Gintama

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KiraRin's avatar By on Nov 14, 2010

Story

Type, select all, delete. Rinse and repeat. That has been my experience of trying to write this review as I try to make sure full justice is bequeathed upon the epic series that is Gintama. Some may take offence to my mild fangirlism, others may nod their heads in agreement to virtually every word that spreads across the page; either way, this is merely one persons view of the show and will certainly not agree with every single AP’er out there. Sorry!

With so many completely unrelated and varied tales, it is difficult to pin down a single underlying story for Gintama. At first, it seems that the humans struggle against the alien amanto invading Earth would be the main focus, especially as the star is a wooden boken wielding ex-samurai. However, it quickly becomes apparent that there is more to the black sheep of the shounen universes than just a hack and slash adventure. Take for example the madcap antics of the local law enforcement agency, the Shinsengumi; sadistically delicious Sougo is more distracted by trying to usurp the vice-commander than actually doing his job, whilst comically deformed Kondo (aka Gorilla) spends as much time running round in his birthday suit as he does admonishing the bad guys. The comedy may frequently outweigh the action, but this only goes to highlight the stupendous sword duels and furious fist fights.

Dividing the series into eight individual seasons, each final quarter holds a mini-arc that shows a glimmer of Gintama’s Jump origins. Although the battles don’t last for 3 episodes each, there is enough excitement and onscreen antics to keep even the biggest shounen fans hooked. With a character developing and butt-kicking Yoshiwara arc, there is a stark contrast with the Otsu Tournament that parodies numerous shows and frequently makes no sense whatsoever. To fully understand exactly what Hideaki Sorachi created in his manga, the viewer needs to have a good appreciation of Japanese culture and have seen a reasonable amount of anime across many decades. That said, there are enough references to modern culture to give every viewer a sense of belonging to the “in” crowd as they pick up on a Death Note parody, or spot a tongue in cheek mockery of Jackie Chan.

Two hundred and one episodes later and nothing has changed from the premiere, but that is what is so lovable about the Gintama universe; you come to feel as if you have friends in the alternate Edo, and get to know each personality inside out. The humour used throughout the show is relatively simplistic and puerile, but occasional regression is good for the soul and helps to keep you feeling young. It is this comedy that lulls the viewer into a false sense of security, and the writers take advantage by throwing in an episode that will truly stir feelings. Playing with emotions like a genius with a flugelhorn, a tear jerking short about a little girl and her loyal dog had me sobbing like loon before smashing me back to Earth with cause for damp-eyed laughter. All part of the job for Gintoki and the gang.


Animation

Probably one of the weakest points of the show, Gintama's animation remains consistently okay. The bold character designs and backdrops that fuse traditional Edo dress with modern technologies compliment the somewhat chaotic storytelling of the show. Unfortunately, this standard fare doesn’t attempt to push any boundaries, that is until the appearance of new enemy Kamui during the Yoshiwara arc. Suddenly, computer graphics are seamlessly used to emphasise the backgrounds during the fast pacing of frenetic battles and this gives the feeling of sprinting along rooftops with a ninja or being caught in the thick of the fight. It is unfortunate that these techniques were not used more often throughout the earlier years of the show, and as such the overall score suffers.


Sound

Featuring the sexy and dominant tones of Tomokazu Sugita, Gintoki may be a slacker but as a female, I can understand why the lusty Sarutobi finds him so attractive. Rie Kugimiya turns her usually shrill and annoying tones to the parody of a Chinese immigrant, Kagura; expertly conveying her feelings despite a somewhat emotionless personality, the alien and seiyuu make the perfect pairing! Scrolling through the rest of the cast gives a star studded “who’s who” of Japanese voice acting, and the quality afforded to even the minor characters ensures a high standard throughout. 

Whereas the list of opening and ending tracks for Gintama are as fun and diverse as the numerous genres featured throughout the show, easily outstanding to my uneducated ears is the spunky rock track Donten by DOES. Summing up the wild shounen segments of the series, the catchy beat is full of energy that somehow invokes the spirit of dance. Well, in my household at least.


Characters

Somehow bringing the dregs of society to animated form, Gintama will easily make the stars of trashy reality shows, such as The Real World, look like 2-bit actors. Yes, Gintoki may be unemployed and unmotivated in finding himself work, but that is one of many reasons he is so lovable. As somewhat of a responsible figurehead, he proves that maturity is merely a state of mind and not something earned after an 18th birthday. Poor Shinpachi is left to play the straight man to the overenthusiastic big kid, managing it so well with his exasperated catchphrase of “Dondaka!” or simply regressing to his otaku form as he worships at the temple of the mouthy songstress, Otsu-chan. They may not always make complete sense, but you can’t deny that having them as real life friends would be awesome.

Of most worthy mention are the various members of the Shinsengumi. Souga’s twisted determination to dispatch of Hijikata in numerous indiscrete ways coupled with his indifferent nature is one of the many highlights of the show. Kondo, aka Gorilla, is ridiculed by both his peers and subordinates usually for his preference to show off his junk, however he does demonstrate a softer side as he tries every line in the book to pick up the tempestuous Otae. His constant failure to woo the object of his affections whilst striding around with a pixelated penis is frankly unsurprising, but humourous non-the-less.

Although the final headcount of characters featured within Gintama is quite impressive, what is even more amazing is that the careful interweaving of what seem like insignificant stories features the same faces again and again with surprising development for even the supporting cast members. Take Hasegawa: introduced initially as an unrivalled sniper, his numerous meetings throughout the series with the silver haired samurai see his life fall to pieces until Gintoki takes pity and tries (unsuccessfully) to find a job for the newest layabout.


Overall

About three years ago, I started watching Gintama, and in that time, the show kept its amazingly witty and blind-side swiping humour alive. For a series based on a Jump manga, I found it offers a lot more to a mature anime fan than its neighbouring Bleach or Naruto, even though some of the later arcs feature pure, unadulterated shounen. For me, it is this dynamic and unafraid approach to incorporate virtually every genre in anime that gives Gintama such a highly deserved score. In that time, I have laughed, cried, gasped in excitement and then laughed a lot more: the Benizakura movie just cannot come quickly enough.

9/10 story
6.5/10 animation
9/10 sound
10/10 characters
9.5/10 overall
cinnabarhat74's avatar By on Sep 1, 2010

Oh Gintama, how I love thee, let me count the ways!!

As a reader of Shonen Jump, I had known about Gintama for some time but only started watching it 2009. I was initially skeptical about watching an anime that had over 200 episodes, especially when I had become fed up with Bleach. That show, had looked promising for the first 70 or so episodes and then just became like a broken record to me. So, when I first looked at Gintama I hoped that it was not a repeat of Bleach's style. I watched the first 20, or so, episodes the first week and my fears were quickly dispelled. Every episode had the ablility to keep me interested and laughing, so I kept on going through the whole series. I'll tell you, I never once got bored of it. One would think, that the lack of seriousness in this anime would be a deterant to it but then it throws you a curveball and becomes VERY SERIOUS and then will switch gears again and make you cry, that variety is what keeps me glued to the screen when I watch this show. The serious parts, become action scenes that are hard to rival in any other anime and the emotional parts are just as effective as the material in shows like Clannad. Set up to be an episodic series, the producers throw in story arcs here and there that may last for 5 or 6 episodes. It is in these arcs that the the show normally becomes serious. The stand-alone episodes are usually where the bulk of the comedy material is and when it comes to that comedy material it is hard to match in any other show I've seen. That is saying a lot, but after watching comedy shows like Dokuro-Chan, Hare and Guu, and Puny Puny Poemy those anime never made me laugh in every episode like Gintama. I used to watch Gintama as a pick-me-up many times and I always happy after watching it. Even now I watch Gintama episodes at least once a week and they still make me laugh, that's the power this anime has. I have no reservations in saying that this is perhaps the funniest parody anime ever made.

-----STORY

Set in Edo-era Japan, Gintama revolves around Sakata Gintoki, a samurai living in a time when being a samurai is illegal since aliens had taken over and made being one illegal. Gin runs an odd jobs company with his friends Sinpachi and Kagura. One might think that there couldn't be much material to work with with that kind of scenario, and if the creators had stuck to just that one aspect there wouldn't be. However, Gintama's trump card is that it takes that storyline and incorporates parodied material from other animes and movies and even pariodies actors such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. That's how Gintama works, and it works well. It may make the show a bit random in nature but that's what so funny about it.

---ANIMATION

Nothing too special about the animation, it's pretty standard for the time period it came out in. Bright, crisp lines, CGI, standard stuff. The background in some episodes had a very cartoony look and others were just beautiful, I guess it depended on the animators mood that day. When it comes to characters, I especially like Gin's and Kagura's design. The animation in some of the fight scenes are very well coreographed, especially in the Kagura arc.

----SOUNDTRACK

One thing that works so well with Gintama is that the producers had enough sense to change up the soundtrack in nearly every season. Using  J-pop and other popular Japanese music, plus your standard cartoony sound bites. Gintama wins in this department. I enjoyed many of the opening and closing themes.

---CHARACTERS

Gintoki Sakata, the permanent perm, silver-haired, washed up samurai he is reminds me a lot of, me. This is one reason the show was so watchable for me, I found so many of Gintoki's traits to be ones I had. Of course, I'm not a samurai, but I do odd-jobs just like Gin and have many of his habits. Besides that, the character development in the anime is great. Most of the characters are wonderful and I don't there was one I didn't like. You got Kagura, the red-haired, superstrong, alien girl who lives with Gin and does some of the work, but mostly just eats up Gin's food. There's Sinpachi, the geeky dojo heir, who works with Gin as well and probably has more common sense than any other character on Gintama. Other characters included Otose, Gin's landlady, Sa-chan, the near-sighted masochistic ninja that really loves Gin, Sadaharu, a giant white dog alien and Kagura's pet. There really are too many characters to mention here, as large as this anime is, but one advantage of having an anime with so many episodes is that it gives many of the characters room for their separate stories to develop. Of course, this aspect is also contengent on how well the anime is written, fortunetely Gintama wins in this regard.

---OVERALL

If I could give Gintama a score above 10 I would. I know a lot of others would disagree with me but this show was so enjoyable to watch that there are times that it's the only thing that I want to do is to watch it. Some might say that the lack of seriousness in the show takes something from it but this show is smart enough to mix it up and add some seriousness when needed. That aspect is what makes this show so watchable. It's smart, witty, hilariously funny, but also serious and sometimes sad. It's got everything you need in a show, so why watch anything else?

10/10 story
8/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
Tovarishcha's avatar By on Sep 23, 2014

Gintama is one of the epics of Jump and is one of the more popular shows thats existed,never have a I enjoyed a series more than this. The story is interesting, but at the same time rarely touched upon by the show...its more a less a couple funny episodes and arcs; with more series arcs telling the stories. There is no Start to finish, getting stronger, training hard...its the antics of 3 people,Kagura,Gintoki,and Shinpachi who try to make it in an alien filled Edo...nothing more, nothing less. The animation is great,theres better animation, but theres never been a poorly animated scene in this show. The music is catchy and memorable. The characters, even the most boring ones(Yamazaki/Shinpachi) are my favorites and are as loveable as the rest of the cast. Each character fits into Gintama like a Hand in a glove, even the ones with no screen time make me smile when they return for a 1 minute gag. 

I must stress that, even though the show is easy to follow, in order to understand most of the jokes, one must be familiar with older animes, anything to do with sunrise, and knowledge on JUMP. Lacking any of that, many of the Jokes may possibly go over your head.

Other then that, this series is a must watch.

5/10 story
8/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
roriconfan's avatar By on Jun 25, 2012

If one is to trust the ratings, then Gintama is amongst the top 3 anime ever made; maybe even the best. I mean we are talking here about a show that rivals the complexity of Legend of Galactic Heroes, the story of Full Metal Alchemist, the moeness of Suzumiya Haruhi and the dramatic romance of Clannad. What in blazes does it have that manages to pit against these colossi? … Idiocy; that’s what it has. It is so stupid, it got in epic levels. And since the majority of people are stupid, they like it too… this last part counts as compliment and hard fact. And in case you didn’t get it yet, this is an anti-hype review; if you are one of the myriads of blinded fanboys of the show, you may stop reading now because the following will butthurt you.

I will admit that the show is using its idiocy in a very smart way and as such one can say it makes a very good use of its main element. It is a farce and a parody of many stories, anime and movies, as well as your intelligence. It takes talent to do this right without feeling stupid in a bad way. That is why no super smart guy like myself can ever enjoy this show if he lacks the ability to switch of his thinking process; an ability I am glad I lack.

Let’s start with the easiest part to analyze; its non-existing story. There is no overall plot at all and everything is stand alone adventures and goofing around and thus it deserves a low mark. And I am not buying this whole “comedies don’t need to have a story” business. There are comedies that DO have a plot that actually heads somewhere, believe it or not. In fact, the very first anime I ever watched was such a comedy; Igano Kabamaru is the name in case you care. It is just a disgrace to this show and any other like it if you give this show a 10 in story when it doesn’t really have one.

At this point I must make it clear that self-contained arcs and adventures may count as a full mark in story for most but not for me, since we are talking about a bunch of simple stand alones next to a single, developed and thought-out scenario. It is not the same thing; is it now?

Yet the show actually has a premise and it does the essentially basics correct. There is a setting with a specific theme in mind and all stories usually revolve around it. You see, the premise is about aliens taking over Japan during feudal times and banning weapons and traditions, thus rapidly changing the shape of the country and causing many to be uncomfortable about it. And this is of course a direct parallel to the western countries taking over Japan in the real world, causing sympathy from all Japanese people, as well as westerners who hate America and England for all the terrible things they did to the samurais. Because the bloody Warring Era was so much cooler than the gay peace that followed with those who wrote the Bushido code. Anyways, the show’s complete lack of a story and seriousness hardly delves into its premise any further than the basics. This is not Rurouni Kenshin where you would constantly feel the drama over the sudden change of the world; it is all just an excuse for a problem generator with lots of mockery about everything relevant about it.

It is definitely a mistake to expect something serious in a parody show and the story is quite a minor issue actually. It is more important to like the type of humour it implements, which in effect is the entertainment factor. Well, I must say that the humour is for me hit or miss. Although it makes smart parodies out of everything (mostly Jump related works) it still is a very immature type of farce that does not work very well if you are not a fan of it. I particularly am not. Most of the humour has to do with the characters spelling out or pointing out the joke at you, like in American comedies when you are supposed to laugh when you hear the audience in the back laughing as well. Seriously, you don’t even need to look at the screen to get the jokes because they will describe them to you in detail. They also stretch it and repeat it for so long, it ceases to be funny in the first place. Many jokes also revolve farting, pissing, or other disgusting bodily functions that are again hard to be liked by many who are not into that.

What I am trying to say here is that its humour is not awesome as so many believe. It is quite stupid actually since it tells you when to laugh and even explains the joke in case you missed it. Anyone who prefers for the jokes to be indirect for him to figure them out himself, he will not find most of them good. Also, even the diehard fans admit that the first 50 episodes are not so good in humour, which in effect makes at least a quarter of the show not-that-funny.

Another thing that indirectly may annoy you is the obvious focus on Shonen Jump titles. The show is making constant references to them and thus anyone who is a fan of at least one of them will automatically like the show for mentioning them. That felt distasteful to me, since it is all an indirect product placement and a cheap appeal to the feelings you have about other shows. Other shows don’t do that by name and thus the jokes feel more original this way. Mahoujin Guruguru for example is an old JRPG parody but it never mentions names or shows images of its companies’ works. It just plays around the nameless and overused plot elements and thus allows you to laugh with the stereotypes and not with specific famous characters.

All the above are what prevent me from giving the enjoyment more than the base score. It is not my style, its first quarter is mediocre, many jokes are too juvenile or gross, and it is offending to see all this product placement. Also, it is never exactly offering any real social-political messages like other comedies such as Great Teacher Onizuka or Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei do; it is all just an excuse for random comedy. That prevents you from having something to think about beyond the show and it all ends up being retarded parody of other stories.

Now moving to the characters. They are all basically parodies of shonen archetypes as means to make further fun of them. As such they are very funny indeed; albeit three times more stupid and immature than typical shonen characters and for the same reason three times harder to like them if you are not into that. They also never develop and any immersion given to them is shallow and eventually useless. In fact, most fans of the show hate it when the scriptwriters try to show some drama around them and prefer when they are just fooling around. That prevents them from having depth or something to care about them beyond the parodies they do; something not impossible for comedic heroes. It wasn’t like that in the forefather of such comedies, the all-famous Urusei Yatsura. There are of course some short lived arcs where the plot is actually dramatic and even reveals a few parts about them yet if you don’t bite the premise you just won’t like the attempt in general, just in my case.

I will proceed with the production values, which are ok to good but never awesome for any given reason. The songs are not memorable for me, voice acting feels ok but not amazing, and the artwork is rather standard for its era. They just throw in some anachronisms here and there to make the world to look like a blend of various eras but I didn’t found it anything special; it is just random ideas without uniformity. They throw in lots of famous voice actors to tell the lines as silly as possible and it works but never in a great effect since they keep explaining the jokes.

As for value, ok I give it a high mark just for being considered THE BEST ANIME EVER MADE by so many people. It has a historical importance even if the next parody to succeed it gets the same title anyway. I personally hardly consider it that good to begin with since it requires from me to be a Narutard who is pleased with shallow characters, non-existent stories, explanatory jokes, and product placement of Naruto. Woe to the people who made Legend of Galactic Heroes; the masses prefer retarded parody over sophisticated stories and personal drama. Pity for the ones who bothered making Full Metal Alchemist; the story was so great yet didn’t appeal so much as a show that doesn’t even have one. Yet I understand it is a good way to spend your free time without thinking. Not as great as watching Futurama, South Part, or Family Guy though; even if those were also storyless parodies, they were telling some really big truths. And who can forget the Monty Python group after a few sketches from them? Gintama is unfortunately for the majority of people who just want NOT to think and make a joke out of everything, without ever going serious about it. Shame on the fandom. I leave you with this very fitting Disturbed song.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVcY--XzeIc&feature=relmfu

And now for some excused scorings.

ART SECTION: 6/10
Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 1/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 1/2


SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 3/4, Sound Effects 2/3


STORY SECTION: 2/10
Analysis: Premise 0/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 0/2, Conclusion 0/2


CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: Presence 2/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 0/2, Catharsis 0/2


VALUE SECTION: 8/10
Analysis: Historical Value 3/3, Rewatchability 2/3, Memorability 3/4


ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Art 0/1, Sound 0/2, Story 0/3, Characters 1/4


VERDICT: 5/10

2/10 story
6/10 animation
7/10 sound
5/10 characters
5/10 overall
4L3x's avatar By on Jul 16, 2014

Gintama es una serie Shonen/Comedia con alta dosis de acción cuando lo amerite, la historia principalmente gira en torno al Yorozuya, una entendida de trabajadores independientes que harán lo que sea a cambio de una paga, el grupo es conformado por Gintoki, Shinpachi, Kagura y Sadaharu, un perro enorme el cual será la mascota del grupo. Junto a ellos habrá muchos personajes excepcionales que acompañaran a nuestros amigos en sus tareas diarias. Su comedia es basada en parodias en su total. Todas referentes a la cultura general japonesa (Obviamente), Gintama no solo parodia otros animes, si no que incluye el manga, la literatura y personalidades reconocidas de la televisión Japonesa.

No todo es tan normal como parece!!

Todas las aventuras sucederán en un Edo moderno. Conquistado por unos extraños seres extraterrestres denominados “Amanto” Esta invasión provoco que los samuráis se revelaran, lo que dio paso a una guerra, la cual los humanos perderían, consecuencia de esto todo uso de una espada quedo prohibida. Este  servirá como trasfondo, no solo a Gintoki que tomo parte de la guerra, sino de varios de sus amigos u otros personajes

¿A todo esto cuando se pone bueno?

Esta pregunta es muy fácil. Desde el principio. Gintama hace reír desde sus primeros capítulos, lógicamente su forma de bromear se ira puliendo mientras avanza la historia, el anime cuenta con una vasta variedad de personajes, algunos serán muy recurrentes, otros pasajeros u otros de suma importancia para los denominados “arcos serios”.

 

Aunque quisiera darle un 10 y sus 5 estrellas, la realidad es otra. El problema con Gintama es que aunque goza de mucho potencial como sus arcos serios demuestran, la mayor parte del anime cae en el absurdísimo, algunos chistes reutilizados una y otra vez, otro punto en contra es que para poder disfrutar al máximo este anime hay que estar empapado completamente de la cultura general y popular japonesa, algo casi imposible, aun mas muchos de sus chistes son basados en juegos de palabras y Kanjis japoneses, algo que lastimosamente no podrá disfrutar alguien que no domine el japonés, y que al ver este algún chiste de este índole traducido, se tope con diálogos no tengan muchos sentido (No es que la serie tenga mucho sentido que digamos) creo que es ahí donde cae el mal sobre Gintama, pues este tienen un humor “muy cerrado”. Hable de sus constantes chistes sobre ser cancelados? Pues bien, los verán una y otra vez, algo muy pesado y que no resulta para nada chistoso.

Otro negativo es su pobre animación, Gintama no goza de una animación sobre saliente ni de un dibujo cuidado y detallado, algo que si mantiene el manga. Lo extraño es que siendo un anime que goza de mucha popularidad en el Japón, con 201 capítulos no se ve ni un poquito de inversión en su animación, unas moneditas de Sunrise no hubieran caído nada mal. Su música tampoco es algo sobre saliente son temas OK, esos que pasan sin pena ni gloria. El mundo de Gintama cuenta con un vasto catálogo de personajes, algunos atractivos, otro de relleno. Algunos podrán ser atractivos pero ninguno sufrirá un desarrollo en la serie.

¿Es Gintama una serie recomendable? Yo diría que sí, eso sí, no para cualquiera, su humor es raro y muy japonés, si no tienen ningún problema con esto Gintama les encantara, y sus arcos serios harán que soportar tanta ridiculez valga la pena. 

7/10 story
5/10 animation
5/10 sound
8/10 characters
7/10 overall