Gintama: Courtesan of a Nation

Pinky Swear


I hadn’t realized ’til earlier this week that I’d never put up my Episode 260 post. But really… it’s probably for the best. Watching the 260 and 261 near back to back helped put a cap on my feelings on the short yet exceedingly large Courtesan of a Nation arc.

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Gintama Episode 257

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.

Or not.

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.

Kintama 2 – 4, Gintama 254 – 256, Mantama 1

Kintoki and Gintoki

Kin-san’s Kintama

The Meaning of a Main Character

Okay, first off, scratch talkin’ about reruns, cause long run wise that’s just gonna be a hassle for me. But let’s get ourselves an effortless retrospective (I except very little retrospecting to occur) going on with the torrid of Gintama that I haven’t gone over yet; the rest of the Kintama arc which happens to be so VERY Gintama.

I’ve seen main character jokes here and there in gag series, even in Gintama’s little brother show Sket Dance, but the extent which it takes the joke is almost a marvel. I have sort of an odd flashback to the Popularity Poll arc (episodes 182-184). Based on the common held practice within the industry to have readers vote in their favorite characters. The anime studio took a few liberties upon reaching the material due to its medium specific nature and truly made the arc it’s own, which is the vibe I’m getting here with Kintama. It’s unique even in the comedy genre, and they totally run with it. They take the joke and run the ENTIRE marathon, and it is a buttload of fun.

Coincidentally both arcs feature the very best in anime intro use no lie.

And in near surprise, unlike Gintama’s previous return to the airwaves, they play it mostly straight. Kintoki, the machine built to to takes the position of leader in the Yoruzuya, presents himself as a legitimate threat, playing the all knowing villain and playing it well. It’s practically a parody of other stuff like Bleach actually, although with a little more emotion involved. And when it comes down to any even remotely serious story, Gintama finds its strengths in executing the conventional through the charm and history of it’s characters.

In fact, this is why’d I argue Kintama is the perfect way to illustrate Gintama, and why it fits as a return to the show for the longtime viewers. It takes back to the argument you hear occasionally when Gintama pops up, how some wish that the show actually focused on its intermittent “serious” stints, where the skew between the shows comedy and drama/action is sent topsy-turvy and all “whooooooooa” like. Yet the uncommon nature of these arcs is a lot of why Gintama’s charm work. Here are a bunch of characters who you’ve had the chance to experience in their natural everyday situations, which may just happen to get kinda ridiculous! They become people you know and love in a whole variety of ways and through their many facets. So when the stakes DO finally reach for the ‘oh geez this is kinda SUPER SERIOUS now’, the impact of their actions is multiplied tenfold.

Kintama is perhaps the epitome of this. It gives us a bunch of the main cast in their natural everyday, and reminds us why we enjoy them on a regular basis. Gintoki really steals the show with most of his scenes, but even moments such as the conversations between Otae and Kyubei, Sa-chan and Tsukuyo, Hasegawa and Katsura, these people are the reason why Gintama is so enjoyable. So as the situation does grow more SERIOUS in nature, the viewers who have grown with the characters do feel that important connection through the shared history with them. All 60 DVD volumes worth of it. You could get into a discussion of the nature of long-running shows here, which is kinda interesting in and of itself, but I ain’t articulate enough for somethin’ like that right now.

Plus it’s all done pretty hilariously. (the BEST intros, why does nobody else do this, do other studios do this?)

As far as side notes go, it’s cool to have a demonstration of how strong the female cast is, and not just in the character sense. Which. Which is kinda… tragically overshadowed sometimes thanks to Gintama’s huge yaoi-schmuck fanbase? It’s almost like when I see a single gif of Tsukuyo or Kyubei, I’m reminded tumblr isn’t actually a website for smut only? Cultural barriers also in full force with ULTRA SOUL, but on the whole scale of scabbards and swords, losing that one joke is negligible. It makes Episode 2/254 perhaps the weakest of the bunch, but that’s overall not too weak at all. Since after all, this arc is an example of what makes Gintama tick and tock!

I’ll be back with Gintama again when a new episode airs, hopefully with less muddled thoughts.

Thus. Another shoddy promise that may or may not be kept.

A Man’s Sword

Nailed it.

Autumn 2012: Round Two!

Fighto! >o<

In all seriousness, now that we’ve seen almost everything, here’s the finalised version of who’s covering what, with, rather spectacularly, almost every good show being covered this season.

Alex, after removing all his jokes,  is covering Sword Art Online, Magi, Little Busters

Mimi,currently overjoyed with her new headphones, is covering Shin Sekai Yori, K and Sukitte Ii na yo.

Dusk, won her quest for justice, is covering PYSCHO-PASS, Tonari no Kaibutsu-Kun and Jormungand 2

Doofus, recently exposed as a tsundere, is covering Hunter x Hunter, Gintama 2012 and Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure (Triple helping of Doofus, everyone!)

Liam, after baking everyone a nice cake, is covering Zetsuen no Tempest

Justin, living happily ever after in Canadaland, is covering Space Brothers and Code:Breaker

First Impressions: Kintama

Nobody With Natural Straight Hair Can Be That Bad


Nobody With Straight Blond Hair Can Be That Good

 In the land of the Samurai, somebody totes just got their lead character position stolen. Gintama is back on air, and the world spins on.

So this show. This show right here is ridiculous. And at 250 episodes, it knows exactly how to play itself. For those who pretty much don’t know anything about Gintama, it’s a gag anime at heart. Where 80% of the time it’s all about vulgar jokes, parodies upon parodies, and making fun of sponsors, and 20% of the time it’s touching, thrilling, and more vulgar jokes. It’s pretty cool, and you can be cool too with the easy one step program of just watching it. Incredible.

Since this is a first impression, I won’t say all that much this time, but if Gintama was up your alley before now, yeah, this is Gintama at it’s best. An Ashita no Joe parody even made it in there for this return, and the studio keeps showing how much they love the show between making altered openings and endings, and editing information online to replace Gintoki with Kintoki! Keep watching. I don’t honestly expect to convince somebody to watch this with it’s massive episode count, but hey, it’s been a favorite for a while now. I’ll be blogging it for the fun of it.

yeeeees I made it through this without making the “this show is really kintama” joke. you can keep it up me. Ganbare me.