My site may be full of Girls und Panzer related stuff, but my most favorite anime is Gintama.
Don’t believe me? Look at this cabinet full of Gintama figures. I collected pretty much everything there is to the series, including manga books.
Gintama is a weird series to specifically categorize. It is mostly comedic parody but then it is not. It can be comical. It can be bloody sad. It can be serious.
In a sense, Gintama is jack of all trades but it excels in a lot of things. The anime has run from 2006 to 2018. It ran for over a decade, managing 367 episodes.
Alright, let me briefly explain what this series is about without spoiling too much. I will specifically focus on anime counterpart in this review because anime is more widely spread for those outside of Japan.
The world of Gintama is set in late Edo era (Tokugawa shogunate on verge of Meiji revolution). The Earth (Or Japan) has been invaded by aliens, and the shogunate had to surrender, opening its door to the aliens by force. This is the same way Japan had to open its gates to Europeans in the history.
Aliens and its culture flow into Edo era Japan and this is where Gintama begins. Samuri punk is one way to describe the world of Gintama where futuristic tech meets katana.
The main protagonist is Sakata Gintoki. His sidekicks are Shimura Shinpachi and Kagura. Gintoki runs a problem solving agency where he is asked to do a variety of tasks from clients. Initially, up to about 50 episodes, this is where majority of events will occur as well as introduction of lots of side characters to build up the foundation for the future.
Admittedly, this series starts off rather slowly. You may just want to skip them but you kind of have to watch through those in order to understand jokes later. If you don’t mind missing the jokes out, you can safely skip up to around the first 50 episodes.
The first arc begins shortly after 50th episode.
There are also a lot of filler episodes in Gintama but filler episode themselves are often worth to watch, not the early ones though, like the first 50 episodes.
Gintama is mostly a comedy plus lots of parody here & there and it willingly breaks the 4th wall frequently. However, those comedic elements exist mainly in filler episodes. The series has arcs where the main plot advances or specifically focuses on a character in an event. In arcs, things often get serious.
Whacky comedies, 4th wall breaking jokes, interesting characters, and such are what makes Gintama shine overall.
There are aspects that Gintama excels also. One of them is fighting scenes.
Normally, in popular series like Naruto, One Piece, and etc, they spend episodes explaining this and that. In Gintama though, when a fight occurs, they just fight. There is no bells and whistles. They just fight. Because of that, a fighting scene rarely takes up 1/3 of an episode.
Another aspect Gintama excels is emotional scenes in arcs. Honestly, I don’t know how it does it but Gintama really do emotional scenes masterfully.
Personally, I believe it is due to filler episodes where you get to know characters very well.
It also has depth. A side character you may never really pay attention to may get his own arc and dive into his past, present, and future. Why he is what he has become. Why he behaves like such. Hasegawa (AKA Madao) is a good example of this.
Just for an extra piece of info, you won’t see true HD until you hit 200th episode. Until then, 480p is your best resolution. Once you hit 200th episode, you are greeted with this.
Then there are also scenes like below…
In the end, Gintama isn’t a series you can finish in one seating. I mean there are 300+ episodes as well as a movie. And some arcs may leave you emotionally broken which may force you to take a break from the series.
I warn you not to take this series lightly just because the first 50 episodes go nowhere. It’s probably safely to claim that it is one of a kind series.
My verdict? Well, this series is not for everyone. I will simply suggest to give it a go.
It is different. You cannot judge this in just few episodes. I, someone who watched over 300 episodes of this, am not quite sure how to define the series.
Basically, you need to watch it and make the decision on your own. This is probably why Gintama isn’t widely talked about. It’s hard to recommend Gintama to anyone.
You can loosely categorize this anime as comedy but, at its core, it’s not really comedy. Its filler episodes are but you never define a series by its filler episodes.
At the same time, in the case of Gintama, filler episodes take up more than half. So, it becomes rather difficult to define the series as whole.
So, watch it and make your own decision is my final verdict on this series.