The Golden Kamuy Season 4 premiere on Monday brought back one of the most popular names in the seinen genre. Despite the series being handed over to studio Brain’s Base, fans wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference as all the character designs looked sleek, the humor was back, the impending danger was felt, and the heart-pumping action that took place just amplified everything we love about Golden Kamuy—leaving me uncontrollably excited for its official return.
Brain’s Base Showing Off Their Skills
One thing about Golden Kamuy that sets itself apart from many series is its flamboyant comedy. Despite being a war-torn anime with some of the most brutal scenarios you’ll find in any anime from this Fall 2022 season, the Season 4 premiere showed off the unique humor of the series that is back and glorious as ever and provides some nice meme material as well.
But it wasn’t just the humor Brain’s Base managed to hit the bullseye with—it was also the upfront symbolism that is extremely consistent throughout Golden Kamuy which is one of the series’ cornerstones of storytelling. In Season 3, we received the deer’s shoulder blade with a trident-like crack and a lynx (or as Asirpa called it “Meko”) that Ogata came face to face with. This time around, the lynx is back but with it as a representation of Ogata still lurking wherever Asirpa and Sugimoto are going. The Season 4 premiere definitely did a wonderful job of creating the eerie feeling and reminding us that the most dangerous man could make his move at any moment this season. And even more, that feeling was mirrored perfectly with Sugimoto at this giving moment in the premiere.
The symbolism doesn’t stop there. Now we’re correlating a silkworm’s cocoon with Toshizou Hijikata now that he’s been poisoned and put in a coffin. And while this kind of symbolism isn’t one to make you think twice as we’d see in 86 Eighty-Six, it’s still properly used in the sense of the characters they’re attached to. Now that Toshizou is sidelined, it’s only a matter of time until he emerges from “his cocoon” as well. These two with Ogata and Toshizou are perfect for a season premiere in letting us know to not forget about the two major antagonists in the story. But it’s not basic because this is also the first time two major players for the gold are now question marks. However, there’s one particular piece of symbolism where Chief Director Shizutaka Sugahara and the rest of the team at Brain’s Based shined in the season premiere.
The moment Sugimoto enters the room of the Russian sniper they encountered back in Season 3 had a telling moment, one that could be a sense of foreshadowing or a nod to Sugimoto’s last encounter with Ogata at the end of Season 2. Either way, the transition was well down, the slow-motion of the scene added more dramatic effect, rather than making it corny, and it was a quick piece of symbolism yet also a moment of solid production work that impressed me as well. The close-up details on both of their faces look perfect due to some incredible line work and the depth of field is crisp (shout out to Director of Photography Yorinobu Oda). The Golden Kamuy Season 4 premiere has a handful of these moments and it was a joy to watch.
Golden Kamuy Season 4 Premiere Set the Tone Properly
The whole purpose of a season premiere is to grab the attention of the viewer so they’ll tune in not just next week, but for the rest of the season. It’s a crucial part of a season whether it’s a sequel or new anime. And with a wonderful season premiere for heavy hitters such as My Hero Academia Season 6 and Spy x Family, Golden Kamuy Season 4 managed to hold its own against the former and deliver a stellar seasonal premiere in all aspects.
It set a perfect tone for the rest of the season by doing a variety of things, including establishing a new antagonist in Sekiya Waichiro, picking up exactly where the previous season left off, a nostalgic beginning with a thrilling end, and it has given rise to a possible internal conflict within Asirpa after overhearing how Sugimoto truly feels about her and how he relates her to his sense of purity when he was a kid. Perhaps we could see Asirpa start to aspire to do what she needs to so she doesn’t feel like a burden to Sugimoto. Maybe Toshizou accounted for the possibility of being poisoned. And where is Ogata lurking? We can only wait and see. But one thing is for certain—we’re in for another great season of Golden Kamuy.
Make sure to vote for the Golden Kamuy Season 4 premiere in our weekly poll! Golden Kamuy Season 4 episode 2 titled “Cocoon” will air on Monday, October 10, on Crunchyroll.
Season premiere rating: 10/10
©Satoru Noda/Shueisha, Golden Kamuy Production Committee