Posted on 26 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Golden Kamuy

Before I start, I just want to bring up the news that indeed, Golden Kamuy will have second cour, airing in this Fall season. For now I can’t say for sure if I’m up to cover the second cour, it’ll have to depend on the crop of Fall season. As a result, this final episode doesn’t even attempt to have any kind of closure. New character again get introduced, and again, this new blood is awesome. Western genre in general doesn’t have a good track when it comes to female character, and so far I wouldn’t say Inkarmat a great character, but hell does she leave an impression. Although everyone save Shiraishi make it pretty clear that they think fortune-telling is rubbish, she knows more than what she lets on here. For now I can’t say for sure if she’s an ally or a foe, but based on my impression she will be the one who chip in at unexpected time to help Asirpa and Sugimoto on their quest.

This week, we also get another unlikely setting that you don’t see often in anime that era: horse-racing; and in turns we have more screen time from Kiroranke. I still don’t trust him that much to be honest, and the events led to him become a temporary jockey isn’t subtle at all, but we still learn a bit about this guy’s own character. He’s the man who has his own justice and doesn’t afraid to do what he likes. Regarding his influence to the gold chase plot, I have a feeling he’s in for the gold for something not for his own gain. He has a special bond to Asirpa’s father so it might be the main reason he’s involved in all this.

Speaking of another ally, Shiraishi proves to be a guy you can’t fully trust. Not because he has any dark motive, but more because he’s prone for trouble and he just isn’t capable of making the best decision out of the situation. This week, we see him offering another way out, another way to get rich without risking his life. And in a way, he’s right. The prospect of gold is tempting, true, but if he can be rich through other means why the hell not? I’m really digging the way he sells out the tattooed skin, he does it to save his skin without harming his comrades. That’s a very Shiraishi thing to do. Sugimoto understands this, but he’s too deeply involved now. The quest isn’t only about him getting rich to pay for his friend’s wife hospital fee anymore, but also about accompany Asirpa and find out more about her father’s mystery. He would say time and time again that he’s immortal because he has nothing to lose, but now he does have something to protect. Asirpa. Whether that remains his strength or his weakness remains to be seen.

The first cour of this acclaimed manga adaptation has come to a close, and we’re nowhere to the finish line. Heck, I don’t even think the second cour gonna cover all of its material. The 3 month break is necessary, however, for Geno studio to improve the production aspect. The visual has been unfortunately quite bare-boned with limited animation and some certain unBEARable CG design. Hopefully the creators take note on these criticism to improve it better. For now, Sugimoto and Asirpa have established a strong chemistry all around, and while I think the plot wanders around too much, I can’t deny that meeting those twisted gruesome side villains have a charm of its own. This show has a huge pacing issue, humors can be a bit on a missed side for me, and I would prefer it much better without all these Ainu-centric cuisine, but I also know it’s part of Golden Kamuy’s identity so I guess I’ll just roll with it.

Posted on 20 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Golden Kamuy

Welcome to Bates hotel!!

Alright, make no mistake, this is the funniest episode of Golden Kamuy we will ever have. Still dark, have very little to do with the main plot, but it’s spooky fun. Even trashy fun with all the dick jokes. This is Golden Kamuy at its loosest shape. Which is not a bad thing at all, although I must admit that the humor remains hit or miss to me. In this episode 11 (!), we have another mad tattooed prison of the week, this time revolves around a former doctor who regains youth (and changes sex somehow) by killing and cutting off parts of the victims. Nutcase she might be but it’s one of the strongest part in Golden Kamuy in general. Not only the side-villains are memorable, they fit the show’s theme like a glove. Ienaga, the hostess who runs a murder hotel, is lust with immortality and youth, both themes in which Golden Kamuy has consistently explored. Her design is decidedly goddess-like which contrast very well with the plain-looking of other characters, especially the soldiers. In Golden Kamuy, the weapons these characters using could tell you whole lot about their characters: Nihei with his one-bullet rifle; Henmi with his sickle, and now this new villain and… syringes. Way too awesome.

Another notch for the design of the hotel itself, in which it’s designed like a maze, and we have this wonderful shot (screenshot above) of the interior of the hotel which for me remains the episode’s best single shot. I’d love more if the episode spends more time with the hotel’s layout. But being Golden Kamuy, it’s pretty busy with other stuffs as well. And that other stuffs are the (coincidently?) arrivals of both our gang and Ushiyama on the same night. Ienaga recognises two of them, but in its twisted turn of event these two have a lust for her (pure lust this time) and chase her around the corridors. It’s when Golden Kamuy becomes some sort of a farce pulpy mystery in the same vein of Cluedo board game that somehow torture room, licking the eyeball, bombing, wall-breaking, bombing (it deserves to be mentioned twice) and dick jokes make their appearance. While I can live without Asirpa participating all these dick jokes and the mild rape jokes to boost, it almost succeeds because it never takes itself too seriously. Speaking of tone, one thing I realize is that the more Golden Kamuy gets into these new adventures, the less serious and more goofy it becomes and I’m still not sure what to make of it.

More significantly, the Immortal Sugimoto finally meets Undefeated Ushiyama and apparently they’re both to awesome that they’re engaging on the fight just by the handshakes. Okay, I still don’t like this Ushiyama dude since he’s all about brute force but even I can’t deny that he’s up to the level of Sugimoto. The star of the hour, however, is Shiraishi; the one who argurably goes through hell (and back) and all his expressions are just so hilarious. On the more serious side, he’s supposed to meet Ushiyama the next day, which for my money to hand these tattooed skins to him. The plan fails, although Ushiyama has another tattoo after this, but by this development I actually think that Shiraishi won’t betray our Sugimoto and Asirpa. Then again, we still need to keep an eye on Kiroranke, who can just sit back and wait for the right opportunity to strike. I don’t see the anime ending anytime soon at this rate, so just hope we’ll have some kind of conclusive ending and pray for the next season to be announced.

Posted on 13 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Golden Kamuy

New episode, new season, new plan, new scenery and possible new set of enemy too. Considered Golden Kamuy’s track record, I won’t be surprised if the new face Kiroranke, at the risk of Asirpa slaps me on my face for saying so. He’s in the interesting position in all this, both an ex-7th Unit Hokkaido, and as an Ainu people who happens to be a very close friend of Asirpa’s father. The look in his eyes regarding Shiraishi tattooed skin, however, inform me that he wants that flesh badly. For whatever reason, I think it’s a bad move from Sugimoto to reveal this important piece of information, and at his friend’s risk to boost. It should be clear that Kiroranke is also interested in finding the gold, although for what purpose would prove to be a calling card on his character. I doubt he does it for greed, for instance, and I double doubt he does it for the Ainu people (remember the Ainu community considers the gold cursed?). What motivate him, as I’m guessing now, has to do with the relationship between him and Asirpa’s father.

The ball has dropped but I’m quite surprised that it isn’t at all dramatic. In fact, I’m a bit let down by the revelation, both on how Asirpa and Sugimoto take it almost too well, and how the truth is come out from a total stranger that we don’t even know before. It feels info-dump at best, my friend. One interesting bit we can take away from his story, however, is that Nopperapo guy, and Asirpa in effect, are only half-Ainu. My first reaction was that I don’t want Golden Kamuy goes into this direction, since the story would make more sense if they’re full Ainu. In some sense this show is an exploration of the Anui and the interaction between them and Japanese people. But now thinking back, the representation of the Ainu culture has been portrayed with respect with (as far as I know) accurate details. Moreover, from the small pieces we gathered so far, with green eyes and all that, they could very well have Russian blood. It’s an interesting way Golden Kamuy is leading here for sure, but with only few episodes left how the hell they can seal off the deal here? I’m not sure if we even get to meet this Faceless guy at this rate.

In other parts, we have the continuation of the hunt last week, and my God that was a smart plan from Tanigaki until Lt Tsurumi appears out of nowhere (gosh, he’s everywhere) with his team that effectively kill off all the tension it built up so far. And do we really believe that Ogata and Nikaidou would be that dumb that don’t notice a whole unit tailing them? then whole string of absurdist events happen: The CGI bear makes a comeback, Missing Brain dancing while slicing an ear off (yep, I referred to the infamous scene in Reservoir Dogs), Tanigaki somehow gets away unscathed (do the unit forgets that he’s still a soldier?) and somehow because Missing Brain is enjoying slicing ears and noses that he forgets to pursue Ogata, hmm? Part of me still glad that Tanigaki made it alive and now live back with the Ainu people, except that… Ogata is still alive somewhere, you know.

This episode again touches at the immortality theme and the thrust to obtain that power with the tale of mermaid and a girl who eats its flesh to remain young. In fact, Golden Kamuy always has this fascinating perspective to death and immortal. At one point, Sugimoto said that he is immortal because he misses his chance to die. Both Hijikata and Lt Tsurumi seek immortal in some ways as an ultimate power. But like the tale of mermaid illustrates, to obtain that treasure can become a curse, as they can do nothing but watch the people they love pass away eventually.

Posted on 6 June 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Golden Kamuy

At this point, I regard Golden Kamuy as a show with interesting ideas, many memorable characters and well-researched settings, but awkward pacing that tries to cram too many stories and lackluster production. It sure knows how to make one hell of an intriguing twist, though. This episode 9 suggests a plot thread no one saw coming, and maybe that isn’t entirely true either. The revelation that Asirpa might have a blood connection to the Nopperabo guy – the guy who stole all the gold and the only one who knows the exact location. So the next questions should be is this theory feasible and what does that mean in the big picture. For the first question, it could be possible, regarding Asirpa and the Ainu community never receive the full bodies of the victims. Maybe that contribute to his urban legend that the guy bears a faceless feature that could be unrecognizable even by Asirpa. The eyes, however, are the only parts in the face that can’t be changed (theoretically speaking), so the fact that Hijikata sees the resemblance in color in their eye could mean that this is the real thing. Then, if it’s true, will this revelation change the game? I’ll say, pretty much. We know next to nothing about this Nopperabo guy except urban legends, so having him as Asirpa’s father could create necessary internal conflicts and raise the tension to the final showdown. I mean, “I am your Father” is a good shocker for any story.

As we suspected, this new side-villain Henmi is pretty much an one-off show. He’s brilliant at parts, just like Nihei in previous game level, but I don’t like the lame comedic innuendo tone and a breakneck pacing at all. The main reason is that while he’s undoubtedly capable of killing maniacally, he was never a threat to Sugimoto and Asirpa. Golden Kamuy clearly frames his attraction to Sugimoto’s immortal ability with overly BL bait which clearly divides viewers and I’m happened to be on the naysayer’s side. In addition, the story goes through crazy events after another that they don’t have time to sink in. Let’s see, Lt Tsurumi happens to play piano at that same house at the time. There’s Maxim gun machine and then there’s a freaking orca appeared out of the blue sea. And then the humor goes batshit insane with Asirpa torn between saving Sugimoto’s life and the need to use a bathroom, or Sugimoto gets naked in front of her to save the serial killer who’s supposed climax with the way he dies (Asirpa DOESN’T bat her eyelash). If there’s one word to describe both the pacing and the tone of this arc it would be “wacky”. At the very least, it closes this current arc before quickly getting into the next stage…

… which is the reappearance of several 7th unit members, now with a totally new mission. I’m not sure if this face-off will escalate to our main duo’s treasure hunt, but so far I enjoy what I see. This little plot adds new dimension to those soldiers, especially Tanigaki and Oogata (sorry mr Twin, you’re still a walking robot). On the one hand, we have deserted Tanigaki who develops a closer relationship to the Ainu community (he’s changed). On the other hand, we have a quite literally back-from-the-death Oogata whom we later learn doesn’t align with Lt Missing Brain’s goal. Which basically mean they know about the gold and they have different plan on how to use it. Now the shooter and the other twin even have their other goal in mind: kill Sugimoto. The shoot-off pans out nicely, although… isn’t it way simpler to just ask Taginaki out and then shoot him? This makes so little sense. He also does an (unnecessary) explanation about his precise snipe, but didn’t he just recovered from a near-death? I guess this will be Oonata’s grave mistake, as Tanigaki now obtains a gun – Nihei’s bear-hunting gun, with only one bullet. It speaks very well to the theme of Golden Kamuy, where at the end of the day, human is nothing but a wild animal like bears. Whether that single silver bullet gonna kill the (two) werewolves, we’ll have to wait and see, but I won’t be surprised if all three are dead in the next episode.

Posted on 30 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Golden Kamuy

Wait, did we seriously just watch a guy who gets aroused with the idea of killing? I mean, what a way to explore his twisted desire and what a visual Golden Kamuy presents here. A glowing circle in his pant? Sure, why not? It’s weird, it’s whimsical in an awesome way. The idea is that this guy Henmi has a distinctive approach to killing (and be killed), and I’m pretty sure most of serial killers behave this way, whose killing patterns are influenced by traumatic events in the past. He reminds me a fair bit to Dr. Hannibal Lecter who become known as Hannibal the Cannibal because he witnessed his sister was cannibalized by a band of Nazi collaborators when he was young. The rest of the episode, however, can never top this. While on the topic, the appearance of this new tattooed character Henmi opens up too many issues. First, by focusing on his narrative in the episode’s last part, the show makes a tonal shift that is frankly quite jarring. We never know much about him except for his flashback, thus he just can’t carry the show compared to say, Sugimoto and Asirpa. Worse off, because this guy takes a central role in the last half, our duo behaves like walking sticks. I don’t see any personality in Sugimoto whatsoever.

In the big picture, with this episode I have a clearer idea of what kind of show Golden Kamuy is. I’m pretty sure now that Lt Tsurumi and the old man Hijikata are our final bosses, and to get there Sugimoto and Asirpa will have to face several smaller arcs involving particular prisoners with skinned tattoo. I’m not that fond with this approach to be frank. And now I don’t even consider on which side Sugimoto will destroy first. The way I see it, there’s going to be a three-way face off between the Good (Sugimoto), the Bad (Hijikata) and the Ugly (Lt Tsurumi. Note: purely subjective opinion here). These three forces are the only parties to know about the true size of the treasure to boost. At least in this episode the Bad and the Ugly have a brief encounter where Hijikata raids the bank in order to… retrieve his darling katana and earn some cash. Yeah, OBVIOUSLY it makes sense. What the Immortal and the Ainu girl need to concern, however, is their comrade Escape Artist gets himself caught by the prisoners. The gang, surprisingly, doesn’t treat him badly, at least not yet, in exchange for other skin tattoos. They underestimate Sugimoto at this point, mostly because they have never heard of him, so I suspect that this Henmi business will be when the prisoners take notice and see the threats in Sugimoto’s ability to survive.

Another change in plot direction and in the next villain also results in another change in Golden Kamuy’s setting, and this time, it’s a treat to watch. It might cost the show a bit of pacing issues (look, Sugimoto, let’s help us catch the whale first!), but the herring fish scene is a totally fresh air. We have boats floating on the sea as the fishermen try to catch the big whale, and much later when we see the red herring from fishes and Henmi briefly explains Sugimoto about all the works. I hope we get more of that, but the fact remains that Henmi is ready to throw himself to Sugimoto, quite literally, even at the cost of his own life. Although Sugimoto never seems thrilled to kill these kinds of nutcase, he only kills to defend his life.

Posted on 25 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Golden Kamuy

This week ties up one plot thread that is Nihei and Tanigaki and their quest for hunting down the wise wolf and overall it does a decent job at that. Continuing from where the last episode left of, this final confrontation works for me because everyone has a moment to shine. Sugimoto proves that he does have some strategy beside his strong survival skills by using the Escape Artist to… escape. Tanigaki is wise and underhanded enough to use Asirpa as a hostage, and Asirpa also more than serves her role well when she saves Tanigaki’s live by cutting his poisoned flesh. But the main stars in this arc lie in the final showdown between Nihei and Retar – the man and the force of nature itself – with a welcome twist. Nihei has it under control until he realizes he lets his guard down, that Retar never intents to face the man down upfront, but he only serves as a distraction for his mate to attack him from behind. The wilderness again outwits the man, through the power of family bond, something that all the men in Golden Kamuy seemingly leave behind to pursuit their own goals.

What happen right aftermath this fight furthers highlights many of Golden Kamuy’s stronger moments. Tanigaki, barely walking, comes up to the death Nihei and says his chant. That’s the respect. Asirpa refuses to let anyone die in her ability by bringing Tanigaki and the Ainu dog back to her village. Golden Kamuy might not have the excellent production by their side: all the action scenes are only just functional, and their violence is somewhat extreme, but the violence never serves as glamorized action (unlike Tarantino’s films for example – except for certain skewer sequences), it’s gruesome, and it fits with the world these characters inhibit in: gruesome, bleak, macho. But the ones who survive so far, as we further see after this Retar’s arc, are the ones who have companions and it’s the desire to keep their companion safe that push them farer than those who simple have nothing to lose. Seeing it on that light, it’s a good sign for both Asirpa and Sugimoto.

This episode also gives us Lt. Tsurumi’s emotional motive for pursuing the gold and really, it’s not in the least surprises me. Feeling betrayed by the Government after literally putting their lives on the line, the 7th Hokkaido unit aims to stage a coup to basically regain “what was rightfully theirs”; and give more job opportunities for their family members by opening the weapon factory (!). What’s the catch, then? That the amount of gold is in really far bigger than the assumed amount (about 1,000 times bigger). That is to say those soldier bastards won’t leave the game anytime soon, and Sugimoto and the gang come upon another issue of whether or not to trust Tanigaki at all. With this kind of story, don’t expect anyone a friend even when they’re on your side, and the same could apply for our escape artist.

But if there’s another special skill that our escape artist inhabits, it’s his ability to run into trouble in every corner. He bumps into Ushiyama and they engage in the hilarious chase, in which Ushiyama jjust sweeps off all the barriers with inhuman skills (that involves taking a damn HORSE down Mongo-style takedown). Seems like it’s time for our group to finally meet the prisoners, although with only 1-cour confirmed I am not sure how Golden Kamuy can bring this story to a satisfy conclusion, given that all the events happened so far feel like they just finish its introduction phase and now moving on to the second arc.

Posted on 16 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Golden Kamuy

Well, (animal) shit. Golden Kamuy starts slow this week and ends with a bang. This episode presents many of Golden Kamuy’s ups and downs so it’s best to dissect them one by one. For the negative part, the pacing is still off. This episode spends too much time on Sugimoto and Asirpa hunting that poor deer that there’s no sense of urgency, then it follows up with another food-fest that is out of place and rush up to the white wolf hunting. On the cuisine-of-the-wilderness matter, the manga actually does a better job of infusing the light touch to this heavy thriller, but that’s more because of the chapter format works better that way. Here in an episode it feels like a bumpy ride. In addition, this small-arc revolving Nihei Tetsuzou and Tanigaki feels aimless at first. I feel the same directionlessness when our Asirpa and Sugimoto hunt the deer down. Isn’t this a story about them chasing gold? I asked myself. The Golden Kamuy starts to connect all the dots and I actually find myself engaged and all the themes start to make sense. Well, the development still has some lucky coincidences (like Nihei Tetsuzou “happens” to be an ex-prisoner, Shiraishi just “conveniently” gives the duo the news or where are the 7th Unit Army and these tattooed prisoners this week?), but otherwise it’s a decent showdown we’re getting here.

It’s the episode’s narrative thread that starts to emerge with the gold chase premise. On Sugimoto and Asirpa’s side, the early part of them pursuing the injured deer speaks more about Sugimoto and his own reflection. Here’s the man who never bat an eye when killing enemies, yet he’s hesitant and somewhat shaken to kill this poor deer. The deer’s survival instinct reminds him of himself, when facing death in the eyes he becomes fearless – in one of the episode’s stunning visual metaphor: the deer becomes a vision of him. The notion of death, or rather, the cycle of life, is further elevated by the point of view of Nihei Tetsuzou, who regards to die in the forest, get eaten by the animals and become animal shit as a perfect cycle of life (that view is shared by Asirpa too). Killing and hunting are one main identity of Golden Kamuy, and it makes a fair distinction between those. In Golden Kamuy, human hunt animals, but they pay proper respect and believe the prey’s presence go back to the nature of life. Killing, on the other hand, is merciless and receive no such respect.

In a completely different sense, we can view this episode as the games of several hunters. On one side we have our duo hunting the deer (I swear I stop bringing up that poor deer now), on the other side we have superhunter and deserted soldier hunt for legendary white wolf. Then we have Asirpa and Sugimoto hunt these villains instead and now it’s a matter of which team can outlast the other. And this wonderful standoff in the end furthers bring the main premise back up front, now that the bear-hunter himself carry that skinned map in his body. It’s a single stone that kill two birds huh? Save Rectar and have the map for themselves. One last thing I’ve noticed though is the way Golden Kamuy increasingly hints us at the possible death of Sugimoto (this week it plays out as a joke and the way he sees himself in that poor de– Damn, again), and it’s that the case I think it makes sense as Sugimoto is pretty much the tragic hero suited only for battle, so he’d have no place when the war and this gold chase are over.

Posted on 9 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Golden Kamuy

I’m particularly worried about the pacing of Golden Kamuy, which is as messy as it gets. The pacing has no problem speed through the action chases to the ridiculous level, then slow down several notches for more cooking in the wilderness, Asirpa’s crazy face and Sugimoto surprisingly uninjured face after got skewered. We get to see more of the madness (awesomely madness) side the duo’s foes, from Captain Tsurumi with his melted brain and manages to run straight after got kicked out by the horse and rolled several metres or Hijikata who is just happy to chop people’s heads, enjoying the snowy wind and preparing to shake things up to die… and now we even have a small team of hunters who isn’t after the gold but to hunt the last Japanese white wolf on Earth. I’m not so sure about the last gang and how it’s relevant to the main plot, but my main gripe so far of Golden Kamuy besides the pacing is the side characters. The twin, as expected, is pure cold-blooded bastard. The guy with the hammer forehead has no real deep or role except whenever he spells out Hijikata’s plans and motives.

The main chemistry between Sugimoto and Asirpa remains strong, despite the fact that they act mostly like a lover’s quarrel this week. Last episode, we know that Sugimoto left her behind because he cares about her well-being, and this week, we got an answer from Asirpa’s point of view. Screw it. She’s taking the role knowing full well about its risk, and the one who acts up and screws up is Sugimoto himself. It’s as strong a response as you can get, and I don’t mind the new member of our crew – the Escape King who so far is portraited as a comic relief. I would rather have him as a laid-back guy who lighten the mood than having eating sequences that for me just feel so out of place. We also get to see more about Hijikata and his gang, and the only thing we learn so far is that he isn’t the one to be messed with (and he’s both master of sword and gun huh?). Well, despite it’s a plot-heavy episode the whole content lacking in actual engagement, as it serves more of building up the gangs into the great battles. At least after this episode I can safely say that all the players are in place, so the next moves are going to be vital.

Posted on 2 May 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Golden Kamuy

Given the brisk pace Golden Kamuy usually sprint through its storyline, breather moments like those in the first half of this episode is much needed. Not only it allows the events happened so far to sink in, it also gives more space to strengthen out main’s dynamic. In addition, it’s informative to say the very least that we get to learn more about the Ainu culture while they’re staying in Asirpa’s village, something that doesn’t discuss quite often in this medium. But by saying all that I feel Golden Kamuy drags at times when they focus too much on the Ainu traditions. That part about Sugimoto playing kisarari game with the children doesn’t need to be there for example, neither does those Ainu cuisines that pop up here and there. Those feel like more the author showing off his knowledge on the Ainu people than it has anything to do with the treasure hunt story, and that tonal whiplash hurts the show more than it helps. Golden Kamuy is the show that has no qualms at depicting excessive violence, like this week’s skewers, because it’s the nature of the show. Having Sugimoto tries (and fails) desperately at some children’s games feel like it belongs to another show altogether.

The main event coming out of that part, however, is that Sugimoto leaves Asirpa behind to pursuit the goal alone. It’s nothing dramatic though since all of us know for certain that they will get back together soon, but this marks an improvement to their relationship. Why, you ask? Many wonders if Sugimoto misunderstands what grandma said to him (FYI, the manga purposely leaves the part untranslated, so we, like Sugimoto, just gets grandma’s intention purely through her expression). I’m certain that he gets what she meant, and decides to leaves Asirpa behind because now he cares for her well-being. They’re close enough that he wants her out of this dangerous game that put their lives on the line. Consider this as a friendly brotherly act from Sugimoto. Asirpa, naturally, doesn’t take it easily since she herself has a history of being abandoned by the ones dear to her – which boasted by a bizarre flashback of the White Wolf (White Fang?) abandoned her BUT I SWEAR I SEE HIM FOLLOWING HER EVERYTIME (so what’s the use of “abandoned” then?). She embarks on her own journey to catch up with Sugimoto and catches Shiraishi, the Escape King instead. I like this guy well enough and I could see him joining the duo as a comic relief/ supporting guy who say cheese every time, and boy do I welcome him joining in for this quest.

About Sugimoto, we’re all aware of Sugimoto the Immortal and not necessary Sugimoto the Wiseman, as he gets himself caught almost immediately by the Grim Reaper. The Immortal vs. the Grim Reaper’s gonna be a fight worth dying for, right? On that note, do you know the simple way to make your character badass? Make them as bold as possible (like a guy whose parts of brain missing) and then have them enjoying something cute. The image of him eating the kushi dango while making serious face will forever burn through my brain, thank you very much Golden Kamuy. It doesn’t take much time for the 7th Hokkaido Unit to identify Sugimoto, because as Grandma puts it, his turenpe is… distinguishable. Now we know the army’s main objective for the race, to buy arms from the US in order to rule the Hokkaido. The post-war dissatisfaction from ex-soldiers is a well-trodden path, but it fits to Golden Kamuy’s theme so I have no complain. What I do find unpleasant, however, is the character’s designs of the 7th Unit soldiers, especially their dead fish-eyes. Usually those eyes are used to portrait dummy, doll or characters with no soul and I don’t think these guys have no soul. The twin soldiers in this episode act a bit sadistic as well, make me wonder if the show’s gonna evil them up to inhuman level as the story goes on. And we also have those tattooed escaped prisoners who still lurking somewhere in the dark.

Posted on 25 April 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:, Golden Kamuy

We have a sparser episode compared to the one last week, but believe me it’s still a dense episode with many seeds being planted and this week is essentially your Ainu 101 episode. The mangaka does a thoroughly research over Ainu culture, and he’s more than happy to show off here. But apart from the Ainu cooking porn in which I still feel out of place, Golden Kamuy uses the Ainu traditions and their culture to inform us about who Asirpa is and where her perspective comes from. Take the matter of rising a cub for example, Anui’s belief is to raise them and send them back to their kamuy (Anui’s god) life through sacrifice. It’s a fascinating view to how they approach life and death and I do really respect their belief. Asirpa belief grows beyond that view, the way she approaches it more realistically and she says it best herself “Our beliefs contain our way of life”. It could apply to any culture, to any individual belief out there. She really is mature and wise beyond her age.

Plot-wise, the duo gets chased down by more members of 7th Hokkaido unit, this time they all meet their miserable end, but not without a good fight. There of the soldiers are in hot pursuit for Sugimoto, and he escapes them just by a hair only because of Asirpa’s wisdom (although I like his quick resolve I have to say the “Bears won’t attack people who enter their hole” setup was hastily set up here). And the three still manage to take down the bear before dying themselves, just to show us the fighting spirits of those men (one of the men even had his face ripped off. Badass). Another soldier pursuits Asirpa and nearly kills her when he realized that she’s involved, but soon taken by the white wolf, Retar. If there is one central moral of this Golden Kamuy story, it is you need to kill your opponent properly because otherwise they’ll come back to haunt you. Asirpa leaves that poor soldier Tanigaki alive, and he vows to kill the wolf at all cost. I’m not keen on this development at all. It means trouble.

Speaking of Sugimoto and Asirpa’s real troubles, I’m worried for Asirpa’s kotan right now as the two seems to forget that they are being followed by a bunch of ruthless and skilful teams. The enemies’ character designs have now gotten to Rurouni Kenshin’s level of ridiculousness, which personally I’m not fond of, but well I can’t disagree that both teams following our duo are badass and will prove to be real threats. On the one hand, we have the army unit, lead by a “missing-the-front-of-his skull” Tsurumi, so you know he’s mad as hell, and on the other we have Hijikata himself, who figures out the way to take the tattoo NOT by skinning them off, so naturally he just kills for the fun of it (that’s half-true though). The next step should be for those two hot pursuers to kill off each other, right?

CHANGE USERNAME
Amagi
It's real. Wow. This could easily become the best drama anime of the year if done right. The game was (IMO) fantastic despite being a pixelish RPG maker style game.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Holy shit really? To the Moon?
Amagi
Speaking of Urasawa there was announcement of a Pluto adaption last year, I guess they're still working on it. A good choice IMO, Pluto was not only my favorite Urasawa aside from 20thCB so far, it's one of the few that might be easier to adapt and it isn't too long.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Haven't read Chicago yet, maybe I will look into it. Kinda curious what series this mangaka will do next, same with Urasawa.
Masky
Huh? Found weird manga named Marry Grave. It feels like older manga but I'm not sure what its release date is.. Has rather interesting art and premise though first chapter is bit clunky on exposition
Kaiser-Eoghan
slightly disappointed to see happy sugar life not being covered =<
Lenlo
Oh man, 57? Franxx must have really gone down hill, because you seemed pretty into halfway through or so Aidan
Kaiser-Eoghan
<Crazy aunt in happy sugar life will have Belldandy's voice actress
<Terror the terror OMO
Kaiser-Eoghan
How do I save Chi no Wadachi's protagonist =< Manga giving me post traumatic stress ;M ;
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: And that game, to the moon is getting an adaptation. I haven't played it nor know anything about it though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: It seems you were onto something when you said in your satsuriku no tenshi impressions/posts that other freeware games might see a chance at an adaptation. I recall you talking about a game called To the moon on here a few years back.
Vonter
I did like how they decided to use a Halo aesthetic for the lack of a better term. Bases and alien ships have this Halo like design and color schemes to them. Also when I though a harem could only be depicted in one way, this series proves me wrong.
Vonter
But after season 2. Oh boy, the series becomes a really intriguing and exciting sci fantasy journey, with lots of motivations, hillturns and mystery.
Vonter
I catch up to the Voltron series in Netflix and man. It might the best anime-like series I've watched all year. I was having doubt after season one because while not awful at the start, it's very typical Voltron good versus evil and the like.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Chicago was one of the first Manga I read when I was 11, by the same author as 7 seeds.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: A 7 seeds adaptation would be preferable, its the more mature of the two. My favourite parts of that manga is everything relating to Hana and also the flashbacks to Ango's team's past, also that flashback side arc which was set in that shelter centered on that guy who had nothing to do with the cast.
AidanAK47
For Mahou, I just wanna see the first VN translated.
Amagi
We will never see the Mahou sequel VN either
Amagi
Theoretically ufotable but I think they'd prefer to wait for the updated story of the new VN sooo never ever
AidanAK47
Op was pretty good for an anime that didn't exist. Honestly wonder what would come first. The remake of the VN or an anime adaption by Ufotable.
Amagi
Just as the Tsukihime anime doesn't exist (liked the OP of that nonexisting anime though)
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: The original Basara anime doesn't exist, only the manga does.
Amagi
@Lenlo: I really loved it and as far as I know most people who didn't read it refused it due to its drawing style not the content. The style could get an improvement as anime and I think the story is something most people would enjoy. The side characters were all awesome and pretty diverse too, which is kinda worthy of mention because the series had a ton of them.
Amagi
Arisa might get a decent fanbase as well considering it's some sort of mystery-thriller shoujo despite it's appearance.
Lenlo
Oooh Basara would be one I would want to see
Amagi
@Kaiser: I wish we'd get an actual Basara or 7 Seeds adaption some day. But guess it's impossible in the age of 12-episode series.
Lenlo
Yeah, the Marvin reveal was done in as tasteful a way as I could see it being done. It was just creepy enough without being voyeur
Kaiser-Eoghan
**Done
Kaiser-Eoghan
*superficially
Kaiser-Eoghan
While I have never read this, LetDai is sometimes compared superficial to banana fish.
Kaiser-Eoghan
More fantasy/horror shoujo/josei manga, old ones, not otomeshit or school lifeshit could be adapted.
Kaiser-Eoghan
And wasn't the reveal regarding Marvin down in a tasteful/restrained enough way while still getting the point across?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Akimi Yoshida is actually quite diverse, aside from banana fish, she also wrote Our little sister.
Kaiser-Eoghan
"and NOT with naked muscular men. That’d be depressing!" Thank fuck we still have the slender ones then lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
By the looks of it Sugar life's only getting 12 episodes, which means it'll stop just before it really gets going.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I think 2 volumes of the manga have been covered so far.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: "However its spelt" and there I am, realizing how rubbish I am with names and remembering/spelling them.
Lenlo
Oh man, Banana Fish is 24 episodes? Oh awesome. All the time in the world
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: In small doese, small doses he would be tolerable.
Kaiser-Eoghan
An anime about all of us would be fucking magnificent and I will hear nothing to the contrary of this fact.
Lenlo
However that name is spelt
Lenlo
Hmm, Steins;Gate 0 Okabe, or what? Cause Hyoin Kyoma would drive me up a wall.
Lenlo
Oh Grand Blue has some great reaction faces.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Not slice of life, but outside of all the dark stuff, I'd probably think Okabe Rintaro would be a fun guy to be around.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Actually that brings up something, in all of the slice of life dramas/comedies out there, a good measure for how worthwhile some of them are could be "Which ones would I actually like to hang out with the characters in"
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember when Free! aired, joking with another guy on here who would be who.
Kaiser-Eoghan
You could probably get great reaction faces of the manga/show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't think I could keep up with the drunkening though.
Lenlo
Wait, ive been psychic robbed? When? How?
Lenlo
Ive known people like them before, though less cartoonishly dude-bro. They are fun in bursts. Made for some good experiences. Luckily the ones I knew, also knew when I was at my socializing limit.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Jokingly we'd all be blond otaku-t-shirt guy though =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: I have committed un-intentional psychic theft of your thoughts.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Mario has to be the skinny dark haired Asian guy because it fits.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As funny as these characters are, I probably wouldn't hang out with then if they were real, I'd probably be iritated by them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I actually hadn't thought it as far as the personalities .
AidanAK47
For I am the one that trolls
AidanAK47
@Kaiser/Lenlo, Wait then whose who in that screenshot. Cause looks wise I would likely be Iori but personality wise I would be closer to the burly dudes.
Lenlo
As for the updated setting, I think it will work out. Keeps it sorta relevant for modern audiences. I'm curious if the changes will be obvious or not, but the story should still work
Lenlo
As for Banana Fish, after this episode, Im not to worried about the fetishizing of homosexual relationships. Unlike alot of Shoujo/Yaoi-lite/bait stuff, it actually seems to condemn some aspects of the trope in manga.
Lenlo
@Kaiser, I had the exact same thought for that screenshot and the writers.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: lol Now imagine each of the characters in the screenshot representing a writer on this blog =P
SuperMario
Fixed
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I posted using my phone so that was the best I could do
Kaiser-Eoghan
I want to state, regarding banana fish, for those avoiding it because of shounen-ai vibes or because its aimed at women, even though its listed as shoujo, its really the female equivalent to a seinen manga, it also created, even in Japan a massive crossover audience that also included heterosexual males.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Whew lad, might want to center/neat-en up the screenshot on the latest post =<
Kaiser-Eoghan
See lenlo, while I love the adaptation, I'm still worried about the updated setting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The manga had something about American foreign policy and the Mafia boss having to do with anti-communism, I wonder will the anime commit to that.
Lenlo
So far, Banana Fish is ony of my favorites. Im gonna make it very clear why tomorrow when I post on it, but boy I wasnt expecting it to commit so fully.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Okay, my ranking so far of the premieres: -Angels of death
-Happy sugar life
-Banana fish
-Grand blue
Shichisei and planet with are dropped, will only watch sirius until I get bored. Don't like shounen action so I'm not continuing Angolmeh.
SuperMario
I know he's a good writer, hence I was looking forward to Dog eat dog. That film made me think he passed his prime
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Raging bull and mishima also he wrote those.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Nicholas Cage is awful and so was Dog eat dog I can agree to that.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Its alot better than that I can tell you. Also he wrote the affliction, taxi driver and hardcore, all great films.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: you mean First Reformed? I watched Schraders' previous work Dog Eat Dog and absolutely hated it. Hated it with a passion
SuperMario
@Kaiser: I don't even know that until you pointed out
Kaiser-Eoghan
*movie blog
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: How amusing, you uses "red blood moon" on your movie blood as a section for bad anime, and have the AKA abbreviation right next to it and that has the same spelling as the Japanese word for Red.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I've got a feeling you might be a fan of Paul Schraders new film, its a mashup of Ordet, Winter light, diary of a country priest and Taxi driver. It is speechy, but it has alot to say and Ethan Hawke is great in it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't think i'd be able to stop myself pulling an animal ears girl's ears if they were real. I'd have to know.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I think I needed to watch it, just so I could have the feeling of getting away from the world while not needing to think.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: that's basically the appeal of Cgdct shows. They're hardy deep or even have that much conflict, but they're adorable and fluffy. Good enough for me ^^
Kaiser-Eoghan
The filter/visual style angolmis was going for initially completely took my concentration away from the show.
SuperWooper
(which includes a review of the inevitable AOTS) :^)
SuperWooper
Only one more First Impressions post to go.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Grand blue is funny but like with wotaku I'm not sure there'll be an incentive to watch every episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Maybe every season or so I will try to fit in a cute girls doing cute things show. I watched Konohana Kitan yesterday and while hardly essential, it was actually sort of adorable.
Amagi
A bit new info about the next When they Cry. Guess the release date will be the winter comiket. Really wonder how it will be, I have to admit I enjoyed the endless arguments in the Umineko VN a lot. Also it seems it will get the same music composers again.
AidanAK47
@Anon, That airs on July 22.
Anonymous2394727
were is attack on titan 3???
SuperMario
I'll still write a post once the first impressions' over, along with my general thoughts on this season.
SuperMario
Meanwhile, we already decided which shows to blog for this season. The coverage is as follows:
Aidan: Grand Blue, Planet With, Satsuriku no Tenshi
Mario: Chio-chan, Shoujo Kageki, Hanebado
Lenlo: Steins;Gate 0, Banana Fish
SuperMario
Just an update to you, dear readers. We're working on finishing these 1st impressions posts and try to finish it in few days time (3 more posts).
Kaiser-Eoghan
*Harry not Eddie
**Gundam F91
Kaiser-Eoghan
Have the blurays of 08th ms team downloading now to re-watch. Never seen Gundam F91 one . Really looking forward to the final origin ova and whenever more of Thunderbolt is coming out.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Eddie was a bit crap though, especially when you stand him up against other Char-esque characters and some of the other characters aren't quite as compelling. Loved the old American style setting though, crazypants main baddy was fun.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I finally finished/rewatched Turn A Gundam lately. It delivers strongly on its spectacle Heim and Soleil were great and my favourite gundam girls , the artstyle grows on you and because of that art style, it gets away with being one of the weirder phase gundamns, where G Gundam wasn't so lucky in that regard.
Amagi
Highscore Girl is way more annoying than I exptected it to be.
Amagi
Haven't played it (yet) but AFAIK they stay there and only move from floor to floor, I guess it's why they shortly mentioned these murders on the different floors.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Does the entirety of satsuriku no tenshi stay in the building? I could seen the sense of claustropohbia for the audience disappearing if they left it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Looking back on that comment, I should say, I have not read grand blues manga, so its entirely possible why the animes presentation made me laugh a bit because I've no comparison.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, that blonde muscular guy in Grand blue made me laugh.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I like how we have very little idea of the buildings layout in satsuriku no tenshi.
Amagi
Not really looking forward to Gridman as I see the typical warning signs I noticed for Kiznaiver and Franxx as well here. The only positive thing is that the series seems to have an actual villain for once. The lack of that was one of the problems that bothered me with Franxx (not counting literal faceless aliens as "actual villain").
Amagi
I hope next actual Imaishi anime will be a good Trigger again. Honestly didn't really like any of their series done by other directors, Promare would be the first series done by the TTGL team again after KlK and Luluco. My only fear is that it might be a TTGL clone but it's too early to for that.
AidanAK47
I am gunning for Kyohime Lancer and Mordred Rider. Thankfully I don't really care about the five starts so my odds are not quite as bad.
Amagi
@Aidan: Yes I am happy I got her with just one ticket since I am saving for the upcoming rate ups as well, especially Summer. Hell I need Martha.
AidanAK47
@Amagi, Had a few moments like that which were not related to Fate go. Anyhoo I didn't bother rolling Da Vinchi as I got no real interest in him/her(Hard to decide when their reason for genderbending has more to do with beauty rather than gender.) Instead saving my Quartz for either the summer servants for the Knights of the round.
Amagi
Not lying but I had I dream yesterday about getting FGO's Da Vinci with one ticket, woke up, spent one ticket and got her (Yes. "Her"). I am so far into that anime stuff guess I am now developing esp powers just for that.
Amagi
Finally new Sirius subs I hope they are tolerable.
Amagi
Chio-chan is relatable
SuperMario
She's one of the actress I'm really fond of. But of course given how big a status she is
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: If voices could be married I'd marry hers =P
SuperMario
Other 2 shows are Cells at Work and Phantom in the Twilight
SuperMario
Kana Hanazawa's extremely busy this season. She's also voicing for 2 other shows. Give me a minute so I can check up these other shows
Kaiser-Eoghan
The most recent I've heard Kana Hanazawa's voice was in 3-gatsu no lion where she voiced Hina, hearing her voice psychochick from happy sugar life makes it all the eerier =P Also watching this feels like less of a slog than reading the early chapters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Scanners/photocopier machines however are the greater satan.
Amagi
What kind of cosmic rule forbids printers to ever work properly?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've heard that satsuriku no tenshi's manga adaptation apparently is paced better and more effective at immersing the reader.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think my time with shichisei subaru stops here, the cliffhangers just feel liked bad bait and while I hate jumping to buzzwords, this was just really generic and hamfisted. Its like I'm watching a crap adaptation of a bad moe datesim visual novel.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yeah this is also a pretty stilted translation.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I ended up watching it with mediocre subtitles also.
Amagi
Wait is Sirius subbed? Nonmeme subs I mean.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Banana fish succeeds in making itself work as an action series all the more stronger, because it allows itself to have a good emotional backing. I'd forgotten how much of prick that one cop was in that scene in the manga.
Kaiser-Eoghan
If you want a reasonably quick boredom killer thats gorier than some modern anime allows you could probably do worse than Sirius.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Okay, regarding Happy sugar lifes manga, Late volume 6-volume 8, we're kind of getting somewhere, especially with one particular flashback relating to Shio.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I too am not even impervious to cute and huggable things.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*mikocchi
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I do plan on watch sorayori, konohana kitan and hakumei no mocchi someday.
SuperMario
*Asobi Asobase
SuperMario
So far, I enjoy Asobi Asobasa and Chio-chan so much that I watched them twice. Guess I do have a thing for cute girls comedy shows after all
Kaiser-Eoghan
Hataraku Saibou, wouldn't be the first edutainment thing in anime , kemono souja and Moyashimon aswell.
Lenlo
Nope, not this week. One week hold since we are sorta between/starting a new season
Kaiser-Eoghan
No steins gate episode this week?
Masky
Hue hue, seems like around time of first impressions I don't need to do my usual isekai complaining because it gets done by someone else instead :D
Kaiser-Eoghan
Someone ha uploaded 7 volumes of angels of deaths manga adaptation.
Amagi
I liked the first episode but no idea what kind of story it will have
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Should have watched the pianist, the piano or the piano teacher instead =P
SuperMario
Piano no Mori is a huge disappointment for me. still haven't watched the last episode thou
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've been backlogging Piano no mori for years.
Amagi
damn I totally forgot this exists
Anonymous2353882
That Piano no Mori ending episode... oh boy!!!
Kaiser-Eoghan
But you can probably just take my thoughts on planet with as being symptomatic of how shounen battlely stories almost never work for me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Planet withs first episode felt disorganized to me and I didn't like the main characters.
Kaiser-Eoghan
See, I think the problem regards planet with for me is that I watched it too close to the flcls ending, I know why its being compared but in flcl the disjointedness/messiness feels like something I can just let wash over me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: As I said it was a good premier, that despite my positivity I need more before I can see if it keeps up (angels of death).
Amagi
Man Hanebado looks really great animationwise. Now moving to the two comedies I expect to be above average. Get me another 1-2 good upcoming series and I can accept this season
SuperMario
Banana Fish is just above everything else so far
SuperMario
I'm not too sold on Angels of Death. You can read my feeling about it when the next post's out.
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