Shortly after the Russo-Japanese war (1904 AD), Sugimoto, an ex-Japanese soldier, returns home in an effort to find a way to earn money in order to support one of his dead comrades family. While he is panning for gold with a stranger, he is told of a a large treasure trove of gold that was hidden by a master thief who was locked away in one of Japan’s most secure prisons. In order to escape, he made a deal with all of the other prisoners. They would all attempt to break free at once and then rally back together in order to reassemble all of the pieces of the map they had. As security, the criminal didn’t simply hand pieces of paper to the inmates, but rather he tattooed them on their backs.
As you may have guessed, this caused a massive manhunt for the escaped individuals. Rogue groups, other convicts, and the government all are looking for the missing pieces of the puzzle… and they aren’t scared of killing people for the skins off their backs. As you can guess, the immortal Sugimoto (a name he earned fighting the Russians) goes searching for the treasure too. Along the way he collects quite an entourage which includes an escaped convict, a young Ainu girl, and a handful of other eclectic individuals with one goal in mind: find the list gold.
The thing I love most about this series is it's historical setting. Being prior to the rise of WW1 Japan, the entire series takes place during a time of social and cultural change in the country. Weaponry is changing, along with clothing styles, and Japan's cultural practices are being challenged by European ideals.
With lovable characters, bloodthirsty bad guys, and the promise of gold somewhere in those Japanese hills Golden Kamuy keeps its audience captive. If you are into history, like treasure hunts, and like guns, swords, and bows give it a watch. My final rating is a 3.5 out of 5. Definitely a good way to spend a Saturday.
Anime Year of Release: 2018
Director: Hitoshi Nanba
Writer: Noboru Takagi
Music: Kenichirō Suehiro
Studio: Geno Studio
Watch It On: Crunchyroll
Final Score: 3.5 out of 5