Staff Picks (April): Golden Kamuy Volume 1 GN

A new, award-winning manga out of Japan, Golden Kamuy breaks new ground for older readers! Set in the northern-most island of Japan, under mountains of ice, danger lurks in the untamed and unexplored wilderness. At the turn of the century, gold fever seizes the minds of desperate men living on the fringes of civilization. Trappers, traders, criminals, war veterans, and active-duty soldiers clash with each other, with the dangerous wildlife, and with the indigenous people of Hokkaido, splashing blood on the snow as they grapple for gold.

Sugimoto, the “immortal” veteran of countless bloody battles, and Asirpa, the survivalist daughter of a slain Ainu warrior, are together on a quest of vengeance and salvation. They hope to collect the infamous treasure of an imprisoned mad man, and they are running out of time. Their first foe is the frosted land itself. The manga is told in the spirit of frontier classics like “Call of the Wild” or “White Fang,” and Saturo Noda force-marches his characters through blizzard conditions, harrowing injuries, and rugged terrain.

Sugimoto and Asirpa face worse than nature and privation, though. The insane criminal who stole the fortune and slaughtered Asirpa’s tribesmen has tattooed portions of the treasure map on his fellow cellmates, creating an alliance of murderers. Corrupt jail wardens try to remove the tattooed men and follow the map, but the criminals escape and turn on one another—each trying to kill and skin the other, to assemble the ultimate golden jigsaw puzzle.

“Kamuy” is an Ainu word for a god or spirit of great power. Throughout Noda’s work, the term is used repeatedly to indicate extreme good or extreme evil. When plants or animals submit themselves as prey and help the Ainu survive, they are considered blessed kamuy forces. When a feral animal has obtained the taste for human flesh and must be destroyed, it becomes ‘wen kamuy’—a man-eater god. Golden Kamuy manga is still in production in Japan, so cherish the suspense! Will the titular golden god lead Sugimoto and Asirpa to survival or will the greed it sparks will devour them both?

 Sarah Martinez

Publisher: Viz Media
Item Code: APR172150
Release Date: 6/21/17
SRP: $12.99

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