Golden Kamuy vol. 7 – Satoru Noda

5 out of 5

Uh… I think I’m still in shock over how good this set of chapters was. Satoru Noda has proven several times over now to be incredibly skilled at leaping between comedy, story beats, action, and drama – and effectively blending them all together – and volume 7 of Golden Kamuy is a new pinnacle of that skill.

The first section of the book brings in seer / con-woman Inkarmat, her loyalties as cloudy as every new character – which is a feature, not a bug of GK, leaning in to the more humanistic way Noda handles dialogue, butting fascinatingly up against the comedic extremes to which some characters are pushed – and, of course, Shiraishi falls under her wiles, wanting to use her predictions to go gambling. This is played somewhat for laughs, for sure, as the crew gathers at the horse races, trying to stop Shiraishi from wasting their money, but Noda also uses it as an opportunity to further expand on Sugimoto’s bond with Asirpa, and to flesh out Kiroranke. This is an exceptionally fun set of chapters.

A shocking bit of “this is how life was” lead-in – Asirpa clubbing a seal – has Sugimoto pledging to track down a seal-fur coat that was intended as a wedding gift for Asirpa’s aunt, leading our crew to a farm run by an American, Dunn, and agreeing to rid his farm of a livestock-eating “monster” in exchange for said coat. This seems like a bit of a runaround, but this folksy aside quickly becomes deadly serious as the monster is revealed, and everyone has to cluster in a house with some curious occupants to try to figure out how to survive. This section of chapters is simply masterful, and for as much as I was enjoying the horse race bit, this was on par with its tenseness and grittiness. Insane action, excellently choreographed.

A perfect tankobon.