Golden Kamuy Episode 11 Review

Originally published on The Fandom Post

What They Say:
“Everybody, Get Together! It’s a Murder Hotel!”

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With only one episode left in the season, it’s somewhat concerning to see Golden Kamuy spend an entire episode on a side story. The episode begins with the gang arriving in a town on the way to Nopperabo’s prison to stock up on weapons. They decide to spend the night in a hotel that, unbeknownst to them, is owned by one of the prisoners in disguise. The proprietress (the show never makes it clear if she’s transgender, a man disguised as a woman, or a woman who had disguised herself as a man) is a serial killer who takes body parts from her victims in an attempt to give herself the ideal body. Further complicating the matter is the fact that Ushiyama is staying in the same hotel and is extremely horny for the proprietress, having not recognized her as one of the prisoners. So begins a game of cat and mouse, with Ushiyama befriending Sugimoto and Asirpa while Shiraishi is away and neither party knows who the other is, and Shiraishi discovering the proprietress’s true identity. After a wild chase through the hotel, Shiraishi’s bag of explosives detonates, bringing the entire building down on Ushiyama and Kano, the proprietress.

On paper, this is a solid, if unremarkable, episode. Kano isn’t as interesting as the other prisoners we’ve met, but the idea of a hotel full of trapdoors and hidden passages allows for a lot of fun horror/comedy. The design of the hotel plays a huge role as Kano pursues Shiraishi for discovering her identity, and Ushiyama pursues Kano out of drunken horniness, with all parties stumbling on or taking advantage of the various passages throughout the hotel. Ushiyama’s “drunken horndog” routine is also pretty funny, although his lecture to Asirpa on dicks and his single-minded pursuit of Kano toe the line between dirty humor and just plain creepy. Still, lines like “the dick lecture is over” are still plenty hilarious. This is decidedly more of a comedic episode than a serious one, and Golden Kamuy pulls it off quite well. I especially liked when Asirpa decided to name Ushiyama “Dick-sensei” for how much he waxed poetic about the importance of a man’s genitals.

The main thing holding the episode down is how disposable most of it is. Since Sugimoto’s group is already going to speak to Nopperabo himself, the tattooed prisoners have become much less important to the plot as a whole. Compounding that is the fact that Kano isn’t nearly as memorable as Nihei or Henmi. She doesn’t have the presence to really carry a scene by herself, and her personality is fairly standard for this sort of villain. Neither of these would be a huge issue if this was a mid-season episode, but tossing in a side story like this when there’s only one episode left and a lot of plot to resolve makes the anime feel like it’s wasting time.

Even so, the episode itself is pretty decent. One of the more interesting moments is when Sugimoto meets Ushiyama and they test each other’s strength. The two hit it off and form a bit of a bromance, which could lead to some interesting drama when Sugimoto inevitably comes into conflict with Hijikata’s group. On the same note, the post-credit scene reveals that Ushiyama actually did survive having a building dropped on him, and seems to have rescued Kano as well, although it’s hard to say if she’ll have any role in the story later on.

In Summary:

I wouldn’t be so critical if this was a mid-season episode since it’s still pretty enjoyable on its own, but its placement in the series has me worried. Unless there’s another season in the works, Golden Kamuy only has one episode left to cover the prison break, Asirpa’s meeting with her father, Hijikata’s inevitable involvement, and Tsurumi’s plans. I’m hoping that this doesn’t mean we’re in store for a read the manga ending, but it looks like that’s a definite possibility. Here’s hoping we get another season soon!

Grade: B

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