Posted by psgels on 10 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews



Well, I’ve made up my mind. I just finished episode 150 of Gintama, and it was indeed awesome. The perfect way to close off the series, no matter where you are in the series. Still, with this I’m going to drop this series. It’s the same with Ranma 1/2: I’d rather remember the classic first part, rather than stick with it for a few good episodes in a sea of mediocrity, especially since the good episodes don’t even come close to the standards that the series set in the past. But this review isn’t about the three digit episodes of Gintama, you can read about those here. This post instead is a review of the first 100 episodes, and a series that stands among the Law of Ueki and the Excel Saga as my absolute favourite comedies in anime.

Gintama is about a group of people who are willing to take any job for money, in a setting in which the earth has been taken over by evil aliens who settled in to live there after their victory, while the humans still live around as if it were feudal Japan. It’s structure is mostly episodic: most of the episodes are standalone stories in which the lead characters meet someone, or have some objective to overcome. While this formula can get incredibly boring in the wrong hands, the creators of Gintama turned it into gold.

Thanks to an amazingly witty sense of humour and a nearly limitless amount of creativity, the creators really manage to make the best out of this series’ format. In its jokes, it takes absolutely nothing for granted, and there are a number of absolute classic episodes that just deliver one brilliant joke after the other. The humour varies from parodies to character-based to downright random, all with their own highlights.

But what really sets Gintama apart from nearly all other comedies is its attempts to be serious. Usually, comedies fall apart horribly when they try their hands at some serious drama, which most often fall apart in horribly dull and cheesy messes. Gintama however only turns better when it gets serious. It knows exactly how to build up its stories, make them relevant and develop its characters. Its sense of dialogue in particular really is amazing: deep, meaningful, inspired and very detailed. Gintama was a series that could make me weep manly tears again and again.

Granted though, this series’ brilliance doesn’t last 24/7. Gintama does have a fair share of lesser episodes that, while nice to watch, border on the cliché, milk their jokes a bit too far or just fail in what they set out to do. Especially the first episode was one of the worst things that the creators could have picked to start off the series, because it ranks among the weakest of the series, but overall the entire first part of the series is hard to get into.

But when it does, the good parts really get better and better, and this trend continues for 100 episodes. I really recommend this series for anyone looking for a good laugh, because this series is just about everything comedies should be outside of compactness. The episodes after 100 are a lot less impressive, though. While they still have a good episode here and there, they just lack the creativity that made the first 100 episodes so awesome.

Storytelling: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 9/10

22 Responses

  1. Avatar Scamp says:

    What makes Gintama truly stand out in the sea of anime comedy is not necessarily the quality of the comedy at stake, but the fact that it manages to stay funny for 100 episodes. Practically every other comedy series loses steam as it goes.

    • Avatar Goodwin says:

      This is quite interesting; it’s the only highly-rated comedic series that’s in top 5 lists, look at top 5 movies, none of them are comedy, top 5 TV shows, nope, only top 5 anime is Gintama (a comedy) there. Although I’m not quite sure about the top 5 cartoons.

  2. Avatar indyk says:

    can someone tell me which episodes are worth watching? i don’t think it would be possible form me to marathon through 50 or 25 episodes knowing that as stated in the review first part in;t interesting. the first ep hadn’t really interest me when i watched it.

  3. Avatar ny says:

    It`s interesting to find out that the 1st episode isn`t a reflection of the best of the series! I remember watching it on premier night in 2006 and not even coming back for a 2nd episode. Now maybe I`ll give it another try.

  4. Avatar Gin-san says:

    @indyk
    Check out Gintama episodes:7,14,21,25,34-35 and 50.

  5. Avatar Reina says:

    I agree completely with this post, the first episode was so weak watching it as the first episode could probably be what makes you lost complete interest. To people who are interested in this, just check out some random episodes from 21 onwards and then back track or something haha that’s what I did.

  6. Avatar Pocku says:

    @indyk
    You might also wanna check out episodes 19, 74, 98 and 99

  7. Avatar arigatou says:

    I only choose the best episodes in Gintama to watch

    Some of popular arcs
    Episode 58-61 (movie like)
    Episode 76-81 (yuri like)
    Episode 101-105 (shinsengumi law like)
    Episode 129-137 (brings me back to samurai x’s shishio makoto arc like)

  8. Avatar Mouri says:

    You know what? As a Gintama fan, I love you for this post.

  9. Avatar Zodiac Casino says:

    I absolutely love Gintama. Never before have I seen a series that is able to consistently laugh uproariously. And I don’t mean you’re standard laughing. I’m talking about the kind of laughing that would normally convince others that you are completely insane and should probably be institutionalized. The slow, dramatic scenes are equally great. As far as what episodes to watch…I would suggest to watch them all. Then again, i’m a big fan :P

  10. Avatar Chan-Chan says:

    I’m a big Gintama too! It’s my favorite Jump anime now. What I like most about Gintama is its characters. All the characters are funny and they make this anime awesome. From Gintoki, the Shonen Jump fan, to Hijikata, the Mayonnaise freak, to Sougo, the sadist, and to Sadaharu, the oversize skull-biting dog, everyone is unique and hilarious in their own way. Even its female characters are atypical. In most of the series I watch, the female characters tend to be weak and their roles are basically damsels in distress. However, in Gintama, the female characters are really strong and they have great personalities.

    I also like the voice acting in Gintama. It feels really natural and camaraderie between the different characters is great!

    I respect your choice in dropping it but perhaps you want to try take a look at the latest episode (177). It marks the start of the Jiraia arc. This arc brings back Tsukuyo and it will reveal more about Gin-chan’s past.

  11. I believe the Gintama anime needed the first 100 episodes to be able to set up a strong background for all the major characters of the series. This has allowed for much more interesting arcs to occur later on, while keeping amazingly funny situations. While I indeed did like the first few episodes, I like every episode more than the previous every time a new one comes out.

  12. Avatar what's this says:

    Agree with comment #10. Jiraia arc from episode 177 onwards is NOT TO BE MISSED. Tsukuyo is so awesome

  13. Avatar astrocurrent says:

    If you do quit watching Gintama after ep150, I recommand you to pick it up again. Not that the new characters and stories are at its usual good, the direction, especially the animation are awesome!! I myself hadn’t watched it for quite a while and pick it up somwwhere around ep160 and I couldn’t believe my eyes! There is some less impressive moments here and there after the first 100 epepisodes and a feeling of disappointment that Gintama too is going to enter an endless long-run grave like other Jump Anime. But I’ve change my mind. Altough I don’t really like the story of jiraia arc, I do think Anime Gintama has climbed to a new different level of height of creativity and direction. Not to mention the voting arc, it’s just simply hirarious!

    Sometimes it’s good to drop a series and pick it up again. It helps to get rid of aesthetic fatigue, and allows to enter the series with a fresh eye.

  14. Avatar asdasd says:

    Agree with this review. First 115-ish episodes were priceless. Here’s what happened with the anime…

    In the first 100 episodes, the ratio of hilarious episodes to mediocre episodes was about 9:1. After the 100 episode mark? Reverse that ratio.

    The second director simply doesn’t know how to pace himself. Or rather, he doesn’t know how to crack jokes. Not only does he drag on lighthearted arcs that should have been reduced to a single episode, but he also drags on a joke for more than 20 seconds. The problem with this is that comedy is supposed to be fast-paced; you just can’t take your time with it. What made Gintama great was the fact that they threw new jokes at you constantly, but the new director simply beats the joke to death.

    Another issue I have with the director is that he doesn’t seem to take the characterization seriously. For example, I feel that he totally doesn’t understand the characters’ habits and personalities and tries to make them as goofy as possible. The characters after the 100 episode mark begin to make these disgusting faces that simply don’t add to them. See the episode where Hijikata gets the whole Shinsengumi to drink five bottles of mayo a day each for details. Katsura blushes for pets too much; his endearing trait was that he was serious to a fault. Gintoki seems way too uptight in recent episodes, and Okita’s no longer this emotionless sadist; I found it difficult to define Okita’s personality after episode 100.

    Seriously, I hope that once Gintama comes back (it’s on hiatus now so that the manga can make more plots) the old director will return. Fat chance, of course, but one can hope. Or just dump the current director.

  15. Avatar Dragenki says:

    Check Gintama Episode 27,95

  16. Avatar Tu-tulu~ mayushii desu! says:

    They were great at first, then they just screwed around WAY too much.

  17. Avatar neilcfreak says:

    What I love about Gintama, is the fact that comedy anime is my least favorite genre of anime. Yet, Gintama is my favorite anime.

    Gintoki’s personality is so brilliantly made because he’s obviously a good guy but at the same time a complete selfish jackass. For instance he normally will do anything to help people, but then there’s that episode where he was kicking away all the poor people so he could have all the food for himself…

  18. Avatar NintenLover says:

    Totally awesome! I just got Club Nintendo coins for FREE from http://freeclubnintendocoins.com

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