Poop eating accusations, some pretty exciting blood-covered action, and plenty of Ainu life trivia… This was one cool episode!
Japanese Title: カムイモシㇼ
Asirpa and Sugimoto are doing something along the lines of agrotourism, strolling around the Hokkaido mountains, looking at bear caves, eating local delicacies such as bunnies and squirrels, and arguing on whether miso is poop. Their holiday is interrupted by a 7th division raid, so they start running around and have to split in order to escape. While Asirpa loses her tattooed skin pack to one of them, who later gets attacked by her trusty direwolf (wait, what?), Sugimoto is recognised by a group of them and seeks refuge in a bear cave, hoping that, as Ainu legend has it, bears don’t attack humans who enter their caves. They both manage to escape but the guy who attacked Asirpa remains alive and vows to catch that wolf and claim its pelt.
Sugimoto is left with a baby bear to take care of, so Asirpa takes him to her village and introduces him to his grandmother, who is going to take in the baby bear and raise it (to later turn it into a pelt and steak, when it comes of age). We also get to find out that Asirpa is a ‘cool Ainu girl’ who likes adventure and doesn’t want to get married and stuff. Her grandmother tries to set her up with Sugimoto, and that’s not creepy at all.
Down the hill, we go: In the most interesting display of art so far in the show, I really enjoyed the transitions between the different 7th division soldiers as they were skiing down the hill.
Themes and Trivia:
Food porn: I guess you can’t really get an anime without a good dosage of food porn these days. How very odd. This is a show about killing and gold hunting and yet we get small breaks to admire local Ainu cuisine of rabbits and squirrels and bears, along with some sexy close-ups of soup bowls filled with broth and mushrooms. Stahp.
Miso: Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji (a type of fungus) and sometimes rice, barley, or other ingredients. It is definitely not poop, and it’s delicious.
Skiing: Were you surprised to see people from over 100 years ago skiing? I sure as hell was, being clueless about the history of winter sports (I don’t like being around snow, mind you). Amazingly, skiing has a history of almost five millennia! It may have been practiced more than 100 centuries ago in what is now China, according to an interpretation of ancient paintings. How crazy is that?
Matagi: The Matagi are traditional winter hunters of the Tohoku region of northern Japan. They hunt deer and bear, and their culture has much in common with the bear cult of the Ainu.
Ainu language: Yet another surprising fact to come across – the Ainu language is mostly written in Katakana and Latin-based alphabets. I tried to find out what the original alphabet looked like, but it is a complicated task since there is a phonetically similar Turkic cryptolect and little difference in the way they’re spelled.
Ezo Wolf: The Hokkaido wolf, also known as the Ezo wolf and in Russia as the Sakhalin wolf, is an extinct subspecies of gray wolf that once inhabited coastal north-east Asia. Its nearest relatives were the wolves of North America rather than Asia. It was exterminated in Hokkaidō during the Meiji Restoration period when American-style agricultural reforms incorporated the use of strychnine-laced baits to kill livestock predators. It is believed that it still survives on Sakhalin island.
A delight for trivia nerds, that was
I am happy to have watched this episode because I learned so much, and that is always a great thing.
What did you think of the Golden Kamuy’s second episode? Let us know in the comment section! And don’t forget to check the rest of the Spring 2018 anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!