Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Nonsensical and Ridiculous in the Best of Ways: "Gintama" | #PAP Review

Gintama (2006)
MAL Top Anime List*: #10
# Episodes watched (so far): 26 out of 201
Will I continue?: Yes
Aired: Apr 4, 2006 to Mar 25, 2010
Followed by: Gintama'
Comedy, Parody, Samurai
The Amanto, aliens from outer space, have invaded Earth and taken over feudal Japan. As a result, a prohibition on swords has been established, and the samurai of Japan are treated with disregard as a consequence.
However one man, Gintoki Sakata, still possesses the heart of the samurai, although from his love of sweets and work as a yorozuya, one might not expect it. Accompanying him in his jack-of-all-trades line of work are Shinpachi Shimura, a boy with glasses and a strong heart, Kagura with her umbrella and seemingly bottomless stomach, as well as Sadaharu, their oversized pet dog. Of course, these odd jobs are not always simple, as they frequently have run-ins with the police, ragtag rebels, and assassins, oftentimes leading to humorous but unfortunate consequences.
Who said life as an errand boy was easy?
The top anime on MAL (currently) is the latest sequel to Gintama. Originally, I tried watching that. I got 7 minutes into the episode (seven hilarious minutes) before I established that I should watch the original series to fully appreciate it.

Which is how I made my way to the #10 seed, Gintama (2006). 

Gintama is the sort of anime I have a trouble keeping up with... because it has no story arc (so far) to carry the "plot", just nonsensical episodes on episodes that don't really connect unless they joke on past episodes events.

The series revolves around Gintoki, Kagura and Shimura. The description of their job is "odd jobs" - they will literally do anything for money (but they're so outrages it usually ends badly, so they're constantly broke). The anime relies and the dynamics between them, which are ridiculous to watch. A bit like a dysfunctional family.

It's extreme funny (though, just from the first episode of the sequel I can determine that one is even funnier) and you spend most of the episodes baffled and going WTF, but with a teasing smile at the corner of your mouth as your brain tries to figure out what's going on and then decides it's just not worth the headache.

It also relies on references and 'inside jokes'. I don't always get the references (I am not that knowledgeable about popular anime, especially in the last few years), but those I did get kind of killed me.

The strength of Gintama is that I can put it aside when I don't feel up to it (and when there's no overall plot to suck me in, I usually don't feel up to it) and pick it up again when I need a pick-me-up without having to re-watch any of the episodes prior to it.

I will definitely keep up with this show, but it might take me years to finish it - it will all depend on when I'm "in the mood" for random nonsense.

*The number detailed here is accurate to the time this post was written on. 
**The # is also based on the anime page and not the list, as MAL's Top List has a general view that includes movies, OVAs and the likes and a narrowed list of just the Anime. I go by the narrowed list, but the anime page goes by the general. 

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