The brainchild of mangaka Hideaki Sorachi, Gintama is a gem of its sort in the anime industry. The first anime adaptation that began airing on April 4, 2006, spawned a franchise that went on to become the success that it is today, enjoying critical acclaim and reverence from fans who embraced its eccentricity as a comedy series.
With the latest announcement of a new Gintama spin-off series in production, let us take a look at everything that makes it such a legend in comedy anime. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the series and figure out the source of its brilliance.
What makes Gintama so good?
Gintama is a chaotic mess, but only in the very best way.
The series boasts an incredible storyline that manages to coalesce all sorts of emotions and offers viewers a social commentary wrapped under the guise of comedy gold. The parodic disposition of the narrative is not too overbearing, which makes the plotline so much more enjoyable.
A major aspect that contributes to the charm of the series is the fact that the humor in it is specifically catered to the Japanese people. There is a significant amount of heavily cultural references that are sprinkled throughout the narrative. Not to mention the word plays incorporated in the dialogs that are almost impossible to accurately translate.
The humor in it can thus sometimes fall flat when we try to comprehend them through a global lens. However, this issue has been successfully resolved by the brilliant work from the subtitle writers.
The meta-narrative attribute of the story and how it is presented, allows the series to poke fun and laugh not only about contemporary pop culture that includes other popular anime shows, but also about itself as a part of that same culture. And then there is the added fact that the series refuses to take itself seriously at any point, thereby increasing the levity tenfold.
As far as comedy as a genre goes, characterization and acting plays a seminal role in determining its success. Gintama ticks off almost all of the boxes in that regard.
Gintoki is the near perfect vessel to deliver the type of dry humor that the show intends to put forward, backed by the impeccable voice acting of the seiyuu Tomokazu Sugita. Like any other successful anime shows, Gintama will make you emotionally invested in its different character arcs.
Given its unique approach to comedy, added to the fact that its humor doesn’t always travel globally because of the language barrier, not everyone might find Gintama to be their cup of tea. Despite that, every anime fan should attempt a dive into this series, which has proven itself to be a new classic in the anime industry, especially in the comedy genre.
Here is how the series is summarized in the official website of its streaming platform Crunchyroll:
"In a world where aliens have invaded Edo Period Japan, skyscrapers, trains and motor bikes have replaced the simple life of Earth inhabitants. One man however, still carries the soul of a samurai, Gintoki Sakata, otherwise known as Yorozuya Gin-san. As reckless as he is, Gintoki carries his own resolve and is ready to take on any challenge with his fellow companions."