Hinna, hinna! The Golden Kamuy Season 4 anime will feature the “Immortal” Saichi Sugimoto and Asirpa journeying through Karafuto back to Hokkaido after they’re reunited. The Ainu girl recovered her memories and now she holds the key everyone is desperately seeking.
But anime fans hungry for more episodes are already asking about when Golden Kamuy Season 4 will be released.
The day the third season ended, the director tweeted about how difficult it was to decide how to end the third season. He says it can be considered the reunion of Sugimoto and Asirpa, but they purposefully left an opening for the fourth season.
“I ended the last part of [Golden Kamuy] Episode 36 with the intention of continuing,” he tweeted. “It would be nice if the 4th season was decided.”
The anime is being produced by animation studio Geno Studio, which also created the Pet anime in 2020. Founded in late 2015, Geno Studio is a complete subsidiary of Twin Engine, and they’re mostly known for animating the Golden Kamuy anime.
The main staff for the fourth season hasn’t been announced yet, but the staff has remained the same for the first three seasons. Director Hitoshi Nanba (Fate/Grand Order) helmed the project while writer Noboru Takagi (Attack On Titan, Durarara!!, Hell Girl, In/Spectre) wrote the script.
Artist Kenichi Ohnuki (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Mobile Suit Gundam, My Hero Academia) is the character designer (and the animation director for the first season). Composer Kenichiro Suehiro (Cells At Work, Darwin’s Game, Fire Force, Goblin Slayer, Re:ZERO Starting Life in Another World) created the music.
The third season’s opening (OP) theme song music was “Grey” as performed by Fomare, while the ending (ED) was “Melted Snow (Yusetsu)” by The Sixth Lie.
The Golden Kamuy Season 4 OP and ED have not yet been announced.
FUNimation’s Golden Kamuy Season 3 English dub was released as a SimulDub during the Fall 2020 season. Crunchyroll was streaming the English subtitles version the same day as Japan.
The finale, Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 12, released on December 21, 2020.
Updated December 21, 2020: Added Golden Kamuy Season 4 Twitter comments by staff/cast.
This article provides everything that is known about Golden Kamuy Season 4 and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.
Golden Kamuy Season 4 release date predictions: Is 2021 unlikely?
As of the last update, neither MAPPA nor any company related to the production of the anime has officially confirmed the Golden Kamuy Season 4 release date. The production of a sequel has also not been announced.
Once the news is officially confirmed, this article will be updated with the relevant information. In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when, or if, the Golden Kamuy Season 4 premiere date will occur in the future.
While the Golden Kamuy anime series hasn’t been overly popular internationally, it has been quite the sensation in Japan. In fact, a Golden Kamuy crossover with Spider-Man was used to promote the Spider-Man movie to the Japanese!
As of the release of Golden Kamuy Volume 18, the manga series had sold over 10 million copies. By September 2020, the Golden Kamuy manga series had sold 14 million copies.
Although streaming revenue is now the largest factor for financial success in the anime industry, the Golden Kamuy Blu-Ray and DVD sales have been good. The first two seasons both sold around 3,800 copies in their first week. The third season’s first Blu-ray/DVD volume goes on sale in Japan on January 29, 2021.
Arguably, the anime has been consistently successful to the point that the anime production committee should greenlight Golden Kamuy Season 4 for production. The manga currently has enough chapters for a fourth season (see the manga comparison section below for more details).
So far, Geno Studio hasn’t announced any other anime projects for 2021. But Director Hitoshi Nanba has indicated that the Golden Kamuy Season 4 production decision hasn’t been made yet.
If the studio scheduling had remained about the same, we could expect the Golden Kamuy Season 4 release date to be in the second half of 2021. But since the production decision apparently hasn’t been made anime fans will likely be waiting past 2022 or 2023 since anime productions are scheduled years in advance.
On the plus side, the weekly manga has a chance to get further ahead of the anime. In the past, when the second season’s finale aired the anime was almost caught up to the anime. Therefore, the wait for Golden Kamuy Season 5 could be a little shorter.
— ジェノスタジオ (@geno_studio) December 21, 2020
The Golden Kamuy manga was originally planned to be a historical hunting story
Golden Kamuy may be an epic action anime, but it’s not necessarily a story of good versus evil. The interesting characters all have their own competing motivations for their actions and the plot always keeps audiences guessing what may happen next.
The intensity is balanced out by crazy comedy, history, Ainu culture moments, and the occasional step into Food Wars! territory. Thoroughly underrated, the catchphrase is “a Western where you never know what you’ll get” and it could be argued it’s a Tarantino-style movie in the form of an anime.
The story for the anime series is based on the Golden Kamuy manga by Satoru Noda. Believe it or not, the original inspiration was to create a Food Wars!-esque hunting manga that featured a soldier returning from the Russo-Japanese War to the Hokkaido region.
Oddly enough, Noda doesn’t like reading cooking manga. But as a creator, he takes his art seriously so he endeavored to properly research to ensure the cooking scenes were done properly.
According to interviews, Sugimoto Saichi is actually named after Noda’s great-grandfather, who severed as a tondenhei (farmer-soldier) during the war. But the character model for Sugimoto was Funasaka Hiroshi, a man who survived the blast from a hand grenade.
Noda’s managing editor introduced him to a novel about hunting set in Hokkaido and the rest was history.
“I think ‘hunting’ includes everything from catching an animal and eating the meat, using the fur and bone to make daily goods, to selling the goods to get money. So the depiction of food was naturally part of it,” he explained. “But if it’s only about hunting, I would quickly run out of materials, so I decided to throw in various other elements.”
The clash between Japanese and Ainu culture is a pivotal part of the series. Noda had known about the Ainu culture since he was a child and had always found them fascinating.
While it’s a delicate subject due to the history of persecution and discrimination, Noda felt that if he created an Ainu-themed manga that was “cheerful and interesting” then it’d become popular.
When he was doing his year of research, the Ainu people also told Noda, “’Don’t make Ainu pathetic beings, and draw strong Ainu.’ I always try to depict characters fairly and carefully to render (the way Ainu people lived) as faithfully as possible.”
Like many of his characters, Noda is something of an odd duck. He’s tried eating many things, including badger’s brains, which are supposedly hinna-hinna. When the characters react to different foods, their reaction is usually based on how Noda himself reacted.
But it’s not just the weird foods that make this creator a little odd. Noda seriously once said in an interview that his favorite scent is “cat’s balls” and that Marilyn Manson was his favorite imaginary creature.
He also claimed that if he was forced to spend 1 million yen in a single day then he’d buy “penis enlargement surgery that’s worth 1 million yen.” Noda does not consider himself evil, but he admits he’s the type of guy who will walk his dog and not clean up the osoma.
Golden Kamuy manga compared to the anime
The manga has been serialized weekly in Weekly Young Jump magazine since August 2014. The series is up to Volume 23 as of September 18, 2020.
VIZ Media is publishing the official English translation of the Golden Kamuy manga series. The English manga was up to Volume 19 as of December 15, 2020, with Volume 20 scheduled to be released on February 16, 2021, Volume 21 on April 20, 2021, Volume 22 on June 15, 2021, and Volume 23 on August 17, 2021.
Many manga fans have complained that the anime has made a hash of the manga based on the way the story was adapted. Geno Studio condensed the story by skipping some chapters and certain scenes in order for the first season to reach Chapter 62.
Golden Kamuy Season 2 picked up the story again with Chapter 70, which meant that several stories of escaped convicts were skipped entirely. The second season was even more faster-paced in order to reach that critical plot juncture in Chapter 139 of Volume 14 that involved Sugimoto and Nopperabou, Asirpa’s father.
This meant that the anime skipped chapters 55 through 59, 63 through 70, 83 through 85, 87 through 91, 102 through 107, and 108 through 113.
Thankfully, some of the skipped funny moments were released online on YouTube as animated 30-second shorts while lengthier story arcs were released as OVA episodes.
OVA 1 adapted the Barato story arc in Volume 6 (Chapters 55 through 59), which featured a battle between the sniper Ogata Hyakunosuke and Bakumatsu hero Hijikata Toshizo.
OVA 2 adapted the “Escape King” Shiraishi Yoshitake’s backstory from Volume 9 (and Chapter 104) that the main anime skipped.
OVA 3 adapted the Monster Bear & the Yakuzas story arc from skipped chapters 63 through 70.
OVA 4 adapted the crazy/censored Shiton the Animals’ Friend story arc from Chapters 108 through 113.
The third season’s adaptation pacing averaged around four manga chapters for every episode. Episodes 1 and 2 adapted the second half of Ch 139 (the first half ended the second season) and finished up through Chapter 147.
Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 3 slowed the pacing down a little to focus on Hajime Tsukishima’s emotional backstory.
Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 4 adapted the few pages of Chapters 151 and 154 that focused on Sugimoto’s group and then finished the Yamada Circus arc with Chapter 158. (Yes, the chapter really did end on an osoma note.)
Here’s a guide to how the anime adapted the manga:
- Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 1: Chapters 140 – 143
- Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 2: Chapters 144 – 147
- Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 3: Chapters 148 – 150
- Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 4: Chapters 151 (partial), 154 (partial), 155 – 158
- Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 5: Chapters 159 – 162
- Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 6: Chapters 163 – 166
- Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 7: Chapters 166 – 170
- Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 8: Chapters 171 (partial), 151 (partial) – 154 (partial)
- Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 9: Chapters 176 (partial) – 179
- Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 10: Chapters 180 – 184
- Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 11: Chapters 184 – 189
- Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 12: Chapters 189 – 191 (partial), 192 (partial), 196 (partial), 197 (partial), 200 (partial)
As you can see, until the last episode the third season was a much more straightforward adaptation of the manga based on the progressive flow of the story arc. Each chapter leads directly into the next major plot point and the best stopping point for the anime just happens to be within 50 chapters.
Based on the pacing of the anime, the finale, Golden Kamuy Season 3 Episode 12, found a stopping point shortly after the ending of the Akou Prison Break story arc.
It’s the best stopping point since it’s the aftermath of a major confrontation between the two groups and it shows what happened to Ogata. Plus, Sugimoto and Asirpa decide to head back to Hokkaido.
Similar to how the second season ended by adapting a partial chapter, the third season reordered events from multiple chapters in order to focus Sugimoto’s true motive for continuing his journey. In order to pull this off, a short side story arc and a Koito flashback were skipped and the final panels of Chapter 192 were used for the closing scene.
That means Golden Kamuy Season 4 Episode 1 should pick up the story again somewhere around manga Chapter 201.
The good news is that the manga series already provides enough story material for the Golden Kamuy Season 4 anime to be produced right away with a single-cour season.
The only bad news is that English-only manga readers who want to read ahead of the anime will have to wait until Winter 2021 until the English Volume 20 releases in the United States.
Golden Kamuy OVA 5 to adapt Pet Monster story arc?
Initially, the anime skipped the Youichirou the Manslayer arc, which was Chapters 151 through 154. The side story featured Toshizou Hijikata, Tatsuma Ushiyama, and Shinpachi Nagakura. Rather than being adapted as Golden Kamuy OVA 5, the story was shifted to Episode 32/Season 3 Episode 8.
Episode 9 did in fact skip the Pet Monster story arc, which runs from the second half of Chapters 171 through part of 176. Therefore, this story will likely be adapted as Golden Kamuy OVA 5 since it can’t fit into the context of Golden Kamuy Season 4’s timeline.
Note: Golden Kamuy OVA 5 hasn’t been announced yet.
In the story arc, Sugimoto stops a rogue Ainu man who temporarily captures Enonoka after murdering someone else in a nearby village. Sugimoto offers to execute the killer himself since the Ainu don’t have a death penalty.
The Ainu refuse, but the killer’s fate is probably worse. Rather than killing murderers directly, the Ainu use a method called itoyuri where they stab the criminal’s eyes with needles and then bury them alive in a casket without a bottom. The casket containing the murder victim is placed on top and thus the perpetrator and victim are buried together.
The rest of the Pet Monster story arc focuses Toshizou Hijikata and Tatsuma Ushiyama searching for the tattooed Abashiri prisoner Sekiya Waichirou in the Lake Akan area. Former head jailer Kadokura is known as a man of great misfortunate and he’s also seeking Sekiya.
A former veterinarian, Sekiya killed 30 people with poison. Sekiya tricks Ushiyama and Hijikata into consuming poison, thus paralyzing them. Both men end up being buried in a casket in a near-death state where the air will only last several more hours.
Sekiya is hoping to blackmail their allies into giving up their tattooed skins in their possession. Of course, things don’t go exactly as planned…
Golden Kamuy Season 4 anime spoilers (plot summary/synopsis)
The manga’s story seemingly has a long way to go before ending. There are 24 Abashiri convicts tattooed with the map leading to the gold. Although more than half have been collected, Asirpa is the only person capable of deciphering the coded skins since she’s realized that Wilk’s Ainu name is the key to solving the tattoo code.
The treasure quest seemingly getting closer to an ending, but Noda has way more craziness in store for anime audiences.
“I think things that occur to us suddenly can also be easily expected by readers, so I drive myself to a corner, and before I’m cornered, I find an escape route that is unexpected,” he said. “Contrary to expectations, what’s needed is the boldness to create s**t, not to create the highest-grade curry prepared from various high-class ingredients.”
The last time audiences watched the Golden Kamuy anime, the history and true motives of Asirpa’s father were finally revealed. Asirpa recovered her memories, and after Kiroranke died, it was decided that they’d travel back to Hokkaido.
Back in Noboribetsu, the men of the 7th Division are resting at the hot springs and they hear a strange story about a man wearing geta in the dead of the night. The tale leads some of the men to a hot spring in hopes of finding another convict, but the night-time confrontation becomes a duel in a place known for its volcanic gas emissions called Hell Valley.
Meanwhile, Sugimoto’s group travels to a Nivkh settlement near Akou. Asirpa wants to return home to her grandmother, but she knows Lt. Tsurumi won’t allow that. Asirpa believes her father would have wanted the gold entrusted to Hijikata Toshizou’s group.
When Asirpa asks Sugimoto if Wilk/Nopperabou had said anything about his plans for her, Sugimoto lies, not telling her that Nopperabou had trained Asirpa to fight and lead the Ainu people. They both decide to team up with Lt. Tsurumi and gather the remaining tattooed skins.
Secretly, Sugimoto feels it’s his duty to bring everything to an end by freeing Asirpa from the fighting over the gold. This is where the third season ended but the manga told the story differently in order to present the backstories of more characters.
When they’re trying to decide what to do with the wounded Tsukishima and Ogata, Sugimoto simply wants to kill the latter man if Ogata’s motive for joining Kiroranke had been greed for gold. They need to find a doctor, but it’s dangerous for Japanese soldiers to be in Russia illegally so they disguise themselves as the Nivkh.
Sugimoto quickly blows their cover, but the doctor examines both men. Ogata will need surgery at a hospital, but that means they’ll be reported to the Russian government.
Sugimoto doesn’t want Ogata to die just yet since he wants to question the man in hopes of saving Asirpa. So Sugimoto’s group preps Ogata for transport.
Things appear grim at the clinic, but Ogata not only survives, but also escapes! Ogata manages to surprise 2nd Lieutenant Otonoshin Koito and take his gun.
Being trapped in these circumstances causes Koito to think back on his childhood and why he’s so dedicated to First Lieutenant Tsurumi (and how the older man manipulated Koito via a fake kidnapping). This flashback is multiple chapters (197 – 200) so it’s possible it could be adapted as OVA 6 episode.
Back in the present, Ogata makes his escape on horseback. Sugimoto tries to stop him by shooting at the horse, but all his shots go wild. Sugimoto hopes Ogata will recover just so he can kill him.
Sugimoto’s group must track down the Japanese sniper (and face off against Russian sniper Vasily again) and escape from Russia and Karafuto. They’ll face many dangers and obstacles, including a Bear Man and an Abashiri convict named Boutarou the Pirate, but how will they cross the ocean with Koito and the 7th Division’s destroyer standing in their way?
Unfortunately, anime fans will have to wait until the Golden Kamuy Season 4 release date to watch what happens next. Stay tuned!
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