Dropping Golden Kamuy

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.

Golden 7

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.)

IMG_2580

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 PsychoPsycho 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.

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11 comments on “Dropping Golden Kamuy

  1. MIB says:

    I’m not dropping this show but I do agree that it has lost its way in this second half, and Edogai is a terrible addendum to the story. The “humour” he brings is frankly silly and spoils the mood even if the concept is creepy enough to be interesting.

    But it is not just him, everything seems to have dropped off a cliff – the story direction, animation and logic. Admittedly the latter was stretched a bit in the first half but it is just getting silly now. Shame, as this was a contender for my Top 10 of the year but I may have to rethink its candidacy. :-/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. steelbound says:

    I can see your point about the taxidermist but one could almost write him off as a necessary evil because it makes so much sense from a story standpoint for the idea of creating fake skin tattoo patterns and it would take someone that twisted to be so willing to create these fakes.

    Not trying to get you to pick it back up … but … episode 17 (Season 2, episode 5) features a very moving scene between Sugimoto and Asirpa that showed me that Golden Kamuy hasn’t forgotten the emotional core that makes the show so compelling. And then episode 18 gave us a look at Genjirou Tanigaki’s backstory and it left me a crying mess and I don’t mind saying that because if one’s heart was unmoved by this episode then that person isn’t human. It probably will go down as my top episode of the season and is definitely in the running for best episode of anime of 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, there was a lot to love about Golden Kamuy. What you write almost makes me want to pick it up again. But, there are so many anime out there to enjoy without dealing with an Ed Gein-like character.

      Still, I’m glad that you’re enjoying it and that the main characters are as lovable as ever.

      Like

      • steelbound says:

        It hit me after I commented, but did you drop Golden Kamuy after the first episode of the second season? Or did you watch more of the series and, even though the taxidermist is killed in the second episode, decided to drop it because of the inclusions of now two characters based on serial killers?

        If you watched the second episode (ep.14), I was wondering if you had any thoughts about the reference to Da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

        Like

      • Yes, I basically dropped it after watching the first episode. I had no idea that Edogai met his demise only one episode later. So, I went ahead and skipped the second episode, and watched the third and fourth. Thanks to your comment here, I’m watching the show again.

        I saw a clip of Golden Kamuy’s “Last Supper.” That was a very interesting artistic choice for an anime. Having watched a little bit ahead, it seems like it set up Shiraishi’s betrayal later on. Interesting stuff.

        Like

  3. terranceacrow says:

    You know what? After the first taxidermist episode, I found that I just didn’t want to watch it anymore. For exactly the same reasons you just laid out.

    And that makes me sad — for the same reasons you pointed out!

    Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

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