For the first half of the series, there really isn’t much of a story to Gokudo. Once the titular character meets Djinn, it is nearly episodic in its nature as it jumps from one ridiculous encounter to the next with very little rhyme or rhythm. This is however interrupted halfway through when the group find themselves in a truly troubling predicament (as troubling of a plot device that a comedic anime can have). This is the only point where our heroes have any form of long-term goal and the closest thing to a “proper” story that emerges from the plot, as it lasts nearly until the end.
Gokudo is often criticised for capitalising on the popularity of Dragon Ball in the ‘90s (or even just ripping it off completely) as a variation of the Flying Nimbus can be seen and one monkey character is even named “Gokuu” who uses a pole as a weapon. That being said, it can be argued that the creator Usagi Nakamura was also inspired by the Chinese legend Journey to the West just as Akira Toriyama was, even though the similarities are obvious to those in the know.
Honestly not much to say here. Not terrible but not mind blowing either. What you expect from a late ‘90s anime series. There is however a pretty decent variety of minor and background characters in terms of their design.
The opening is pretty cringe-worthy but it fits the theme of the series well enough. The first ending theme “Wake Up!” is damn catchy though and I even have it on my iPod, cheesy ‘90s anime themes at their cheesiest.
In terms of voice acting, Akira Ishida’s performance as Gokudo obviously stands out compared to the supporting cast (who do an admirable job considering the zany subject matter, like a panda that lays eggs). Ishida really makes our protagonist sound like the sleazy-but-lovable slime ball that he truly is.
While the supporting cast is your typical anime character fanfare (you’ve got your tsukkomi/tsundere characters and what not), the titular character steals the show. Gokudo is honestly one of the greatest anti-heroes in anime history (in my opinion). He lies, he steals, he cheats, he’s a womanizer, he’s a coward, he cares for no one, etc. However after all this, you still can’t help but love him. Gokudo is the James Hunt (google him) of the anime world. He is probably the only thing holding this series together and the sole reason to keep watching.
Some of the minor characters who make repeat appearances can be a welcome and hilarious break from this series’ plot devices, even if they eventually just add to the lunacy in the end.
Being that Gokudo is one of my favourite anime characters of all time, it is difficult for me to be completely objective about this series, but I can see past this and point out its faults. It’s a pretty shallow anime (in terms of story and meaning) which relies on laughs, something that it gets away with thanks to a brilliant main character and a supporting cast who are always willing to drag him into situations that he hates. Gokudo is certainly within the cut of the better comedy anime of the mid-to-late 1990s.