‘Golden Kamuy’ Film Recap: Will There Be A Sequel To Netflix’s Live-Action Film?


Directed by Shigeaki Kubo, Golden Kamuy is based on a manga series of the same name, written by Satoru Noda. The film follows the journey of a soldier who was rumored to be immortal. This man came to know that there was a secret stash of gold hidden somewhere in the forests of Hokkaido, and he decided to go on a quest to find it. So, let’s find out what kind of challenges he had to face along the way and if he was able to succeed in his endeavors.

Spoiler Alert

How did Sugimoto get to know about the hidden treasure? 

It was said in Japanese tradition that nothing comes out of heaven without purpose, and it was probably the most apt quote for a soldier in the Seventh Division named Saichi Sugimoto. During the Russo-Japanese war at the 203 Meter Hill, the Japanese forces were trying their level best to capture Port Arthur, but it was an uphill battle. There were castles on both ends, but the Russians had the upper hand, and the Japanese forces were having a hard time standing their ground. There were people in the army who felt that the high command had made the worst decision by sending them on a suicide mission, but they had no option other than to fight and defend their land. Sugimoto knew that his chances of surviving were slim, but still, he fought with all his heart, and then, in the end, something miraculous happened. Sugimoto obliterated the enemy soldiers, and he was one of the few soldiers who survived. Those who saw him fight realized that he had some special powers and that death couldn’t even touch him. He defied the odds in the manner that he got the nickname of Immortal Sugimoto.

After the war was over, Sugimoto went to Hokkaido, a place where, as per the folklore, there was a hoard of gold hidden somewhere. Sugimoto was a bit disappointed when he didn’t even find a speck of gold in the region. He had gone there with high hopes, but soon, he realized that it was merely a fictional tale and that there was no truth to it. Sugimoto met a man named Takechiyo Goto, who one day told him the real story behind the hidden gold treasure. He said that there was a man who they referred to as Noppera-bo, who took all the gold and hid it somewhere in the forests of Hokkaido. That man belonged to the Ainu tribe and not only did he deceive the army, but he also betrayed his own people. Soon, that man was caught by the army and sent to Abashiri prison. The mystery man was tortured there, but he never revealed his secret. Noppera-bo used to make tattoos on the bodies of the captives, and after a long time, the army personnel realized that it was actually the map of the place where the treasure was hidden. The catch was that he drew parts of that map on the bodies of the inmates, and only if all those pieces were combined together could the map be complete. So, the army men decided to scrape off their skin and then complete the map. But before they could do that, the inmates killed the soldiers and escaped from there. 

For the longest time, Sugimoto didn’t believe a word that man said because he had no clue that he knew so much about the gold because he was one of the inmates who got tattooed by Noppera-bo. It was only after Takechiyo Goto was killed by a brown bear that Sugimoto realized that the story was not just a myth but that actual gold reserves existed somewhere in Hokkaido. 

How did Asirpa save Sugimoto? 

Sugimoto met Asirpa for the first time in Golden Kamuy when he was trying to save Goto’s body from a brown bear. Asirpa belonged to the Ainu tribe, and she knew quite well how to survive in the forest. Asirpa, with time, started to trust Sugimoto, and she realized what happened in his past that gave him the nickname immortal. On their journey, they met other prisoners who were tattooed by Noppera-bo, and they got to know many details about what actually happened back in the day. An officer of the Seventh division, named Hyakunosuke Ogata, attacked them, but somehow Sugimoto managed to get the better of him. Asirpa had told Sugimoto time and again that she was going to be there for him and help him in his endeavors, but she didn’t want him to kill anybody. Sugimoto told her that he would try his level best to do so, but he couldn’t guarantee anything. The seventh-division soldiers, under the leadership of Tokushiro Tsurumi, were adamant about finding the gold, and they were ready to go to any extent to get it. Tsurumi was a cruel man, and he was known for his torturous techniques and brutal interrogation methods. Tsurumi found Ogata just moments before he took his last breath. Ogata told Tsurumi that it was Immortal Sugimoto who had assaulted him. That’s when Tokushiro Tsurumi started his manhunt, and he told his soldiers to find and bring Sugimoto and the native Ainu girl to him. 

Sugimoto and Asirpa got lucky once, and they were able to save themselves from the soldiers. Asirpa took Sugimoto to her village, an Ainu settlement called the Kotan. Sugimoto, after meeting Asirpa’s family, realized that he was being selfish and that he shouldn’t put the life of the young girl at risk just because he wanted to find the gold. So one morning, without telling anyone, Sugimoto left her village. But he was not able to go on for long as the seventh division soldiers caught him and took him into custody. Asirpa was not ready to lose another person in her life. She was still not able to make peace with the fact that her father was no longer there with her. In Golden Kamuy, Asirpa bumped into Yoshitake Shiraishi, the prisoner whom she had met back in the day. Asirpa took her wolf with her, and she told Yoshitake Shiraishi to help if he didn’t want to be chewed alive by the majestic creature. Yoshitake Shiraishi agreed as he liked the adrenaline-pumping jobs. He told her that Tsurumi had taken Sugimoto with him and that he knew where he was keeping him. Meanwhile, Sugimoto was tortured beyond any measure, but he lived up to his title and somehow managed to survive. Yoshitake Shiraishi secretly went inside the facility and helped Sugimoto escape. Sugimoto, after butchering a few soldiers, ran from there, and when the odds seemed low, Asirpa came out of nowhere and helped him kill the soldiers and throw them off track. 

What happened in Sugimoto’s past? 

Asirpa was very disappointed in Sugimoto, as the man hadn’t even cared to inform her before leaving, even when he knew that she was fond of him and that she wanted to accompany him on his quest. But Sugimoto told Asirpa that he had a reason for doing so, and things had happened in his past that made him feel that he couldn’t put the life of another person at risk. Sugimoto told Asirpa that back in the day, three of his family members died of a disease, and people started treating him as an untouchable because they believed that if they got close to his house or him, then they would also get infected by it. Sugimoto loved a woman named Umeko, but he didn’t want to put her life at risk. He told her that he would return after a year, and if she still loved him, then he would get married to her. Once Sugimoto was sure that he was not infected, he came back to his village, only to realize that Umeko had gotten married to Toraji Kenmochi, who was a very good friend of Sugimoto. Toraji got insecure as he felt that Sugimoto had come to take Umeko, but Sugimoto had no such intention, and he was more than happy to make the sacrifice for his friend. Toraji was serving in the army together with Sugimoto, and the former gave his life to save his friend. Sugimoto went to meet Toraji’s family, and when Umeko learned about it, she rushed to meet her friend. It was a heartbreaking scene when Umeko came close to Sugimoto, but she could not recognize him. Umeko had lost her vision, but still, her senses were very strong. Sugimoto realized that something inside him had changed, and his heart shattered into pieces, as when Umeko touched him and came close to him, she felt like it was a stranger. 

Did Sugimoto and Asirpa find the gold?

At the end of Golden Kamuy, we saw that Toshizo Hijikata, vice commander of the Shinsengumi, together with Tatsuma Ushiyama, had decided to go on a quest to find the gold. Hijikata met a man named Nagakura at the end, and we got to know that together, they were planning to once again create the Republic of Ezo in Hokkaido. Ushiyama thought that they were out of their minds to even think about doing such a thing, and that’s when Hijikata revealed to him that there were 20,000 kan of gold hidden in the forest area. Ushiyama stood there dumbfounded, as he had no clue that the gold was present in such a huge quantity. Hijikata had come face-to-face with Tsurumi once earlier, and the former saw something special inside him. It could be a possibility that in the second installment of the franchise, they might go against each other and probably form an alliance as they have the same goals. 

Golden Kamuy left us on a sort of cliffhanger where, on one end, we saw that Sugimoto, Asirpa, and Yoshitake Shiraishi formed a team and decided to search for the gold, and on the other, we caught a glimpse of the same faceless man, who had made tattoos on the prisoners and who had hidden the gold in the forest of Hokkaido. According to the manga series on which the Netflix film is based, Noppera-bo was Asirpa’s father, and the girl had no clue about it. So basically, we can expect that in the sequel, Asirpa and Sugimoto will find out about it, and it will be interesting to see if they will be able to tackle all the conflicts successfully. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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