The series revolves around your four main characters: Gintoki, the ex-samurai; Kagura, the alien with superhuman strength; Shinpachi, the empty dojo running nerd; and Sadaharu, a freakishly large dog. An unlikely quartet, really, but that’s what makes it work. The dialogue amongst themselves and the shit they do to each other is amazing.
Gintama, for all intents and purposes, is an episodic comedy. Sure, there are the occasional “arcs,” but those are a dime a dozen. The comedy is where this anime shines. You know those silent issues of comics? Well, imagine the opposite of that and in anime form: all the dialogue taking place on a single frame. Within that one frame, the trio talks about how shitty their ratings are and for sure they’re not going to get picked up for another season, all the while bringing up how they need to save Sunrise money so they’ll be doing more episodes like this. They do get picked up for another season, obviously, but how often do you see an anime make fun of itself to that extent. Breaking the fourth wall is just the beginning. Gintama also exhibits a slew of other forms of comedy: slapstick, parody, gags, crude humor (not as bad as Prison School, though). Anything you can think of, Gintama will have it. To further shine the light, Gintoki is actually a play on words for silver balls. Yes, those kind of balls.
The animation is top-notch. For them saying that their ratings are so bad and they have to cut back on costs, they sure do know how to pump out something that is easy on the eye. That’s not to say that the scenery is realistic looking, but everything looks great overall. The action sequences are some of the best I’ve seen. Episode 180 is a prime example. Gintoki is fighting the enemy of an arc and during the battle the color shifts to some of the most beautiful black and white you’ll ever see. The lines, the shadows, the amount of detail, everything is just gorgeous.
If you listened to the latest episode of our podcast, Super S - Anime Podcast, you may have heard me mention how I want to rewatch it. Well, now that I’ve written this review, I REALLY want to rewatch it. This thing got me through plenty of hours at my old job. The least I can do is thank it by rewatching it.
Look, what it really boils down to is this one thing: watch the anime. You won’t regret it.
Seasons 1, 2 and 3 Streamable on Crunchyroll