By Dustin Cabeal
The first volume of Golden Kamuy was interesting, but ultimately it lacked something special to hook me on the story. It made jumping into the second volume a bit harder because I wasn’t excited enough to want to continue reading the series. It happens all the times, especially with manga and indie comics, in that the quality of the product is fine, but the interest is never there.
The story moves painfully slow in this volume. Most of what’s developed is Asirpa’s backstory and her bland personality. She’s a well-rounded character after this volume instead of an emotionless tracker/hunter/guide like she was in the first volume. While that’s something the story should do, it seems a bit early to detour from the tattoo hunting. The story just spends way too much time with Asirpa and Saichi hanging out. There’s a ton of food references again, and none of them are appetizing or funny. When the story does get back to the tattoo’s, it's okay. There’s some bad guy that has no feeling in his face, and he starts killing other officers and sticking shish kabob sticks through people’s faces, but it all seems short lived and not threatening. He comes on too strong meaning he’ll ultimately be an unrewarding villain that either gets away with too much or gets Darth Mauled.
The writing is fine other than just hanging out way too much and not getting back to the heart of the story soon enough. It is quite weird because of that. It’s like watching the second episode of a new show that you liked, but they do flashbacks, and nothing you liked previously is in the episode. The dialogue is fine and believable; it’s just a dull story without much in the way of entertainment.
The artwork is of course good. It’s a house style of sorts, so it’s detailed and pleasant to the eyes. There were a couple of visually funny scenes, but overall it’s just solid art without much else to offer. There are parts in which it’s clear that the creator is trying to be edgy and ultra-violent, but it fails at either of those things. Maybe if it were your first manga or first written work ever it would shock you, but this isn’t my first rodeo.
In the end, the second volume of Golden Kamuy was boring. There wasn’t much to enjoy, and while the character development is solid, it’s all crammed together making it read more of an after thought from the creator, instead of their intent. There is not enough here to warrant a third reading because there’s yet to have been anything I’ve connected to or desired more of while reading. The characters aren’t particularly great, the villains are plentiful and underdeveloped, and it’s yet to present an awe inspiring moment to be enjoyed. It’s just an okay book, but I don’t need to keep up with any more “okay” books this year.
Artists: Satoru Noda
Publisher: Viz/Viz Signature