This guide is here to help you make the most important decision in your life, and that is to watch Gintama.
What You Need to Know
He created a one shot called Dandelion, and because of it he gained some recognition. Soon after the creation of Dandelion Hideaki’s editor at the time wanted him to create a new series based off of the Shinsengumi, who were a special police force of the late shogunate period, because a new television show was soon to air based on them. Hideaki disagreed, and wanted to make a manga that would ride the wave of popularity that Harry Potter created. But Hideaki lost, and gave an attempt to write this Shinsengumi series, but he just couldn’t do it. So he changed the plot, threw in some science fiction elements, and named it Gintama.
Currently Gintama has 34 volumes and counting of manga, and 201 episodes. However, on March 25 2010, the anime sadly came to a conclusion. Worry not, the anime is not finished just yet, and will someday return in full force.
The StoryYou are probably wondering just what exactly is this Gintama about. To some extent, it is the Seinfeld of anime, and really doesn’t possess an overarching storyline, but instead contains smaller stories that build upon each other. In the universe of Gintama, instead of the Americans forcing the Japanese to open their ports in the late Edo period, Aliens arrived instead. The samurai fought the aliens with all their might, but lost in the end. Because of this the aliens, or Amanto, placed a ban on carrying swords in public. Because of their invasion, modern-day technology spread across Japan in a few years time. Meaning that the setting takes the best of old world Japan (ie, samurai, swords, clothing) and puts it in a modern day setting.
Gintoki Sakata. He fought in the war against the Amanto, but in the end decided that there was no point in stopping the impossible. Instead he decided to open his own business called “Odd Jobs Gin” where he would take on odd jobs for a fee. He works with two other people, one being Shinpachi who acts as the Odd Jobs straight man, the person who acts normally in the weird situations that happen around him. The other is a girl named Kagura, an alien who is a member of one of the most powerful and bloodthirsty races in the universe. To some extent, she is a girl version of Goku, but sassier. This was probably done on purpose, for the magazine Shonen Jump is featured within this anime as well. Gin loves reading Shonen Jump, in fact deep down he wants to be Ichigo from Bleach.
What to ExpectUnlike the big three, Gintama is focused purely on comedy, with action sitting in copilot. However, there are times in the anime when drama and action become more important, and the show takes a turn towards a more serious direction. These are featured in sporadic story arcs that last three to six episodes in length. Other than that, most episodes are episodic in nature, meaning the story does not cross over into the next episode. These episodes are the bread and butter of Gintama, and are almost always rely heavily on comedy.
Comedy in Gintama takes a couple different forms. For one they love to parody different anime and manga, from doing an episode that mocks Death Note, to one that mocks DBZ, all done with love of course. Gintama also enjoys poking fun at overused anime clichés. Other than that the humor can be seen as really random, and weird. It is impossible to predict what crazy adventures the next episode will bring for our heroes. For example, the episode I’m currently at is about Aliens who kidnapped the Odd Jobs crew and transformed parts of their bodies into screwdrivers because they needed to fix their PSPs because they needed to play Monster Hunter. So basically Gin’s penis is now a hex wrench, and they must play Monster Hunter to get their bodies back to normal.
Gintama does have its fair share of filler, lots of it. However, the filler in Gintama is so good you don’t even have to worry about it. Watch it all!
CharactersWhat truly makes Gintama are the characters. A good example is that the characters of Gintama remind me of the characters from the Simpsons. Each character is goofy in their own way, have their own signature inside jokes and lines, and gel well with each other. Like the character Sogo for example, a sadist who always relies on a bazooka to solve any problem he is facing, which is surprising because he is a police officer. Or Yamazaki, who police officer with the Shinsengumi as well, is always seen with a badminton racket practicing by himself for no reason.
In order for you to truly understand Gintama, you have to experience it yourself. The good news is that Crunchyroll has all the episodes up on their site, so let me now give you a list of the top five episodes that will force you to watch this show, in no particular order. Let’s call them the gateway drug episodes.
Episode 18 - Oh, Yeah! Our Crib Is Number One! - Any episode that deals with a perverted version of robin hood stealing girls panties and giving them to people who can’t get dates is a episode worth watching. Odd Jobs and the Shinsengumi work together to help bring an end to this menace.
Episode 19 - Why’s the Sea So Salty? Because You City Folk Pee Whenever You Go Swimming! - Every anime has a beach episode, and Gintama is no different. Watching their adventure as they attempt to get someone to drive them to the beach is comedy gold.
Episode 25 - A Shared Soup Pot Is a Microcosm of Life - A fantastic episodes that parodies Death Note, but instead of the drama of a notebook that can kill people, we have a standoff regarding a bowl of soup. You have to watch this!
Episode 98 - "Play Video Games for Only An Hour A Day" and Episode 99 - "Life and Video Games are Full of Bugs" - It’s time for the midnight launch of the Wii and everyone wants to grab one. However, instead of handing them over like a good store would, they are making their customers compete for them using the Wii, hilarity ensues.
Episode 119 - "Within Each Box of Cigarettes, Are One or Two Cigarettes That Smell Like Horse Dung" - Now here is a weird one. Cigarettes are banned in Edo, and the only way Hijikata can get a cigarette is to go to Namek and battle Frieza. Hilarious DBZ parody.
Should I Read the Manga, or Watch the Anime?For a comedy like this, you really should watch the anime. The anime follows the manga, but also has extra filler episodes that are just as funny as the original source material.
episodes of Gintama up on their website, you should have no excuse not to watch this show. Not only is Gintama one of the funniest shows I have ever watched, but it also has some genuine drama in it that can make you shed some tears as well. Don’t pass this one up.