Good Laughs, Good Feels – Gintama. Review

For the Throwback Thursday post, I covered Gintama and reviewed the overall series and its quirks and interesting aspects. One of the things I touched upon was how early on we had very little true backstory but lots of world building. In the later seasons and with the announced end of the show upcoming we’ve got a really great bit of story building for learning more about Gintoki’s life as the White Yaksha and a Joi patriot, as well as the dynamic he had with Takasugi (the main antagonist until this portion of the story), Katsura, and Sakamoto. Most importantly of all, we found out about their teacher, Yoshida Shouyou and split personality of Utsuro, immortal leader of the Tenshouin Naraku.

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There can be only one!

This arc, titled the Battle on Rakuyo arc, takes place on the home planet of Kagura and her brother Kamui with their father Umibozo and the space pirates of the Harusame all in a massive free for all battle. This 12 part arc had a great time explaining why the Amanto attacked Earth, the major role that the Tenshouin played and Utsuro’s character as a villain. Prior to this we had the Shinsengumi depart Edo in an attempt to gather forces to combat the Tenshouin and finally it seems that we’re going to be coming back to Earth next season for the Porori Arc. The show started taking more of a traditional battle anime style with challenging fights but taking less of a Dragonball Z feel and maintaining a great storytelling experience.

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It’s been an interesting time watching this show but I’ve had a bit of a mixed feeling of this new direction. On the one hand I love the fact that they have an amazing narrative and all these supporting characters becoming relevant and important. On the other hand, I can’t avoid the longing sensation I’ve got where I loved this gag comedy anime, with the occasional surprise feels session. This season of Gintama seems to have lost the lighthearted feeling its carried over all these years. While I’ve wanted to know more about who Gin was before all this and why he’s such a badass but the jokes are too far and few in between to really have the same feel that I fell in love with before this. They still drop them in occasionally for laughs but even last season where they addressed Kondo’s stalking as acceptable given the serious departure of he and the Shinsengumi I just felt the emotional weight but also added sadness that this hilarious status quo has been replaced by a very serious story.

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This is what I signed up for.

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This is not what I signed up for.

Another component that I loved about this show that they mildly/moderately eschewed is the beautiful fourth wall breaking. Ranging from times where you have the actual mangaka shown in show as a gorilla, the cast constantly complaining about their ratings/time slots, and constantly referencing other shows like Bleach, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure or Naruto, or real life people including Obama, Will Smith, and Usain Bolt.

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All in all however I still found this season entertaining and gunned through it with enthusiasm. That should speak volumes about it when at it’s worst, the show is still damn good and entertaining. I really still recommend this show for anyone who has the time to watch it but not to jump into it at this stage. The lack of background knowledge will make the show exceptionally poor watching. Unlike the stage I jumped up to 200 episodes in (which I still don’t recommend but its doable) this is now way too well developed of a background to make any sense. Have you caught up on Gintama? What’s your opinion on anime when they shift gears like this? Let me know in a comment and/or leave a like lest your stalker target stops trying to KO you.

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Alas, happier simpler times…

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