Johnny Bullet
Golden Kamuy: Volume 10 manga review
By Leroy Douresseaux

June 22, 2019 - 19:06

Publisher(s): Viz Media
Writer(s): Satoru Noda, John Werry
Artist(s): Satoru Noda
Letterer(s): Steve Dutro
ISBN: 978-1-9747-0448-4
$12.99 U.S., $17.99 CAN, £8.99 UK, 200pp, B&W, paperback
Rating: M (Mature)

Golden Kamuy Graphic Novel Volume 10 cover image

Rated “M” for “Mature”

It is the early 20th century.  Saichi “Immortal” Sugimoto is a veteran of the Russo-Japanese War and is scrapping out a meager existence.  There is also a postwar gold rush on the wild frontier of Japan's Hokkaido region.  Sugimoto stumbles upon the first “piece” of a map leading to a fortune in hidden gold belonging to the Ainu (an indigenous people of Japan and Russia).  Ruthless criminals and rogue Japanese soldiers are also hunting for the gold in the harsh northern wilderness.  It will take all Sugimoto's talents and the help of an immensely-skilled Ainu girl named Asirpa to survive, let alone find the gold.

Golden Kamuy, Vol. 10 (Chapters 91 to 100) opens as Sugimoto, Asirpa, and their gold-hunting allies, Hyakunosuke Ogata and Tatsuuma Ushiyama, prepare to leave the Ainu village that was held captive by escaped prisoners.  In fact, the only surviving escapee, Kiyohiro Suzukawa, is now their captive, and Sugimoto has a plan to make him useful in their quest for gold.

Meanwhile, Sugimoto and Asirpa's recent partner and traveling companion, Yoshitake Shiraishi, the “Escape King,” has been captured by the 7th Division, the strongest unit of the Imperial Japanese Army.  Some of its members, particularly First Lieutenant Tsurumi, are also looking for the Ainu gold.  Now, two more allies, Toshizo Hijikata and Kiroranke, are chasing the convoy to recover Shiraishi before they arrive at division headquarters.

When all else fails, the captive, Suzukawa, has a plan...

THE LOWDOWN:  The Golden Kamuy manga is moving deeper and deeper into its narrative.  It is certainly one of the best historical fiction manga and graphic novels series on the market.  And creator Satoru Noda continues to flesh out his cast.

Golden Kamuy Graphic Novel Volume 10 offers two intense chase scenes and one comical scam.  The heart of this volume is a kind of con game, but it is important to getting the band back together.  There is also some comic relief, but Noda surprises readers by offering some ruminations on the nature of war, especially in relation to the Russo-Japanese War.  Thus, we get a pivotal moment in the relationship between Sugimoto and Asirpa, which makes Golden Kamuy some serious reading stuff.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Westerns and of Japanese historical dramas will want to try the VIZ Signature title, Golden Kamuy.

9 out of 10

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