A look at all the possible answers to Golden Kamuy's ongoing mystery
Golden Kamuy has evolved far beyond a treasure hunt. From goofy comedy to campy horror, it's never afraid to cross into new genres and styles! In its latest genre shift, it gave us... an intriguing murder mystery?! Inkarmat sets out a claim about Asirpa's father being her dear friend Wilk, but that's not all. She also claims that one of their traveling companions, Kiroranke, has killed Wilk! Like any good murder mystery, it's not completely clear who actually did the deed, if anyone did do it. Kiroranke is quick to deny both, insisting that Asirpa's father is Nopperabo, and the only hard evidence we have is a finger print analysis from Tsurumi, who's hardly a reliable source. With no answers forthcoming until our heroes meet Nopperabo, we're left with two closely related questions: who is Asirpa's father, and is their traveling partner actually a traitor? The answer to these questions could completely destroy the dynamic our group has developed during their journey. Though we don't know for sure what the truth is, here are four plausible outcomes for this whole mess.
1. Inkarmat is telling the truth about everything.
The first and most straightforward outcome is that Inkarmat is genuinely telling the truth about who Asirpa's father is and how he died. That would mean that Kiroranke, who's been a reliable ally to our heroes since season one, is not only a traitor, but a murderer as well, and there is some evidence to back this claim up. We know from Inkarmat's flashbacks that she once had a friend named Wilk who she was separated from many years ago. None of her recollection has said anything about whether Wilk had a daughter, but they also lean towards Inkarmat being genuine.
It's hard to believe that someone who lamented the fact that she wasn't to see her beloved friend because she thought her destiny was about to be fullfilled would also use that same friend's name to manipulate people to cause infighting. Ever since Inkarmat came clean about Wilk, Inkarmat has seemed far more sincere than before. Little details like her genuine affection for Tanigaki (especially when he outright proposed to her) and her tears as she spoke to Asirpa make her seem like someone who's being genuine rather than a manipulator working to stir up trouble.
We've also had some hints that Kiroranke seems less than trustworthy. Even though he's been with Sugimoto and Asirpa for a long time, we still know relatively little about him. Looking at him in comparison to our other leads, we've never had any flashbacks from his perspective like with Sugimoto, Asirpa, and Tanigaki, and we still don't know anything about his background except that he was friends with Nopperabo. Looking back, Hijikata commented earlier in the season that if Nopperabo was indeed a Russian partisan rather than an Ainu from Hokkaido, then anyone who has history with him might also have a similar background and could be lying about being Ainu. It's nothing definitive, but Kiroranke's silence about Nopperabo's true identity and background does cast quite a bit of suspicion on him.
2. Inkarmat is being manipulated by Tsurumi, but is right about Wilk being Asirpa's father.
Of course, even if Inkarmat believes she's telling the truth, it's completely possible that she's being manipulated by Tsurumi as a way to spread dissent among his enemies. This would mean that she's telling the truth about Wilk being Asirpa's father, but is wrong about Kiroranke being the killer. All of this being a plan by Tsurumi wouldn't be much of a stretch—we've seen from how Tsurumi faked his old commander's suicide that he isn't afraid to manipulate people to get what he wants—and that would explain why he helped Inkarmat before. This outcome would also explain why Inkarmat seems so sincere since it means she really believes she's telling the truth and wants to help the group. Additionally, it leaves Kiroranke, who's been a reliable ally up till now, in the clear.
Even so, this does leave a question out in the open: If Wilk is indeed Asirpa's father, then why does Kiroranke seem so certain it's Nopperabo? Inkarmat has been adamant that Wilk isn't Nopperabo, and Kiroranke has never used the name Wilk before, which only leaves us with more questions about both. Similarly, it means we still don't know who actually killed Wilk.
3. Inkarmat is lying about everything and is working with Tsurumi.
On a similar note, it's also possible that Inkarmat is lying about everything, including Wilk being Asirpa's father, and working with Tsurumi. While still possible, this outcome is less likely than the others. It's still technically possible since none of Inkarmat's recollection explicitly said that Wilk was Asirpa's father, but there are other issues with this result. Tsurumi's reasons for wanting to deceive Sugimoto's group are obvious—he wants the gold and they're in the way—but Inkarmat has never shown any interest in the gold that would give her a common cause with Tsurumi. It seems unlikely that Inkarmat would team up with Tsurumi without any clear motives, so this possibility leaves the most unexplained and ends up being less likely than the first two. The main upside to this is that it leaves Kiroranke completely in the clear, and means the status quo is more or less what we've learned before: Nopperabo is Asirpa's father and used to be friends with Kiroranke. Still, that alone isn't enough to make this as likely as the first two possibilities.
4. Inkarmat is lying about everything except Wilk being Asirpa's father.
The final possibility, that Inkarmat's lying about Kiroranke but not about Wilk being Asirpa's father, is the least likely of the four and runs into the same issues as the third option: it doesn't explain anything about Inkarmat's motives or her personality. It would mean that everything we've seen about her over these past few episodes, from her affection for Asirpa to her budding romance with Tanigaki, was a complete act and she's actually working against them. Without any clear motive, it seems like a big leap to assume she's been lying the whole time about everything except Wilk. The one upside to this result is that it doesn't require any creative interpretation of her thoughts of the past—her background with Wilk is exactly what we've seen and what she said—but that alone isn't enough to overcome the evidence against this outcome.
On the whole, the first two possibilities are most likely, but we really won't know anything until the group finally meets Nopperabo. Whatever the case, we know one thing for certain: the truth is going to completely shake up the dynamic our group has developed as they traveled on. Either Asirpa is going to learn one of her oldest friends actually murdered her father, or Tanigaki's going to have to come to terms with the woman loves being a traitor and a liar. This game of whodunit and the dangerous prison break is going to end with a bang!
Who do you think is telling the truth? Leave a comment with your favorite theory and watch the episode here on Monday!
Skyler has been an anime fan since he first saw Naruto on Toonami in 2005. He loves action shows and strong character writing, and finds writing about himself in the third person awkward. Read more of his work at his blog apieceofanime.com and follow him on Twitter at Videogamep3.