Wooderon’s Favourite Anime of 2020 – #2

I’ve woke up to snow this morning, the most I’ve seen in this country in maybe three years. It happens so infrequently here that the U.K. grinds to a halt every time we get some. Although, it hardly matters these days considering we’re all stuck inside anyway. Here’s hoping it clears up by tomorrow, I don’t fancy getting stranded in the arse end of nowhere while trying to get to work.

Anyway, I supposed to be talking about anime.

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#2: Golden Kamuy (Season 3)

Originally aired 5th October to 14th December | 12 Episodes | Based on the manga by Satoru Noda | Historical, Japanese-style Western

Wooderon's Favourite Anime of 2020 - #2

In preparation for season three of Golden Kamuy, I went back and binged through the entirety of the first two seasons shortly before starting this third one. So I’ll put my hands up and admit that there might be some amount of bleed over from those older seasons into this year’s one when it comes to my feeling about it on the whole.

But I can’t imagine anyone disagreeing with me when I say that Golden Kamuy is a totally unique anime that deals with a setting, a story and real-world historical context that really makes it stand apart from almost any other anime that came out this year.

To me, Golden Kamuy walks this beautiful line between being utterly ridiculous and incredibly serious. And it does it perfectly. It seamlessly manages to weave out of highly dramatic scenes where any number of the main cast could very easily die at a moments notice and ease into some of the most insane slapstick comedy I’ve ever seen. And it has me busting a gut cackling at it every single time.

Wooderon's Favourite Anime of 2020 - #2

While the series has two main characters in the form of Sugimoto and Asipira, it’s very much an ensemble piece at this point, telling the stories of a number of different factions in this quest to find a huge hoard of gold and use it for their own means. How easily characters form and break alliances with one another, as well as how complicated and complex almost every single one of them are in terms of their individual backstory, it’s so easy to love characters you’d normally hate and seeing utterly villainous characters as wholesome, unconventional family units when they’re off doing their own thing.

This third season was something of a departure from the previous two, in that it moved away from the warring factions all fighting over the skins of the prisoners that bore the location of the gold and focused more on Kiroranke and Aspira’s deceased father and their pasts as Russian revolutionaries. This group travel further north, out of Hokaido and into Russain territory, while a recovered Sugimoto, accompanied by some of Lieutenant Tsurumi’s men to track and recover Asipria, as she is the only key to deciphering the tattoos to discern the location of the gold.

The result is we end up getting a slightly reduced cast for this season, focusing much less on the 7th Division and Kijikata’s group in favour of the collection of character seen in the image at the top of this post. As a result, we learn more about each of them, while seeing the wacky/harrowing situations the groups get into while all trying to either manipulate or recover Asipira.

Wooderon's Favourite Anime of 2020 - #2

The more I look into this series, the more I’m fascinated by how much it was inspired by real world events and filled with characters based on real people. Albeit far more extreme interpretations of whatever they might have been in reality. This aspect of eastern history is a total blank in my mind and at least getting an introduction to events like the Russo-Japanese War the indigenous cultures of those eastern countries is kinda fascinating.

Although I feel like I do need to take a lot of it with a huge pinch of salt.

Because everyone in this series is out of their God dammed minds, and it’s something about the show I adore. I’m not sure I can think of another anime where it feels like each member of the cast are so well fleshed out, with genuine backstories and motivations and desires that really makes them feel like they all have some amount of complexity to them. Coupled with the fact that they’re the most over the top, utterly insane collection of characters I think I’ve ever seen in a show.

Wooderon's Favourite Anime of 2020 - #2
If there’s there a more wholesome scene involving pissing on a child’s face, I certainly don’t want to know about it.

Those that don’t have actual physical brain damage are either cold-blooded psychopaths, master manipulators or utterly under the sway of their cult-leader-like commanding officer that it fenders into being homoerotic. Not to mention the huge amounts of male body fan service and general homoeroticism going on throughout.

And I adore all of it. Like I said at the top, Golden Kamuy feels like a totally unique anime in practically every regard. I am so attached to these characters and their story that I can’t give the creator’s enough credit in how well realised and how well rounded they have made everything in this show. Despite the fact that it’s totally unhinged at times.

This is a show I highly encourage everyone to go out and pursue with utmost haste. It’s an amazing anime and deserves unending praise for everything it does. Seriously, Golden Kamuy is amazing and everyone should be watching it.

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