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?

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Dr. STONE – 15/16 [The Culmination of Two Million Years/A Tale for the Ages]

This week of Dr.STONE is a double feature, courtesy of my inability to write! Here we cover the conclusion of the Grand Bout, finish the Cure-All and then dive into the history of Ishigami village. So without further ado, since we have a lot to cover this week, let’s dive in. Starting off, first an […]

Beastars – 02

Furry anthropomorphic animals animals are in fashion now thanks to the onslaught of countless isekai settings, but Beastars is here to offer something fresh and different. Indeed, there are many elements from Beastars that we can feel optimistic about. The manga source is penned by Paru Itagaki, which recent news reveals to be the daughter […]

Hoshiai no Sora – 02

Hoshiai no Sora picks up where Mix left off in terms of character-driven sports dramas. Between those two and Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru at the start of the year, we’ve had a strong representative for the genre at all points during 2019. Though it’s just two episodes old, Hoshiai has the potential to be the […]

Mononoke – 11 [Goblin Cat, Part 2] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome one and all to the penultimate week of Mononoke! Apologies for the lateness of this, life is busy busy right now, much like Mononoke itself. As this week we dive into the mystery at hand, our suspects start to talk and the series gets… weird. Let’s dive in! Starting off, what do I mean […]

Legend of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These – 13-16

This really wasn’t the best way for me to pop back into blogging for a while if I am to be frank. It’s not hard to shake off the rust but to walk into the middle of a series I watched a year ago which has a cast and political landscape to dwarf a star […]

Fire Force 12 – Eve of Hostilities in Asakusa

Welcome back to Beni town!  After a two week break, Fire Force has awkwardly picked back up with its penultimate episode (for the first cour).  Missed Shinra and the gang?  Unfortunately, there’s some Catgirl this week, but aside from that, we have another solid effort all around.  Let’s get into it!

Vinland Saga – 14 [The Light of Dawn]

This is a big week for Vinland. One of the best episodes, not just of the season, but the year for me. So many things just came together to really nail it. As this week Askeladd makes us question who we are rooting for, and really throws the brutality of war in our face. Let’s […]

Mononoke – 10 [Goblin Cat, Part 1] – Throwback Thursday

Hello all, apologies for the delay, and welcome to the final arc of Mononoke! This is perhaps the most unique one yet. As we skip forward to a modern era, set the entire thing in a single location, and have ourselves a murder mystery. So, lets dive in! Right off the bat, as always, I […]

Vinland Saga – 12/13 [The Land on the Far Bank/Child of a Hero]

Hello again everyone and welcome to a double feature for Vinland Saga. Apologies for the missed week, but even I am not totally immune to sickness. So this week we cover episodes 12 and 13. Where we learn quite a bit about Askeladd, Canute finds his voice and winter starts to turn. In we go! […]

Latest Reviews

Mix: Meisei Story Review – 75/100

Mix is, by my count, the eighth Mitsuru Adachi work to be adapted to animation. I’ve only seen one of the other seven, so it may not be my place to say this, but Mix probably ranks around the middle of those eight. Its main cast is complex, but the non-baseball players among them slip […]

DanMachi2 Anime Review – 40/100

“Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon” burst onto the anime scene as something of a B-tier cult classic.  2015 saw Season 1 massively outperform expectations  – ignoring the occasionally shoddy animation – to bring excitement and mostly fan service (and the cosplayer favorite: the Hestia ribbon).  Now, four years later, the […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba Anime Review – 80/100

It’s hard to find a more ubiquitous genre in anime than Shounen. Maybe romance/moe-blobs, but it’s a close race. With series like One Piece and until recently Naruto, being a constant presence each season/year. Often this makes it difficult for newer series to break into the anime market in a meaningful way. With the recent […]

Youjo Senki Movie Review – 85/100

Outside of a very few exceptions, I have come to despise the isekai genre with its predominantly self-inserted overpowered male protagonists, massive harems, fan-service bait and overused fantasy settings. Youjo Senki is none of those things and it has gained a very special place in my heart where it features the combined arms of a […]

Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel – II Lost Butterfly Anime Review – 91/100

Long time no see and strap in cause this is going to be a long one. I will preface this review with the assumption that you have seen the first movie of this trilogy and this movie as well as the assumption that whomever is reading this knows what a command spell is. So basically […]

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100 – Throwback Thursday

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]