For the longest time I have wanted to make an entire post dedicated to why I love Gintama. I’ve always put it off though thinking it wouldn’t be interesting enough or I wouldn’t have enough to say on the matter other than going ‘I love this show’ followed by incoherent babbling. I’ve finally decided to sit down and put all my passion for this show into hopefully coherent words for no other reason than I feel like it.
When I first heard about Gintama and had a look at it on Crunchyroll, I won’t lie, the episode count really put me off. I expected it to be another typical shounen style series like Bleach which repeated itself over and over again until I grew bored and dropped it. The fact it was labelled as a comedy anime probably had some influence when deciding to try it or not. Comedy is something I crave and Gintama had it by the buckets. This is the only long running show I have actually completed and the eclectic mix of comedy, drama, action, sci-fi, history and parody just blew my mind. To this day I’m in awe of Sorachi Hideaki’s storytelling style because I don’t know how you could make stuff like Gintama up. It’s insane and a work of genius.
The timing in which I discovered the series is one of the main reasons I have such an attachment to it. When I first got into the series I was in my final year of college. For anyone outside the U.K. this is an area of further education which comes after high school and before university. I was studying guitar in a music performance course and I hated every single minute of it. In the spring of 2017 all of my final assignments were starting to pop up and I was beyond stressed and so unhappy with my life. I’d wake up to go to college with such dread in my heart. Every practice band session made me hate myself and my life as I was trapped playing music I couldn’t stand and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. One of the worst assignments I had to tackle was organising and putting on our own live event in our class. I, stupidly took on the role of organising the thing. I had to find and contact venues and do all kinds of stressful stuff which was terrifying. On top of organising that, I had songs (which I hated) to learn and essays (the easy part of the course which sparked my true passion for writing) to write. I was a stressed and depressed and was trying to keep a lid on all of my emotions until I finished. To get back to the point, Gintama basically helped me hold it together. Every night after college I could go home to a show that filled me with such happiness. It made me laugh until I cried and for a few hours it allowed me to forget everything I had to deal with in the real world. I use anime as my escape from the world most of the time. It helps me to relax and wind down and Gintama did just and more for me. I’d never come across another anime until that point that made me happy.
The characters are of course another reason for my love of the series. Gin is, for me, one of the best protagonists I have seen in anime. He is a great, well-balanced character who has a lot of great qualities to him. He can be lazy, stupid and funny but also caring, loving, strong and is basically a wreck hidden behind stupid jokes and dead fish eyes.
All of the female characters are total badasses. Everyone from Kagura, Otae, Tsukuyo, Sacchan, Kyubei, Nobume and many more are all increible in their own way and could hold their own against some of the strongest guys in the series. As a women that’s something I really appreciated seeing I don’t think I have ever seen so many badass ladies in a single series before. These women can often be more tomboyish and masculine or very sweet and feminine but they are all still equally amazing in their skills. I love Tsukuyo in particular. She is a beautiful character who is always wanting to protect those who are dear to her. The fact that she has facial scars, is basically a freaking ninja and is known as the ‘courtesan of death’ but can also switch to a blushing beauty with a crush on Gin just makes her even more amazing in my opinion.
As the series is so long it allowed so much time for character development and I really got to know the characters and all their wacky quirks over time. Everyone got time to shine in one way or another and even the minor characters often had a great part in the series and many made appearances throughout the anime. I loved how even the most serious or cool characters often get ridiculed by the situations they are placed in. When I first started Gintama when I first saw my favourite character Hijikata, I got an instant sense of a cool badass from him which was then accompanied by some rather hilarious addictions and later some wacky situations. No matter how many times he is made to look like a complete idiot he can always revert back to being a kickass character. The same can be said for most of the characters in the series and I love how none of them are stuck in certain anime tropes that many other series use. Instead the stories allowed the viewer to see how all kinds of personalities interact in different scenarios and their character development is widened further because of this. They seem more human and more relatable instead of playing overused stereotypes.
Gintama is one of those series which I could go back and watch episodes over and over again. When I’m feeling really low I will often go back and visit my favourite episodes and arcs and it makes me feel a little better. Strong favourites of mine include the soul switching arc, arcs with otaku Hijikata and the gender bend arc.
I hope you guys enjoyed this ramble of an essay and I hope it made some sense. It’s always harder to share more personal things and for me this is pretty personal and the series means a lot to me. Gintama got me through a tough time and I’m forever grateful for that!
Until next time thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!