Genre: Comedy, parody, sci-fi, historical, action, shounen
Studios: Sunrise and Bandai Namco Pictures
Episodes: 367+ (still ongoing)
Available on: Crunchyroll, Funimation Now
Edo Japan, known famously for its samurai has been invaded by aliens known as the “Amanto”. After a harsh war where the Japanese and the Amanto fought fircely, the Amanto have won crushing the samurai ideologies and enforcing a sword ban in Japan. Protaganist Sakata Gintoki, was a samurai who fought in the war but has now chosen a new path in this new age of Japan. Gintoki has embarked on being a jack of all trades kind of guy who now runs his own business known as “Yorozuya Gin-chan” or “Odd Jobs Gin-chan” in English. Gintama follows Gin-chan and his friends on every kind of odd job imaginable.
I always find I tend to avoid reviewing series which I love dearly and Gintama was one of those series which I vowed to never review. Until now that is. I figured I’d put all my mushy love and admiration for this series aside and tell you the actual reasons as to why it is a good anime and why it is worth your time.
When first looking upon the Gintama series, it seems like a strange concoction of way too many different concepts and genres which shouldn’t work together, but somehow the anime makes it work wonderfully. The series combines Japan’s unique history with the modern world as whilst the series is set in the 19th century, all of todays technology and amenities are available to the characters including cars, computers and even anime. The series has to credit this bizarre clash of old and new to the invading Amanto who often play a sinister role within the series.
Alongside Gintama’s use of old and new, the series never pigeonhole itself. I’ve had people tell me that it is simply a parody anime but that is not the case. Most anime has its own niche genre which it sticks to and whilst this theory still applies to Gintama, the series isn’t afraid of crossing over to incorporate a range of anime genres. Overall the series takes an over the top comedy stance on its overall storytelling but it dips in and out of serious and more Shonen based arcs along with its frequent use of sci-fi and historical based elements. The serious and more action based story arcs are short, sweet and to the point. Unlike anime like Fairy Tale, Bleach or other action based anime, Gintama doesn’t drag its storytelling out which is one of its biggest selling points. I get tired of filler episodes with villains monologging and extremely drawn out fight scenes which could be resolved within about 10 minutes of a single episode. Gintama gets to the point with its stories and sure, it has its fair share of fight scenes and monologging but it does it within a reasonable and enjoyable amount of time. The series wraps up story arcs nicely and then continues on. This formula which is used regularly over the hundreds of episodes makes those more serious and dramatic moments even more special and meaningful and just add to its overall charm. Gintama has a lot of breathing room between serious and silly moments which allows for a more pleasant viewing experience and allows for a lot of great and expansive character development in a variety of ways.
The historical elements of the series is certainly an interesting part of Gintama. Many of the characters involved in the series are loosely (and I mean loosely) based off of real life historical figures from the Edo period of Japan. Characters such as the Shinsengumi’s Kondo, Hijikata and Sougo are all based off of their real life counterparts and even Sakamoto, Katsura and Takasugi are all based off of real people in some form. I often wonder what their real life counterparts would think if they knew. Whilst everyone is loosely based off of real people, the characters still have their own charm and quirks which makes them lovable. The historical elements of the series have peaked my interest of the Edo period and I have even read up on bits and pieces of Japan’s history which in turn, makes me appreciate things even more within the anime.
As mentioned previously, Gintama goes in hardcore with its use of comedy and parody style humour. Gintama is one of the only anime to make me laugh until I literally start crying. Most comedy anime can make me laugh but not to the degree in which Gintama has done. The anime uses a mixture of comedy ranging from violent slapstick, taking the piss out of both itself and other anime, manga and subcultures as well as dirty and adult humour. Even the most badass of characters aren’t safe when it comes to the comedy side of the series. I appreciate that everyone gets their own comedic moments to make them shine. The comedy can be all over the place at times and is filled with anime references ranging from classics such as Doraemon to more modern series such as Black Butler and One Piece. Gintama also prides itself on its meta and self-aware style and it often humbles itself and its capabilities as a series which is really the icing on the cake.
I hope this review has convinced you that Gintama is worth your time if you haven’t given it a watch already!
Overall rating: 10/10
Until next time thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!
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