GINTAMA [SEASON 6]

GINTAMA [SEASON 6]

The sixth season of this long-running show of hilarity : that is what we’ll be reviewing in this post. Or is it? Read on to find out more.

The anime begins with Gintoki taking off away from his Odd Jobs mates Shinpachi and Kagura, and returns with a hangover. But seems like he’s had a bit too much of drink this time round, because he’s greeted by his two friends as a customer to Odd Jobs, rather than its head. And the even bigger surprise is that the head is not Gintoki, but Kintoki, a naturally straight-haired guy, with golden hair to boot, to contrast with Gintoki’s silver. And so we know now that the show we’re watching is actually Kintama. Too bad for you, suckers! Anyway, this is how the new season starts off, with Gintoki put in quite a spot, and no one recognizing him for what he is.

                                                  Whoops, this is from a new show Mantama…

The new season is only 13 episodes long, which sucks for all Gintama fans, but whatever is there, is awesome indeed. This time around Gintama has three story arcs and one standalone episode making up the contents. But contrary to the usual, this season all the arcs are much more serious in tone than before. But not to worry; where there is Gintoki&Co., there is always an enormous potential for hilarious, out-of-the-world screw-ups, whether metaphorical or literal. And also, one of the arcs does give us some more insight about Shinpachi and Otae’s past lives.

And now for my mandatory recommendation to readers of this post to watch Gintama, as I’ve been doing since I’ve started watching the goddamn show. Watch it already!

RATING : 9.3/10

PROS :
– some backstory on Shinpachi and Otae
– more serious story arcs

CONS :
– only 13 episodes, damn…

 

GINTAMA [SEASON 5]

GINTAMA [SEASON 5]

The fourth season of Gintama picks up after the crazy incidents of its previous season, with a gap of an year between the two seasons. So, how does it hold up in comparison to the previous insanity?

The anime starts off with Shinpachi returning to the Odd Jobs “office”, if you could call it that, after the gap of an year, since the show was on hiatus for that long. But on returning, Shinpachi finds out that all is not as it seems. Gintoki seems to have turned into a Dragon Ball Z character rip-off, and Kagura has grown way too much in the span of an year. Otae-chan is married to Gorilla Kondo-san, of all people. This convinces Shinpachi that something has gone seriously wrong with the world in the span of just an year. The surprises don’t stop here; as is only to be expected from Gintama, craziness follows soon enough, like maybe within a minute of the opening song itself.

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                                                          What the hell…are you kidding me?

Actually, you know what? Every review of the newer Gintama season feels the same to me, because the show does do similar things with explosively hilarious effects every single time. But not only that, the anime does tug at your heartstrings on many occasions, when you really feel for those poor sods. They really do know how to make the viewer feel. Far as the characters themselves are concerned, Tama has now grown into a more important supporting character, ever since the story arc in S3. And Otose gets a whole new story arc for herself which explores her background and why she  is supposed to be one of the four unofficial heads of Edo, so to speak. So basically, some more character development in the show.

Anyways, whoever enjoyed the show and stuck with it for four whole seasons, would find it only sensible to watch this hilarious and chaotic show through its 5th season too. Way too much fun to pass up for me.

RATING : 9.2/10

PROS :
– more character development
– much more emotional than S4

GINTAMA [Season 4]

GINTAMA [Season 4]

Gintama does not continue so much as rush headlong into yet another set of funny antics that is season 4. Anyone who’s watched Gintama up till its third season and found it to be of their taste, you don’t even need to continue reading this; just hurry up and start watching already. But anyway, how does this season hold up in comparison to the previous seasons?

Very well, I must say. As usual, Gintama is ever-ready to make humor out of anything and everything. The season starts off with Gintoki going for a haircut, but chaos and hilarity ensue when the shogun also comes to the same barber shop while the barber is out getting new manga issues for Kagura to read. And Katsura and Kondo too. Anyway, the nub of the matter is that this season sets the pace right off the bat, so to speak. Pacing is never an issue with Gintama, anyways , except for its very first season.

Some of the sorta-minor characters come back pretty strongly, with Otsu-chan and Tama-san getting a whole story arc each. And there is also an arc on a popularity contest which was one of the most creative efforts put up by the developers. And those parodies ranging from One Piece to Nintendo Wii to Dragon Quest, are all just so well done.

Anyways, I won’t be taking up much more of your time. Those who found Gintoki and Co. to be their favorite weekend companions [or something on those lines] will continue enjoying the show. I honestly don’t understand how they manage to come up with such ludicrous, yet entirely imaginative ways to make the viewers laugh all the time.

RATING : 9/10

PROS :
– even more humor!!!
– parodies are godly, as usual
– some minor characters make a comeback of sorts

CONS :
– not as many heartwarming moments as in the previous seasons

 

GINTAMA [Season 3]

GINTAMA [Season 3]

Season 2 of Gintama was an unprecedented improvement over its predecessor, in my opinion. So, how does the third season fare? Let’s find out.

The third season of Gintama picks up from where the second season left the show, and runs away with it. Even more extravagantly elaborate sub-plots show up throughout, and the humor hits an even higher level in this successful successor, if I might so add. The show retains all the features which made the second season awesome, and tries to improve on it. The effort is obvious in the amount of innovation that has gone into this season, with all the grandiose schemes and the unexpectedly hilarious outcomes of the actions of the protagonists and their friends[or should I praise the manga, actually?].

The effort pays off for the majority of the anime, although on rare occasions this attempt does backfire. Once in a while, the anime focuses on the side-characters, and the bumbling trio of Gintoki, Kagura and Shinpachi are absent for the whole of the episode. Although this effort to explore the side-characters is laudable, sometimes the anime goes for 2-3 episodes without even a glimmer of them, which dulls the experience somewhat. This experiment actually ends up exemplifying the pivotal importance of Gintoki & Co. Other than this minor blemish, the anime is brilliantly made.

But undoubtedly, the overwhelming highlight of this season is the godly parody of pop culture and anime. From Prince of Tennis to Dragon Ball Z to Saw[them slasher flicks] to its own self, nothing is safe from Gintama’s clutches. For instance, an episode where Gintoki helps out a struggling manga artist and points out the familiar tropes of shounen manga, is pure gold. And there is an episode where Hijikata…well, you really have to watch that one to find out, hehe.

Overall, if you have finished watching Gintama‘s 2nd season, do yourself a favor and don’t hold yourself back from watching the 3rd season.

RATING : 9/10

PROS :
– even better parodies than the previous seasons
– feels even more innovative

CONS :
– occasional absence of the main characters for extended times hurts

GINTAMA [Season 2]

GINTAMA [Season 2]

Season 1 of Gintama did have its flaws, but it was still an endearingly good anime, one you could watch just for some good old laughs. So how does the second season fare, in comparison?

Season 2 continues with more of Gintoki & Co.’s misadventures, and introduces more characters to the show. The anime takes on a more mature style now. Don’t mistake it for lesser humor content, though; the hilarity never ends in Gintama. But some of the episodes are really serious and touching to the heart. Also, in this season, there are a few story arcs, mini-plots which play out over 3-5 episodes. Almost all of these are just awesome to watch, they have all the humor which Gintama is famous for, along with those heartwarming moments I talked of earlier. And the soundtracks along with the theme songs, are much more rad this time around. The background especially, it really gets you going, and always suits the occasion; whether it be a bad-ass action scene or a tragic event.

The main feature of the show, which is comedy and limitless parody, is at an even higher level than in S1, a huge plus. And the show pretty much takes off right from the first episode, as there isn’t any need to be introducing the main characters all over anymore. This introductory part was the reason I felt Gintama was a bit slow off the mark in S1.

For those who’ve watched the first season of Gintama and liked it, you’ll watch S2 anyway. But even those who found the first season to be a bit of a drag, just try out at least the first 6-7 episodes of the second season. If that doesn’t hook you right back in, I don’t rightly know what will.

RATING : 9.3/10

 

PROS :
– better soundtracks and themes
– awesome story arcs
– cool new characters
– some touching moments

CONS :
– animation isn’t a great improvement over the previous season, if you still care about that sort of thing

GINTAMA [Season 1]

GINTAMA [Season 1]

I generally watch anime with the psychological aspect. So, it’s safe to assume that anime like Monster or Mirai Nikki are generally my cup of tea. But it isn’t like you can watch the same kind of anime all the time, right? So what did I do? Start Gintama, of course.

Gintama is set in a kinda-futuristic Japan. After a brutal war between the Earthlings and the aliens [called Amanto], the Earth has finally been colonized. Now the natives live alongside the Amanto, and Edo has now become a hub for commerce and pleasure on Earth. The anime follows a naturally wavy-haired out-of-job samurai, Sakata Gintoki, and his companions Shimura Shinpachi, a teenage who wants to restore his family’s dojo back to its former glory, and Kagura, an Amanto girl with immense strength and appetite. Together, the three of them battle against evil forces in an attempt to pay off their monthly rent, by working odd jobs at the accurately named Odd Jobs Gin.

The anime boasts of a barrage of colorful characters; ranging from the strict-but-fair Otose the landlady, Shinpachi’s sister Tae,  a hostess at a club and an ‘expert’ cook, to the all-awesome gang of police force, the Shinsengumi and Zura, I mean Katsura, the anti-foreigner faction leader who the Shinsengumi desperately want to capture. That is not all, there are many more characters in the show, but talking of all of them will fill up pages upon pages. And each of them have their own quirks; for example, there is a jobless guy named Hasegawa, who always gets fired because he just doesn’t want to take off his sunglasses during work.

 

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The plot in Gintama is more or less non-existent. The anime follows Gintoki and his companions’ misadventures and their tangled-up relations with the various other characters in the show. The show is more or less episodic, with occasional instances of a plot lasting for 2-3 episodes, or sometimes with the plot being dealt with in a span of half an episode, too.

But Gintama still manages to capture the viewers’ attention despite the lack of any main story, as such. How? By being rip-roaringly funny, of course. Each of the characters is hilarious in their own peculiar way, and the comical situations they wind up in all the time is just so funny. And the parodies throughout…Gintama never, ever holds back in parodying familiar tropes of anime, or mimicking the popular culture, or even better, parodying popular mainstream anime like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto etc.

The main weak point of Gintama is that it takes about 15-odd episodes to really pick up, and a few more for the viewer to actually get into the flow of the proceedings. Animation may feel a bit dated, but once the viewer gets into Gintama, he/she will cease to notice.

Overall, Gintama is a solid anime, and a good start to the series which is now in its 6th season. Or is it 7th? I don’t know. Enjoy the ride, either way!

RATING : 7.8/10 

PROS :
– hilarious throughout
– lovable characters
– amazing parodies
– brilliant soundtraks and opening/ending themes

CONS :
– animation is somewhat dated
– mostly episodic plots, which may be a turn-off for some
– somewhat slow at the start