Last week I noted that Gintama’s sequel wasn’t as good as I hoped to. I’m not sure whether I was the only one with this, but I’d like to use this post to elaborate a bit on that. The current episode is a good example of why, while still a good comedy, it’s no longer the comedic classic that it once was.
A lot of it has to do with many jokes not being funny anymore, and trying too hard. And I have to give this series credit: these episodes are not as bad as the point where Gintama originally started to move downhill (after about episode 100, if I recall correctly). If I were to compare it to your average comedy, it’d still be pretty decent, but I’d rank Gintama among my top 5 of favourite comedies ever. The first 100 episodes also had their weaker moments, but overall they tended to be brilliant. This isn’t.
The running jokes are probably the ones that went downhill the most: there was a time where this show knew exactly what the border was between great running jokes and shameless repetition. that’s what allowed it to become such a long series in the first place, but the new season reduced the running jokes either to repetition, or took them to too forced absurds. Sarutobi’s crush on Gintoki for example: this episode made her an even bigger fangirl of Gintoki, but it just didn’t feel fresh. Also, in the middle the mood suddenly got serious. But what was it about? About her refusal to get other glasses. What happened to the manly tears of the first season? This was just silly.
The series itself is also getting rather formulaic. I mean, using guilt to get people to move? Didn’t the creators play that on Gorilla a few episodes ago? Plus, the way in which the serious parts showed up felt formulaic, and quite similar to the previous episode (which granted, was better done than this one, but even there it was forced: “care about these characters!”).
It’s also the presentation: the original Gintama may not have had the most fluid animation, it hardly ever contained weak shots. The new season though is full of distorted or rushed faces. The new season also has this habit of overabusing the “straight man”-faces. I mean those scenes that focus for seconds on on a heavily exaggerated serious facial expression after something outrageous happened. They’re all surprisingly poorly timed for this series’ standards.
It’s still inspired, though: the ideas behind each episode are definitely interesting, and each episode does have a collection of good jokes amongst the ones that fall flat. I just don’t know whether I can really enjoy this series when I keep comparing it to the classic that it once was. Especially considering how it’ll keep going on for ages. I mean watching this for 26 episodes is okay, but I don’t think that I’ll have the patience to watch 100 more episodes of the caliber of the past six episodes.
Rating: * (Good)