The Amanto, aliens from outer space, have invaded Earth and taken over feudal Japan. As a result, a prohibition on swords has been established, and the samurai of Japan are treated with disregard as a consequence.
However one man, Gintoki Sakata, still possesses the heart of the samurai, although from his love of sweets and work as a yorozuya, one might not expect it. Accompanying him in his jack-of-all-trades line of work are Shinpachi Shimura, a boy with glasses and a strong heart, Kagura with her umbrella and seemingly bottomless stomach, as well as Sadaharu, their oversized pet dog. Of course, these odd jobs are not always simple, as they frequently have run-ins with the police, ragtag rebels, and assassins, oftentimes leading to humorous but unfortunate consequences.
Several games based on Gintama have been released on a variety of platforms such as the Sony PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS. Characters from the series have also appeared in Weekly Shounen Jump's crossover titles such as Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars.
Sentai Filmworks licensed and released only the first 49 episodes of Gintama, along with the first movie.
#01: "Pray" by Tommy heavenly6 (eps 1-24) #02: "Tooi Nioi (遠い匂い)" by YO-KING (eps 25-49) #03: "Giniro no Sora (銀色の空)" by redballoon (eps 50-75) #04: "Kasanaru Kage (かさなる影)" by Hearts Grow (eps 76-99) #05: "DONTEN (曇天)" by DOES (eps 100-125) #06: "Anata MAGIC (アナタMAGIC)" by monobright (eps 126-150) #07: "Stairway Generation" by Base Ball Bear (eps 151-176) #08: "Light Infection" by Prague (eps 177-201) #R1: "Bakuchi Dancer (バクチ・ダンサー)" by DOES (Yorinuki Gintama-san eps 1-9) #R2: "Kaze no Gotoku (風のごとく)" by Inoue Joe (Yorinuki Gintama-san eps 10-26)
#01: "Fuusen Gum" by Captain Stridum (eps 1-13) #02: "MR.RAINDROP" by amplified (eps 14-24) #03: "Yuki no Tsubasa" by redballoon (eps 25-37) #04: "Candy Line" by Hitomi Takahashi (eps 38-49) #05: "Shura" by DOES (eps 50-62) #06: "Kiseki" by Snowkel (eps 63-75) #07: "SIGNAL" by KELUN (eps 76-87) #08: "Speed of Flow" by The Rodeo Carburettor (eps 88-99) #09: "Sanagi" by POSSIBILITY (eps 100-112) #10: "This World is yours" by plingmin (eps 113-125)
#11: "Ai, Ai, Ai" by GHOSTNOTE (eps 126-138) #12: "Kagayaita" by SHIGI (eps 139-150) #13: "Asa Answer" by PENGIN (eps 151-163) #14: "Wo Ai Ni" by Hitomi Takahashi feat. Beat Crusaders (eps 164-176) #15: "Wonderful Days" by ONE☆DRAFT (eps 177-189) #16: "SAYONARA no Sora" by Qwai (eps 190-201) #R1: "Bokutachi no Kisetsu" by DOES (Yorinuki Gintama-san eps 1-9) #R2: "Wave" by Vijandeux (Yorinuki Gintama-san eps 10-26) #R3: "In My Life" by AZU (Yorinuki Gintama-san eps 27-39) #R4: "Sakurane" by Piko (Yorinuki Gintama-san eps 40-51)
Over the years there have been a multitude of comedy shows that have graced our TV screens, from the surreal stylings of Monty Python and sarcastic wit of Blackadder, to the sci-fi tomfoolery of Red Dwarf and the strange antics of The Fast Show. There are numerous notable series that have taken their rightful places in our DVD collections, and in an age where comedians are treated like rock stars, maybe it's fate that comedy anime would also come of age.
It's strange to say this, but humour has never been a strong department for the medium, partly because of the cultural differences between East and West, but mainly because the majority of anime comedies rely more on parody than anything else. The problem with this is that quite often the viewer is left without a frame of reference, so the humour simply goes over their heads. Some shows manage to get away with it purely by throwing out an almost constant stream of gags in the hope that people will understand enough of them to be entertained, while others like Seto no Hanayome and Jungle wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu have a slightly more careful approach.
The area where anime is weakest is where situational comedy is concerned. There are plenty of shows around that could invariably class themselves as sit-coms, but the penchant for studios to base their stories in some sort of school setting severely limits the quality of the humour. In essence, the industry's blind adherence to what they think is a winning formula has resulted in the dilution of just about every single joke that could be told in a school setting, so much so in fact that these days studios have fallen to relying on fanservice based comedies in order to make ends meet (pardon the pun).
Comedy anime isn't dead though, as there are some rays of light shining down on the wreckage of red noses, bladders on sticks and giant shoes. Nodame Cantabile insane otaku heroine and her long suffering boyfriend introduced many people to the world of classical music and the usage of otaku power when learning French. Genshiken took a slightly rose tinted look at the multi-layered world of the Japanese otaku, while Moyashimon payed homage to the classic American frat comedy National Lampoon's Animal House.
One series has, however, defied all the conventions, and has become one of the greatest comedy anime of all time. Incorporating elements from some of the best comedy of both East and West, the series has an anarchic streak that, at times, is more reminiscent of Monty Python, The Simpsons and Family Guy.
I am, of course, talking about Gintama.
The concept of a samurai sit-com isn't new to anime and manga, however it wasn't until the serialisation of Sorachi Hideaki's manga in 2003 that anyone actually realised the potential in this type of story. Set in a quasi-historical Edo, Japan (and possibly the rest of the world), has been conquered by an alien race known as the Amanto. The nation's strongest warriors were no match for the alien technology, and in an effort to prevent another samurai uprising, the powers that be have banned humans from carrying swords in public.
In this world there lives a former samurai with silver hair who runs the firm known as Yorozuya from his rented second floor apartment. From time to time he takes on odd jobs (yorozuya), for people in order to pay his rent and buy milkshakes and his beloved Weekly Shounen Jump.
He is Sakata Gintoki, and his destiny is to make you cry with laughter.
To say that the story is a bit on the haphazard side is probably a gross understatement, however Gintama is nothing if not consistent in its approach. The underlying story is of Gintoki and his "friends", Shimura Shinpachi (an average human teenager with no real special qualities), and Kagura (an alien who looks human and possesses monstrous strength), as they go through their days doing odd jobs for people, getting into arguments/figths with the Shinsengumi (police, kind of), drinking strawberry milkshakes (or some other flavour depending on Gintoki's mood), and trying in some small way to make the world a better place.
And that's really about as serious as many of the episodes get. The haphazard approach to the story is a purposeful measure that, strangely enough, works very well, mainly because Gintama is a comedy series. There are story arcs that occur over the course of the show, and even though they may include some serious or dramatic content, Gintama never once loses its sense of fun. Indeed, the comedy is the true strength of this series, not simply in its style and delivery, but also in its content. Many of the visual gags have to be seen to be believed (seriously, how the hell did they get away with the Neo Armstrong Cyclone Jet Armstrong Cannon), and whilst the series is top-filled with parodies, the humour is always involving so the viewer rarely feels like a joke has gone over their head.
That said, Ginatama has one aspect that is greater than all others in terms of its plot and comedy content, and that is its ability to turn the seemingly ordinary into something completely different. This is the main reason why Gintama can be considered a sit-com rather than a parody, as this aspect has more in common with shows like Blackadder and Monty Python than anything else. There are numerous occasions where the series will catch the viewer off guard with its sly, anarchic take on seemingly normal events (like being in a public toilet and running out of paper).
Of course, there are downsides too. Although the series is extremely strong in terms of comedy, it sometimes lacks when events take a serious turn. This may be due to the audience's reactions, as viewers may automatically think that something funny is going to happen next, however a part of it also stems from the fact that the comedy is sometimes too "strong". It's ironic to say this, but Gintama's greatest strength may also be its biggest weakness.
As with any long running shounen series animation and design are pretty good on the whole. The characters convey a sense of visual individuality that at times goes beyond that of other shounen anime, although this is tempered with a small degree of genericism that allows the humour to flourish . The colours are extremely bold and solid, while the backgrounds and set designs highlight the synergy between alien technology and Edo. The animation itself is of an extremely high standard, so much so in fact that some of the visual gags only really work because of it.
The high points of the visuals are the show's numerous and well crafted parodies. There are many occasions where the style, animation, end even the character design, changes to make the humour more immediate, sometimes occuring in the blink of an eye, and sometimes lasting for a good portion of a given episode. The series also plays around with a variety of concepts that most people only really read about, one example being an occasion where Gintoki and the gang are rendered invisible because the episode is incomplete. It's nigh on impossible to find another anime that not only mentions something like this, but also shows the viewer what it would look like.
Much of the humour comes from the characters themselves, but no matter how good the scripting is, delivery is everything when it comes to comedy, and in this respect Gintama is extremely well served by its seiyuu. The cast are able to perform with a panache that is sometimes astonishing, and their portrayals of their respective characters are so good that one would be forgiven for believing they were full time comedians. Possibly the best example of this is Kugimiya Rie (Kagura), who for many years has been typecast into various tsundere roles. Her portrayal of Kagura is truly excellent, especially in terms of comedy, and much like the rest of the cast she manages to not only maintain a consistent character for a an extended period of time, but has actually become more adept with her timing and delivery.
Gintama is generally consistent with its choice of music, and certain tracks are repeated throughout the series usually to add to the comic atmosphere of a given scene. That said, some of the more serious moments can feel a little off-kilter as the score changes can sometimes be a little sudden. As with any long running series the OP and ED have changed since the show began airing in 2006. These tracks are usually pretty good at capturing the essence of Gintama (which just sounds wrong), as a whole, and the opening sequences are designed and choregraphed to highlight the important aspects of the anime - humour, fun, some seriousness, and a large slice of anarchy.
In all honesty, there is no real reason to find the characters outstanding, and the fact that they are iconic, original and memorable is possibly Gintama's greatest triumph. Gintoki, Shinpachi, Kagura, the members of the Shinsengumi, and all the sundry characters, alien and otherwise, who appear in the show will find some funny bone to tickle. When taken as individuals each is a flawed creation that really wouldn't work were this any other anime, but the plot and scripting for the series, together with the talent of the seiyuu and the design of each character, turns this idea completely on its head. Much of the comedy is dependent on the characters, and it's because the series is so good at entertaining the audience that any noticeable flaws are generally forgiven or ignored.
Gintama is not simply a funny anime though. Over the seasons the show has gradually become a phenomenon in the medium, mainly because of its ability to maintain consistent humour for over most of its 201 episodes. The irreverent and oh-so anarchic humour can, at times, come off as weird, but this has only served to endear the series to more viewers.
Numerous fans refer to Gintama as their "anime crack", a sentiment which is understandable in a sense as it has the ability to lift one's mood in a way that few other anime can manage. That doesn't mean that everyone will be entertained though, but if the viewer approaches the show with the right sort of mindset (e.g. open), then the series has a lot to offer.
That said, shounen fans will definitely find Gintama appealing, not simply because it bears all the stereotypical hallmarks of that genre of anime, but also for its ability to creatively parody other shounen tales (like Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, etc - who can forget the infamous DragonBleaPiece movie trailer). Fans of comedy anime like Seto no Hanayome, Jungle wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu and others of that ilk, will also find Gintama's ability to mess with everyday concepts worthwhile.
There are plenty of aspects to the series that possess a broad appeal in terms of humour, and it's to the credit of everyone involved with the production (from mangaka Sorachi Hideaki on down to the guy/girl who makes the tea), that the show never gets old, stale, or too bogged down in how good it actually is.
There's a new king of comedy in town. Make way for Gintama.read more
Gintama? Gintama. Hmmm, Gintama... Gintama or not Gintama, that is the question.
Now this is a show I've wrestled with for a long time. Many of my friends pledged almost fanatically this is the best anime in existence. I watched the first episode. So this is it? I was not impressed. As a person who found pleasure in the darkest and most gloomy kinds of settings, I would almost immediately say that this was not for me. Everything was just so weird and appeared to be arbitrarily glued together.
I was so naïve.
At some point I picked Gintama up again, I’m one of the people who are not easily moved to laughter but still, there had to be something to this… Let me tell you this, Gintama is a journey, a pilgrimage. You will not appreciate it after two or three episodes, even twenty may not be enough. It took me sixty whole episodes when I was finally thoroughly entertained but it was then that I realized: Gintama is like a snowball rolling down a mountain. It’s barely recognizable at first but the next time you turn your gaze in its direction, it will have turned into an avalanche.
Sooo… yeah, this is actually hard. Gintama is composed of a series of mini arcs that have no real connection to each other. You can’t call it a consistent storyline but it’s also not really episodic, there are also fillers organically weaved into the style and pace of the anime. A strange kind of hybrid, that still works somehow. We have different little events like the Benizakura, Yoshiwara or Popularity Poll arc, which all are amazingly done. Action, drama and most of all comedy, Gintama’s got them all and none of them are bad. Also, because I can’t find a better place to do this, let may tell you a few things about the often overlooked setting. The pseudo-medieval, post war Japanese capital Edo with modern technology, invaded by a multitude of alien races called Amanto. Sounds utterly random right? Wrong. It is my firm believe that this setting is actually the backbone of Gintama. Why you ask? Because it allows for the greatest number of possible scenarios, different people and places. You can have a samurai, a rebel leader, an alien and a penguin costume guy added to the cast and nobody bats an eye, because it still feels natural. Never forget the setting, it makes this anime what it is.
It’s strange, when I started watching I thought to myself ‘This looks somehow generic’ but at the same time ‘This looks somehow unique’. It’s hard to explain but that’s the feeling I get from Gintama. Visual quality may not be top notch here but it gets progressively better, a fact that is especially apparent in latter battle sequences. I would leave it at nine points but there’s another thing… facial expressions. They are beyond hilarious, I won’t say too much about it but you will understand once you have seen a few exemplary episodes.
There are a few very iconic and memorable tracks on the Gintama OST, that’s probably due to the fact that they are used so frequently but that doesn’t mean that I ever got sick of them. Audio is mostly bright and uplifting, fitting to the animes focus on comedy. Opening and ending themes are also pleasing, notably Donten and Stairway Generation. This would also be a eight or nine if it wasn’t for the seiyuus. These guys are BRILLIANT! Every voice fits its character and Sugita Tomokazu is probably the most unique voice I have ever heard in anime. He’s now the voice of Gintoki for me, forever. Kugumiya Rie is a rather well-known name, revered for her roles as your run of the mill tsundere girls. Kagura was a kind of character that was probably new to her but she still did an excellent job. There are a dozen other examples but I’m not going into debt on all of them, only thing you have to know is that the voiceover job is amazing.
Alright, so this is the deciding factor that makes this anime awesome. Here we have some amazingly thought out characters and not just for comedy purposes, most of them have a backstory, even the vilest of antagonists are not just pure embodied malice. This is also what causes the anime to take time to get going, you have to get to know the characters. A naked random guy is very much different to a naked Isao Kondo. Almost all of them are likeable, memorable and most of all funny. We have no focus on development here but such progression would do more harm than anything else. It takes time to get to know them and that process is very important, changing a well-established character after that process is complete doesn’t strike me as a good idea.
It takes time, 60 episodes to get it rolling, 140 episodes to have me almost dying of laughter but it was well worth it. Gintama maintains a consistent, no, increasing level of entertainment over the course of its 201 episodes. It’s already hilarious and would have been even better if I was capable of understanding the Japanese language without subtitles or if I’d seen more anime to understand all the parodies going on. Knowledge of basic Shounen Jump, Ghibli Movies, NGE, Doraemon or Gundam widely enhances the spectrum of jokes you can laugh about. Even without that and as part of a western audience, I found myself crying out in laughter over a majority of the jokes, there are just so many of them, no way you can miss everything.
So are all these people right, is Gintama the best anime of all time? I dare not to pass judgment unto that, simply because Gintama is so unique and unconventional that I feel it falls into a category of its own. There is no competition for this anime in its specific category because it’s the only one that ever made it there. This is not the best of all anime, this is just Gintama, don’t lump it together with all the others! Even if they’re brilliant, if they’re entrancing, if they’re masterpieces, don’t make that mistake. I myself who is speaking so highly of this anime have other favorites; this is simply Gintama, no need for comparison.
If you plan on taking a shot at Gintama and you’re not completely hooked after the first few episodes, bring a lot of patience, it will pay off. read more
Gintama is an ongoing manga by Sorachi Hideaki. From 2006 to 2010, Sunrise, the same studio behind the Gundam franchise, did an anime adaptation which lasted for just over 200 episodes. So, does the anime manage to stay entertaining for that long, or even be entertaining at all? Let’s take a peek and find out.
There isn’t a single cohesive narrative to Gintama. There are some loosely connected arcs, and a whole lot of episodes that have nothing to do with those arcs, but there is no single narrative. The basic setup is that the world has been conquered by aliens, referred to in Gintama as “Amanto” and the government is still subservient to them. Samurai are no longer allowed to carry swords except for a few who work for the government or who have wealth and connections. In this world a samurai named Gintoki works by, in theory, doing odd jobs. Although that largely consists of him doing nothing. His crew consists of a youngster named Shinpachi, an Amanto girl named Kagura who possesses super strength and is highly vulnerable to sunlight, and a giant dog named Sadaharu, our cute character who requires ear scritches and belly rubs. Hijinks ensue as this group and the people around them get into shenanigans.
Let’s begin by looking at the problems with the series, shall we? By far the biggest issue is that the writing aesthetic is horribly inconsistent. Most of the episodes are highly random and intended for humour but when they get to the more story heavy arcs things take a huge shift into serious territory, sometimes including really heavy topics like sex trafficking, and it creates a huge tonal clash between episodes. You can’t segue from jokes about testicles and bloody rectums into a story about an underground city where children are sold to be raised as sex slaves. There is quite literally no way to make that transition so that it isn’t painfully awkward and completely disrespectful to the serious issue. It’s worse than that Captain Planet episode that dealt with AIDS. Sure, that was way over the series’ head too, but there wasn’t such a radical tonal problem. The tone isn’t the only thing that has problems with consistency, there’s also the continuity. There are three basic ways to do continuity. The first is having a strict, coherent continuity where everything matters. The second is to have a basic progression from one episode to the next but the details aren’t that important. The third is to toss continuity out the window completely, like Galaxy Angel. The problem with Gintama is that it does all three. Some episodes deal very much with continuity as being super important, others follow the more fast and loose route where there’s a progression but the details aren’t important and there are other episodes that don’t fit into any kind of continuity and will never be mentioned again after they’re over.
Now that we’ve been over that, let’s talk a bit about the comedy in this series that is, mostly, comedic. A lot of it is pretty puerile humour where someone defecates in their pants, or someone’s anus bleeds or where the punchline is something involving testicles. There are also a lot of bits where the characters will make loud references to some other piece of media and there are some other random bits of humour. The trouble is, a lot of it really isn’t funny. For example, there’s a running gag about one of the characters eating too much mayonnaise which is funny because… if he ate that much mayo in reality he’d weigh two hundred kilos and have to get around with a motorised scooter? There are two characters who pretty much exist for stalker jokes and there’s another running joke about Katsura getting annoyed by people calling him the wrong thing. There are times when the randomness can work and there are some points where they parody something competently instead of just making reference to it but they’re few and far between. I will give the series full credit for having some surprisingly clever deconstructions here and there, particularly when it comes to its treatment of trans-gendered characters.
Gintama has a large cast of reoccurring characters, but very little in terms of complex ones. Most of them are used for one or two jokes and that’s pretty much it. I will say that there’s nothing wrong with that for a comedic work. You can have a bunch of fairly one-note characters as long as they have dynamics that provide good comedic possibilities and you can take advantage of that. The problem is the more serious episodes. This cast would be perfectly passable if the series didn’t have those largely serious story arcs but when you take a bunch of relatively shallow comedic characters and try to do something fairly serious with them it just quickly loses any sense of tension and the characters come across as heavily under-developed, if not as completely out of place.
The artwork and animation are pretty decent. There are some cases where they recycle footage or show a background with nothing happening, which they will almost always lampshade, but it’s competently done. The action sequences can be pretty strong, both when they’re doing something largely serious and when they’re doing a jokey action scene.
The actors are pretty capable and no one does badly. However, the level of over-exaggeration in the series is really high and you might very well find yourself growing weary of listening to people shouting. The music varies. Sometimes it’s pretty good, sometimes it’s kind of annoying. Mostly, it’s just kind of bland.
There’s some in the series. There’s an openly lesbian character who shows up on a semi-regular basis and there’s a guy who is heavily implied to have romantic feelings for Sougo who shows up for a couple of episodes late in the series. There’s no reciprocation for their feelings, but they also aren’t used for jokes based on their sexuality. Some of the other characters act like asses about it at points, but the series itself doesn’t treat it as an issue. So, I’ll give Gintama some credit for treating its gay characters no differently than it does its straight characters. It is pretty refreshing, especially when you have “comedies” like Baka to Test that have to be as mean-spirited as possible about things like that.
Gintama has a real problem with consistency. Its tone is wildly inconsistent which can lead to some really awkward and stilted moments. It’s inconsistent with what it wants to do with its continuity. If you like humour that’s more than a little puerile and pretty random then you might still enjoy the series in spite of that and there are some things it does pretty decently but it’s honestly not my cup of tea in that regard. I just don’t find ninety percent of the attempts at humour to be amusing. As such, I have to give the series a 4/10. Next week we’ll have this year’s film festival. Starting with Kara no Kyoukai 6 on Sunday. Because I’ve looked at that franchise first during the last two years and I might as well do it this time as well.read more
This is my first review here, so please let me know what you guys think!
Gintama is about Sakata Gintoki, who is a samurai in an age where samurai\'s have been deemed unnecessary by the aliens who have taken over. As far as I can tell, that\'s about as deep of a story this anime has. But you probably won\'t care, because this anime is downright hilarious. The characters are funny, the situations they get in are completely ridiculous, and all the references to other anime/manga they have make it all the more enjoyable.
As I mentioned earlier, there really isn\'t too much of a story line. Most of the story arcs last about 1-2 episodes, and some are pretty strange. But all the random references and pure comedy make up for any shortcoming in the story.
The animation is just what you\'d expect from a good comedy anime. The characters have their distinctive features, the backgrounds are pretty detailed, and you get all the classic elements that you\'d expect from a comedy anime (depression lines, expanding heads, etc.).
The openings and closings are really good. They\'re all catchy and make you actually want to listen to them. The voice acting is well done and really gives life to the characters.
The characters really make this anime awesome. From the Jump reading samurai Gintoki to the machine-gun-umbrella toting Kagura to the oversized skull-biting dog Sadaharu, everyone is unique and hilarious in their own way. There are a lot of recurring characters, and each has his or her own traits that set them apart from the rest. Also, a lot of the characters resemble characters from other anime, but with a twist. For example, the main character Sakata Gintoki is very similar to Himura Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin, as both are very accomplished samurai; but while Kenshin is for the most part kind and quiet, Gintoki is very eccentric, somewhat rude at times, and seems to be overall very apathetic about everything. Things like this really make the characters familiar, yet unique, and overall very likeable.
This anime makes me laugh out loud. Literally. There have been occasions where I nealy fell out of my chair of laughter. I\'m always a little sad when an episode ends, because I laughed so much during the episode.
If you like comedy and have watched your share of anime, then I highly recommend Gintama. If you aren\'t well versed in anime, you may miss a bunch of references, but that shouldn\'t really affect your enjoyment of this anime. Overall, this anime is one of my favorite.read more
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