Here’s a show which I feel sorry to drop. Golden Kamuy stood as one of my favorite anime from two seasons ago. I loved the aspects of it which dealt with the Ainu, the beautiful backgrounds, Hokkaido, and turn of the century Japan. The action was great, and the characters interesting and fun.
Yet, one unfortunate element intruded itself towards the end of season one: the author’s interest in serial killers. Our heroes’ trip to the fishing village in search of more clues introduced a seriously disturbed fisherman, Henmi Kazuo, who became sexually aroused at the prospect of murder and death. I found myself enduring rather than enjoying these couple of episodes. And so, it probably comes as no surprise that I dropped the anime after the second season begins with introducing yet another crazed serial killer: Yasaku Edogai the taxidermist.
As you might expect from a series which indulges in the macabre, Edogai practices his art on more than just animals. Besides having stuffed humans, which content I would have tolerated, he also uses his victims for creating various costumes–costumes which I am sorry to have seen and which would pain me to describe. This perverse use of human corpses proved a bridge too far.
The only positive thing about the appearance of Edogai in Golden Kamuy is how it led to an interesting conversation with a friend of mine. His wife has an enthusiasm for studying serial killers, which in turn makes my friend rather more knowledgeable on the subject than the average person. (This is not an interest I recommend!) It turns out that I myself have an uncanny resemblance to a particularly bad murderer, which sent shivers up this fellow’s wife’s spine when we were first introduced. (No, I will not tell you which serial killer I resemble, because you’ll end up picturing me in your mind’s eye like that for good.)
At any rate, Edogai appears to be based on Ed Gein, the Butcher of Plainfield. The story of Gein’s murders inspired several movies, books, and songs–most famously, Alfred Hitchcock’s film Psycho. Psycho conveyed the insanity and villainy of Gein without becoming disturbingly graphic. I wish that Golden Kamuy could have worked with this kind of villain with as much subtlety, but they depicted it in a manner too unpalatable for most, I suspect.