This special is a set of short comedy stories involving Gintoki and his equally-broke sidekicks Shinpachi and Kagura. One day, Gintoki and his comrades are out viewing the spring flowers when suddenly the Shinsengumi appear, arguing that Gintoki has taken their flower-viewing spot. Gintoki's team and the Shinsengumi must then battle for the right to sit in that spot by using a violent version of rock paper scissors.
The first inception of the Gintama anime was this very special, produced by Sunrise for Jump Festa '05. At that point, the Gintama manga had been running for almost two years and the author was understandably over the moon about the news. The special was received very favourably, with Sunrise later adapting the manga into a mainstay series in 2006.
There appears to have been much deliberation over which chapter of the manga to adapt to the screen; the result is one of the few stand-alone chapters that is able to utilise the vast supporting cast - so big it's often hard to portray in a
single chapter alone - as well as the main characters. It's a carefully chosen, carefully adapted plot, with the anime staff thinking very meticulously how to best demonstrate Gintama's appeal in only thirty minutes. The outcome is an episode that could easily slot somewhere into the middle of the anime series, but just as easily serve as an introduction to the characters and the universe of Gintama. It's a fun, exciting, enthralling plot with hordes of characters fans of the series have long since fallen in love with.
The animation is fluid and consistent, with the character designs complementing Sorachi's early Gintama artwork, thus differing slightly from the anime series. The art itself is appealing, vibrant and ever so colourful, flawlessly capturing the allure of flower viewing. The music - on the other hand - isn't especially outstanding, but simply does its job, complementing Gintama's hyper characters are ridiculously entertaining plot.
In this special, the characters - a lively, humorous and exciting bunch - are introduced en masse. The amount of personalities on display may prove too much for some viewers unfamiliar with Gintama, who would rather have a more solid, linear establishment of the cast, but for those wanting to skip formalities, it's a lively, full-throttled introduction.
The characters are a witty ensemble there to entertain, to make you laugh; maybe even brighten up your day. The very first anime adaptation of Gintama is an inviting little romp in alternate-Edo, Gintama's crazed, imaginative setting, which is perhaps the only important element of the series not on prime display, but everything else is nailed to a tee. It's Gintama at its best and a lovely introduction to what the series has on offer.