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.
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.
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.
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.
Gintama takes place in Edo(a.k.a Tokyo nowadays). Aliens who call themselves, the Amanto, have invaded Japan. In order to prevent another resistance of samurai's, they prohibited the use of swords. Only a handful of samurai's are remaining, Sakata Gintoki, a laid-back samurai who carries a wooden sword, is among these few. Together with Kagura, an extra-terrestrial girl with a monstrous strength, and Shinpachi, your average troubled adolescent, they'll take any kind of job as long as it fills their stomach and keeps them from getting kick out by the landlord.
Gintama is an action, comedy samurai anime with a sci-fi twist. You dont get to see
this kind of anime's anymore, heck youve never seen an anime like this before. I mean seriously, where can you find a samurai whose role model is Bleach's Ichigo Kurosaki? Or an intense ordeal involving four adults who all recently took a dump in a comfort room that has run out of toilet paper and now they must decide on who among them has to run outside butt naked, to relieve them from their predicament?
Unlike most samurai's anime's, this anime is really all about the comedy.Dont misunderstand, their are several decent actions here and some of em are even pretty damn good but most of them are use for opportunity to present something extremely hilarious . Dont expect any amazing coup de grace here as Gintama doesnt want to be striking, it wants to be funny. But hey, it pays off. In an odd way, Gintama can be very unpredictable because of this. Its like watching the antics of Harry Houdini, you never know whats going to happen next.
To exaggerate something so insignificant is one of Gintama' primary nature. Now I would like to point out that Im not fond of slice of life anime's, because well lets face it, real life aint worth watching one cent especially when they all they do is talk about is the different ways to cut cheese. But Gintama is capable of making mundane circumstances into something incredibly ludicrous, that you have to be dead inside not to burst out and laugh your ass off.
A good example would be when the gang were all dead hungry but there's only one remaining food left? Who gets to eat the last food? The epic psychological warfare begins. If you havent noticed, every second of that is insanely diverting. And yes, that episode is the best Death Note parody I have ever come across. Its doesnt stop there. Gintama has all kinds of parody, whethers its Star Wars, Resident Evil, or some famous horror flick, there's nothing that can escape the derision of Gintama. It is so amazing how they were able to successfully mix samurai and modern pop culture into one show.
Gintama is promising from the start. It boasts distinguished characters that make up a unique combination that opens up future comic possibilities.
Gintama is episodic, meaning dont expect any heavy character development, although there are some minor alterations as the series progresses but it doesnt make enough difference to be considered. Who needs development anyway? As long as its funny, thats good enough for me.
The OP and ED in Gintama are pretty upbeat and catchy. Sometimes it can even make you laugh. As for the animation, it is fairly average. I have nothing against it because it fits right in the atmosphere of something utterly humorous.
Some people consider Gintama as the only thing decent anime that Shounen Jump serialized. Others think of it as the next best thing since sliced bread. I am neither of this. The way I see it, Gintama can only warrant two things for a person. Either they become fans of Gintama or become dumb with astonishment that they resort to watching paint dry.
If there's one thing you need to know about Gintama, it is blatantly comical.
And if thats what you have been looking for, then look no further. If not, look elsewhere.
Gintama is a masterclass in comedy writing and variety; a series that grows in originality with each passing episode, so inventive and fresh, dynamic and interesting, it's no wonder it has become one of Sunrises' flagship series, not to mention a mainstay of Shounen Jump.
The plot - from the get-go - perfectly encapsulates what Gintama is about: it's absurd. The Gintama universe is limitless; anything can and will happen. This insane nature is perfectly explored through the episode structure. Chiefly, it's an episodic series, with multiple story arcs woven in-between. Each episode will see a new plot, exploring one (or multiple) aspects of this wide
and wacky universe, along with the colorful and unpredictable cast. The stories range in genre, from thriller to flat-out comedy, but most have a humorous tone. Each episode is uniquely different from the next; they're brilliantly written, flawlessly executed narratives that fail to tire. The series displays a wonderful range of comedy, from parody to episode-long, painstakingly constructed, carefully executed gags; it's an ever-fresh and vigorous aspect and one of the series' many stand-out elements. The story arcs further explore the world and the characters of Gintama, some in humorous ways, but most in a more dramatic fashion, which adds further variety and heightened drama to the series. The diversity and imagination on display is hugely admirable, especially given the series' length. Gintama doesn't know fatigue; it stays at a consistent, extremely high quality throughout, with fresh new plot devices, scenarios and twists being continually introduced even years after its first broadcast - the writing is incredibly commendable.
The animation and art style is ever-impressive; the anime staff seamlessly bring to life such a crazed, hectic and involved world from the pages of Sorachi's manga. The anime has a colorful, visually pleasing style, with flawlessly animated explosive action set pieces, heart-wrenching dramatic beats and eye-watering comedic reveals. The character designs are incredibly diverse and evoke well Sorachi's artwork, with Gintoki becoming an instantly recognisable anime icon.
The sound and music is particularly well produced, with a huge amount of vocal talent on display. The score is incredibly elaborate and comprised of a vast variety of tracks, befitting of a series of this length. The backing tracks evoke well a number of different emotions, tones and moods, and blend seamlessly with the visuals, further bringing to life the world of Gintama. There are multiple stand-out compositions which are - above all else - memorable.
One of the most appealing aspects of the series is without a doubt the characters. They're imaginative, memorable and varied creations, each unique and appealing in their own different way. The main characters present incredible amounts of enthusiasm and are the real driving force behind Gintama, but certain members of the unbelievably vast supporting cast are almost as integral in their own right. Sorachi's marvellous creativity shines through in the characters, just as it does the story, and it becomes obvious the anime staff have a complete understanding of the source material and an unwavering dedication to bring it to life. Given the gag-based nature of the series, the characters start off rather one dimensional, with little room to explore their background or the depths of their psyche in the episodic ventures, but the story arcs greatly expand on both the main characters and the prime supporting cast, developing their hearts and souls to a substantial, admirable degree.
Gintama is a marvel, chock-full with everlasting potential. It's a series as side-splittingly funny as it is deeply heartbreaking. It presents a miscellany of different genres, tones, characters, scenarios, music, emotions and comedy, all blended into one exquisitely written, flawlessly executed, brilliantly produced, intelligent stunner of a series. It's among the utmost best anime has to offer.
Japan, a nation which was once known as "samurai country", has been invaded by aliens called the Amanto who now pull the strings of the government. The samurai have been forced to become ordinary citizens and sheath their swords forever. Gintoki Sakata, a former samurai who follows his own code of "bushido", was once a fierce warrior who can now barely scrape together the change to purchase this week's Shonen Jump. What's a samurai to do?
Gintama is not an anime that one should approach expecting a plot. It's an episodic action and adventure comedy that details the hilarious and ridiculous daily
escapades of Gintoki and the other boarders that are a part of his freelancing business. The only thing that Gintoki, Kagura, and Shinpachi want is to be able to pay the month's rent but instead wind up attracting trouble like a magnet. The jokes can be downright hilarious and the characters will literally go out of their way to say something funny at the wrong time. It's not a series that I would recommend to new anime fans because a lot (but certainly not all) of the jokes poke fun at the anime subculture and even the more seasoned fans might have trouble understanding some of the Japanese cultural jokes to a point where it's like a Japanese Family Guy. The fansubs do, however, take the time to explain a lot of the references. It's also great to approach this series with at least some knowledge of Japanese history, particularly the Bakumatsu and Meiji Periods, due to the fact that a majority of the characters are based on historical figures.
The characters watch television dramas and read Weekly Shonen Jump but the scenery and the clothes do a good job of reminding us that this series is supposed to be based on the Meiji Period. The backgrounds are detailed and the animation is generally smooth. Facial expressions, as with any comedy anime, are important and the character designs suit the characters. The overall semi-realistic art style helps the characters seem more realistic as well, though, it's not something I personally found to be especially unique.
The themes are fun, catchy, and upbeat. I found that one of the most memorable things about Gintama's music was the fact that one of the ending songs, Mr. Raindrop, is entirely in (good) English! The background music does not particularly stand out but its "wild" style suits the anime. The voices fit the characters well and the acting is excellent.
And did I say that the most memorable thing about the sound of this anime was Mr. Raindrop? I meant to say that the most memorable thing about this anime was the popular idol singer, Otsuu, who writes these catchy songs with crazy lyrics, like, "Your brother is a hikikomori!"
Characters are the single most important feature in an episodic series such as Gintama and this is one area where this anime does not disappoint. Every character has unique quirks that makes them interesting and the few "archetype" characters that are in this anime are parodies. Shinpachi's sister Otae, for example, has the appearance of the typical "sweet older sister" character but she's actually one of the most violent characters in the entire series aside from trigger-happy Okita. There is no "self-righteous" hero in this anime; every character is just another person trying to get by in the new Japan no matter how rude, weird, or downright strange he or she might be.
This is the first series that I have seen in a long time that has made me truly laugh-out-loud. I sometimes even have to stop myself from laughing while reading the manga in study hall to avoid being stared at!
The best thing about this anime is that it's not afraid to laugh at its demographic, its medium, its culture, or even itself. It almost goes out of its way to make sure that it crosses the line. And, even though some of the jokes are hit-or-miss references, it's an anime that can leave even new anime fans laughing or literally thinking, "WTF?"
Before I write this review which is very long overdue I would like to first establish that Gintama is my favourite series in both the manga and anime mediums and it is something that I will carry with me forever, it took me out of a very dark part in my life and set me on the right path. Gintama is something that becomes better as time moves on and you learn more about Japanese culture (of course, manga and anime) looking back at the series but it is also a very compelling story with slowly arching storyline with some really emotional moments and just
some moments that really hit home to any anime watcher.
Secondly, I would like to note that Gintama is the funniest form of media (at least anime) that I have seen. I don't think that people quite appreciate the knowledge that the author (who refers to himself as a Gorilla in the manga) has, he is thoroughly up to date with todays manga and anime series, with American TV shows, to Japanese Pop artists and Idols, and to Japanese comedy all together. He is a true appreciator of comedy and this is very apparent in his series where he runs jokes sometimes volumes apart, he has running gags throughout the series and he ties in references to all works of media that his wide audience (most of the time) appreciates.
-Just going to do a quick overview and reasoning for my 10/10 on all scores for the anime-
Story: Gintama starts as a bunch of friends in the Edo period of Japan start up an "odd jobs" with the intent on doing any job for anyone around the town after the alien "amanto" take over the Earth for a low price to get by. They start making associates in all kinds of places from the "Joi" terrorists to the various policing organisations around the place to the Shogunate itself, with the more relationships that they build the more influence and responsibility the group gathers around the town, the several ties made really bring together the story; this story isn't really your general soul searching, power gaining Shonen, it is about protecting these ties with everything that the group has.
Art: With such an amazing source I do feel that Sunrise did a very good job animating Gintama. Character designs stay very true to their original sources and they did a very nice job giving you a feel as to what it would be like living in this run down town where Aliens and Humans live (seemingly) in harmony. The action scenes are done very - very well and the various "playful" facial expressions and such are done to perfection.
Sound: Gintama has quite a range of different scenarios and I think that the sound put together did very well at setting the tone for these scenarios. It has some very touching songs for those emotionally beautiful scenes, it has some really cool fighting music when necessary and some very comical jigs for the right moment. Another strong point in Gintama is its OPs and EDs, they really do get some amazing bands (SPYAIR does a few) in for these theme songs and they stay very true to the series.
Character: Gintama has some very loveable characters, they each play their comical role very well with their interactions with certain characters, one thing that I've noticed is how well Sorachi pairs certain characters with one another in both the humorous sense and in a social one. You also need to appreciate that every supporting character is either introduced during the series with some sort of arc that very closely ties each character with the group or they are done so in the same way with a flashback.
Enjoyment: Due to its episodic nature Gintama is something that you can show to friends at any point and they will love it all the same. As touched on earlier it is such an enjoyable series because of its diversity, there is something in it for everyone of all ages because the authors knowledge in anything funny is so diverse all the same. Watch it for the endless references, the fighting scenes, the comedy, you will not leave disappointed whatever your interests are.
To conclude in my bias I just really want to stress that everyone no matter what their tastes are should watch Gintama, don't get strayed away by these premise that because it is on the MAL top anime ratings that it must be mainstream trash. It is there for a reason, everyone that watches it loves it.
This is one of the most pointless anime I have ever seen besides Lucky Star, Naruto, and Bleach. There is absolutely no plot at all which tells you something. The jokes are running gags from the manga industry that desperately try to please fan-boys; in reality, they are dry, crude and pathetic. It grows tiresome after seeing the same joke for the 4th time. Characters are one of the most annoying aspects of this show. Especially Shinpachi the "side-kick" of the show, who just seems to point out right and wrong and the obvious. Women are violent and short-tempered and the men are either lazy,
cynical, perverted, or idiotic. The main problem I have is the hero, Gintoki. At first he seems like a cool anti-hero but then when major ars came in his character deteriorates. The whole male bravado suddenly kicks him and the "bad-ass" comes out which seems forced and cheesy. Sentimental moments are ruined with disgusting or tired gags which truly is a shame. Since its a arc-based the arcs are either a adventure/action one or a comic relief. Neither are serious in what they try to convey. Comedic arcs are completely reductive while the adventure arcs are contrived and overbearing. And then in the end of some arcs they try to insert an "friends are important" speech. Wow.
I don't really know how to start this off, but here it goes...
I first began this series out of complete boredom during the summer, but after wacthing the first couple episodes I thought to myself "
Story: The story is fantastic! Even though most of the episodes consits of crazy occurences that occurs with Gintoki and his friends (and shinsengumi), all the episodes are exciting and funny. But this series is not all fillers. There is a secret past with Gintoki and how he is connected to the previous war with the amatos (aliens) and samurais, and he encounters villians who try to harm to
the civilians, his friends, and/or Edo.
Art & Sound: The art is now more modern, and is just awesome. I feel like I am at Edo (In Gintama). The sound is great...I guess...I never really encountered an anime with bad sound (unless the DVD was scratched, or the web site was bad...)
Character: It's a rare cicrumstance, but I have fallen for all of the characters. All the characters have a goofy, distinguishable, but also serious side, and I absolutly love it! The character's have their own odd personalities (and fetishes). The character's a developed beautifully, and the characters give the show an unexplainable magic.
Enjoyment: Can I give this a 100/10? This series has action, comedy (A lot of it too), but the series has a couple of serious, and sad episodes. I cannot predict what will happen next! I look foward to wacthing the new episodes! If I didn't enjoy this, why would I be watching (and giving you guys a review)? If you watch this, you WILL enjoy this, no doubt about it!
Overall: As you can see...I absolutly love this series. Do not miss out on this super-special-awesome (Sorry littlekuriboh) anime. There are many "Japanese" jokes, but everyone can love and enjoy this anime! I would give this a billion/10 for overall. I love this show with the bottom of my heart, and I know you will enjoy it too!!! (Watch a couple of episodes before you drop it, the first episode can be confusing)
Gintama is a peculiar type of anime. It's a mix of 90's shounens and comedy.
The story is not the main focus of Gintama. The sroty is divided into arcs. Evey Arc starts with disconnected episodes focusing on comedy and then, after some episodes, it starts to dive in plot. This cicle repeats.
The comedy section oscillates between "Amazing" and "Ok". You cannot predict when you're going to get a funny episode and a shitty episode. Besides that, haf of the comedy comes from references to japanese pop culture and other animes, which most people won't get.
Still, when Gintama is funny, it's really funny.
section osclilates between "Good" and "Ok". It usually involves a recently introduced character... It still has funny segments, but not as many. it usually has a message or something to teach you, but it's not good enough on it's own. Nothing really happens and i wouldn't watch it if it wasn't for the comedy.
Suffices to say that the characters are complex and interesting. They're all diverse and memorable.
Overwall, i think Gintama it's a great anime to watch casually. If you're feeling down, it can really light up your mood, and for that, i respect it.
My score is a 7. Not because it's bad, but because it oscillates too much. I recommend it to any anime fan. If you can keep following it, the comedy only gets better.
In just 25 minutes, this anime will show you that even a simple fight between friends over a sukiyaki pot can be more engaging than some epic battle between planets and solar systems (while there's plenty of that too).
I always thought there would never be an anime series that would keep me entertained beyond 50 episodes, and after watching over a 1000 episodes of anime in total, I'm convinced that this is in fact true... except for Gintama.
Watch this anime but be prepared to laugh your stomach out.
My first time writing a review so people,please be NICE :)
I started watching Gintama when my friend recommendate me too.She said it was a hilarious anime and people who did not laugh while watching Gintama,have no soul or sense of humor.I gave Gintama a chance and tried watching but i didn't expected myself to laugh non-stop at the jokes and i didn't expected myself to enjoy every second of the anime.
Although Gintama is focused on comedy,DO NOT put the tissue box away.There will be tear jerking and touching arcs which will make tears roll down your cheeks.
And DON'T forget the action which will be showed
during serious arcs such as Benizakura arc and Yoshiwara arc which will leave you wanting for more.
From a sadist freak to a space alien,Gintama charcters are lovable and you will NEVER see anoying and weak characters unlike in some other animes.You will fall in love with every characters in Gintama.Yes,even the "bad and evil" characters despite his "less screen time" gets a high rank in Gintama Polls.
After finishing 186 episodes in 1 and a half weeks,i declared that Sorachi Hedeki is the king of humor and wanted more Gintama episodes.Gintama is an awesome anime and people needs to give it a chance.
End of review :)
Thanks for reading and a big thanks to Animefan009 ;D
Comedy is a genre which can be very difficult to appeal to the majority of people, as it is heavily dependent on ones preferences, as well as his own past experiences with the medium. Besides these limitations, there is an other factor that plays a role, which are the cultural differences that exist in current society, as a lot of comedy is dependent on the understanding of said cultural customs. This is done in the West through various types, such as satires, sitcoms, cringe comedies or slapstick comedies; in the East, particularly Japan, this done through the most known type of comedy, the Manzai, or
lesser known ones such as Shimoneta, a comedy focused on dirty jokes, or the Konto, short sketches that are completely ridiculous, yet hilarious.
With that being said, there is one anime that managed to become very popular among the anime audiences throughout the last decade despite those limitations, and that is Gintama. This anime is particularly famous because it implements comedic elements from both the West and the East splendidly, while at the same time having its share of a more "serious" storyline, expanding on its universe, as well as having fantastic battle scenes with wonderful background stories for the characters. Naturally, some viewers may dislike this anime, and while I personally think it's a great anime, it also has its flaws, which I will try to depict below.
The setting in which the story takes place is feudal Japan, Tokyo, formerly known as Edo, yet with every modern type of tools available in modern society, such as cars, fridges, TV's, you name it; but that is not the only nonsensical thing, there is also the fact that Japan is invaded by aliens called the Ämanto". Following the life of the defeated lazy samurai Sakata Gintoki and his fellow companions Kagura and Shimura Shinpachi on their jobs as "Yorozuya", people who would do everything for money, being the poor penniless people they are. These tasks range from simple jobs such as catching cats to high-risk type of labour, which all have one thing in common: it will always end hilariously, usually through the hardships the protagonists have to endure. Moral stories are often narrated through these as well, while a big part is praiseworthy, some of these may at times go unnoticed or either feel repeated to the viewer.
Gintama's main focus lies in the humor, and it conveys these splendidly to the viewers through a wide array of comedy types, be it the manzai or satires to the different customs of different cultures. These situations represent daily events, yet often taken to the extreme, and ridiculously absurd which I personally think is a charm too; it nevertheless share its shares of more "calm" episodes. What makes these so well done is the fact that it is unexpecting and hilariously represented: who will forget the epic toilet battle, or the mishaps that happen to the most powerful man in the country, the Shogun himself? Other great aspect is the use of referential comedy to other anime series, even movies: these are all hilariously well presented, if viewers know about it that is; which begins with one of the problems this anime has.
Though the majority of gags and jokes are well relaid to the viewers, there are also quite a lot that either aren't that well understood, or just totally misses the point for some (if not most) of the audiences. This can be due to several reasons: one of it is the fact of not knowing which medium the anime is referencing to; there are quite an amount of referential gags to either current or past famous anime series which for the newer viewers to the medium would remain clueless on why it was displayed and thus not understanding its joke. Other reason is naturally the cultural knowledge of both the West and particularly Japan; if viewers have no awareness of these (such as famous politicians, real life comedians, customs), it will often come over as something absurd and nonsensical. Finally, the understanding of the Japanese language itself can be a culprit too, as it relies on wordplay and vocal expression, which for the average viewer may be difficult to follow.
Gintama does not only consist of comedy episodes: to change the atmosphere of the anime, it introduces its own serious arcs in which characters are fleshed out through numerous things such as background stories, or events tied to these. Trough these world building is done, as well as clearing out different mysteries that surround that world. What comes as a surprise, is the fact that it can be dead serious, which is totally the opposite of its usual narrative; deep conflicts between aliens, samurai's and the government, or the different political factions within those. However, there is no consistent progression of the story, as the episodes are standalone ones, which also affect the more serious arcs; these are not tied with each other, which may be a drawback for some viewers, as it seems to "reset" some of the events that happen. The battles are nothing short of spectacular, well paced, leaving the viewer in tension on what will happen next. These are however often over the top, with characters having infinite toughness or sudden "powerups", which results sometimes in tensionless fights, which can be a drawback for some. However, it must be said that these are often take unexpecting turns, and are fantastically animated.
There is also a certain issue with the pacing. Essentially the first 40-50 episodes approximately are pretty average at best, as it is dedicated to introducing the different characters; in addition, it is clear that most of the jokes and gags are rather badly conveyed to the viewer, feeling off, as the author is not yet fully aware as on how to represent them. It must be said that there some fantastic episodes that are either very amusing or breathtaking, yet overall are average. As mentioned earlier, referential and slapstick comedy that is available in the anime may displease some viewers preferring situational comedy. Naturally, throughout its whole duration of 201 episodes, it can't maintain fantastic comedy, thus having quite some episodes that can be either boring or disgusting at times. Nevertheless, the good episodes overshadowed the bad ones, besides the comedy being consistent throughout its duration.
The characters in Gintama are of great importance to the anime, as without them, the majority of jokes wouldn't get over quite as desired: no matter how good the scripts for the joke are, without good actors, it will be boring. These are all very memorable, which is quite an achievement, considering these are not outstanding in respect of character development or fleshing out of these. There is Sakata Gintoki, a defeated samurai revolutionary in the war against the aliens, now a lazy samurai, gambler and sugar addict, yet with its own strong morals which makes him as a whole likeable, with its own flaws. Shimura Shinpachi, the boy who most characters in Gintama define his personality with his glasses; Kagura, a glutenous straightforward fighting machine, a tomboy type of girl.
There are naturally secondary characters of importance (and of interest) as well. Take for example Hasegawa Taizou, also known as "Madao", which is by far one of the most interesting characters of the cast: a man with moral standards, yet rendered homeless, gives an accurate representation of society and its values. The shinsengumi composed of the mayonnaise loving devil vice-chief Hijikata Toushiro or the stalker gorila Kondo Isao. Not forget the revolutionary Joui Katsura Kotarou, you don't often stumble across such a character with such high moral values, with its own flaws. The Shogun is also interesting as a character, as its represents the perfect notion of what a flawless governor should be, with its own moments of cluelessness in regard in his study of society.
Leaving the interesting characters aside, there are naturally some that can get on audiences nerves, such the sister of Shinpacahi, Otae, which is the typical aggressive (somewhat) tsundere girl who can't cook, which at first is moderately of interest, but jokes and situations that play out with her become old and annoying throughout the 201 episodes. The ninja Sarutobi Ayame can sometimes also be quite annoying, as her character remains equal throughout the anime, being the excuse to implement dirty/perverted jokes in the anime.
Character development is rather lackluster in Gintama, yet the fleshing out of its main cast is well done (though small) and sufficient to enhance the overall progression of the story, in addition to understanding the motives and personalities of the different characters. The supporting cast is varied, having alien princes, space pirates. superhuman race of warriors - the Yato, ninja's you name it. Some of the characters presented also are based on real life persons, such as Kondo Isao or Hijikata Toushiro, both who were of importance in the japanese revolution. Other positive aspect is that it uses all the characters presented in the anime, all of importance to the continuity of the jokes and narrative, by either expanding on their past, or events related to them.
~Animation and sound~
The animation quality of Gintama was surprisingly well done, considering it is a long running anime with over 200 episodes. There were no real fluctuations in the quality, and fulfilled its purpose well. Backgrounds are well drawn, but nothing spectacular, being character design very simplistic: which can be rather lackluster for some audiences, yet are easily distinguishable from the huge cast Gintama has. However, it must be said that it surprisingly well done, as it managed to convey the different gags and jokes splendidly through changes in character design: take Hokuto no Ken reference for example. Battle scenes are well animated, and have a good choreography and are often unexpecting.
The soundtrack used in Gintama was varied, beautiful and fantastic, used to match with the atmosphere it is trying to portray, as well enhancing the overall narrative and comedy. These ranged from piano compositions, to orchestra type of songs to metal pieces. Who would forget the Stand battles and its soundtrack, or Madao's glorious theme? For the more "relaxed" episodes, we have more natural, groovy themes which can be repetitive at times. From the various openings and endings the anime had to offer, there are quite some of those with a catchy tune such as "Donten" by Does or "Tougenkyou Alien".
What however really stood out, were the voice actors. Without these, the experience would certainly be of lesser quality: emotions, jokes, intonations, anger were splendidly transmitted to the audience. We have voice actors such as Sugita Tomokazu as Gintoki or Joseph Joestar in JoJo's Bizarre adventure; then we have Wakamoto Norio, who voices Matsudaira Katakuriko, Raou in Hokuto no Ken, or Oskar von Reuenthal in Legend of the Galactic Heroes. Not to forget Fumihiko Tachiki, who voices Hasegawa Taizo masterfully, conveying the character's personality elegantly.
It would be an understatement to say I like Gintama: in fact, I love it. The different comedy gags, the characters and its voice actors in conjunction with the serious tones the anime has to offer, I found it to be the best comedy anime I have ever watched up to date. Having an inclination towards the comedy genre, I found Gintama to be exceptionally well executed, even with its duration and flaws; this was especially because it managed to keep a consistent level of humor throughout the whole anime, with some outstandingly well done gags that would have anyone adverse to the anime as a medium blurt out in laughter.
Naturally there were numerous flaws with the anime such as battles being a bit over the top, jokes that could get out of hand in addition to being sometimes boring and old, and even being hit-and-miss. Yet the characters and background stories it had, was another element that could keep any viewer with less interest in the comedy genre entertained. It has a slow and average start at best, the viewer being rewarded afterwards with surprisingly good comedy parts, and consistent humor.
So would I recommend Gintama? I personally would suggest anyone to try out, yet if you have no real interest in the comedy genre or are no real fan of absurd, random comedy, I would probably stay away from it. I found the numerous references and jokes in my first watch rather dull, as I had no knowledge of the anime it was referencing to. I must also mention that understanding of the different cultures, as well as the language itself is of importance to enjoy the full experience Gintama has to offer.
Gintama to be symbolized is like a bottle of fine apple cider. Its not the hot cinnamon one you enjoy at winter time, but a bubbly and sweet drink enjoyed alongside some of the finest of your holiday wines. Gintama is sweet. With a cast of bubbling and energetic characters who lift spirits. They just make the show sizzle with satisfying pops. At first Gintama feels like a kiddy drink laughable and nothing more. As you slow down and enjoy Gintama it becomes something more. There is certain tartness mixed in, a hint of something more dramatic, this only materializes itself once
in a blue moon, yet you detected it. Its an edge darkness that only heightens the sweet bubble texture, it becomes a perfect balance of sweet and bubble with a hint of tart, resulting in something as great as the finest of wines . The over arching message of Gintama is to move on from the bad things and to work towards the good. Its to no matter what, through every trail and tribulation to live by your own “bushido code”. This is the morales of Gintama. Its 95% troll fun character shenanigans, 5% drama and dark morals. Yet, every bit of Gintma is a life lesson. Every episode and every title (some more troll than others). The fun episodes are meant to be enjoyed for fun. To tell you not to take life too seriously. The each drama arc is working through a hard time with respective values and morals. The fun episodes and dark episodes are both filled with pretty much the greatest comedy that the median of anime has produced. Using both mature and immature jokes, crude and clever, gags and satire, Gintama with comedy alone is a grand achievement. Yet on top it secedes in drama and truly great character interaction in a colorful world in which anything goes. This results in on of the greatest and most unique amines of all time (look at the damn scores).
The story of Gintama is about Gintoki Sakata after aliens have taken over the earth and life has generally improved for the world. Yet, a nasty sword ban on the public has put the samurai class out of work. Gintoki must now leave the bloody past behind and forge his own new samurai code as he does odd jobs in the city of Edo(Tokyo) and barely get by. Gintama is mostly comedy following along the ways of the odd jobs crew, each episodes and odd job generally goes around their own little life lessons, gags and stories. The series is very episodic. This takes 95% of the series as fun day to day shenanigans in a world dominated by weird aliens (So not really average by our standards). Under all of the tomfoolery is a dark feel. Gintama portrays this very well and sometimes the feel of the show can switch on a whim. Its the 5% not in the “happy” this is very well thought out drama arcs usually every 20 episodes, with lengths usually 3 to 6 episodes long. These arcs usually start softly, but usually end up serious and involve Ghosts from Gintoki’s past. This sense of past is never lost in the show, you always have a feeling that Gin cannot get over it. It shows through continuously through his actions. Sometimes he stops when others laugh. He thinks back to his war days laughing with comrades and then frames back to his odd jobs crew and new friends; he smiles and joins back in. Gin has a very well hidden PTSD. It mentioned by others, that he “has the smell of a beast to him” as when what he wishes to protect by his bushido code is threatened he’ll revert the “white demon” (nick name in alien wars) and risk everything life and limb to save what he cares about. This is a feeling that is constant through the entirety of Gintama, and in a sense this getting over the bad times and the past is the central meaning of Gintama as a whole.
Art of Gintama is very interesting, very inventive devices, vibrant color palates; the world also can turn dark very quickly. It creates a vibrant fun colorful world that shows its seedy underside. This makes for some great contrasts in animation and just the faces… so good. From troll faces to deadly serious, to plainly confused, Gintama mastered the art of drawing facial expressions. The style in itself isn’t very risky and thus feels above average and not amazing.
Sound is done by a variance of people. the Op’s and Ed’s are for a majority excellent. My personal Favorites from the 1st 201 episodes is the Op Donten with stairway generation being a close 2nd. Osts are well-done; Madao is an excellent theme with slow guitar that makes you just feel. Nothing though was completely off the walls amazing, but everything was great.
Character truly is the greatness of Gintama. It’s a plethora of colorful bubbles that light up the world. Each with their own past they also want to leave behind. The Main Main group is the odd jobs crew lead by Gintoki Sakata, and his two employees/ apprentices Kagura and Shimpachi + their beloved mascot Saduharu . The other best group is the elite police of this crazy world. The Shinsengumi, which is mainly Hijikata, Sougo, Kondo, and Yamazaki. The odd jobs team is like a family always together and always on each others nerves, but help when the time comes, this has created the best friendship speeches in existence. “He owns me five bucks… so I can’t let him die”. The odd jobs crew gallivants around the city of Edo. Gintoki a samurai for a new age, Kagura super strong and supper witty young girl, Shimpachi the only sane man here. It truly is a treat to watch. The Shensengumi also gallivant putting anti government rebellions down with ridiculous police work. They have the daemon vice- chief, the sadist Captain Sougo, the bland Yamazaki, the lovable idiot chief Kondo. They also have their own serious arcs and frequently end up with the odd job team by total accident in deadly situations. These groups with many colorful separate friends and characters make a colorful dish the compliments the totally colorful world of Gintama creating tons of funny moments, and some sad ones too. The characters of Gintama make this wacky world shine.
Overall Gintama is a mastery of comedy and drama. Truly meant to be enjoyed slowly. Something to be savored for what it is. Its not one to be taken too seriously or too lightly. Yet, it is a one of the greatest things to come to the anime median to date. Funny and heart warming, and sometimes just sometimes dark and gritty with a touch of feels. If you take your time to savor it, Gintama is one anime that you shant want to miss.
I gave it a shot, tried to pass episode 3 and gave it a chance till episode 12, but it was not helping at all. Every episode was bugging me, I tried to watch it without thinking of quitting it, but it got worse. the chances are very low that I'll watch it in the future.
It's the fiddling randomness and I didn't understand the cheesy jokes, couldn't even separate between the vague jokes and the makes-no-sense dialogues.
I wonder if the creators wrote some random shit on paper and put them together, like grabbed it randomly out a bag ' today's episode will be "dog"stupid
jokes"goes flying" go make the episode now.'
It felt like I was watching another version of that anime bobobobo (which I couldn't even call that an anime).I saw a lot of comments that people were re-watching it. Re-watching Inuyasha or Zatch bell is way better in my option.
I have nothing against the anime being old, cuz I watched older anime that were better. Or I just watched too many anime to guess what will happen every episode. The main character his build-up is enjoyable and that's all. He and Oga would be great buddies.
"Listen up! Let's say you drink too much strawberry milk, and have to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. But it's cold outside your bed. You don't want to get up, but the urge to urinate is just too strong! You make up your mind to go! You run to the bathroom, stand in front of the toilet, and let loose! You think that all your life has led to this moment! But then you realize! It isn't the bathroom, you're still in bed! That feeling of lukewarm wetness spreads like wildfire! But you don't stop! You can't stop! That's what I'm
talking about! THAT'S THE TRUTH OF THE STRAWBERRY MILK! DO YOU GET IT!?"
-Sakata Gintoki, 2006
When talking about anime, easily one of the most popular and prolific genres is the battle shounen. Two guys with muscles bigger than their heads screaming at the top of their lungs, while beating the shit out of each other for seven hours seems to never get old within the anime community. Time and time again the genre has proven itself to not only be extremely popular, with the recent explosion of interest surrounding Boku no Hero Academia, but also very commercially viable, hence why so many get made and why many feel so mass produced. It's one of the first things that the general public thinks of when they hear anime, aside from, y'know, underage school girls with breasts bigger than their heads who want to have sex with strange tentacle monsters! In fact, I actually asked my Mother what she thought about anime, being that she knows virtually nothing, and she told me that whoever was into that kind of stuff must be some kind of strange social weirdo, as she looked me dead in the eyes, obviously disappointed that her Son is a filthy weeb who faps to Love-Live doujins. But, I digress! Over the years however, long-form running shounen adaptations have been heavily stigmatised by fans and for perfectly good reason. Not only is the sheer length of these shows intimidating, but since the anime is usually still running alongside its manga adaptation, the anime will often have to resort to using filler in order to let the manga run head, with Naruto being the all time world champion of this, cutting back to filler even when the manga was over and there was no reason to do so! Most long form running shounen as well typically are accused of falling apart as they go along, with greater plot holes, strange changes in tone from the original which doesn't sit too well with fans, and an abundance of animation errors and inconsistencies due to the constant working of the show.
However Gintama, despite it being a long-form running shounen with over three-hundred episodes, is still one of the most beloved and critically acclaimed anime out there, despite itself being one of the longest running anime around, with pretty much every season dominating the top anime lists here on this website. My score for this review as well also indicates that I agree with much of the critical acclaim behind Gintama, to a certain extent anyway. But, why exactly is that? What does Gintama do that over long form shounen fail at? Well, let's see if I can answer why in this review! Let's grab our wooden katana, take up some random odd job and dive into the bat-shit world that is Gintama!
The Amanto, aliens from the far reaches of outer space, have invaded Japan, ending the age of the samurai , and a prohibition of swords has been put in place, but, despite this, several people still carry the spirit of the samurai in their hearts. One such person just happens to be our protagonist, a man by the name of Sakata Gintoki, who, despite constant gambling, drinking and all around being a rather useless member of society, carries on the will of the samurai. Not only that but Gintoki runs his own business taking on various odd jobs, along with a young girl by the name of Kagura, an extremely strong alien from the Yato clan, and Shinpachi, the straight man, otaku of the series. The show sees them taking on various jobs and the such in an insane and over the top fashion, while, at the same time, having to fight anyone who threatens their way of life. Talking about Gintama's plot is rather difficult, not because it is filled with allegorical writing or symbolism, but because of the unconventional narrative structure the show has when compared to typical shounen series. As such, fans of the show have dubbed each story arc into one of two categories. The "serious arcs" and the "comedy arcs". While Gintama does have an overall narrative that explodes in latter seasons resulting in a plethora of character deaths and fights, it is extremely subtle. Every so often we'll see glimpses of the antagonists in the background, plotting out some kind of plan or getting together allies for their army, and even getting involved in the more serious arcs of the show. Gintama is far more comedy focused than anything else, and will constantly switch between the serious and comedic arcs, but what makes this work is that it never feels as if the comedy is intrusive on any of the more serious moments. There is enough downtime between each major event to never make the comedy feel jarring, which is actually a problem I had in the latter seasons of the show since they tried to combine both and it came across as rather forced and strange. However, despite the lack of an overall narrative for the most part, the comedy arcs never feel like filler or just pointless ways to stretch out the story. Every arc we at least learn something new about the characters or their relationship, which makes them feel more than just simple comedic gags; the show has enough energy and charisma to keep everything entertaining throughout its entire run. The setting of Gintama as well is used to full effect in order to create interesting scenarios and story arcs. Also, since the comedy arcs allow us to learn more about the characters and bond with them too, this creates a greater sense of urgency and narrative tension during the more serious arcs, where everyone's life is in danger, with intense and well animated samurai fight scenes with plenty of blood and emotional weight. It's this constant cathartic pay-off from the comedic hijinks to the climax of the serious arcs which is what makes Gintama so incredibly addicting to watch and marathon.
One of the most generic pieces of criticism I see in regards to the comedy of Gintama is that it is filled with nothing but referential humour. While I personally don't have a problem with references, since a well timed reference can create a greater connection between the audience and the work at hand, and some of the parodies in Gintama can be pretty well done, I can understand why people are not a fan of this. For starters, references can't stand on their own since they are using other pieces of work to build comedy around, but they're also limited in their appeal. Some fans may not even get the reference or parody and as a result may not find the joke funny, and even if you're well-versed in anime knowledge, Gintama makes countless references to Japanese TV shows which more often than not, alienates the viewer. Of course, the anime is marketed towards Japanese viewers so I'm not going to accuse the show of having too obscure references, but for western viewers, it's something to point out. Even when the subtitles attempt to explain the joke and reference, it ends up killing the flow of the episode since you have to stop and read it all, which, more often than not, fills the entire screen with explanations, and being told why a joke is funny is far less funnier than experiencing the joke for yourself. However, to say that the entirety of Gintama is based around references and parodies would not be an accurate statement, since most of the comedy is derivative of the character interactions and the absurd scenarios the characters find themselves in.
Gintama's cast of characters is HUGE! As a result, it creates an insane amount of comedic possibilities and interactions since each character has their own unique quirk. There are so many characters in the show that it would be impossible to go through them all, but each one, at the very least, brings something new to the table, and are all fundamentally flawed characters. What I mean by that is, that none of the characters are actually what you would consider 'good people'. Take Gintoki for example. While he does have a set of morals that he abides by, and when push comes to shove he will do the right thing and try to help people in trouble, he is a lazy adult who gambles for most of the day, gets drunk frequently, is always late to pay the rent and overall does some sleazy things. But what makes Gintoki hilarious is the fact that is flawed, and thus relatable, always getting some form of punishment for whatever he does, which feels satisfying to watch. Gintoki's character is easily one my favourite anime characters ever, with his screaming in response to situations of danger are always enough to make me burst out laughing and his sarcasm is something that I adore. Gintoki also was a fierce samurai who thought on the front lines against the Amanto invasion, and the show gives us little hints into the war that transpired in the past, but, in typical Gintama fashion, every time they are about to go into detail of the event, they essentially troll us and make a joke instead, although eventually we do learn about the specifics of what happened in the latter seasons.
The other two main characters, who work with Gintoki, as previously mentioned, are Kagura and Shinpachi, and the three together have fantastic chemistry, being able to hold whole episodes together just by themselves. Shinpachi is more so the straight man for the series, which makes him the most relatable as a result, as we experience the story through his eyes; a voice of rationality in this insane world we're presented with, although he does break away from this shell many times to play one of the more eccentric characters, especially in the otaku arc where he is battling against other filthy weebs to become the number one fan of a popular idol in the show. Typically, Shinpachi is the butt of the joke in plenty of scenarios, and due to his straight man personality, many of the characters forget he exists, and all they remember about Shimpachi is his glasses, which makes for plenty of funny re-occurring jokes down the line. Finally, of the main trio, we have Kagura, a young child from the Yato clan, an extremely powerful race of Amanto, who came to Earth in order to send money back to her father, giving her character a bit more emotional depth, although she spends most of her time playing. She actually forms an odd, younger-sister relationship with Gintoki (don't worry, it's no Eromanga-sensei "odd"), and even though she doesn't show her affection very often, there are plenty of subtle little hints that she cares deeply for him, adding onto her character and these scenes where she exhibits this characteristic are genuinely charming. Together, the trio forms sort of a dysfunctional family, with Gintoki being the head, and this family dynamic actually develops and grows during the course of the series as each character begins to bond closer together other the more serious arcs where the narrative stakes are much higher.
There are dozens of characters in the show and if I were to talk about them all I'd be here to the end of time! At the very least, each character gets to shine in their own respective story arc(s) and each one carries their own catchphrases and re-occurring gags that go through a snowball effect, in that they become all the more funnier as the show goes along and the scenarios become even more silly and over the top. Some of the best examples include Hasegawa, a man who becomes homeless and, despite his best efforts to find work, he gets fired every time and lives in a cardboard box - he is essentially like Gil from the Simpsons, the Shinsengumi, the police of Gintama, comprised of a heavy smoker vice-captain who is addicted to mayonnaise and will eat it with anything, a first division captain who is a sadist and a commander who is a Gorilla and the rebel group lead by an absolute idiot called Katsura along with his assistant, Elizabeth, who is a man dressed up in a duck outfit, all of which Katsura doesn't realise. Each character's personality trait I just mentioned all greatly benefit from this snowball effect and each characteristic keeps building up upon itself, getting funnier and funnier each time they're on screen. Gintama also takes some of the most mundane ideas for jokes and turns them into something hilarious by constant build up. Take, for example, a scene that me and one of my friends love, The Toilet Battle scene. In this scene, five characters go to the bathroom in five stalls next to each other, all of which have no toilet paper. From there, it becomes a twenty minute psychological battle of lies and deception, as each character tries to manipulate each other into using sandpaper as a substitute for toilet paper, and there are many other scenes like this that keep building upon itself in hilarious ways! A lot of what makes the show pretty funny as well are the over the top close-up reaction images of all the characters, which was something I also commented on in my Cromartie High School review, and Gintama has practically mastered the art of this, with some of the funniest and most detailed close-up shots around.
Gintama also makes it a habit of breaking the fourth wall constantly, by addressing the audience and making fun of itself every step of the way too. Gintoki often complains, as the series goes along, that the popularity for Gintama is declining and the time slots for the show were moved later into the night, with him breaking down and crying over this fact which is delightfully entertaining. In some instances Gintoki and Shinpachi, depicted as real models, visit the real Studio Sunrise, the studio responsible for creating the show. While they explore the insides of the studio, they remark about how messy the place is, how lazy each member of the team is and actually come across the producer laying down on his desk , as they remark that his wife has recently cheated on him which is why he is so depressed. The entire anime is completely self-aware of how stupid it actually is and goes full out with this fact at every opportunity and it seems the people behind this are having an absolute blast creating the show. The voice actor's performances are also fantastic and really sell the comedy of the show. Sugita Tomokazu's performance of Gintoki is probably the best role he has ever done and does an amazing job in conveying Gintoki's personality and the screaming Gintoki does is wonderfully hilarious.
Gintama isn't completely flawless however. For starters, the anime often utilises rather vulgar comedy with plenty of characters being stripped of their clothing, with a mosaic covering their genitals, along with some unfunny dick and poop jokes that feel rather juvenile, and some of the comedy can downright feel unfunny and fall flat on its face. Depending on how much you enjoy this sort of comedy, this can be a bad thing or good thing. Also, during the more serious arcs in the show, it can fall into some of the trappings that come with your typical battle shounen series with Gintoki delivering quite the number of inspirational lines before dealing a finishing blow to his opponent, which kind of does get old the more he does it. Gintama doesn't exactly have the greatest start either, with it taking a few episodes to build up some steam and personality, and the very first two episodes of the show are awful. Essentially, they're the only two filler episodes in the show (in the case that they are not adapted from the original manga) and is a strange one hour special that is not funny, confusing and boring to watch. At episode three the story basically starts, so I'd just recommend skipping the first two. As previously mentioned to, the parodies and references to shows can sometimes feel a little too overly abundant, and some of the parodies either completely go over my head or simply are not that funny. However, these moments were few and far inbetween for me, and most of the problems never ruined the entire experience for me.
Gintama's animation is pretty consistent throughout with some minor hiccups here and there, due to the sheer length of the series; for a long-running shounen adaptation, the anime looks good from a visual standpoint, and really shines during some of the fight scenes, especially in the Yoshiwara in Flames arc, which is one of my personal favourite anime story arcs of all time! The animation in the arc looks amazing, especially during the fight between Gintoki and Hosen. The entire arc is tense, suspenseful, full of emotional weight, and develops Kagura's and Shinpachi's characters very well. Gintama's soundtrack is also pretty damn good, with each track fitting the tone of each scene and arc very well, and, with eight openings and ten endings, I'm sure you'll find one that you like, although a couple of the tracks can sound a little too similar. Opening five and six are easily my favourite, with opening five's dark imagery and tone fitting well with that found in the Shinsengumi Crisis Arc that it was used for. Gintama plays around a lot with different animation styles and experiments a lot as well, most particularly a scene in the anime where only the outlines have been drawn and Gintoki complains about the laziness of the staff in episode 94, and in the Popularity Poll arc, where Shinpachi runs between different storyboards, as we see the animation and art style change constantly, from Fist of the North Star to Dragon Ball Z. The staff even re-drew the eighth opening all in paint, as Shinpachi remarks before the credits that the show's budget is decreasing! There was so much effort put into making the show both as visually appealing and visually funny as possible.
In conclusion, if you couldn't tell from my praise, I love Gintama, and it stands above most long-form running shounen for its quality and consistently funny arcs, combined with its emotionally heavy serious arcs. Gintama is one of the few pieces of media that has actually made me laugh hysterically on many an occasion, and I would highly recommend this show, despite the length. It's characters are all charismatic and funny, each bringing something new to the table, the comedy, for the most part, is pretty strong and consistent, and this is some of the most fun I've ever had with an anime! It's second season is even better than the first as well for having much better animation, and funnier episodes, while presenting it all in a much more easy to digest 50 episodes. For a good representation of what Gintama is actually about, go and check out the ninth opening of the show (the first from the second season) as it combines the goofy antics and serious nature of Gintama perfectly in ninety seconds. As I said before, comedy is completely subjective, and I know for a fact my taste in comedy is strange as fuck, so perhaps there might be some people who would look at me and think I'm nuts for finding it so funny, and that's completely fine! Check it out for yourself at some point; who knows, you may end up thinking it is funny too!
I've never really been a fan of long-running shounen anime. I had some bad run-ins with series like Naruto and Bleach when I was a kid and ever since then I've tried my best to stay away from them. For the same reason, I'm quite sure I would never have made myself watch Gintama either if it wasn't for its incredibly high ratings which made me feel somewhat obligated to. When I eventually started it though about 1,5 years ago, it was very quickly made evident that Gintama is... different. Not just different from other shounen anime, but different from almost every anime. In many
aspects it is more similar to western shows like The Simpsons or Family Guy, but still feels well and truly Japanese at the same time.
Pros & Cons:
+ Incredibly high peaks as far as comedy goes
+ Parodies anything and everything in brilliant fashion
+ Tons of diverse and original characters
+ Superb voice acting
- Quite mediocre when the comedy misses its mark, or when it tries to be serious
- Not much of an overarching story
- Surprisingly poor video resolution for its airing time
Taking place in an alternate reality in feudal Japan where aliens have invaded and conquered everything, Gintama is a story about... yeah what is it about really? It primarily follows a freelance samurai named Sakata Gintoki as well as his two friends/coworkers, and shows how they manage to make a living in the crazy new world that their country has become. Primarily though the show does just about anything and everything you can possibly imagine as no matter how strange or far-fetched an idea may seem, it is never too far-fetched for Gintama. Entire episodes taking place inside toilet booths? Alien giants causing havoc in town due to their unfortunate extraterrestrial love lives? Having storylines based on the results of a character popularity poll the series once held in Japan? A hilarious degree of fourth-wall breaking? Gintama has it all. It's really something you need to experience for yourself in order to properly get an image of just how silly it can be.
I'd like to say Gintama is *the* comedy anime that just about every anime fan can watch. With endless references to and parodies of hundreds and hundreds of other manga and anime, as well as an incredibly diverse sense of humour, it is highly unlikely that there won't be any point of the series that will be entertaining for any individual viewer, regardless of what their sense of humour may be like. The author seemingly knows perfectly how to appeal to almost any audience in this day and age as far as comedy goes, as the funny parts can go from being very complex and intelligent to being straight-up toilet humour. Because of this I'd also like to believe that the more anime/manga you've watched/read prior to watching Gintama, the more gags you will be able to understand and thus enjoy the series more. Thus this is not really an anime for newbies, but for anyone reasonably familiar with the anime industry then the sky is the limit.
Of course as is always the case with comedy, it is somewhat hit or miss. What makes Gintama stand out however is how amazingly high its peaks actually are. Occasionally the show displays moments of absolute comedic genius, as when Gintama is at its best it is probably the funniest anime ever made. Because of this there are certain individual episodes that stand out as some of the overall best episodes I have ever seen. It's physically impossible for *everything* to be funny however, and with such an enormous amount of gags there will still sadly be an overwhelming amount of time that will not entertain you. And given how incredibly long the anime is, when you put it in that sort of context you'll unfortunately realize that the amount of mediocre hours that Gintama contains is actually extremely high.
Case in point; Gintama is the most inconsistent anime I have ever seen to this day. It is a series that sometimes will make you cry with laughter, and sometimes bore you out of your mind. The comedic elements aside, it also has its fair share of more typical battle shounen-esque story arcs spanning a couple of episodes every so often. Ironic as it is, this is probably the biggest weakness of the entire show. When the series goes into a more serious mode it quite frankly feels more like a chore to watch through than anything else a lot of the time. While the story arcs generally aren't bad per se, they're nowhere even close to the same level as the better comedy episodes are. Like I mentioned before, the stereotypical long-running shounen series are not anything I enjoy very much at all, and thus when Gintama enters a similar sort of atmosphere it just comes across as a massive drop in quality for a couple of episodes. Of course once it's done with that part then it might immediately peak up to masterpiece-level again, it happens more than once throughout the series' progression. Like I said, extremely inconsistent.
As you might expect from such a huge series, the character cast of Gintama is massive. In addition to our silver-haired Shounen Jump-addicted samurai protagonist Gintoki, there's also the super strong humanoid alien Kagura who can eat an infinite amount of food and always wears a China dress, as well as the ultra-tsukkomi character Shinpachi who on his spare time is the captain of a famous pop-singer's personal fan club. The supporting cast consists of a guy who never gets his name said correctly, a super sadist, a mayonnaise-addicted freak, an old hag of a landlady, a ginormous dog, a 180 centimeters tall white penguin-like... "thing" who communicates by writing on signs, as well as several hundreds of others. There's an endless amount of characters to familiarize yourself with but given how long the anime is there's plenty of time for that.
The animation though... taking its time of airing into account it's honestly rather poor. For a series that finished as late as 2010 it still utilizes a 4:3 aspect ratio for the full duration of the show. Really? That aside the character designs are pretty clean and distinct, and the animations themselves are passable at least. I still feel that the show is a couple years behind as far as the technical levels go however, which may or may not be bothersome depending on whom you ask.
The soundtrack is very good however. Since the series is sometimes dramatic and sometimes about as non-serious as you can possibly get, it's pretty important that the music manages to reflect that diverse atmosphere in order to not drag it down, and it succeeds in doing this quite excellently. I don't think there was a single moment during these full 201 episodes where the audio ever felt truly out of place. The opening and ending themes are naturally in the double digits given the series' length, some of them being pretty awesome, and some of them were pretty meh.
What really stands out though is the voice acting. Now I haven't read the manga but as far as I've been told the main reason the anime is so much higher rated than the manga is because of this very reason. The effort put in by many of the voice actors/actresses is phenomenal, and it helps emphasize and exaggerate the gags immensely. I can only imagine how much less interesting many of the jokes in Gintama would have been if the people speaking them had been half-assing it, but as it is it's something that really deserves some special credit. I'd especially give a shoutout to Sugita Tomokazu's versatile performance as Gintoki as well as Sakaguchi Daisuki's incredible tsukkomi role as Shinpachi, which never fails to entertain and impress you. And if you thought Kugimiya Rie could only do loli tsundere characters, well think again.
Overall though, in the end it comes down to a numbers game for me. All the good aspects aside, the bottom line is still that sometimes the show is a comedic masterpiece, and sometimes it's a quite stereotypical and boring shounen series. Therefore trying to judge the entire anime with a single number feels a bit wrong to me, as sometimes I want to give it a 10 and sometimes more like a 5. But if I have to give it some sort of average, then in the end I'll have to resort at keeping it at a 7. As it is, despite the incredibly high peaks the anime has, it is still sadly outnumbered by the number of quite average episodes that will mostly fail to make you laugh. Of course it probably depends a lot on how you weigh quality versus quantity so I'm sure different people will find this fact to be more or less of an issue than others.
Gintama is perhaps the most famous comedy anime in existence and not without good reason. It is the one show that can and will make fun of anything and everything, and do so in style. It also probably has the highest peaks I have ever seen in comedy, and at times it can literally make you laugh until you cry. Unfortunately it doesn't do this quite as often as I would like, and a lot of the time it feels like you're drumming your fingers on the table in impatience while waiting for the show to get back into its element again.
However seeing as humour is one of the most subjective aspects of the human mind, I would still recommend essentially everyone to at least try watching Gintama (though perhaps not quite yet if you're still very new to anime). It takes a while before the show really gets going and even when it does it is still very up and down. That being said I know that there are a lot of people who found themselves seemingly rolling on the floor laughing during just about every episode of this anime, so who knows; maybe you'll be one of them too? I can't make any promises but as long as the potential exists that Gintama may be the most humorous experience of your life then I would eagerly recommend you to at least give it a chance. I mean what could there possibly be to lose?
At first I was very skeptical towards the idea of watching this anime. For you see, to watch Gintama one must have a profound knowledge on Japanese pop-culture and language (as the show doesn't lack puns and references), none of which I have. Nevertheless, if you are one to appreciate a good laugh and a chaotic story line, Gintama is the anime for you.
My opinion on this show:
I can't help it but admire the author's ingenious approach towards not only fiction, history and adventures the characters come by, as well as the daily life of Ooedo inhabitants and all their small problems (e.g. the
ups and downs of having to buy a new fan or when a young girl wants her undergarments washed separately from her father's). In the Gintama world, there are hardly any linearities. Even an everyday story will make a twist or turn somewhere until the end of the 20-minute episode. And it is most likely that the aforementioned twist will make you shed tears from laughter.
The show is also overflowing with d*ck jokes, b*tt jokes and the likes... Not to mention famous shounen manga, famous actors, etc. Nevertheless, toilet humor is an inseparable part of Gintama.
Of course Gintama also has its seriousness, as you will notice when you stumble across the small "arcs", sometimes revealing dark secrets from the characters' pasts and adding for a more thrilling experiences. At those times, Gintama may turn its back on humor for a while, to unsheathe its blade, but that doesn't mean it's utterly forgotten.
The reason why I gave it 9 (although my overall score is 10) is that a really small part of the characters' pasts is revealed. Imo, that's a turf many things could be explored on.
The anime is very well drawn, with nicely balanced colors and fitting for the pseudo-historical Japan landscapes. The characters are also well drawn, each with unique features, more than enough to distinguish them. The motions are especially well made, though not too frantic or annoying for the viewer's eye. The camera angle is also great, at times even stunning as it adds for more laughter or sharpens the breath-taking moment, depends on the case. There's more to add about the character design, but I'll do that later, when I share my impression on the characters.
The reason why I gave it 10? I am particularly an appreciator of good art, especially the characters, and this is one of the few shounen titles from what I've seen that has such a good style; they are not deformed, annoying (most of them) or made with the same template.
Gintama hooked me on the first opening, if it hadn't already with its synopsis (more like, the lack of it) ...and I was shocked when I realized it's made by Tommyheavenly6. Then, I thought to myself, this anime means serious business. Before I used to weigh anime on their openings and endings and more or less that hasn't changed much (although now there are many more things I judge in an anime). After all, OPs and EDs made 1/10 of the screen time of an episode and the OP creates your first impression of that anime. So far for 252 episodes Gintama hasn't got a weak opening. And as a matter of fact a weak ending. And those openings usually catch perfectly the overall idea of the show. If you are keen on watching this series and want to know what it's about, one glimpse at the opening would be worth a thousand reviews read. The opening can tell you straight away who are the main characters, what other characters you are to expect, what are their occupation or preferences (oft times the right word is obsession), their affections, friends, bonds, where they live... and what the story is about, but that could be described with one word: mayhem.
Gintama has OPs and EDs in J-Rock style, usually with upbeat sound, funky at times, with lots of guitars. The rhythm is quite catchy, so listening to them at least twice is a must. The soundtrack of both seasons is composed by Audio Highs, also with lots of guitars for the pressure moments, piano for the sad moments and drums for the punch lines. Audio Highs' themes are styled in almost perfect synchronization with the emotion charges a scene in Gintama could carry.
Gintama's character design is unique and I'm not talking solely for the silver-haired "tennen-paama" protagonist, although he is surely unmistakable with his bokutou and the manner he wears his kimono. All the characters are drawn as befits their roles in the anime, more or less, with lots of imagination poured into each of them and a feature (usually more than one) to distinguish them from the others. Also all the characters' seyuu fit more than perfect, as they have a diapason large enough to make any situation even more comical or sh*t serious. There are no banal characters, for each has it's own story to tell and contributes on their own way for the story; and last but not least - there's no character that's out of place in Gintama. Although most of them complain they aren't given enough screen time and the show is as random as it gets, with more people appearing every episode, the secondary characters pop up just when you though they were forgotten.
The characters are probably the thing I enjoyed most at the anime. As ridiculous as it sounds, they are all unique, as each of them has it's own backstory, a manner of speaking, dressing, preferable meals and many more, but most importantly: bonds. All these small features make the character stand out, not like some shallow figures, that stand there to fill the plot; and make it truly a "person" to sympathize to.
Overall score: 10/10
I truly enjoyed every bit of this anime and this review is pretty much valid for both seasons. I only want to add that, as an anime based on manga, it boldly adds its own brush strokes, such as complaining about sponsors and producers, or making top 50 most popular characters show. Where some people would consider this fillers, it merges with the story so swiftly that not even once it annoyed me; on the contrary, it makes it more vivid and diverse than you would expect from an anime based on manga.
There are many other things I wanted to say, but I either forgot as I typed or just decided it was long enough the way it is.
Thank you for reading my review and hope it was convincing enough to make you watch Gintama!~
So I've been meaning to write a review for Gintama for quite a while now ever since I finished this wonderful series. I'm a huge fan of the series but I'll address the negatives as well, since nothing is perfect. This review will be for all of the Gintama entries up until the 2015 version.
A common misconception that people make is that they think Gintama° (2015) is a reboot of original Gintama. The answer is NO, it is a direct sequel to Gintama: Enchousen and has totally new content. The watching order is: Gintama > Gintama' (2011) > Gintama: Enhousen > Gintama° (2015).
starting the actual review, I'll answer some of the most asked questions related to Gintama.
Some popular questions are: "Does Gintama ever get serious?" YES, it does focus on plot from time to time in the form of various small arcs ranging from 3-6 episodes in length. They'll appear randomly during the course of the series. However, watching Gintama for the purpose of fighting, seriousness, other shounen troupes etc. is in itself the wrong approach to the series. The serious portion in Gintama hardly even makes up 15% of the content of series. It is first and foremost a comedy series and should be watched for that purpose primarily with glimpses of short serious and dramatic arcs in between, as a bonus.
Another popular question: "When does Gintama get good"? Gintama remains the same throughout the series. The only thing that changes is that the characters are developed as the episodes pass by and this helps to enjoy the series a lot more. The trick to enjoy Gintama is that don't be in the constant pressure of the huge episode count. Just sit back, relax and watch it from time to time until you get used to it, and trust me, it'll become one of the most memorable rides if you, for some reason don't have any negative bias-ness towards the series (Yes, I'm referring to the salty approach that some people take and hate it from the start because it takes half of the top 10 on MAL. This really affects the enjoyment and your state of mind won't allow you to get used to the characters).
So for the people starting the series, it'll be pretty hard to find the actual plot in the series since it's mentioned briefly from time to time so finding the right motivation for watching it from the start can be difficult. That's because the approach Gintama takes is quite different from any other series. The basic plot is that Gintoki is the main character of the series who has participated in the Joi war against the aliens (referred to as "Amanto" in Gintama), that happened 10 years prior to the start of the series. After the victory of Aliens, they overtook Japan/Edo leading to the decline in the status of Samurai's and thus leading Gintoki to give up and became an ordinary citizen under the aliens and open his small private business called the "Odd Jobs or Yorozuya in Japanese". During the start of the series he meets the other two mains leads, Shinpachi who is the 'straight guy' that every comedy series has, trying to restore his Family dojo and the other mean lead, Kagura who is part of the strongest and most violent Alien race known as "Yato". These three make up the odd jobs business and will accept any kind of Job requested no matter how reckless the request is.
For the first 50 episodes, Gintama's mostly episodic with quite a few small story arcs ranging from 2 to 3 episodes in length. The first two episodes are fillers and skipping them won't do any harm. It takes it's sweet time to introduce us to the characters since it has a huge supporting casts. Throughout the journey, you'll experience all sorts of episodes and story arcs with some of the best fourth wall breaking. You'll notice countless references and parodies of anime series, dramas, Japanese celebrities or even Western shows. You'll experience arcs that you'd have never even imagined were possible. Another thing is that, after completing the series up until where it's released, I've noticed that the producers have had a blast producing this series by sharing their personal feelings and showing them in the anime occasionally. The comedy doesn't get old, Gintama will constantly hit you with new concepts from time to time. Going trough the first few episodes might be pretty difficult due to the odd atmosphere. But as you continue, a lot of things will change ranging from the basic world setting to introducing new characters. In the latest episodes of the series, Gintama has finally started taking a serious approach and focus on the main plot. If you'd ask me, I'll say that this might as well be the highest point in the series, it's the peak of the best it has to offer. Ofcourse the comedy lovers might disagree so this is just an opinion.
Needless to say this but characters are the backbone of Gintama and they truly make up the series. There are a variety of characters and factions. The basic focus is mostly on the Yorozuya trio. The story also focusses a lot on the Shinsengumi, a police force formed from the kids without families who grew up on streets/poor and ordinary people in search of jobs. The interactions between the Yorozuya and the Shinsengumi are some of the best moments in the series, truly shows how important the supporting characters are in the series. The Shinsengumi also consists of their trio so they somewhat resemble the lead trio. Other main charcaters include three of Gintoki's war buddies who fought along side him with one of them coming to become the main villain of the series, one of them becoming a Joi rebel (terrorist but in a funny way) and the last one becoming a space merchant. Now there are other characters but it'll be boring to discuss them all so one can just go ahead and watch the series to know more.
The art and animation delivers when needed and at times can be pretty ordinary. Though considering that Gintama is a long running series, it's actually pretty amazing that it has some of the best animated fight scenes. The art can at times be sloppy with derp faces, however that's pretty rare. The colours for the first 150 episodes are comparatively dull to the later part of the series but still not half bad. The OSTs and Voice acting are legendary. Another one of Gintama's strongest points is the music, with some of the best opening and ending sequences to some legendary voice acting and best composed OSTs, there is nothing to worry about Gintama in this aspect. It won't disappoint.
- Though Gintama has less to no fillers, it may suffer from inconsistency during the first 50-100 episodes. Some episodes are comparatively better than others. Some references might fly above your head because it does contain a lot of parodies of various anime/Japanese drama/Japanese celebs/Western TV shows and movies/other popular trends. You have to be atleast an amateur anime watcher to fully enjoy Gintama but that doesn't means you won't enjoy Gintama if you are not a well-versed anime fan. You'll still enjoy a chunk of other stuff it delivers.
- Animation/Art can at times be sub-par however when it needs to deliver, it more than does.
- Those who start Gintama for comedy sometimes rarely end up disliking the serious arcs because the serious arcs at times contain cliche dialouges. But even though, they do have cliche moments, it sort of has a magical feel in every serious arc which separates it from the rest of generic shounen. The execution and the timing is probably what makes these serious arcs so intense, brutal and glorying. Some people do turn a blind eye on the serious arcs but in my opinion, the serious/dramatic arcs are always full of enjoyment, great themes and lessons, something to remember and a great look at Gintama's plot.
- Those who don't find Japanese humour funny might end up disliking the series for obvious reasons. It'll be a hit and miss series for them. Some of the toilet humour might end up being disgusting rather than funny, however, this has only happened once and that was also in the later stages of this series so no worries here really.
Overall Gintama clicked with me and it's one of the best and most enjoyable series you'll ever come across provided that you give it enough time and focus. Being part of this loyal fan-base has been one of my best experiences in anime. I've met all kinds of fans of this series and a chunk of them are great people. The passion the fan-base has for this series is amazing and thus, I'm always glad that I'm part of a community that has equal passion, ambition and love for this series as me. I'll urge those who want to give it a try to go ahead and watch it fully, you'll be more than welcome to be part of our community. Gintama is truly a blast of a series, a rare gem them many people know nothing about.
I just wanted to write this review to show my love for this series, hope that you enjoyed reading it :)
If you have any questions or trouble getting into the series, feel free to chat me. I'll be happy to give advice :)