-This is my opinion/thoughts about Gintama and will contain spoilers!-
Gintama is a one-of-a-kind anime that always made me laugh and was very enjoyable. I honestly have to say that it is one of the best, if not the best, anime I’ve seen so far. When I first started Gintama, I had no idea what this anime was about. I dived into this anime blind and open-minded. At first, it was pretty boring and I couldn’t keep up with any of the jokes they told. I think if you know enough about Japan and the pop culture and the famous people in Japan, you might be able to understand the jokes. But since I’m someone who is not from Japan and knew nothing about Japan, I was having difficulties understanding. Fortunately, I kept at it and as I kept watching Gintama and got to know all the characters and their personalities, I began to enjoy each episode.
It’s hard to explain what Gintama is really about. I see Gintama as an anime that contains a lot of arcs and stories that do not really relate to one another, unless it’s an arc. Gintama doesn’t have a “universal” story, plot or goal like most animes do. For example, if we look at Naruto, it contains a protagonist who has a goal, and because of that goal, it helps keep the story moving along. While in Gintama, it doesn’t have a certain goal or story that keeps the story moving along. Each episode is different from the last episode and contains new material and a new story. To me, this concept is different and very eye-catching. It catches my attention and I’m not entirely bored since each episode is new and has a conclusion. This also means that most episodes are pretty ridiculous in story and really random. I remember watching an episode about out three main characters, which I will get to in a second, fighting each other in order to get the last crab leg. Each episode contains a lot of absurdity, randomness, and comedy.
What I enjoyed most about this anime is that it’s not afraid to take risks. What I mean is that it makes fun of other animes, famous people and even the audience watching the anime. It even makes fun of the creator of Gintama. That was one thing that was interesting and entertaining. If this anime had a story or plot, it will go something like this: Gintama is about Gin who runs Yorozuya, a small and unknown business where he do odd jobs for other people for money. Working alongside him is glasses-wearing Shinpachi and monster-like strength Kagura. As they work odd jobs and living in a world run invaded by aliens and where the old and new collide, they encounter strange and unique characters that make their life difficult and never boring. If you want a better description: here.
I believe the characters were the star of the anime, the main thing that kept the anime entertaining. The characters kept the anime interesting and made me want to watch more of it. I don’t really like animes with a huge cast of characters and I hate watching harem animes. But for some reason, these characters wedged themselves into my heart and I ended up loving them all. Each character is different in their own way and when combined together, it creates this awesome anime. At first, I hated that this cast was so huge but as I kept watching, the characters grew on me. We have our three main characters:
- Sakata Gintoki: Gin is our main character/protagonist/hero. He was and still is, my favorite character in Gintama. He’s not like most protagonists. He’s doesn’t have a goal or mission in the anime, he’s incredibly lazy, money-hungry, loves gambling, perverted and absolutely hilarious. He’s relatable. He’s not someone with incredible powers or someone who wants to save the world. He would rather sleep or gamble. But Gin is very loyal to his friends, even though he doesn’t really show or express it, and will battle anyone just to save them. He’s a very different kind of protagonist that you have to watch and figure out for yourselves. He’s a very likable character and other people in the anime is drawn to him.
- Shimura Shinpachi: Shinpachi is our “straight-man” in this anime. It’s hard to explain what a “straight-man” is but it’s not what you’re thinking. After researching a little, a “straight-man” or a tsukkomi is someone who is more reasonable and more smarter than the other characters. For example, in each episode, anything that would be considered unreasonable or impossible, the “straight-man” would butt in and say something reasonable. That is who Shinpachi is. He’s a glasses-wearing samurai who works with Gin. What cracks me up is that most of the characters acknowledge the glasses as Shinpachi rather that Shinpachi himself. He’s the more reasonable person in the group.
- Kagura: Kagura is an Amanto, an alien from the Yato clan, a very strong type of alien. They are weak in the sun but incredibly strong. They all have pale white skin and carries an umbrella, which serves as protection from the sun and a weapon. They also eat a lot, I mean a lot, a lot. I enjoyed Kagura’s character a lot. She is the female version of Gin. She’s unreasonable, petty, lazy, unpredictable and hilarious. Her personality and attitude was influenced by Gin. Since Yato’s are known for their incredible strength, they are violent and blood-thirsty. Kagura traveled to Earth so search for a place to call home. She met Gin and Shinpachi and grew to call them as a family. She has a rivalry with Okita Sougo, another character, and one of the strong female character in the anime.
We also have the Shinsengumi:
- Kondo Isao: Chief of the Shinsengumi, a police force in Edo, and brings huge comedy relief in the anime. Mostly known as “Gorilla”, he has a huge, stalker-ish, crush on Shinpachi’s older sister, and is always at the brunt of most attacks and jokes. Honest and a nice-natured guy, he is the soul of the Shinsengumi.
- Hijikata Toshiro: Vice-Captain of the Shinsengumi, he’s a chain-smoker and more of the serious character in the anime. Extremely loyal to Kondo, he’s a true samurai and serious about his job, also called “demonic vice-captain” due to his seriousness. He sees Gin as a rival and is obsessed with mayonnaise. He smothers every food he eats with mayo.
- Okita Sougo: He’s the first division captain of the Shinsengumi. He dislikes Hijikata and will always find a way to attack or try to kill him in order to become Vice-Captain. He’s extremely sadistic, sees Kagura as his rival and pretty much does whatever he wants.
Other important characters:
- Shimura Tae: Shinpachi’s older sister. Being stalked by Kondo. Pretty strong.
- Sadaharu: Yorozuya’s pet. A huge dog but really an inugami.
- Kotaro Katsura: Called “Zura” by most, a Joi rebel/terrorist leader who is trying to overthrow the Shogun and government. Gin’s former comrade in the Joi War, he constantly want to change Edo.
- Hasegawa Taizo: Known as Madao, someone who is poor, unlucky and unemployed. He’s a good friend of Gin’s and often fo gambling together.
- Sarutobi Ayame: Assassin and obsessed with Gin. Wears glasses and a huge masochist.
Of course their are other characters in this anime but you’ll have to watch it to find out. Since each episode is different, we are introduced to new characters and new stories. All these characters created an incredible experience for me that made me enjoy watching it.
For me, especially season 4 of Gintama, was bittersweet. The last two arcs, the Shogunate’s Assassination Arc and the Farwell Shinsengumi Arc was the best arcs ever and contained the best episodes ever. My heart was tearing apart as I watched the last couple episodes of Gintama. It made me love Gintama even more. I don’t want to go into much details but it was incredible and the best Gintama has ever been.
I honestly can’t explain what Gintama really is and I can’t properly “review” this anime because it’s so different. My overall opinion is that Gintama is awesome and I love it. It’s really enjoyable and made me laugh in every episode. I loved all the characters and every story in each episode was awesome. I can’t explain anymore than this. Highly recommend this anime.
Here is some of my favorite episodes that you can definitely watch without watching it in order:
- Episode 38 – “Only Children Play in the Snow”
- Episode 40 – 43 – I call the “Umibozo Arc”
- Episode 65 – “Rhinoceros Beetles Teach Boys that Life is Precious”
- Episode 66 – “Dango Over Flowers”
- Episode 119 – “Within Each Box of Cigarettes, Are One or Two Cigarettes That Smell Like Horse Dung”
- Episode 139 – 146 – The “Yoshiwara Arc”
- Episode 151 – 152 – To sum it up: “Kondo, The Shogun, Katsura and a Haircut”
- Episode 182 – 184 – “Popularity Poll War”
- Episode 200 – 201 – “Santa Claus Red is Blood Red”
- Episode 217 – “What Happens Twice Can Happen Thrice”
- Episode 251 – “When Sleeping Under a Kotatsu, Make Sure You Don’t Burn Your Balls”
- Episode 266 – 316 – All the episodes of the last season of Gintama because it’s just that good
Information from: Crunchyroll, myanimelist and Wiki. Pictures from google and online. I don’t own anything, all rights reserved to their respectful owners.