Gintama’ Episode 202
(P.S. This is my first review I am putting up on WordPress *first* after Livejournal has imploded, so I’m still working on the layout and format. I don’t exactly like this WordPress interface.)
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! — I’m taking a look at the first episode of every show from the Spring 2011 anime season that has been subtitled, and giving it a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. For more information about me and my reviews, click here.
Series Premise: Gintama is a weekly televised anime series that aired 201 episodes between 2006 and 2010, based on a very popular and long-running action/comedy manga series. The series returned for a “fifth season” after a year’s absence, starting with episode 202 in April, 2011. Gintoki is a freelance samurai living in a world where Japan was conquered by aliens in the nineteenth century, working with his two friends in a series of odd jobs to pay the rent.
Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:
ep. tl;dr review: Shinpachi returns after a year to find everything has changed…except for him; Too many inside jokes and self-referential humor for the neophyte viewer.
Episode Summary: After parting ways and vowing to return after one year, Shinpachi comes back to discover that two years have passed, and that things have changed much more drastically that he could have ever imagined. Both Gintoki and Kagura have turned into buffed-out serious fighters, chiding Shinpachi for not maturing during the year-long break in episodes. Sadaharu changed into a middle-aged man, with the nub of his former self at the end of his tail. Running away from the Yorozuya, he returns home where he finds his sister is engaged to the leader of the Shinsengumi, and pregnant. Completely blown away, he runs to sea to scream at the sky in disbelief, where he is found by Kyubei…who after some light flirting discovers had a sex change.
My Reaction: Wait a minute…if I have vowed to review all “new” series for the season, then why I am taking the time to review a show that is up to “Episode #202”? Well, because this is the start of a brand new season, even if it is not re-numbered as such. And after a year’s hiatus, it seems the perfect opportunity for the new viewer to get on the Gintama bandwagon.
But if this was supposed to be a way for new viewers to easily get a feel for the show, it didn’t seem to do a good job. I really had no clue who the characters were, what they were doing, or why I would find their jokes funny. I’m sure there were plenty of jokes running fast and furious to someone who is steeped in the history of the show, plenty of in-jokes and running gags that totally flew over my head.
The worst of it comes from Gintama laying down a thick layer of self-referential humor…and now I understand why a well-known anime blogger, The Cart Driver, hates it with such a passion. A little bit of self-referential humor goes a very, very, VERY long way. Yeah, we get it that the characters realize that they are characters in an episodic anime series, and that it’s been off the air for a year. Add on top of that all sorts of references to other shows such as Dragon Ball or One Piece, it got very tiring very fast. The occasional fourth-wall gag is funny; an entire series built around it is not.
I understand the whole point of this “re-introduction” episode was to focus on how Shinpachi is coming back as if nothing has changed…and having to deal with *everything* changed. But since I don’t know anything about the characters at all, I don’t really care.
Also, by screaming the jokes AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE, it does not make them any funnier. I SAID: BY SCREAMING THE JOKES AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE, IT DOES NOT MAKE THEM ANY FUNNIER Ahem. Volume != humor.
Looks to me like I should relegate this one to the rubbish bin like many other “popular” shows that simply aren’t any good at all, such as One Piece or Naruto or Bleach. But I supposed trying to judge a show based on the 202nd episode may not exactly be fair; I should check out some earlier episodes to get a better idea of what it’s all about. All I really learned is that this is not a place for new viewers to start.
- Videos and Previews:
- Additional Info Resources:
- Official United States Licensing Information:
- The Blog-Roll of Reviews:
- “Being new to Gintama, I found it quite refreshing with the art, music and comedy. Yet some found it “not as great as they expected”. As long as you get a great laugh from it then it’s great right?” – Sekijitsu
- “All in all, this is a nice, and rather funny start to Gintama, and I’m rather curious to see where this arc goes from here, or how long its going to be. Either way, nice, funny and hilarious stuff! Welcome back, Gintama! Grade: A+.” – Anime Evo
- “I wasn’t disappointed, and this first episode returned to the level of humor in the earlier episodes of the original show. The jokes have an impeccable sense of timing.” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
- “Overall. If you like the first Gintama, watch it. If you have not watched the first one, watch this one. If you do not like Gintama, shame on you.” – The Dere Moe Project
- “I really have to say that this episode felt much more like the first 100 episodes than the second. It was a really hilarious episode that completely broke the fourth wall in usual Gintama fashion. This is really the Gintama that I’ve been waiting for. The dialogue is again sharp and witty and I loved this episode. Potential: 80%” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “The humor is top-notch, the characters are awesome and the action is really good. Hell, it even has depressing moments, moments of Drama, it has everything. Such an awesome show has returned.” – A Certain Anime Blogspot
SPRING 2011 ROUND ONE RESULTS!
- First Episodes from the Spring 2011 Season receiving a thumbs-up: Steins;Gate, Deadman Wonderland, Hanasaku Iroha, Dog Days, Moshidora, Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai, Tiger and Bunny, Fireball Charming, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, A Channel, Sengoku Otome: Time Paradox, Nichijou, Yondemasu-yo Azazel-san, C – The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, X-Men, Blue Exorcist, Kaiji Season 2, Hyouge Mono, Showa Monogatari
- First Episodes from the Spring 2011 Season receiving a thumbs-down: Sket Dance, Softenni, Happy Kappi, Astarotte’s Toy, Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera, Inazuma Eleven Go, Hidan no Aria, Suzy’s Zoo Daisuki Witzy, Seikon no Qwaser Season 2, The World God Only Knows Season 2, Toriko, Maria Holic Alive, 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku, Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai, Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, Fairy Tail OVA, Plastic Nee-san, Yu-Gi-Oh: Zexal, Nana to Kaoru OVA, Shukufuku no Campanella OVA, Gintama
- Coming up next (in this order – 39 down, 10 to go!): Tono to Issho: Gantai no Yabou, Hen Zemi, Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi, Senjou no Valkyria 3, Honto ni Atta Reibai Sensei, Seitokai Yakuindomo OVA, Amagami SS OVA, Katte ni Kaizou, Detective Conan OVA 11, Asobi ni Iku yo OVA