It’s been awhile! My 4-day stay at the hospital was a real drag. But hey, I’m back and ready to share with you yet another show you should never ever even think of missing, ever – make way for Gintama!
Background: Year 18xx at Edo when Samurai were still prominent, things take a sudden turn when a group of aliens called the Amanto try to conquer Earth while the Samurai try to defend it. At the latter’s defeat, the Amanto engaged in a piece treaty and placed a ban on carrying swords in public – leading to the decline of Samurai and their usefulness to society.
Technology, however, boosted all the way up to the point where humans are able to use flying cars, laser guns, surf the internet and play MMORPG with other avatars from other planets, whatever your modern/fictional sorts may. The general look would be mixing Kenshin Himura’s old Edo with today’s world with a hint of your inordinate science-fiction spice.
Plot: We follow the life of silver-haired Sakata Gintoki, a Samurai-turned-freelancer who runs Odd Jobs Gin along with his friends Shinpachi Shimura and Kagura. Odd Jobs is where our three heroes take up any kind of job as long as they’ll get paid and in turn, be able to pay their rent. Despite that though, Gin-san keeps his Bushido standing high so bending his principles is out of the question.
Their Odd Jobs adventures would eventually meet them with exceptional long-time supporting characters including Kotaro Katsura (A peaceful anti-alien faction revolutionist), the diverse personalities of the Shinsengumi (Edo’s Special Police Force), Otose (Gin’s Landlord), Otae (Shinpachi’s sister), Madao (A jobless dork), Sacchan (‘M’ Shinobi) as well as many more – all of which will play a crucial part to the overall plot development of Gintama. These supporting characters will be the backbone of slapstick humor and heavy drama for all 4 seasons.
Gintama is essentially a comedy in nature, making use of various parodies from other anime as well as references from both Eastern and Western cultures. One unique trait is how our main characters frequently breaks the fourth wall to talk to the viewers, usually instigating a ridiculous discussion on how to improve the show or prevent it from being canceled. This is usually the basis of the hilarious scripts found on the start and mid-season episodes.
Amidst the hilarity and comic side of this anime though, Gintama doesn’t fail to deliver intense drama and tragedy to the mix. Sometimes, both comedy and drama are incorporated in just one scene – which becomes a challenge to pull it off perfectly. Like other shows, the series is episodic but those with the really serious stuff fall under arcs having 5+ episodes. The most serious, bloody and politically-inclined arcs I’ve watched were the ‘Crisis’ and ‘Yoshiwara’ Arc from Season 3.
200 episodes and counting may be unworkable for some who just want a 13-episode show, but I really recommend Gintama. Watch the first 10 episodes, get a feel for the show and know the characters, and I’m sure you won’t get enough of it – pretty soon those 200 episodes will be a thing of the past. And you’ll be wanting more!