3 out of 5
Very scattershot. Occasionally, Golden Kamuy dances around for a few chapters, making it easier to remember that we’ve been doing mostly the same thing – hunting for tattooed prisoners – for 20+ tankobons worth of material. Of course, Noda has proven time and again that that doesn’t prevent the story from reeling back into relevance, and the creator’s amazing artistry and penchant for fantastic action and random comedy keep things going even during slumps, but said slumps still definitely occur, and volume 24 is an example of that.
We do some check-ins at the start, jumping around our various locations and characters, not really settling on anything, until we get back around to the hunt for Botaro the Pirate. There’s definitely some fun to be had there, but it ultimately feels like a bit of thumb-twiddlin’ just so Noda can add another personality to the Sugimoto group; Botaro isn’t yet strong enough of a character to really stand out, so he’s just another quirky fella thrown into the mix. A well choreographed (and maybe a tad too fantastical) steamboat-centered fight sequence keeps this section chugging along, and I did like that Noda avoided indulging in Botaro’s past to instead show us more of Sugimoto’s.
After this, we finally get around to the Jack the Ripper stuff – after being hinted at on and off for a while – and even given how insane Golden Kamuy has been at points, I don’t think I could have predicted what Joe Bob Briggs might call “semen fu.” That sequence had me in stitches, and that chapter alone kind of saved the book to a degree, but it’s also admittedly very random within the overall flow of the book. I hope the Ripper stuff eventually feels like it has some more context, and isn’t just another aside.