ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Golden Kamuy’ Volume 18

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Golden Kamuy Volume 18

Season three of the Golden Kamuy anime has begun, so now is a great time to get into the original, award-winning manga. All of the main players are scattered around the country, but with personal histories coming to light, the stakes are truly closing in on everyone. Golden Kamuy Volume 18 by Satoru Noda is published in English by Viz Media. It is translated by John Werry and features touch-up art and lettering by Steve Dutro.

As Sugimoto’s company slowly gets closer to reuniting with Asirpa, elsewhere another escaped convict has incapacitated Hijikata and Ushiyama. With their whereabouts unknown, Kadokura and Kiraushi go off in search of them. They discover Sekiya, a man obsessed with luck and poisons, has taken the two hostages. Unbeknownst to anyone, Ushiyama has woken up from his drugged state and goes on a humorous adventure with a local boy.

Meanwhile, Asirpa learns more about the history of her father and Kiroranke. Now revealed to be co-conspirators in the assassination of the Russian Czar, Asirpa begins to learn more about how her father came to Japan. Including how he learned to speak Japanese from a certain photographer. While all of this is wonderful, Asirpa and Sugimoto are the heart of this series. The longer they are apart, the more the plot begins to feel weighed down as it jumps from group to group.

With everyone still separated, a lot of this volume is building up relationships while we wait for the characters to come together again. It is difficult to be certain, but it feels as though the series has begun a slow burn to its conclusion, which is very exciting. Golden Kamuy Volume 18 succeeds in its efforts to endear readers to its eccentric cast of characters (many who are murderers and criminals, lest we forget).  The volume also includes an absolutely fantastic plot twist, connecting the players together.

Truly the only downside to reading Golden Kamuy at this point is trying to keep track of everything. There are so many characters and motivations to keep track of, that often as a reader, I have to go back to previous volumes to refresh myself each time. It is no fault of the series for having an intricately woven plot, but at 18 volumes a character map/synopsis at the contents page would be appreciated.

As always, Noda’s fantastic artwork consistently adds to the success of this story. Grotesque in its violence and absurd in its comedy, readers will see the ripples of skin as bullets penetrate it, and you can be sure it continues the trend of having at least one comically naked man almost every volume.

Golden Kamuy Volume 18 continues the series absurdity while slowing down to focus on each of the separate groups. The only downside is trying to keep track of it all. A fascinating flashback and twist character reveal will make readers count down the days to the next volume. Hopefully, it will also see Sugimoto and Asirpa reunited, as the story isn’t quite the same when they aren’t together.

Golden Kamuy Volume 18 releases October 20th, 2020, and will be available wherever books are sold. You can read the rest of the series now on the Shonen Jump subscription.

Golden Kamuy Volume 18
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TL;DR

Golden Kamuy Volume 18 continues the series absurdity while slowing down to focus on each of the separate groups. The only downside is trying to keep track of it all. A fascinating flashback and twist character reveal will make readers count down the days to the next volume. Hopefully, it will also see Sugimoto and Asirpa reunited, as the story isn’t quite the same when they aren’t together.