Why You Should Be Watching ‘Gintama’

Edo Japan, known for its samurai honour and tradition, might not be the first setting you’d associate with aliens, computers and slapstick humour. But in the world of ‘Gintama,’ all these elements come together in a wild and entertaining mashup that defies expectations and leaves you rolling on the floor with laughter.

The show introduces us to an alternate history where Edo Japan is invaded by extraterrestrial beings known as the Amanto. What follows is a fierce war, pitting the traditional values of the Japanese samurai against the advanced technology and strange creatures brought by the Amanto. Spoiler alert: the Amanto emerge victorious, leading to a sword ban in Japan. Enter our protagonist, Sakata Gintoki, a former samurai who fought valiantly in the war but has now chosen to navigate the peculiarities of this new age.

Image Courtesy: Crunchyroll

Gintoki takes up a new role as a jack-of-all-trades and runs his own business, named ‘Yorozuya Gin-chan’ or ‘Odd Jobs Gin-chan’ in English. He, along with his quirky friends, embarks on all sorts of odd jobs, making for a rollercoaster of comedic adventures.

At first glance, Gintama may seem like a bizarre concoction of seemingly incompatible concepts and genres, but that’s precisely what makes it work so well. The show seamlessly merges Japan’s rich history with the modern world. Although set in the 19th century, the characters have access to modern amenities like cars, computers and even anime. This delightful anachronism is credited to the Amanto, who brings a sense of chaos and disruption to the story.

Image Courtesy: Reddit

Unlike many anime series that stick to a specific niche genre, ‘Gintama’ refuses to be pigeonholed. While it certainly has its comedic moments, it doesn’t shy away from crossing over into a wide range of genres, including action, sci-fi and historical elements. The beauty of ‘Gintama’ lies in its ability to effortlessly shift between over-the-top comedy and more serious, action-packed story arcs.

Unlike some action-oriented anime that tend to drag out their storytelling with long-winded monologues and drawn-out fight scenes, ‘Gintama’ gets to the point efficiently. Its storytelling is concise, wrapping up story arcs neatly and moving on to the next adventure. This formula not only makes serious and dramatic moments more impactful but also allows for ample character development in various directions.

Image Courtesy: IGN

One unique aspect of Gintama is its incorporation of historical elements. Many of the characters in the series are loosely based on real-life historical figures from Japan’s Edo period. Characters like Kondo, Hijikata, and Sougo of the Shinsengumi, as well as Sakamoto, Katsura and Takasugi, have their roots in history. This historical connection adds an extra layer of intrigue for viewers, encouraging them to delve into Japan’s fascinating past.

When it comes to comedy, Gintama takes no prisoners. It’s one of the few anime series that has the power to make you laugh until you’re in tears. The humour ranges from slapstick violence to poking fun at itself and other anime, manga and subcultures. Even the toughest characters are not immune to the series’ comedic onslaught. Every character gets a chance to shine in the comedic spotlight.

Image Courtesy: Gintama Wiki

The comedy in ‘Gintama’ is a wild ride, filled with references to other anime, from classics like ‘Doraemon’ to modern hits like ‘Black Butler’ and ‘One Piece.’ The show also takes pride in its meta and self-aware style, often poking fun at its capabilities as a series. This self-deprecating humour is the icing on the cake that keeps viewers thoroughly entertained.

In a world where anime often adheres to strict genre conventions, ‘Gintama’ is a delightful and unpredictable anomaly. Its ability to seamlessly blend history, comedy and action while maintaining a strong emotional core is something not every comedy anime can do. ‘Gintama’ is worth your time.

-Britney Jones