Posted by psgels on 9 May 2011 with categories: Spring 2011 Kaleidoscope



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)

12 Responses

  1. rufe says:

    The major arcs are, I think, still top class. In particular there is a major arc involving Otose coming up which I enjoyed reading quite a bit. Some of the other jokes are indeed not as good as before.

  2. Tomphile says:

    I agree, while it is a good series, it’s nowhere near as good as the first season. Then again, it might be a case of rose-tinted nostalgia.
    By the way check out my blog where I review anime.
    http://aniphiles.wordpress.com

  3. Taka says:

    Gintama has always been formulaic. As soon as all the supporting characters were cemented there formula has been:
    1. think up some absurd situation. like everyone is turned into cats
    2. Add various supporting characters
    3. Let those supporting characters behave in well-established patterns

    Pretty much rinse and repeat. Add more characters if situation is not crazy enough. It’s formulaic but to me it’s a formula that works. I will agree that this episode bore striking similarities to previous episode but I’m sure as soon as we get to a major arc the show will be in top form. I really don’t think you can get as much enjoyment out of the show if you don’t enjoy the serious arcs as well. Sure it’s got moments of comedic genius but the serious arcs I think are what really endears the audience to the characters.

  4. Anon says:

    I disagree. The new season is as awesome as always

  5. zangetsukakashi says:

    yo psgels
    there aren’t many comedies out there really, and even if u find, like u said, gintama ranks at top 5.. even if some episodes aren’t worth it, some are. it’s a brilliant show seeing that u can laugh at least once an episode after 200 episodes. so i’d say watch it at spare times, don’t drop it, and when u find a really good episode, just blog it..that’s what i think.

  6. I really laughed a lot at the whole being at don quijote joke. . .don quijote is the name of a famous chain store in Japan, pretty much the walmart of Japan, except that its Japan and they have this silly theme song playing 24/7 and an even sillier mascot. . . if you’ve never lived or been in Japan for a long period of time then you probably wouldn’t get that joke which was long running at the end. . .I found it fking hilarious especially since they changed the theme song around to make it even sillier.(probably due to liscensing issues but still)

  7. Rena says:

    I also stopped following a bit after the first 100 episodes and watched randomly chosen episodes for the last half so I understand what you mean. This episode wasn’t really enjoyable, especially the second half but if I can still laugh somewhere after 100 or so episodes I guess they must be doing something right. I’m hoping there will be more development on the main characters and the ex-comrades coming up!

  8. m says:

    I’ve read the manga for what seems like forever now and watch the anime, because it has a good delivery and the odd original story here and there. I don’t think it’s really depreciated any, but I probably don’t obtain the same amount of enjoyment from each installment as I did when it was new to me. The running gags remain amusing to me, because they are often spaced out for characters not in the core cast. Sa-chan in particular barely appears anymore, and when she does the story usually has nothing to do with her. So you’ve essentially picked her two minutes in the sun to flay her for being a running gag.

  9. fanty says:

    Gintama’s quality has never decreased. It’s just as awesome as ever.

  10. rufe says:

    BTW the punch-line for this arc is a huge WTF moment. I noticed some foreshadowing in this episode which was quite funny. I wonder if they plan humor for people who have read the manga already…

    I wonder how much of this humor (like Don Quijote) is too Japan specific. This week’s Sket Dance had “Naita Aka-oni” which everybody in Japan read growing up (think “very hungry caterpillar”), but nobody over here knows. I’m curious if export is a major consideration (I know Gintama jokes about this all the time, but…)

  11. nick says:

    I agree that this episode and 208 are extremely weak episodes; probably the worst ones I’ve seen so far. A sarutobi-centered episode is ridiculous and the idea of making the whole “I got new glasses, I can’t see and it’s all Gintoki’s fault” is complete idiocy on the writer’s part. Plus the “punishers” on episode 208 was over the top silly-even by Gintama standards. The first three episodes were so good that I’m amazed by the sudden drop in plot. Hopefully the Otose arc should get the flow going.

  12. orange says:

    Not sure if you’re still watching, but episode 208 is completely WTF. I’ll admit that the start of this miniarc was pretty drab, but god damn.

    That ending was so… I don’t even know. lol

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