Maybe others saw it coming, but I sure as hell didn’t. I feel Asirpa’s pain.
— But if we start from the beginning, then it’s still Tanigaki vs Ogata and Nikaido. At the very least, however, he’s managed to get far away from Huci and Osoma, so those two are relatively safe for now. Honestly, I only care if they survive. I don’t have strong feelings about Tanigaki either way. After all, he tried to kill Retar, and I don’t really have a good reason to think that he’s suddenly a good guy now.
— Wow, how are these guys not freezing to death?
— The next morning, Ogata has Nikaido walk into an obvious trap. I’m more curious as to why Ogata proceeds to shove a pile of snow into his mouth.
— More 3-D bear, yeah! Makes you wonder why the killer whale wasn’t rendered in 3-D as well.
— The poor bear’s animation looks so choppy.
— That Tanigaki sure is a clever boy. He laid a trap knowing that the bear would attack. Not only that, Ogata would have to take a shot in order to save his partner. This would reveal his location, but Ogata is cocky because he still thinks Tanigaki is unarmed. I just wish the latter had actually landed a head shot. It’s fiction. Unless it’s a head shot, the character almost always magically survives. Hell, he’s not even bleeding.
— Anyways, according to this soldier, Tsurumi has been tracking Ogata and Nikaido this entire time. Tanigaki hasn’t technically betrayed his lieutenant, but he doesn’t want to return to the army either. Not after he’s been spoon-fed such delicious Ainu food. I guess he was never really made for the army. I still don’t trust the guy, though.
— Unfortunately, the poor soldier (Mishima) dies as soon as he is introduced. He quickly takes a bullet right to head. Yep, Ogata is still alive; he also has better aim than Tanigaki. Luckily for the latter, Tsurumi is already here. Tanigaki uses the opportunity to slip away, knowing that Ogata would be too busy dealing with the 7th Division to keep hunting him.
— Nevertheless, Ogata still manages to slip away. Ugh, I guess he’s going to be a recurring character. Well, the adaptation is about to end, so it’s all moot anyway. If I ever bother to read the manga, however, I’ll have to see his ugly mug.
— Nikaido probably wishes he had been mauled to death by the bear. Since he survived, Tsurumi is going to sadistically torture him.
— This has to hurt. He has snow to numb the pain at least. Still, the show has been a lot less bloody as of late. Other than the bear attacks, there really hasn’t been all that much gore. I really thought Golden Kamuy would brandish a much more brutal brand of violence, but it’s been more goofy than anything.
— Oh, those animals are cute. Asirpa would probably trap and eat them. What furry animal wouldn’t she eat?
— Tsurumi offers to let Nikaido live long enough to kill Sugimoto if the latter starts naming names. Basically, there are traitors within his ranks, and he wants to weed them out. As soon as Nikaido points out the first guy, the poor sap gets hauled off to be tortured. I guess you can’t really expect a fair trial in a rogue military force hellbent on establishing its own country.
— After this, the focus finally switches back to Sugimoto and Asirpa, and they look well enough. Unfortunately, there’s still the problem of Hijikata having Shiraishi under his thumb. Our hero isn’t exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, so I don’t see him coming to the realization that something fishy is going on with the Escape King. Asirpa might, though.
— Yay, more nature facts from our favorite Ainu tour guide.
— And silly faces too.
— As well as Ainu folklore. I dunno, I’ve oddly come to enjoy these slight digressions from the main story. It’s better than seeing what the villains are up to. I don’t find either Tsurumi or Hijikata all that compelling. I’d rather just hear Asirpa tell me more about how to survive in the wilderness.
— Jesus Christ, that’s a giant fish. How does something like that find enough food to eat in a river? I’ve seen some huge fish in lakes before, but never big enough to actually swallow a grown man.
— A new character, however, immediately jumps into the river to help Shiraishi out. As a result, the giant fish magically flops onto solid ground. Since they were just talking about mermaids, we get this visual gag.
— Ah, it’s Kiroranke, one of Asirpa’s father’s former friends. What luck. She instantly trusts him, but that just makes him all the more suspicious. But for now, we have a giant fish to carve up and eat. I bet you they make another stew.
— Yeah, no, I wouldn’t want to wear clothes made with fish skin. Plus, I can’t even imagine how annoying it would be to remove the scales from a fish that large. I hate scaling smaller fish as it is.
— They’re censoring our animus again!!! Speaking of which, that guy’s chest hair does not look right.
— Well, color me surprised: they did not make a stew out of the fish. I know from experience, however, that food often doesn’t taste right without salt. Do these guys actually carry salt around with them? ‘Cause I can’t imagine that giant hunk of fish being anything but bland without proper seasoning.
— Ugh, I do not like the taste or texture of fish eyes. My ex loved them, though.
— Interestingly enough, Kiroranke used to be in the army, so he’s heard of the infamous Immortal Sugimoto. Not only that, he used to be in the 7th Division. This alarms the group, but he claims that he’s never heard of Tsurumi. He could be lying.
— Asirpa refers to Sugimoto as her partner, but she’s not so kind about Shiraishi. The guy’s just carefree enough not to care about any of the insults that fly his way.
— Anyways, here comes the huge plot twist. Kiroranke mentions an odd man dropping by the village in search of a certain woman by the name of Asuko. This just happens to be Asirpa’s Japanese name. The old man is obviously Hijikata, but that’s not the big surprise. The only way Hijikata would even know of Asirpa’s Japanese name is if he had heard it from her father. Yep, that’s right, Nopperabo, the man who had tattooed all of the prisoners, is none other than Asirpa’s father. This entire time, Asirpa thought he had died along in an attempt to defend the gold from thieves. Instead, he actually tried to steal it for himself.
— Obviously, Asirpa is skeptical about what she just heard. Who wouldn’t be? No one wants to think of their father as the bad guy. As a result, she wants to hear it from the horse’s mouth herself; she wants to visit Nopperabo in prison and see if the man is really her father. That’s going to be tough, but since Shiraishi is so good at breaking out of prison, he should be able to break into one. That’s the hope, anyway.
— But y’know, if Nopperabo is really Asirpa’s father, then they shouldn’t trust Kiroranke at all. He even mentions them being close friends from the same country (Russia), so let’s just stop right there and keep him away from the group. Sugimoto’s gut instincts tell him the same thing, but because Asirpa still trusts her father’s friend, our hero has no choice but to let Kiroranke tag along with them.
— Later that day, they return to the village to find that Tanigaki has fully integrated himself. Hm.
— Meanwhile, Osoma is just jamming the fuck out.
— And now she’s dancing with the bear! It’s too bad they’re going to kill and eat it in two years (or less).
— Anyways, the group plan their trip to Abashiri, the prison where Nopperabo is currently held. The entire time, Sugimoto continues to shoot daggers at Kiroranke. I feel like he should really talk to Asirpa about his misgivings, but maybe he doesn’t really feel secure enough in either his suspicions or their friendship to start badmouthing an old family friend of hers.
— Apparently, this is what Ainu outhouses look like.
— And as always, Shiraishi gets to be the butt of all jokes.
— But just like that, we’re off. Are we really going to be able to reach Nopperabo before this adaptation calls it quits? We only have two or three episodes left, right? And judging by the after credits scene, it looks like we’re going to be trapped in some sort of spooky hotel with this suspicious-looking woman. Maybe we’ll have a murder mystery on our hands.