having all of these random genres thrown into a pot, it all just works. As a result of this, Golden Kamuy has a range of different tones and varying pacing that keeps the series interesting, switching gears at the flip of a switch once some character slips up or a plan is set into motion keeping interest for the plot that zips around from place to place.
Not only that, but as a timely piece set in the Meiji Restoration, the show bears a lot of historical fact as characters like the men from the 7th division show the toll the war has had on them, and the show's deep inclusion of the Ainu people, an indigenous people separate to the Japanese, weaves their culture through each episode through virtue of things like hunting practices, practiced tradition, and most importantly, food. Because holy hell these characters eat a lot. It's this combined with the show's main plot of skinning about forty men to find a massive stash of gold that makes it such a unique experience to watch.
That being said, the show feels like it drags its feet too much sometimes. There're so many instances that show has Asirpa teach Sugimoto how to cook her people's food that I felt confused whether or not this was an action historical show or a cooking show. Moderation is key, and I actually lost the plot sometimes because it felt like the show legitimately forgot that there were dangerous individuals at play here out to flay the skins of specific individuals to find a horde of stolen precious metals.
+ Mixed elements that work
+ Unique plot
- Focuses too much on cooking sometimes
Saichi Sugimoto, the man nicknamed "Immortal Sugimoto", is a character who has pretty lackluster character motivation. At the start of the series, we learn that his motivation for the gold is to try and help a widow of a friend that died in war, and already we see some of the problems. The show almost has no note of this original motivation, transitioning to aiding Asirpa as his primary goal. While the latter makes more sense from a narrative standpoint due to Asirpa being his traveling partner, the foot that the show started on thinking back was pretty bad compared to what we eventually see. On Sugimoto's actual personality, what we have is a man who just 'does'. He's interesting because rarely does he ever hesitate as his battle instincts constantly kick in, leading to a good majority of the series's action scenes.
Then there's Asirpa, an Ainu girl who searches for the gold to avenge her father's death. Pioneering a new set of ideals for Ainu traditions, Asirpa is an avid hunter who has a similar mindset with Sugimoto, as they fearlessly search for the gold. She's a companion character who uses her tribe's knowledge to her advantage and it's nice to see a child in a series who doesn't act like a brat, but instead, contributes greatly to the show. Both Asirpa and Sugimoto are more or less two sides of the same coin, acting as companions who help each other thick and thin, so much so that I genuinely forgot at times that she's only about thirteen years old given the amount of murder and bodily harm she's inflicted onto men more than twice her age.
The rest of the cast is expansive, ranging from Shirashi, an ally who is prisoner specializing in escape, and various characters who follow under the command of the two other factions in the series led by Lt. Tsurumi, a man without his frontal cortex who is very off his rocker and resorts to torturous methods to get the information he wants, and Hijikata Toshizo, a prisoner whose name may sound familiar to you history buffs, each with their own reason to want the gold. My issue with the cast however stands with the fact that the sides get very muddy until the very end. It takes a while for things to settle in, so I was erratic at wondering who was really allies with who due to the amount of betrayals and numerous parties that appeared at any given moment.
+ Interesting dual protagonists
+ Very 'colorful' side cast
- Sides and factions get confusing for a while
Produced by a relatively new company, Geno Studio, Golden Kamuy is pretty average by anime art standards. There's not really much to say about the art aside from the show's consistent quality and pension for snow biomes due to the show playing out its entire plot in the wintertime. Colors are a bit on the muted side of things, and animation is pretty standard, exploding into more frames only during the action portions of the show.
As for the action however, Golden Kamuy proves itself to be a gruesome show, being nonchalantly bloody as body parts are cut off, shots are piercing bodies at every interval, and CGI animals maul people to death. Yeah, the CG isn't very good, but it's pretty uncommon, so it's not much of a concern. This is where I think the art shines, as the show is pretty blasé about this kind of stuff, and that's nice how it doesn't censor itself. It's also worth noting that the show rarely uses conventional comedic portrayals off model characters, instead opting for sticking to its usual artstyle put changing facial expressions that are actually funnier than what most other shows do. This, coupled with how dark and grim things can turn at a drop of a dime with simple shading underneath the eyes makes the style very fluid with what it can accomplish.
+ Consistent quality
+ Tastefully gruesome
+ Interesting comedic portrayals
- CG is PRETTY obvious, even if used rarely
Man with a Mission's "Winding Road" is a pretty standard song for the band; a rock song with a moderate tempo to portray a long and arduous journey with many bumps in the road. It's a good song, but kind of samey for the kind of stuff that they do. That being said, I do find myself liking this more than some of their other songs, so it gets a repeat listen quality from me. By comparison, we have THE SIXTH LIE's "Hibana", a similar sounding song that in contrast has more muted tones and less energy to its OP counterpart. It harkens more to the tradition aspect of Asirpa and her culture involving the Kamuy, spiritual or divine entities in Ainu mythos that add a nice finish to the show after each episode.
I always make it a challenge to find and watch a show out of my comfort zone in an effort to expand my horizons and the varieties of things that I watch. Golden Kamuy was the pick for this season, and I honestly have to agree with the praise and popularity that the series has picked up. 'Historical' is one of my least watched genres, and being able to enjoy something from it was a fun experience.
There aren't many things about Golden Kamuy that I can harp it on. With an interesting premise, fun characters that flip between serious and humorous, good art and a good soundtrack, there're hardly any negatives that I can tack onto the show cause by the end of it, the show felt like a rewarding watch, I anticipate the next season, and I can safely recommend it to those how're interested in a genuinely unique series that offers more than at first glance. I do wish that they dampened down the amount of cooking that they did, but the most humorous parts of the series came from that, so for that, I have no complaints. Plus, the faces these characters make are hilarious.
Golden Kamuy is one of those anime that I think are undeniably entertaining, but I ultimately don’t have much to say about it. It’s not exactly in depth or memorable as some of the other anime this season, but it’s definitely good. I can’t deny that. At the same time, there are no particular scenes that stand out, no characters that I was truly interested in, and a plot that really doesn’t go anywhere. Despite all of that, I am still able to say Golden Kamuy was fun. If I had to pick an aspect of the anime that was memorable, it’d be that it
was funnier than I was expecting it to be. I don’t have much to say about the any of the main cast outside of their basic descriptions you could get off of a wiki page. There weren’t any bad character at the very least. Oh, I almost forgot about the CGI Bears. A lot of people think they looked weird and out of place. Those people would be right. I just found it funny each time and was looking forward to seeing how it’d find a way into an episode. While the last episode was probably the least enjoyable of the 12, I can appreciate the fact that the episode announced that the 2nd season would be airing in October. It really makes up for the lackluster season finale.
Golden Kamuy is a series that has a lot of potential as it continues forward to season 2. I think it narrowly missed some of the potential regarding character interactions, growth, and general direction in season 1. It certainly had some high moments and episodes, many laughs and surprises, but there was always a higher potential beneath what was portrayed.
The highest point for me (mild spoiler alert) as someone who recently played Hakuoki's numerous releases was the reveal of Hijikata being one of the main nemesis characters to the series. This tied the series into Japanese history and other popular titles in a way
fictional characters simply could not.
I believe this series has the potential to be a slow-burning success, assuming the approved 2nd season lives up to and surpasses the first.
I really had a hard time determining whether this would be a 7 or 8 overall. I feel 8 has a certain level of quality, that the CGI made me have a tough time trying to justify it. Alternatively, 7 felt too low for the quality of characters, animations, and artstyle (besides the CGI) the season produced overall. The fact remains that in a season where I've dropped about 1/4 of the shows I started with, this one managed to stay until the end. While I know some manga readers were upset with the adaptation, others remained happy. I'll try to articulate what made Golden
Kamuy stand out this season among the best.
Story: The story is fairly straightforward. Treasure maps of a gold stockpile are tattooed on the backs of prisoners who escaped years prior. What's not so straightforward, and is the main draw of the series, is this happens in a time of political and militaristic unrest in the Hokkaido area. A mixture of the Ainu tribes difficulties with the Japanese government, the aftermath of the Japan-Russo war in the early 1900's, and the product of a previous gold rush, the story is interwoven into some truths that really bring it's tale to life. Overall, it's very grounded in its setting, while also remaining lighthearted through character interactions. The story is so simple, it's almost impossible to become stale. Essentially, the show is great at establishing it's "status for victory" which can be a problem for some anime. In FMA they needed to get Al's body back, Naruto needed to become hokage, etc. Rather than a "monster-of-the-week villain" structure (which is so easy to fall into with a story setup around finding a bunch of prisoners) the show alternates between specific prisoner's being chased and the overall conflict between three major groups looking for the treasure. I could see this show doing very well for the foreseeable future, and the confirmation of a season 2 has me hoping it's more than just a manga commercial.
Art: The art in this show is very divisive. I almost panned this show when I kept seeing and hearing jokes about the poor CGI present throughout the series. I can honestly say that this idea was completely overblown. The CGI looks absolutely terrible, however, it's only present with the bears and the fire. While the fire is barely noticeable, the bears only appear a handful of times throughout the series. The "defining bad quality" for this season, really wasn't that bad. These bad instances of CGI are also combated through the use of unique and hilarious facial animations taken straight from the comics. Asirpa's reactions to new and unfamiliar things are priceless, and the overblown nature of her faces are a solid core to the uplifting parts of the show. Finally, while everything seems dated, none of it seems too bland. Crowds wear a diverse array of period clothing, Ainu are easily seen through their garb, and soldiers have a distinct look and feel to both their animations/mannerisms as well as their clothing. Overall, the art stumbles in the beginning, but becomes more consistent throughout the series.
Character: The meat. The meal. The feast. Hands down the most enthralling part of the show is the character interactions throughout the series. Not simply Sugimoto and Asirpa's relationship (although the poop joke seems to have many applications), but you'll see side characters with barely any relationship interacting on a regular basis. The previously mentioned style of avoiding "monster of the week" style battle royales allows these characters to survive, interact, and plan in a way that's sorely missed in a lot of shows. Rather than introducing a cool character only to kill him off by the end of the episode, they can escape, plot, and provide new context to the later story. Sometimes men die, sometimes they escape, and sometimes they ally with you. If it wasn't for the fact I'm pretty certain about Sugimoto's and Asirpa's safety, I'd say that the characters often can have a "Game of Thrones" feel about them.
To close out, if the CGI is the only thing stopping you from watching, don't let it. You're punishing yourself by not watching this show this season. It's not groundbreaking, but it's quality writing, acting, and characters that are lent a good story from a great manga.
If you're looking for a complicated plot, a story that will move you to tears, animation that will blow you out of the water, don't watch Golden Kamuy.
If you love the absurdity and violence of Jojo's, learning about Historical Japan/Ainu culture and a wonderful array of quirky, hilarious and scary (all at the same time) cast of characters, this is the show for you.
Yes, the first few episodes are quite rough, especially if you aren't familiar with the manga and are confused about the tone, plot and themes of the show, but once you realize what it offers, you'll definitely know if it's for you.
When you're done with this show, you'll find yourself chanting "Hinna Hinna!", and perhaps wanting some osoma miso.