Golden Kamuy vol. 8 – Satoru Noda

5 out of 5

I’m pretty sure I’ve expressed this sentiment regarding this series before, and I’m wholly positive I’ll do so again, but: only in Golden Kamuy. Only in Golden Kamuy can eating poop continually be played off as an endearing joke; can a man who makes elaborate suits out of human flesh be played as a slapstick character; can Indiana Jones adventure – a minecart chase! – veer from humor to action to heavy, emotive drama and then right back to comedy within seamlessly linked pages.

…I’ve pretty much summarized things, but even knowing some highlights, nothing can prepare you for this set of chapters, and how continually surprising, rich with story, hilarious and / or exciting they are. Noda has nailed the balance between pausing for history and cooking lessons and keeping things moving, and all of our various players – the 7th Division, Sugimoto’s crew, Hijikata’s group, lone wolf Ogata – are now so well seeded into their own stories and each others’ that they can be wed through one another’s plots magically, and incredibly satisfyingly. So various people track down a skin to a particular taxidermist in Yubari, we learn some interesting background on Tanigaki, and, y’know, minecart chase. Noda’s photo-reference nature sequences are breathtaking, and all the beats – the jokes, the dialogue, the story – are perfect.