Golden Kamuy Episode 2: Nopperabo
Well I certainly wasn’t expecting all this comedy in this episode. While the story slowly took another step and with the introductions of some new characters, we also got more great chemistry between Sugimoto and Asirpa, along with lots of funny moments that genuinely made me crack up.
Using his own deductions, Sugimoto thinks the prisoners may be hiding in a bigger town, so he and Asirpa go down to Otaru to gather some hints and clues to find some trace of them, such as asking the townspeople if they’ve seen people with strange tattoos. Finding out from a man that other people have asked the same question before, they know they’re on the right track. As they leave the town, someone follows them from behind. Asirpa leaving a trap, they catch the man who happens to be one of the prisoners. Instead of killing him, they restrain him and Sugimoto lets Asirpa sketch the man’s tattoo, which is the method that they’ll be using for their adventure. But suddenly the prisoner gets sniped and killed, and Sugimoto has a run in with the murderer, a soldier from the most powerful part of the army. They fight and Sugimoto thinks he killed him, but we learn that in the end he managed to survive. We also get a glimpse of another scary-looking military man in the end. This is pretty huge, now knowing that even the military is after the gold. That’s just going to make things a lot more dangerous and terrifying, as Sugimoto is going to have to go against his own, but a larger group than expected, and he doesn’t even know it right now.
We also get to know about Hijikata Toshizou, the leader of the prison gang and close friend of Nopperabo. An ex-samurai of the Shinsengumi and war veteran, he seems to be another difficult figure. Not much is known right now, except for this terrifying man, and that there’s 24 prisoners in total. All of this was told by another captured prisoner, Shiraishi, who I think is going to be a recurring character. As King Escape, he’s probably going to escape death a lot and he’ll probably show up from time to time. Will he work with Sugimoto and Asirpa the next time he sees them? He seems easy going, but who knows.
The plot moved pretty slowly this time, but we got lots of great scenes. Seeing Sugimoto’s body at the hot spring was pretty telling of how harsh the war was. His entire body was covered in scars, from blades and gun shots. Then again, Sugimoto is a reckless person that won’t back down from a fight from what we’ve seen, but I feel in some way all of that has affected him.
Another thing I love is the chemistry between Sugimoto and Asirpa. The cooking scene in her hunting tent was pretty calming and adorable, as Asirpa happily explained the Ainu way of cooking and Sugimoto reluctance. However, he goes along and ends up enjoying the meal quite a bit while happily partaking in her customs, like the chitatap, saying hinna, and eating the raw squirrel brain. I’ve said this before, but I love how Sugimoto is extremely respectful and accepting of Asirpa and her culture. A Japanese man standing up and even befriending an Ainu during that time period I’m guessing was probably very rare. Like white colonials being respectful and friendly to Native Americans hundreds of years ago in the US. Which….yes, it’s rare. We see Asirpa getting harrassed with racism twice this episode, once by the man in the town, and the prisoner they captured, and both times Sugimoto was ready to beat them down. It just makes me love Sugimoto more and more and continues to show what a good person he is. He’s really my kind of man! <3 I also love Asirpa just as much. She shows a lot of pride in her own culture, which is very admirable, and I find it sweet but a little sad to hear her talk about her father so much. She seems to have loved and looked up to him a lot. And she’s super smart and talented so it’s fun to watch her make traps and a smokescreens.
The episode was also pretty hilarious, with Sugimoto and Shiraishi’s hypothermia scare being really entertaining. It’s such a shame though that production value is really low. The setting, plot, and characters are so compelling, but the only thing holding it back is how wonky it can look. But honestly I’d rather take awkward art if the show is this good because I’m enjoying this a lot~