Original Run: October 5, 2020 - December 21, 2020 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Adventure, Historical Based on the Series Created By: Satoru Noda
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Golden Kamuy Season 3. Reader discretion is advised.***
While still on the hunt for the lost Ainu gold, partners Saichi Sugimoto and Asirpa (voiced respectively by Chikahiro Kobayashi and Haruka Shiraishi) have been separated. However, their journeys continue to take them in the same direction.
Now at the very edges of the Japanese continental frontier, both Sugimoto and Asirpa’s parties find their way to the early 20th-century Russian border.
Death and violence are ever-present for our heroes. But the same is true for anyone foolish enough to get in their way.
Is it just me, or did Golden Kamuy Season 3 crank up the silliness? While we’re at it, did this installment also decide to boast this series’ overall excitement, quality, and fun meters?
Up to this point, the Golden Kamuy franchise has stood tall and reliable (I was really looking forward to this season). Still, not even I expected to enjoy what we got as much as I did. It would require watching through the entire series again (not an undesirable prospect) to be sure, but this was easily the best chapter yet.
I’m not sure where to start.
I suppose a good place would be with the animation.
Admittedly, Golden Kamuy Season 3 wasn’t breathtaking to look at. While it could be flashy and the art style is unique, it isn’t the most visually impressive show. But when you remember season one’s infamous bear-attack-scene, it’s hard not to appreciate the upgrade. Hell, there were flashbacks to the first season in this installment, and it was a stark reminder of how bad things once were.
Nevertheless, the entire Golden Kamuy series, not just season three, was more concerned with content than it was with a pretty polish.
A primary characteristic of this franchise is its groups of characters; many entities interacted with each other. For many shows, trying to give multiple groups the proper amount of screen time is a bit daunting. More often than not, some characters prove more interesting than others. Well, Golden Kamuy is firmly in that “not” category; although some characters were better than others, all were worth watching.
Recalling the end of season two, the main characters, Saichi Sugimoto and Asirpa, were separated. In the first two seasons, the pair made for an outstanding team, and it was hard to say which one brought more to their dynamic. It turns out that they were equally fascinating. Both Sugimoto and Asirpa could carry this series without sacrificing humor, intensity, or drama. And believe me, this season had those qualities in spades.
Golden Kamuy Season 3 was exceedingly good, and I mean exceptionally, thoroughly, amazingly, fantastically good at balancing a wide range of atmospheres. As I said, this installment could get beyond silly. However, I do not classify this show as a comedy.
While there were comedic moments – I laughed quite a bit throughout – this series is an action-adventure story. The characters joked around and threw one-liners left and right. Still, every situation was a breath away from a fight breaking out. And when that happened, holy hell did things get violent; Golden Kamuy Season 3 was brutal.
But that has been the beauty of this season. It has effortlessly transitioned from emotion to emotion without breaking the narrative’s flow or being too jarring. It always felt natural whenever a character had some heartbreaking moment one second for them to then start throwing verbal jabs at someone else the next. There was never a low point while switching gears.
In other words, Golden Kamuy Season 3 was beyond entertaining.
In the reviews for the previous two seasons, particularly with season two, I talked about this series’ lack of consistent tone. A.k.a., I had an issue with the same type of silliness I thoroughly enjoyed in this season. What was the difference?
I honestly don’t know. If I had to guess, Golden Kamuy Season 3 must have balanced itself better. Regardless, this installment struck something its two predecessors didn’t tap into as deeply, and I said what that thing was at the end of the last section.
This season was absurdly entreating. Does that mean it was perfect? No.
As mentioned, the animation and visuals could get a tad wonky at times. This is also not the kind of story you can easily pick up after a long break; I highly recommend marathoning the entire thing. Then, when Golden Kamuy got weird, I mean, it got weird; there really is no way to drive that point home with words alone.
However, none of that ultimately mattered.
The mark of a good show is noticing its flaws upon reflection. If you see problems as you’re watching, then a story has failed to hold onto your attention and distract you. Speaking for myself, I like it when I forget I’m watching an anime for a review. I want to be wholly absorbed into whatever is on screen.
Without a doubt, Golden Kamuy Season 3, faults and all, did precisely that. And there better be a season four.
Rereading my previous two reviews from this series, I’m surprised I was looking forward to this season as much as I was. Although I recommended the first two installments, I did have quite a few issues with them.
That was not the case with this third one.
The latest chapter in this franchise was entertaining from beginning to end. The story could be funny, sad, tense, and exciting, all at the same time, and the characters have only gotten more enduring. I cannot say I was even the slightest bit disappointed.
Golden Kamuy Season 3 has earned a huge recommendation.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Golden Kamuy Season 3? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.
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