Golden Kamuy vol. 12 – Satoru Noda

4 out of 5

While Golden Kamuy has toyed with homoerotic subtext (and context) at various points, volume 12’s sea otter-meat euphoria is the first big “gay” scene in the series – putting that in quotes since, y’know, it’s really just dudes getting down to skivvies and wrestling – and I love it so much. It was a highlight in the anime, and it’s just as enjoyable here, working on various levels – comedically; as one of Kamuy’s indirect ways of character bonding; playing with manly men stereotypes; and then it’s also fairly visually stimulating, if’n you want it to be.

This scene is rather brilliantly juxtaposed by a massive bit of important story exposition between Inkarmat and Asirpa, equally excellent in its emotional subtleties, and preceded by the wild bag of tones of the Anehata animal-lover bit, which is certainly played for yuks, but then also has Asirpa’s rather grounded response to it – simply questioning the nature of the pursuit since it has no biological imperative.

Volume 12 has its scattered cooking and educational additions – this being the only reason I wouldn’t consider this a perfect set of chapters, as there’s no longform storytelling here, rather bits and pieces – and then sets us up for what should be a fantastically thrilling next set of chapters, with the blind assassins.