Courtesan Turns the Tables
For all the times Gintama’s made cracks at its budget, maybe I’ve been blissfully unaware of how much it really SUCKS.
But when the time comes to truly put the cash money where it deserves to be, it might be that other portions will feel just a teeny bit off. Thankfully, with a studio generally as solid as the Gintama staff, moments with minor hiccups only plague in-between scenes where there’s less pressure on the animation or visuals to look spot-on. To be honest, stuff like that? Barely even noticeable. Nobody who’s anybody even cares. Most of the episode is actually surprisingly fluid for Gintama standards, especially the new OP, which manages to have both pretty still-shots and gorgeous animation. Still, kinda sucks that it has to resort to stills.
The only major gripe here is how they cut off most of the preamble to Suzuran’s appearance. Banter and character monologue is the life and soul to this show. Also really funny (!!!). Stuff like that happens when it comes to pacing an episode I guess, and there’s plenty of worse things to cut. Because regardless, we’ve got plenty of time for the voice actors to shine even with the cut content. Because have I mentioned how much I love the voice work that goes into this? The chemistry between Gintoki (Sugita Tomokazu) and Tsukuyo (Kaida Yuko) is damn good with all the bickering they get into.
So here we start, this is the Courtesan of a Nation arc. Beginning right here in humble Yoshiwara, always a handy sign for bigger things to come, as Hinowa introduces the story of the other legendary courtesan Suzuran. With unmatched beauty, she managed to sway even the most powerful figures and gain their favor, enough so that she could supposedly topple a nation with her unprecedented elegance. And now this lady wishes to meet with the savior of Yoshiwara. With Gintoki acting like a total cherry-boy, you can only expect the worst; she has not aged well. Gintoki’s reaction is priceless on its own, though like said, the missing content here would have made the meeting all the better. (!!!!!!!!!)
On the verge of death, Suzuran continues to wait for a man she once made a promise to meet under the cherry blossom, one she hazily re-enacts with Gintoki. Naturally in a place as shady as Yoshiwara, where the men lie for pleasure and the women for money, promises like that are a dime a dozen. And the man in question hasn’t been seen since their night under the moonlight. Thankfully both Gintoki, with the aged courtesan’s hair wrapped around his pinkie in an unbreakable bond, and Tsukuyo, a protector of Yoshiwara and all of its inhabitants, are emotional saps.
Even if they’d never admit it. (⊙‿⊙✿)
So off they are to question a bunch of old lechers for info.
Separately, of course (◡‿◡✿)
Thankfully, Shinpachi and Kagura along with Tsukuyo’s Hyakka bodyguards are around to make the legwork far easier, having already found the likely suspect for the oath breaker. If ya’ve seen the trailer to the arc, it should be more than obvious at this point. With somebody as prestigious as Suzuran, it only makes sense that the man is pretty high up himself. It’s the previous freaking Shogun. And with this revelation, we get an honestly shocking amount of important background information. The 13th Shogun Sadasada, or in other words, the Shogun who came to power during the alien or “Amanto” invasion. Through cooperation with otherworldly visitors, he reestablished the falling government and considering he was in power then, put into place the anti-sword law. The very same law Gintoki has done his very best to break for the past 250 episodes.
Kagura then proves doubly useful, getting the gang into compounds through her long ago formed friendship with Princess Soyo. Uh, man. I felt the same while reading the manga, but wow. She’s… she’s really been gone for a long while, huh? Speaking of bringing people back, here’s the Mimawarigumi in case ya missed them already, protecting the castle as higher ups in the government have been mysteriously killed. And with their elite return, comes the absolutely kickass Mimawarigumi soundtrack, ahahaaa. Beyond that, Sasaki’s total switch with his email persona is a shtick I can get behind, and Nobume feels a little more interesting here than her total non-role during the Thorny arc. She was decent enough back then, but kinda served little more than to give Okita something to do in a story that had nothing to do with him. Here though, she gets to play off new character Rotten Maizou, apparent custodian to Soyo. Conveniently enough I forgot to put him in the above images, but you’ll notice him when you hear him, since his voice actor certainly gets into his role. Way more than I expected, and gotta say, perfect voice for the part.
And then there was the Shogun.
And everything was beautiful.
And nothing hurt.