Saturday, July 13, 2019

Best Boy: Sugimoto from Golden Kamuy

Golden Kamuy is getting a third season, so why not highlight the Immortal Sugimoto!!

It was announced during AX last week that the underrated seinen anime Golden Kamuy would be getting a third season, and I am very happy to hear that news. I think that Golden Kamuy is a fun series with a cast of quirky and tragic characters and I love it. While Golden Kamuy has many characters that are worth highlighting and fanboying over, I want to use this post to explain why the main character, Sugimoto, is such a fantastic character!

Saichi Sugimoto is a soldier. At the beginning of the series, Sugimoto is introduced at the Battle of Port Arthur during the Russo-Japanese War. And he's not just any soldier. Sugimoto is aggressive and determined to survive. While bullets fall from the sky and bodies pile up, Sugimoto fights like a mad demon and doesn't falter to any attack, earning him the nickname "The Immortal" Sugimoto.

So from an introduction like that, one would presume that Sugimoto is some kind of mindless brute who goes on a crusade to commit more violence. But that's actually pretty far from the truth...kinda. The initial reason Sugimoto joins the Ainu girl, Asirpa, on a quest to find stolen Ainu gold is because he wants to fulfill a promise to one of his fallen comrades and provide for the man's family. Sugimoto is a man with a heart for people and wants to do right by others. 

Even while adventuring with Asirpa, Sugimoto's focus changes and he becomes something of a protector to the young girl. While she's fully capable of taking care of herself and often has to teach Sugimoto how to live off the land, he does all that he can to protect her from men who are more violent and cruel than himself. In fact, Sugimoto wants to keep Asirpa from becoming a killer like himself and the people that they encounter on their journey.

And yes, even though he's no longer in the military, Sugimoto is still very much a soldier and is capable of incredible violence. There are plenty of moments where he comes off as more of a monster than a heroic defender, but those actions don't really define the man called "Immortal Sugimoto". When I think of Sugimoto, I think of a goofy guy who is still a child at heart, willing to learn about different cultures, and at his happiest when he's eating a delicious meal. It's that soft side of Sugimoto that really makes him an interesting and compelling character.

So if you haven't already, I implore you to check out Golden Kamuy. It's a really fun series with quirky and complex characters that will both make you laugh and want to cry. And a lot of the heart and charm of this anime comes from Saichi Sugimoto. I really want this series to get more love and attention so that as time goes on and characters are lost and forgotten, the "Immortal Sugimoto" will live on!

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