After surviving the brutal Russo-Japanese war, Sugimoto gained the nickname “the immortal”. However, he now seeks the promise of gold north in Hokkaido to provide for the blind wife and infant son of his comrade of war. Yet, during his hunt, he hears the tale of a hidden stash of gold hidden by criminals with a map made out of human skin. Dismissing it as a tale at first, he soon finds the man who told it with those very same tattoos. Now on a race with a native Ainu girl, whose father was murdered for the gold, they try to make it to the stash before the criminals.
When it comes to treasure hunting, adventure anime series, usually they are bright, youthful, and, well, shounen. However, Golden Kamuy takes a more mature brutal tone, often focused more on survival than the hunt. If Golden Kamuy was your jam, then try these anime recommendations out.
For Fans of Treasure Hunting
Coyote Ragtime Show
Only days from his release, the space outlaw Mister is broken out of prison by his old partners Bishop and Katana. Upon his escape, he seeks out a girl named Franka that was left in his care by her dead father and commences to go on a journey to find her father’s treasure and avoid the authorities on his heels.
Although Golden Kamuy and its historical setting doesn’t have much in common with Cowboy Ragtime Show and its sci-fi setting, they both tell the complicated story of a treasure hunt where the good guys aren’t great and the bad guys aren’t always bad. However, Coyote Ragtime Show has more comedy as well as less brutal mature sort of action scenes.
Aladdin, a talented young magi, has lived his life in seclusion, but he is eager to go explore the world. After he sets out, he becomes friends with a courageous Alibaba Saluja who, after seeing his powerful Djinn Ugo, suggests they go conquer a dungeon for fame, power, and treasure.
Both shows have the common theme that when there is treasure involved, it can lead to unlikely bedfellows. While Magi is more supernatural, it has a bit of darkness to it at times too like Golden Kamuy. Of course, Golden Kamuy stays dark while Magi stays as sort of a shounen adventure-action show.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
In 1868, Dario Brando saves the life of English nobleman George Joestar. When Dario dies, George hopes to repay the favor by taking in his son Dio. Unfortunately, Dio wants the Joestar household for his own and tries to take it with the help of an Aztec stone mask with supernatural powers. This triggers a chain of events that will affect the Joestar house for generations to come.
Jojo doesn’t have much to do with treasure hunting, but it has a distinct Indiana Jones vibe to it at times that connects it to Golden Kamuys plot. Furthermore, while the supernatural action in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure keeps things interesting, it is the brutal battles that do the same in Golden Kamuy. Yet, what shines in both shows is always the characters.
For Fans of Man/Girl Murder Teams
Blade of the Immortal
Manji is a swordsman who was cursed with eternal life. Growing upset with all the death he has created, he tries to get his mortality back by killing 100 evil men for every good person he had struck down. On this journey, he meets a girl named Rin who seeks her own vengeance against a sword school that killed her family. Together they journey, both trying to find their peace and prevent being consumed by revenge.
In both shows, a grown man and seemingly younger girl are brought together by circumstance. While Blade of the Immortal is a tale of vengeance for both parties, only the Ainu girl in Golden Kamuy seems to have some sort of revenge motivation. The key similarity that keeps both these parties bound is having a common goal.
In Edo era Japan, Shichika Yasuri practices one of the most unique sword styles among a culture of unique sword styles, a technique that uses his own body as a blade. As the seventh head of the style’s school, he lives in exile with his sister Nanami until the ambitious Togame barges into his life. Togame tries to recruit him on her mission to collect the twelve unique swords known as the Deviant Blades for the shogunate. Interested by the girl more so than her mission, Yasuri accepts, only to later find the challenge in collecting these swords is defeating the legendary swordsmen that wield them.
In its own way, Katanagatari, like Golden Kamuy, is also a treasure hunt. They are just looking for artifacts instead of cold hard gold. Regardless, it is that same hunt that brings two somewhat different people together for their own distinct reasons. Of course, they both have various character twists later on.
In this world, humans are forced to coexist with demons called Yoma. These beasts feed on humanity and take on a human appearance. In order to fight them, an order of women called Claymores were imbued with Yoma essence in order to stand against the tide.
Unlike Golden Kamuy where it is a man and a young girl, Claymore actually has it reverse where the main characters are a woman and a younger boy. While Claymore doesn’t have the same treasure hunting story line, it also shares Golden Kamuy’s dark atmosphere where life is hard, brutal, and often torturous to those within their distinct settings.
For Fans of Japanese History
While forming the rear guard for his uncle’s escape, Toyohisa Shimazu manages to mortally wound I Naomasa, but is critically wounded himself in the process. While trying to limp back home, he finds himself transported from the field to a hallway lined with doors. There a mysterious man sends him spiraling into another world. Dragged into the forest by two young elves, Toyohisa is patched up from two others from the Land of the Rising sun that turn out to be Yoichi Suketaka Nasu and Oda Nobunaga. From there, Toyohisa and his fellow historical figures, named “drifters” must save (or conquer) their new world.
While Golden Kamuy doesn’t really have the same historical cameos that made Drifters so fun to watch, it does paint a dark world and covers an area of history that no other anime series really covers. In a similar vein, though it has a fantasy setting, Drifters uses historical characters that many don’t expect or know of. In both shows, expect some great battles, particularly on the part of the male main characters.
In the 12th century, Kurou flees into the mountains after his brother, Minamoto no Yoritomo, first shogun of Japan, is killed. The historical records say he committed suicide, but in actuality, he met a strange, beautiful woman named Kuromitsu whom he fell in love with. However, she reveals a dark secret that he is now unable to die. This is his journey through the ages.
Both of these shows showcase older, not as well know eras of Japanese history. Kurozuka actually shows off how Japan changes in several eras. Interestingly enough, they both have characters that are somehow immortal, though Sugimoto’s immortality is just a nickname. Regardless, they are difficult to kill characters for one reason or another.
Fuu is a young girl working as a waitress at a small teahouse. Things are peaceful until one day she spills tea on a customer and finds the samurai harassing her. Calling for help, a thuggish young rogue by the name of Mugen steps in only to pick a fight with another tightly wound samurai named Jin. In their fight, they end up destroying the shop and getting arrested. After saving the two fighters from their execution, Fuu hires them as bodyguards to help her find a samurai that smells of sunflowers.
Both Golden Kamuy and Samurai Champloo tell tales of Japanese history where samurai are not as prevalent. The end of the Meiji era in Golden Kamuy has them all but gone while Samurai Champloo watches them fade. The real similarity between these two is that it addresses lesser known areas and aspects of Japanese history.
Do you have any more anime recommendations like Golden Kamuy, let us know in the comments section below.
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