The first season of Golden Kamuy made for tremendous viewing despite ending somewhat abruptly. With the second season upon us, it’s time to see how the production team follows up this unusual historical saga.
Golden Kamuy Season 2 picks up where we left the previously disparate players’ quest for Nopperabo’s secret golden treasure. With the core group largely established, the narrative in this series focused on their journey around Hokkaido to arrive at their destination, Abashiri Prison, to search out for the elusive Nopperabo.
… and that’s about the whole of this second season to be honest. While there are some slight detours along the way, the entirety of this season was something of a road trip that culminates in the team arriving at Abashiri Prision to try to find out the secret of the Ainu treasure discussed at length in season 1.
When summed up it seems anti-climatic, and if we’re being critical it sort of is. But the strength of Golden Kamuy’s first season was the interplay with its characters, and once again it is the cast which makes the second season incredibly engaging.
With more time to explore the various personalities, we start to see some of the more peripheral characters take shape to the point where even the script frequently twists your perception of the typical antagonists to the point where you find yourself cheering for them. Characters I had largely put into certain camps in terms of my love/hate relationship had an amazing time playing around the edges and it made for really great viewing. It was also good seeing the play of light and shade by allowing humour to bleed through the typically serious overtones.
Something else that really stood out as the series progressed is the way it handled the relationship between Inkarmat and Tanigaki. With so much TV anime sitting in the mould of plying fanservice for the sake of fanservice, it was refreshing to see a more mature and at times nuanced approach to sex and their growing relationship.
Moving onto the Blu-Ray release, Golden Kamuy Season 2 features fantastic encoding on the video and bilingual audio to suit both sides of the fence. The extras featured include all the Golden Theatre shorts that correspond to this season. Similar to its predecessor, these are hilariously off-beat and absurdist sequences. While these kind of things don’t add anything to the story, they’re nonetheless tremendously fun!
There’s a lot to like about Golden Kamuy Season 2. Even though it’s less ambitious than the previous series it manages to drive a strong pace, the characters are engaging and it ends on a solid note. It continues to honour and respect the Ainu culture, which was such a unique and standout feature of the first season as well. The only shame is that while the third season’s been announced, we don’t know when it’s going to arrive locally!
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.