In Gintoki's Japan, the arrival of the various space races known collectively as the Amanto ended the era of the samurai. The Amanto's highly advanced technology resulted in total conquest and a severe economic shift. Now, former samurai such as Gintoki scrape together whatever livelihood they can. Gintoki's profession of choice is that of a yorozuya: he'll complete any job for money. However, he’s unmotivated; and spending most of the day on the couch with the latest issue of Jump and a carton of Strawberry Milk is his preferred pastime. It turns out that his new unpaid employees, Shinpachi and Kagura, are going to interfere with his pastime even more than with his "work"! Of course, none of this means he has really given up on his samurai ideologies!
Both of these shows are gag style comedies that mock the traditonal samurai values. They both love to use puns and wordplay to create a lot of their humor. Most people think of more serious themes when they think of feudal Japan so both these shows are kind of surprising in the light hearted approach they take to the topic. If the puns and word play in Gintama amuse you them you should definately check out Tono to Isso.
In a time filled with wars, environmental concerns and issues, there lives a gaggle of beautiful boys that are the personification of the world's countries. Japan, England, France, Finland, Germany and the rest of the boys attend the World Conference and tackle issues like global warming with a heavy dose of fun. Through multiple world wars the gang will traverse deserts, build mecha U-boats and solve the world's problems together!
Both of these are funny gag comedies that parody history. Both series do a good job of lapooning historical figues and situations. They both have fairly simplistic art styles and can look rather crude at times but that doesn't take away from their charm. I think the short run time of both shows make good use of their short episodes and pack in a lot of humor. I also think the short run time times them from getting repetitive. If you're looking for a short show that won't take up much time both of these shows are good options.
Life is simply not worth living for down and out school teacher Itoshiki Nozomu. He has no hope of progress, no prospect of promotion, no chance at happiness… he is in despair! Even his name spells 'zetsubou' – 'despair', when compressed. But when the time comes to end it all, Itoshiki's attempted suicide on the first day of the new school year is foiled by relentlessly positive Fuura Kafuka. This saves Itoshiki long enough to meet his new class, and the quirky range of students under his care. Will Itoshiki Nozomu depress his students with his anguish? Or will Fuura show Zetsubou-sensei the joys of life and hope?
These shows are highly referential and require at least some knowledge of Japanese culture and history to enjoy fully. However if you can get past that hurdle both of these shows can be very funny in the unexpected directions they take some of their jokes. Both shows are highly irreverant and will mock even serious topics. They both include lots of fast paced word play that can be hard to keep up with sometimes. Although they can both be hit or miss with their jokes the ones that do hit home can be hilrarious.