It’s not very often that you get a series that gets better with age. Gintama delivers just that, a comedy much like a fine wine. You know it is really good, you’re just trying to figure out why.
The country of Samurai, at least that’s what we used to call it before the Amanto came. Alien life forms who took over the country, restricting the use of katana making Japan impotent. Now we are left with one of the last samurai, a man named Sakata Gintoki. We follow his story as he gains apprentices Shinpachi and Kagura to help with his business, Yorozuya. An odd jobs business in which they do anything for money. Gintoki, Kagura, and Shinpachi will fight many hard battles, do hard labor, and make many new friends whilst comedy always ensues.
Gintama: A Slow Start
Gintama is one of the best anime/manga to come out of Shounen Jump. Yet why hasn’t it made the move to the U.S? The reason is two-fold, both a slow start as well as a stream of Japanese comedy.
Gintama plays heavily on the characters in its’ story. That’s why it takes close to 200 episodes to introduce every character. Each one gets their own time on screen so you begin to enjoy each and every character. Yet this is also why the first 30 or 40 episodes may seem a bit slow. Introducing everybody one by one is taxing and that’s why comedy is such a heavy factor. But this is where American audiences may get lost. Much like a lot of comedy, it’s topical. So, unless you are familiar with a good amount of anime or other pop culture references you may get left behind.
Despite the downsides that Gintama has, the series has consistently improved and that’s why it keeps getting new seasons. The story has both its serious points as well as comedic breaks, but it’s almost always entertaining. Situations you would never imagine exist making you think almost anything can happen.