Golden Kamuy Episodes 8 & 9: Eyes of a Murderer; Gleaming
Honestly, I’m not too sure what the hell happened. Did I really watch what I just watched? The really awful production values don’t help this anime at all, and it just made these two episodes even more awkward. But so far, people in this show get boners from some fucked up shit, but they are prisoners, so….okay.
Episode 8 starts off with a shooting in the streets caused by the chase from last time and eventually Shiraishi manages to get away. Going to the brothel from before, he had struck a deal with one of the women working there and got a cloth with Ushiyama’s scent. He had wanted to borrow Retar for this job, but Retar has his own wolf life now and Asirpa’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to get close to him anymore, because of his family. But they still have Ryuu, Nihei’s dog, so he uses the dog to find Ushiyama’s lodging to gather some info. But after Ryuu made some noise and got them caught, Shiraishi got himself in some deep shit and is now kind of working for Hijikata. Hijikata has made himself even more intimidating as he now has his old katana.
The bulk of the rest of episode 8 and the first half of episode 9 is related to the next prisoner, the one Hijikata ordered Shiraishi to find; a man named Henmi Kazuo, a man that kills out of sexual pleasure. Shiraishi personally knows him after being imprisoned with him and learned how he started killing. It simply blossomed into an obsession after he saw his own brother being mauled to death by an animal. The way his brother tried to fight back against something he couldn’t communicate with, the way the light in his eyes faded, the way his body just stopped all gave him such a fascination that he wanted to see that sight over and over again, so he just started killing people out of some awful pleasure. But what was just so damn weird was that there was a literal ball of light over his crotch area every time this guy got aroused, with this heavenly music playing. I know it was supposed to be funny, but for me it was just strange. So after the group gets clues that Henmi targets herring fishermen, the gang go to where Asirpa’s uncle is. And of course Henmi is there, he meets with Sugimoto, and basically falls in love with him? He sees Sugimoto in himself, a person that’s killed so many people, but for different reasons. He just loves Sugimoto’s being in general and wants to be killed by him. But when Asirpa finds the body of one of the sick fisherman he recently killed, he grabs Sugimoto outside. That’s when they notice the 7th are there as well, and Henmi takes Sugimoto to the boss’s mansion, not knowing that Tsurumi is there.
There’s a chase and Henmi gets wounded and Sugimoto drags him along to where Shiraishi and the others are, who had previously been whale hunting. It’s then that Shiraishi recognizes Henmi behind Sugimoto, and Henmi and Sugimoto clash in this….really fucking strange fight with some one-sided sexual pleasure. It got even weirder when an orca whale literally came out of nowhere and grabbed Henmi and dragged him into the water, tossing him around like a rag doll. Previously, he had thought that being killed by Sugimoto would have been the best feeling in the world, but the way he was being killed by the orca mimiced how his brother had been killed by the wild boar. Eventually he does die and Sugimoto retrieves his body for his tattoos, and they all manage to escape Tsurumi.
It was just…umm…
Anyway, the last half of episode 9 deals with Tanigaki meeting up with past soldiers we met before whose names I don’t remember because there’s too many side characters. Basically, they think that Tanigaki betrayed his group by killing those soldiers from the moment we first saw him, but we know that it’s a huge misunderstanding because those soldiers were killed by a bear lured by Sugimoto. Asirpa’s grandmother’s life and Osoma’s are in danger, but Tanigaki is going to fight back and protect them and himself.
Hijikata also made an appearance in front of Shiraishi and the other, disguised as an old fisherman. He wants Shiraishi to make copies of the tattoos, so, again, he’s in some deep shit.
I don’t really know how I felt about these two episodes? I can’t say I really enjoyed them. I guess…I just didn’t. Golden Kamuy has just been moving at such a slow pace that it’s hard to get excited about anything, but I did realize that covering two episodes at a time actually alleviates that feeling. I’m going to have to consider if I want to cover this biweekly. I don’t really know how the story is going to continue, this series isn’t something I can predict. But I will predict, that Tanigaki won’t be able to kill those two soldiers. Because it would just be too easy. We’ll see what happens in the next episode that’ll hopefully make things a little more interesting. But…man, I wish the production value wasn’t so damn awful, it just makes things a lot less enjoyable when the art looks ugly and the characters move clunky. What a shame.