Posted by psgels on 21 December 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

The beginning and the ending of the Benizakura movie continue some neat new material that breaks the fourth wall, especially the beginning is quite funny. The rest though… it’s exactly the Benizakura-arc of the Gintama series. It’s the laziest kind of recap movie in which you don’t even need to cut and paste anything.

So, does it work? Well, the thing is that I have a hard time figuring out for who this movie was made. The fans have already seen this movie. And in fact, watching the same movie a second time caused me to only pay more attention to its flaws, like how Gintoki gets stabbed like five times and never seems to really be bothered by it. At the same time though, people who never have seen this movie will not get why this was one of the best arcs of the series. It’s true that the Benizakura arc is a standalone story, but it relies a lot on characters who have been fleshed out in the previous arcs. This movie depends a lot on its running jokes, and you won’t get them if this is the first thing you see of the series. It’s the same for the background it provides for the main characters: this arc was so great because it gave Gintoki and Katsura a ton of new depth, but you won’t get that without having sat through forty episodes of their antics.

So yeah, this movie is pointless. It gets some points for being a good story with nice action and voice acting, but all of that was just completely copied from the TV-series. The sketch at the end of the movie that has characters fighting over being the lead character is also just basically the same dialogue that the series loved to use in its recaps. I don’t really see any reason to watch this movie.

Storytelling: 6/10 – It’s exactly the same as the Benizakura arc. The few minutes of extra banter at the beginning and end do not make this movie worth watching.
Characters: 7/10 – The characters are good, it gives background to the main characters, not having seen the TV-series makes them lose all their impact.
Production-Values: 7/10 – The only graphical updates are that things are in wide-screen now. That’s far from enough.
Setting: 6/10 – With a recap movie, I always ask “what’s the point?” This movie has none.

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4 Responses

  1. Avatar Delveonian says:

    There are a few added scenes. The Shinsengumi was completely absent from the TV series, and they get, maybe, 2 minutes in the movie. Some scenes have been extended, but, yeah, nothing to justify seeing the movie if you have ssen the show. In my case, I saw the movie before the show and started to marathon it right after. Sure, you don’t get all the jokes as well as after seeing the show, but the movie tells you about the potential of one of the most creative and daring anime out there. I did not see another anime who’s main gimmick is to break the fourth wall in order to make its jokes, avoid all the cliché and boring stuff that shonen anime do to buy time like fillers or having 5 minutes of recap before each episode, and still make good enought standalone episodes (in the first 100) for me to go watch 1 or 2 randomly when I don’t feel like starting a new series. So, I’d say that it works best to make new fans, and that fans might like to see it just because it is an upgraded version of the TV arc or to show to friends how promising Gintama is.

    Anyway, I just hope that the next seasons will be smart enought to have part of the episodes being like the previous Gintama (4:3 format, jokes, low budget…) and to finally make episodes about the Amanto war where we see Gintoki’s past, with very high production values, or, alternatively, that they make this into the next movie.

  2. Avatar Bear says:

    I’m a huge Gintama fan and had been looking forward to this, but I have to agree with you. I’m partial because I dislike recap movies to begin with, but this is one of the laziest recap movies I’ve ever seen. Big disappointment.

  3. Avatar m says:

    There are people that read the manga that do not follow the series and might be interested in seeing one of the more-exciting arcs animated in a stand-alone package.

  4. Avatar Puran says:

    Which isn’t really exciting for someone who isn’t used to Gintama..! The serious storylines in Gintama are always cheesy and this arc doesn’t escape the cheesiness. As a fan I can to appreciate the cheese for various reasons, but I just can’t see someone completely new to Gintama seeing this arc and saying “that was a good story”.

    Same with the humour, Gintama as it went on became a big inside joke and made optimal use of its running gags, which again this arc again uses a whole lot.

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