This episode of Golden Kamuy reminded me of its origins – they very beginning of the first season. As the show is quite inconsistent in terms of tone and content, seeing it go back to where it started was a refreshing change from betrayals, running around, and having cute yet morbid meals.
Japanese Original Episode Title: 腹の中
The episode starts with Suzukawa and Sugimoto having infiltrated the 7th division and trying to set up an ‘exchange’ of prisoners to get Shiraishi back. However, Tsurumi’s long and sophisticated line of hierarchy serves him well – his soldiers efficiently communicate his order and information; as a result, his messenger, second lieutenant Koito, manages to figure out that Suzukawa is an impostor. He shoots him and he dies immediately while Sugimoto gets two pretty bad chest wounds – nothing new here. He then goes into rage mode and grabs Shiraishi, jumping out of the window. They escape along with Ogata by using a hot-air balloon. Koito, having dedicated his life and soul to Tsurumi, follows them on air, only to be kicked out of the way by Shiraishi, who is here to redeem itself. After hanging himself from the hot-air balloon and crushing on a tree, he makes himself useful by carrying Asirpa on board.
The hot-air balloon dies, and the characters find themselves having to cross some pretty unfriendly mountains or get caught by the 7th. They naturally take the first choice. To protect themselves from the cold, they kill a couple of yuks and they hide in their skin (and carcass, of course). Sugimoto remembers how wonderful his life was before the war, and Asirpa, asks him to take her with him to visit his homeland when everything is over… aaaand there you got it folks; commitment.
Relationship goals: This episode was actually one of the most important ones in the whole show, definitely in terms of character development. Asirpa’s relationship to Sugimoto, up until this very moment, was completely based on functionality – sure, they care about each other a lot, but never have they ever spoken about their lives after their adventure is over, and that is a moment of growing for both of them. For Asirpa, because she accepts how important a friend Sugimoto is to her, and for Sugimoto, because he talks to her about the war for the first time and reassesses his thoughts and existence at the time. Really great, that last scene. I loved it.
Eyebrows: Second lieutenant Koito’s eyebrows were… interesting. Is that a grooming trend in Japan from back in the day or a stylistic choice of the writer. Well, you do the research and let me know.
‘You need to destroy yourself and become someone else in order to fight’: Basically the truest truth ever said in the show and a sensitive, fragile way of looking at the horrors committed by common people during war.
Themes & Trivia
Jigen style sword-fighting: Jigen-ryū is a traditional school of Japanese martial arts founded in the late 16th century in Satsuma Province, now Kagoshima prefecture, Kyushu, Japan. It focuses mainly on the art of swordsmanship. It is known for its emphasis on the first strike: its teachings state that a second strike is not even to be considered. The attack is then done by running forward at your opponent and then cutting diagonally down on their neck.
Satsuma: A town in Satsuma District, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. The Satsugū dialect, often referred to as the Kagoshima dialect, is a group of dialects of the Japanese language spoken mainly within the Satsuma area.
Retannoya: Alpine yarrow, Chinese yarrow or Siberian yarrow, is an Asian and North American species of plants in the sunflower family. It is native to Siberia, the Russian Far East, China, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Nepal, Canada, and the northern United States.
Daisetsuzan: The Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group is a volcanic group of peaks arranged around the Ohachi-Daira caldera in Hokkaidō. In the Ainu language it is known as Nutapukaushipe or Nutaku Kamushupe. These peaks are the highest in Hokkaidō. The group lends its name to the Daisetsuzan National Park in which the volcanic group is located.
Keep it up!
I really enjoyed this episode, and I believe the second season had a slow start, it is currently very entertaining. I am a bit worried about how this story is going to end, now that it’s advancing in such a steady pace.
What did you think of this Golden Kamuy episode? Let us know in the comment section! And don’t forget to check the rest of the Fall 2018 anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!
Spring 2018–Fall 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast