Golden Kamuy vol. 19 – Satoru Noda

5 out of 5

19 volumes deep on this Golden Kamuy thing, and I’m still stuck dumb with wonder, brought to exclaim out loud, at multiple chapters and how powerful and / or hilarious and / or thrilling Satoru Noda binds the pieces of his epic together. This is even after knowing what to expect from having watched the anime first…

Our separate crews of Kiroranke’s and Sugimoto’s get closer and closer, with the latter right on the tail of the former after Kiro’s jailbreak of Sofia. The shock ending of the last volume has an intense payoff here (again, just as brutal and exciting as it was animated), with Noda nudging along Asirpa’s learnings of her father’s past – and her growing awareness of her own knowledge, and of what she understands of her traveling companions – expertly during everyone’s escape across the ice.

And then things come to a head. There are some surprise twists; there is an unbelievably tense and bloody cat and mouse; and then there’s a ton of pee, at which I laughed louder than I’ve laughed since, uh, the last time Noda cracked me up. The last half of the book is sensory overload: it is brilliant piece of art and storytelling, and should probably have its own set of reaction videos to see people’s jaws drop as they flip through the pages.

I’m still dumbfounded, hours after having put it down.