Tanigaki is able to drive off one of his pursuers while the other is set upon by the members of the 7th Division still loyal to Lt. Tsurumi. Elsewhere, Sugimoto, Asirpa and Shiraishi come across an Ainu veteran named Kiroranke, whose revelations about the faceless prisoner behind their treasure hunt sets them on course to break into his prison for answers. Yet even as they plan their journey and seek to avoid confronting the 7th, more hidden threats begin to emerge.
This episode was definitely stronger than the last few, narrowing the show’s focus onto Tanigaki’s escape and Sugimoto & Co.’s encounter with Kiroranke. It’s still a lot to take in, now that we have no less than three different factions all hunting for the treasure, and one of those breaks down even further. By my count, the 7th Division is actually trisected again into those still loyal to the Japanese government, those following Lt. Tsurumi, and those like Ogata who are just in it for the payout. It’s been a heck of a task to keep track of everything, but I think I’m mostly on top of it.
In the show’s usual fashion, the first chunk of the episode is dedicated to wrapping up the events of the previous one. Tanigaki is able to lure Nikaidou (the surviving twin with a hate-on for Sugimoto) into the path of yet another rampaging bear.
He’s also able to get the drop on the marksman, Ogata, though the sniper unbelievably survives being shot dead-center by a bullet meant to take down bears. Sure, they show his shattered binoculars lying next to him later, but it seems unlikely that anyone would be up and at-’em after that. Seriously, show, surviving ridiculous nonsense is Sugimoto’s entire thing. Don’t give it to some other shmoe.
It’s during this firefight that Lt. Tsurumi and his troops arrive to capture the traitorous Nikaidou. The torture he inflicts is genuinely uncomfortable to sit through, despite happening mostly off-camera. The folks making the show have really done a good job of making Tsurumi charismatic and threatening – he revels in his cruelty, but is never lost in it like many lamer villains.
With the requisite ultra-violent part of the episode out of the way, we return to Sugimoto’s gang as they ponder fishing in a nearby river, and has Golden Kamuy has shown time after time, the wildlife in Hokkaido wants every last human being dead.
Shiraishi is saved by Kiroranke, who was something like an uncle to Asirpa. He was among those who planned to use the gold for the Ainu rebellion, but also found himself fighting alongside the Japanese during the same war as Sugimoto. In spite of some mistrust between the two veterans, Kiroranke agrees to help them find the treasure by tracking down the man who stole it – Nopperabo (No Face).
The interaction between Kiroranke and our main party is an interesting watch. It’s the first info-dump we’ve had in awhile that actually moves the plot forward, as he reveals a major bombshell that I won’t spoil on the off-chance that some of you haven’t finished the episode yet. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how that particular plot point plays out.
With everything that’s happened so far, I find myself agreeing with Scott’s assessment from the previous Rolling Review – I’m never bored, but I’m often overwhelmed. For every character or thread that exits the plot, another one is introduced. The post-credits scene in episode 10 is probably the most egregious example of this, as we see a few travelers stopping at a hotel in the town Sugimoto’s group must pass through.