Two comments I often see from more casual fans on social media are that “anime used to be gritty and cool back in the day” but that “moe has killed anime.” I always laugh at these comments because nothing could be farther from the truth. While there are always plenty of shows about cute girls running a coffee shop and the usual imouto-bait, there’s so much variety in the anime world in 2018 that you can find literally anything you could want to watch. One anime I’m liking a lot is Golden Kamuy, a classic adventure story about a war survivor seeking buried gold in the frozen land of Hokkaido with the help of an Ainu girl.
It’s a dark historical story set in the aftermath of the 1905 Russo-Japan War. In Japan’s frigid northernmost island of Hokkaido, a former soldier nicknamed “the Immortal Sugimoto” because of his unique ability to avoid death in battle is trying to get money to pay for an operation for the wife of a fallen comrade. He hears of a huge cache of gold hidden by a group of prisoners who’ve tattooed a map to the gold on the backs of the members of the gang. Enlisting the help of an Ainu girl named Asirpa, he goes on a journey to find the treasure.
In a world where so many anime series can be easily pegged to popular existing genres, Golden Kamuy features a fresh take on storytelling, with a clear goal (the gold) and an outstanding enemy (the terrifying First Lieutenant Tsurumi, a soldier wounded so badly he has to strap a plate to his head to keep his brains from spilling out). Along the way, Immortal Sugimoto will have many adventures, kill several bears and a lot of soldiers, and have adorable interactions with his Ainu friend Asirpa.
Another reason to watch Golden Kamuy is that it’s basically an animated National Geographic Special about the Ainu, the original inhabitants of the Japanese islands before the rise of the Yamato Japanese civilization in ancient times, who were pushed ever northward as the centuries passed. You’ll learn about their language, why their women tattoed mustaches onto their lips, as well as the best part of a bear’s gall bladder to eat after you kill it. How many series will teach you that? Best of all, you don’t need to get “second season anxiety” because it’s already here.
Want to give Golden Kamuy a try? Let’s talk about it on Twitter!
There’s nothing better than getting a box filled with 18+ wonderful Japanese snacks and other fun items, and we’ve got the new J-List Box boxes up for ordering! There are two December boxes, a normal “deluxe” snack box plus an awesome limited snack box with alternate snacks for Christmas. Which one will you order? See the new J-List Box snack boxes here.