It’s finally here! OMG! The final stretch. The moment that I have been ‘fearing’ the most. Because it’s the final chapters of Gintama! Oh no! I have to face reality that all good things must come to an end. That time has come. At least for Gintama: Silver Soul Arc. It is going to be one hell of an epic finale with all the characters coming back for one last hurrah as they defend Earth and their beloved Edo from the hands of those who want to really destroy it.

The Defence Of Edo

Who watches the watchmen – The Liberation Army, a group of Amanto who are supposed to fight for Earth from Tendoshu’s destruction is now harassing Earthlings in the name of justice. They think they are entitled to everything because they’re helping them. Jerks.

Penny for your thoughts – If you have been laughing at Hasegawa for trying to collect every damn penny he could find, you won’t be laughing now that you see his vast collection of full jars and pots of those pennies. Because he is going to use them for a job request at Yorozuya. Well, if they ever come back.

Even God has abandoned Earth – Heck, there are more requests for Yorozuya to help save them. The last dependable people to rely on. Sorry, God. Nobody prays to you anymore.

Guess who’s back? – Just like heroes arriving in the nick of time for their grand entrance, our Yorozuya dudes have returned from space! Rejoice!

Kabukichou Khaos – All our weirdoes from this district join force to show the Liberation Army who’s boss. Those bullies don’t even stand a chance when it comes to the real deal.

It’s all about faeces value – Nobunobu decides to do some good and negotiate with the leader of the Liberation Army, Admiral Shijaku. The only reason why Nobunobu sounds threatening like as though he has a secret weapon ready to bomb the sh*t out of them is because he has a terrible stomach ache and is forced to hold in for this ‘important’ negotiation. Thanks to them on different pages, Shijaku agrees to cooperate with them and back down the aggression of his men on Earth. Such a stomach churning negotiations that I hope nobody craps in their pants. Oops, too late…

Naraku strikes back – Utsuro has also begun to move and begins his plan to die along with this planet. Hence his Naraku team has been dispatched to kill everybody. Oh, did I mention they cannot be killed and revive like zombies? How the heck are they going to die then?!

Infinity war – Prince Ensho, Shijaku’s other ally in the Liberation Army shows the shocking truth that Tendoshu are all dead. Or at least they are kept in some suspended animation. Ensho wants the war to continue because if it ends, where will all those who have lost everything vent their anger and frustration? Everything could have ended but there will be no end for them. Hence this endless war will allow them to remain on the battlefield.

All odds against you – How can you even fight Utsuro when you have to deal with his undead army as well as the Liberation Army? Yeah, plot device says too early for our heroes to win. Ensho is bombarding Edo and our Yorozuya are reduced to running away. Now they are cornered by heavy tank machinery, is this the end?

The police are back – Blame plot convenience again. But I guess we’re all so glad the Shinsengumi are back and packed with more power, political influence and weaponry to kickass!

Raw power – Behold Kondou’s true power and form! His birthday suit! Until he steps on his own dick. I don’t even… I guess some things never changed…

Rambo who? – Who the f*ck is this Rambo dude? New character? Nope. YAMAZAKI!!!!!!!!!! So badass that everybody looks up to him too????!!!! So this Rambo form is his true form and that scrawny Yamazaki was just his ‘heavy t-shirt’?

Gorilla who? – Apparently Kondou’s true form is a gorilla… WTF… Is this some kind of joke like that ‘heavy t-shirt’?!

World’s largest dick – That cannon Gengai made sure resembles a penis. Is this some dick joke? What dick move is he going to make?

Rise and fall of the machines – Apparently to power up this huge machine, the power of Tama and Kintoki are needed. So when all the electricity of Edo is zapped just for this one moment, then nothing happens? The real threat is not the cannon but the little nanomachines that Gengai has created. These will infiltrate into all other machines as viruses and cause them to fail. But at a great cost of sacrificing Tama and Kintoki? Now that the machines have done their part and becoming junk, it’s up to humanity now to save Earth.

Last bastion – More Amanto reinforcements as their numbers swell. They even have the reinforcements of the other great warrior tribes like the Yato, Dakini and Shinra. Kabukichou becomes the final strong fort for our heroes to hold out before their reinforcements arrive.

Stealth – With Sakamoto and Nobunobu thrown back into prison, their only hope is for Katsura and his Joi rebels to get them out via stealth. Too bad too much stealth has them being captured as zoo exhibits by Hata.

Size does matter – WTF?! Now we have a flashback of Hata’s Okoku clan?! At this point in the series?! Anyway, there was a dispute between who should be the next ruler and in this world, those with bigger dicks on their head are more favourable. Yes, those antennas on their forehead are like akin to penis. Hence there was a faction between Hata who has a bigger dick but talentless and Barkas who has a smaller dig but is talented. Eventually Barkas left the throne to Hata thinking a kind king like him would benefit the country at peaceful times.

The hidden dick – Guess what? Shijaku is Barkas! Yeah, his tiny dick made it possible to hide it, eh?

The dick king returns – Guess what again? The eldest prince with the biggest dragon sized dick thought to be dead, still lives! In Elizabeth?! And this dick talks?! Not sure about this flashback of Dragonia instead of dying in an accident, lost his memories, met Elizabeth’s tribe and somewhat fused with it. I guess Earth now at least has an ally to fight against the Liberation Army. Nothing is scarier than bringing dicks into the battlefield.

Ball breaker – If it’s bad enough Gintoki somehow losing his balls (literally!) in the midst of the battlefield, here comes Saigo crushing balls of Amano and Dakini! Sure kill!

To take down a raging bull – The Dakini tribe is sure tough. Especially their big boss who is tougher than an elephant and rhinoceros’ skin combined and more stubborn than a mule. And for him to finally be killed, it literally took the might and cooperation of literally everyone. From Yorozuya to Otae’s girls to Kyuubei’s family and even Tsukuyo’s geishas.

Will the real doctor please stand up – The Shinra tribe takes the women hostages as they want our heroes to hand over the doctor who created the cannon so they could stop it and make the machines work again. So will Gengai give himself in? Not if every Tom, Dick and Harry in town proclaim they are the doctor!

The boss returns – Jirocho and Pirako. The more the merrier, right?

Changing the tide – I suppose when you have a bunch of weirdoes being this stubborn not to give in and fight and fight and fight, now the Liberation Army is sent retreating with tails between their legs.

Flower power – Who’d knew that Hedoro was the strongest Dakini in his time but gave up the battlefield just to plant flowers? And now that you Amanto trampled on his flower, he won’t forgive you. Watch out! Because his punch really sends you flying!

In high spirits – Looks like the shikigami and demons are joining in too. Thankfully they’re on our heroes’ side, right? Right?! Well, let’s see who the fastest runners are.

Please don’t pluck the flower – Oops. Too late. Gintoki accidentally yanks Hedoro’s flower… Will humanity be able to stand the tsukkomi that his split personality has to give?

Peace and pandemonium – It’s great our Edo boys and girls are united and resting after a hard day’s fight to drive out the Liberation Army. But can Gedomaru stop feeding everyone those hideous looking Pandemonium bread?!

Missing old man – Gengai has been captured by the Amanto and they want him to turn off the nanomachines.

First contact – Soyo receives a transmission from Nobunobu. It’s been like ages since the war started.

Mix trail – Trying to find the trail that leads to where Gengai is kidnapped. Nope. Only sh*t and ass blood trail to leads that don’t matter.

Judgment Day On Earth

It can’t be stopped – It seems even though Gengai doesn’t know how to stop the nanomachines, Ensho already has another ace up his sleeve. He has started to warm up that Kagutsuchi cannon that will obliterate all on Earth within 6 hours. Yeah, blast it out of the sky. Or universe, rather. He is going to sacrifice his comrades on Earth just for this so the desperate Liberation Army has no choice but to continue their assault to take down the nanomachine virus or bring Edo down.

Star Wars – Hata and Hasegawa’s petty argument accidentally sparked a space laser battle from all sides! It has begun!

Late to the party – Looks like Takasugi is joining the fray. Better late than never. Because nobody gets to destroy Earth but him! Don’t worry about him on which side he is siding. He is everyone’s enemy!

Kiheitai origins – Not really told in full scope but at least it gives us an idea how the main guys of Takasugi’s group came to be and how they were ‘born’ to destroy the world and the universe. And the irony is that they’re looking like they’re trying to save it from destruction.

Word of the shogun – Nobunobu must have really done some deep thinking as he realizes the people who often come to the aid to save the country are those labelled as rebels or traitors. He gives his promise to never betray them ever again. He will fight alongside them as rebels.

Internal feud – After Kagura saves Gengai from the Yato, they deem her a traitor of their race. Good for her, Kamui and his Harusame Yato are on a side and hence a big brawl among the Yato to see which is the real Yato.

Sibling feud – I guess it was inevitable. Kamui and Kagura start fighting among each other and the poor Yato dude got caught in between. He must have balls of steel to be kicked around like that!

The big boss has finally arrived! – Utsuro has joined the fray! Now apocalypse can begin.

Power up – Looks like Utsuro conveniently makes Altana go berserk right now so that when it hits back at Kagutsuchi, the destruction will also affect other parts of the galaxy!

Making haste – Ensho orders all energy to be redirected to Kagutsuchi. In the process of killing their allies and enemies in parts of the ship, Kagutsuchi is now set to fire in 15 minutes.

Delaying for a miracle – Looks like the body count for our ‘heroes’ will be starting right now. Kihetai who are last to the party has lots of their men sacrificed. To buy time for Takasugi to cut through the main power source and stop Kagutsuchi, Henpeita crashes his ship while Bansai fights back with his last ounce of strength against the heavily guarded central command.

Running man – More Ensho flashback. He looked envious the women he loved married his brother. So when the brother went on a trip to sign a treaty, they were ambushed and Ensho let him die. After his death, Ensho took in his wife. However he is still running away from her all this time and only in a battle between life and death can he forget that.

The longest cut – Can you believe Takasugi’s sword could cut through the entire core of the cannon? It’s a long way down…

It takes life to protect a life – Mutsu and Elizabeth take lethal damage from Ensho as they protect Sakamoto and Katsura respectively.

Death battle – Well it looks like it is Enso versus Sakamoto-Katsura-Takasugi combo. Lots of blood spilled. Lots of damage taken. And these tough dudes can still get up and fight? Will the one with the stronger will win?

Unarmed – Looks like the fight is decided after Takasugi cuts off Enso’s arm (the other arm got blown off). So Takasugi can claims the spoils of the fight? Now you can die in peace.

Change of heart, change of fate – Just when Ensho decides to give up and surrender, a disgruntled henchman shoots him, not happy that if they stop fighting, what about all those who fought and died? What have they been fighting for?

The last shogun – Unfortunately some of the stray bullets also hit Nobunobu. Dying shogun has his last words for everybody. Stop the hatred, make peace, live on. The world can stand up and lead itself and doesn’t need a ruler anymore. Ah yes. Even if it is for a short while, it made him worthy of the shogun title. Goodbye Nobunobu :’(.

The Final Boss Battle

Calm before the storm – Thanks to the priestess sisters, they have been going around calming the Altana berserk. But with Sadaharu joining in and using up his life force for this…

Of the dead – Undead Naraku goons try to stop our heroes. Don’t worry, there is one guy left who is really late to join the fray: Umibouzu’s back! Is there any more left who wants to make their very late entrance?

Opening up old wounds – Do we have time for this? Umibouzu and Kamui continuing their family feud in this critical time? Kagura, you go tell ‘em!

Kryptonite – Apparently those are what those Altana crystals that Umibouzu collected all over the universe are. He experimented on researched on it to find a way to nullify Utsuro and Naraku’s immortality and made several weapons out of it. If that’s the case, they aren’t immortal in the first place, right?

Gotta save ‘em all – Shijaku orders Hata to destroy the mothership that they are all in since if it crashes into Earth, everything will be done for. Not if Hasegawa has something to say about it. He is going to save everybody. So as an immigration officer he is going to let everyone in?

Influence of an unemployed man – If Hata’s puny army barrier isn’t enough to stop the crashing mothership, don’t worry, they have reinforcements in the form of the Liberation Army. Grateful that they are even thinking about saving the lives of their enemies, now they are throwing their support behind them. All thanks to Hasegawa who answers to no authority and just do as he pleases without taking any responsibility. Too bad he has no power, money, influence or a job. That is why he is unemployed.

Doggone it! – Sadaharu risking his life just to calm the main Altana leyline down. He is defenceless, who is coming to his aid? Oh, you know. The usual suspects. He is after all Yorozuya’s pet dog.

Utsuro vs everybody – Why does this feel like Thanos versus everybody? How many are going to die just to take him down? So aside from cutting down the small fries in the Shinsengumi and Yato. The big guns like Umibouzu, Kamui, Kondou, Hijikata, Sougou are all having a hard time bringing down this monster.

It’s in your blood – Utsuro’s regeneration starts slowing down, enabling Shinpachi to deal the first lethal blow. His previous bout with Gintoki, the Yorozuya boss purposely threw Altana crystals into his eyes (hence into his bloodstream) after stabbing the Altana crystal sword into his eyes didn’t work.

Soul for the future – Think Sadaharu can’t last any longer? Not if everybody chips in to channel part of their soul as fuel.

Fear thy humans – Utsuro is looking pretty scared for an immortal. His beliefs of humans being cruel and cowardly foolish creatures crushed. Turning him into one big confused mess that they keep continue to fight against the hopelessness and weaknesses.

Power combo – Yeah, all our main characters had their fair share in beating the crap out of Utsuro.

Lonely death – So did Utsuro decide to finally just kill himself by jumping into the Altana and not take the foolish humans with him? So that’s it for him? Okay. He claims they have chosen endless wars and suffering but too bad he won’t be around to see it ;p.

Crash of the century – Kagutsuchi crashes onto Edo. Wow. Did the debris just miss everyone?

2 Years’ Time Skip

Rebuilding Edo – Time skip to 2 years later, Edo is slowly being rebuilt and the normalcy and familiarity of daily life with Amanto returning.

The new Gintoki – OMG! What’s this?! Shinpachi takes over Gintoki’s role and now kicks ass?! Oops. False alarm. He got his ass kicked instead.

Saving a dog – In the aftermath, Sadaharu turned into a really small pup that you would mistake as gachapon. Kagura leaves Earth to go planet hoping to return Sadaharu back to normal.

Madao rising – What’s this?! Hasegawa is now a famous flashy (but trashy) movie star and is considered a hero samurai?! Yeah, can’t wait till that fake samurai history movie is released…

It happened… – Think it is forever a running joke that Kondou will never marry Otae? Guess what?! They are! OMFG! Is this really happening?! Kondou now a stay-home dad after resigning from Shinsengumi and Otae is pregnant with his child?! F*cking fake news because this is what happened: He married a real gorilla as a political marriage. He is just staying with Otae to hone his homemaking skills and Otae’s tummy is just because she is getting fat.

The daughter you never knew you had – Gengai created a small child-like version of Tama, Tamako and contains part of Tama who is still in comatose state. She keeps following Shinpachi as though he is her father.

Illegal loli possession – Because of that, Shinpachi is charged for illegal possession of a loli?! WTF kind of law is that now???!!!

New police brutality – Haven’t you heard? Nobume is now the new general commissioner of the police in a bid to protect Soyo from the old bakufu foxes. Seems she is enjoying her power pretty well…

Donald Zuramp – All hail the new Prime Minister of Japan! Katsura!!! Yeah, this country is doomed!

Impeach!!! – More like assassins trying to get Katsura on the first day! Actually they were arranged by Matsudaira! Can’t have an ex-rebel leading the country, eh? Even though it was his fault to make a shady deal to turn Katsura into a PM, thinking he wouldn’t have lived this long.

Transporter – Now Shinpachi is caught in between. He is forced to deliver money from Matsudaira to buy arms from a black market dealer (Mutsu???!!!) for a hired assassin. Turns out the ultimate weapon is a loli Kagura. You mean Kanna is Kagura’s daughter???!!!!

Old friends, old rivals again? – Gintoki stumbles into Takasugi in his travel and after a short bout, he notices Takasugi’s wounds heal up instantly. Sure that’s not a ghost?

Never let a cancer cell escape because if you do… – As Gintoki is interrogated by Hijikata, the latter mentions that 2 years ago after the crash of Kagutsuchi, not only Takasugi was missing but the bodies of Tendoshu. You see, even if they are corpses, they still contain Utsuro’s blood. Uh oh. You know what this means? There are also rumours that Tendoshu is slowly reviving and are making small terrorist attacks to claim back Altana. Could it be that Takasugi has absorbed their blood too? But it is too early to tell his motives because he might have some unfinished business too.

Mobcop – If you’re wondering the sudden introduction of this Robocop spoof character trying to act like a main character, a character that nobody would care nor remember anyhow, behold the twist that this cyborg is actually Yamazaki!!!! Forgotten all about him, have you?!

Banana is my daddy – No joke. Kanna explains why she is Kagura’s legitimate daughter. She ate too much banana and puked out a child! Ah, at least no dirty thoughts were conceived. Were there?!

Just by a different name – Oh, the assassin Matsudaira hired is no other than… Sougou! Time to test the ultimate weapon or get revenge for an old grudge? So did the disbanded Shinsengumi now turned mafia?

They grow up so fast – In the heat of the battle, Kanna grows up to become… Kagura?! Or was it Kagura all along but just trolling us? She grows even faster when she uses up all her powers and now turns into grandma! And a sob story of how she travelled to different worlds to save Sadaharu but to no avail. Still a little small pup stuck in a marble.

Finding Sensei…

Everyone one chasing you – It seems Naraku is chasing after Gintoki because he is in possession of something very valuable. Even Takasugi wants it.

Piece of your heart – So that thing in Gintoki’s possession…. Utsuro’s heart. Or rather Shouyou’s.

The travels of Gintoki – When Utsuro told Gintoki during his final moments this won’t end and how they saved the world but not Shouyou, Gintoki knew Utsuro would one day revive due to the massive Altana he is made from. So he travelled to every leylines to check for any strange happenings. One whereby a priest thought it was some animal corpse but it quickly grew into a baby. Gintoki took the baby but hesitated to kill him. The baby then grew into a boy and followed him everywhere mindlessly without saying or expressing anything. In the boy’s final moments, he remembered he was Shouyou and before Naraku could take him, he gauged out his heart and entrusted it to Gintoki. The remnants of Naraku have been attempting to bring back Utsuro since.

Temporary immortality – When Takasugi went to destroy Tendoshu on board the mothership, he was killed off. He saw the Liberation Army salvaging the Tendoshu’s parts. In fear of the cycle repeating itself, Takasugi used his last ounce of energy to stab his school seniors’ ashes into his heart, enabling him temporary immortality. But now it seems that is breaking apart. For these past years, Takasugi has been trying to weed out those who have stolen the parts but it has spread far too wide.

Religion in war – In times of war, people cling on to religion as their last shred of hope. Hence Naraku has been slowly spreading the faith of immortality underneath this guise and awaiting for another comeback as they want Earth’s Altana all to themselves. They have kept Utsuro’s body and the crux that will revive him is his heart. Once that happens, who will be your true saviour?

Edo once more – Yeah, that’s where Shouyou’s body is and the next target of the terrorists.

Mobile Cathedral Kuyo – Apparently this is where this cult is located and where Shouyou is located. An invisible base that cannot be detected or seen by the naked eye hovering above Earth right now.

The mannequin challenge – We take a detour to see how Gintoki, Hijikata and Yamazaki had to act like mannequin to hide from Otae shopping. Expect some mannequin abuse and then dump away.

The pretender – In order to look for Takasugi, Gintoki masquerades at him only to be caught by Ayame who is looking for Gintoki because she still hasn’t given up on marrying him. He is forced to go along with her plan to ‘look for Gintoki’ and in his one chance to get away from her, he screws up and ends up doing the mannequin challenge again. Only this time he somehow put on Kyuubei’s pantsu as disguise. WTF…

MILF treatment – The ladies ‘torture’ ‘Takasugi’ by making old ladies pleasure him to tell the truth. Now he his soul has been cleansed! Except for boobs on his mind…

Home is where the heart is – With all the ladies earnestly hoping Gintoki could come home and that they could walk aside him once more, time for Gintoki to escape and rethink his plans.

Scam Trial…

Kangaroo court in session – And suddenly we have Gintoki as the judge residing to do a Gintama Ending Scam Court and explain how this sh*t started 3 years ago. With lots of troubles, unforeseen circumstances and ad hoc emergency measures, we are where we are right now. And there is no ending still in sight!

Guilty as charged – The biggest crook who is guiltiest of them all is no other than the creator and mangaka of this series! Guilty as charged, Gorilla sensei!

All charges dropped – After a longwinded letter that doesn’t prove anything (but a possible sequel. Maybe), Gintoki finds him not guilty!

Gintama Final: End Of Sky – This better not be another scam!!!!!!!!!!!

Battlefield Earth
And they did it again! If the anime seemed like it hasn’t ended yet (really, it has not at all), that’s because the manga that is supposed to end, hasn’t really ended yet! Good news?! Because somehow the creator screwed up (even writing a flimsy letter explaining to fans) and hence it isn’t ending any time soon. Hooray?! So I guess after all these years of expecting the series to finally end, they trolled us yet again with this. Yeah, we really had been had this time real good. Since I am a fan of the series, I can sigh a big relief as there is a possibility that the anime might continue to pick up where it left off. Hallelujah?! I’ve got a feeling that Gintama and Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan had a hand in this conspiracy together…

This ‘final season’ in many ways was as good as the previous seasons and sometimes I felt it was like one of those cliché Dragonball episodes. You know, where the fight lasts for dozens of episodes! Hence with the final stretch having our beloved characters fighting to defend their beloved planet they are born in, basically this is what the entire Silver Soul arc is really about. Just one big long fight against the big bad boss who wants to destroy everything. Though, it felt a bit anti-climactic when Utsuro just ‘suddenly gave up’ because I was expecting some sort of final boss fight to last for a few more episodes. Yeah, probably we were getting tired of seeing our protagonists running around and beating up endless waves of baddies (doesn’t it feels like a video game?) and no ending in sight.

Hence I thought it was also a bit odd that with the ‘early’ death of Utsuro, we have a few more episodes dedicating to the time skip. Yeah, I thought it was going to be the longest tying up ever. Because you know, it’s Gintama. It has grown so big so it needs a lot of episodes to tie up and end everything. And then it turns out to be another new plot in the making. Another final battle and act on the cards. They do sure know how to troll us. Especially with that last episode. Boy, when we think the final episode wasn’t going to really cut it, suddenly it’s like they read our minds and put up that ‘explanation’. Oh yeah. Gintama. The masters of trolling. Gotta hand it to them. After all, some series can only end for real when it has final in its season. Like Fairy Tail Final Season, Nodame Cantibile: Finale, Shakugan No Shana Final, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu: Finale, Inu Yasha: Kanketsu-hen (Final Arc), Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan: Kanketsu-hen, Initial D Final Stage, Jungle Wa Itsumo Hare Nochi Guu Final, Hunter x Hunter: Greed Island Final, Sora No Otoshimono Final, Beatless Final Stage, technically Zero No Tsukaima F. Wow. So many finals. And now perhaps, Gintama Final: End Of Sky. Yeah…

It has been one long ride so probably what I want to say would make me sound like a broken tape recorder as my sentiments for this series has not changed. So I’ll be repeating myself if I am going to say those same sentiments again. Heh. Too lazy to type it out again. Go read my previous blogs. But I’m glad this formula never got tired for me. Like how in the midst of a very serious and intense battle, they can actually crack up a very silly joke no matter what. So many times. Therefore one minute your heart was being tugged by all the heartfelt words and quotes the characters said (makes you want to cry inside), the next minute they insert some ludicrous antic that is so out of place that you’ll be laughing your ass off. Only shows like Gintama can pull this sort of sh*t seamlessly.

Many of the characters do look like they have changed but that is mostly their outward appearance. Because from what I can see that many of them still remain the same like we have known them for a long time. For example, Shinpachi now has taken over Yorozuya but don’t expect him to be a more mature and responsible character. Sure, he is slightly better than his previous boss but Shinpachi will always be Shinpachi. Yes, without glasses, Shinpachi will not be defined! Haha! I didn’t think they were going to kill off a lot of characters during the final fight but I was expecting some heavy casualties. I guess they couldn’t because fans might be mad. Hey, don’t say that there aren’t any fans of Elizabeth!

Which brings me to my next point that with so many characters over the seasons, even with many of them just lacking appropriate screen time and just making their cameos (some I even forgot if they really existed in the first place!), it doesn’t really feel that they are lacking because over the seasons we have seen their characters and grown with them so I suppose the final season doesn’t feel like it has lost anything much on this department. It’s not like you need more character development and fleshing out in the final battle, right? But some that have a more prominent role include Hasegawa who didn’t end up being a Madao forever and did something useful (even though he is still a Madao) and Hata not being a useless prince for once (although he is still a useless prince). Is it just weird for me that Matako has transcended into some Takasugi fan boy because she looks like she is always worried for him 24/7. Even when the battle is over, she continued to look and chase after him.

The first opening theme, Katte Ni My Soul by Dish// definitely feels at home for the final epic stretch of the series. This rock piece sets the pace and mood for this final arc and can rival the Pray (the first opening theme in the first season of the Gintama series) in its own right. Not bad actually. The second opening theme, I Wanna Be by Spyair is also not bad but it is a slow rock. Like as though the pacing is now slowing down a bit. In comparison in this sense, I still prefer the first one. But my favourite one that I still prefer the most is the first ending theme, Hanaichi Monme by Burnout Syndromes. This rock piece has quite a catchy theme and that nostalgic feel. However at times, some parts of the song especially the chorus sometimes reminds me of Shawn Mullins’ Lullaby. Must be just mere coincidence. Unfortunately the ‘worst’ of the lot is the second ending theme’s Hikari Shoumeiron by Chico with Honeyworks. The opening of this rock-cum-hip hop piece sounds like some Chinese gay thingy. Seriously. Otherwise it just sounds more like generic rock.

Overall, it’s been one long ride and looks like the ride will be continuing. Even though I love Gintama and wished it would run forever, sometimes I think it is better to find some sort of closure since I don’t really want it to go on eternally like a certain pirate series. After all, I have made my peace and preparation that this series will find its ending and if I need the strength to do it again, I will. And then they troll us again of not really ending yet and the whole process repeats itself again. Don’t troll us too hard because we might get mad and tell you to commit a samurai seppuku! No trial or court could get you out of this one.

On a side note, what if End Of Sky is just a foreshadowing of how it is the end of the creator? You know, sora means sky and this series’ creator is Hideaki Sorachi. End of Sorachi! It’s like foreshadowing his own death sentence. Shikei!

Gintama: Porori-hen

March 23, 2018

OMG! OMFG!!! It’s like they could read my mind and heart! Gintama was certainly coming to its closing stages when they have really heavy story driven arcs in the recent previous seasons. Fans knew the time will come when the series will end. And what do you know? They surprise us again by giving us another season which is not related to this final story! Yes, people. Gintama: Porori-hen as the sixth season has gone back to its original roots of nonsensical slapstick comedy that we have all come to know and love. It is like before the big finale, before the sh*t gets real, let us watch and laugh one last time at their antics. Oh Gintama, you certainly know how to please our hearts. So we’re not crying with tears of joy. We’re going to laugh at all the silliness, stupidity and ridiculousness instead. And then we cry.

Episode 329
After a fake recap that rips off popular anime titles, we see Umibouzu worried about Kagura getting married to a jerk and then divorced and lead a tough shady life. Why is she fat, tanned and ugly?! Anyway, his fears come a step closer when he sees a boy giving her a letter and when she reads it out loud, he wants her to be his girlfriend. So what has a father got to do but go bug Gintoki for being a bad guardian or something. Even when Kagura tells them about her boyfriend and date tomorrow, it took them a while before reality hits them. Are they mad? Are they panicking? The best way is to ask her directly but the adults are just chicken sh*t to ask her and got distracted with their own nonsensical talk and fighting. So when Shinpachi finally asks and she honestly explains she isn’t sure what love is but is willing to try out because that boy put his heart into writing the letter, you bet the fathers aren’t going to allow this. Not that she cares what they say anyway. They allow her to go on her date but on a condition they meet her boyfriend first. So the adults get drunk and ironically Shinpachi the kid lectures them on what being a grownup is. Probably they take it too literally because they are now waiting with creepy smiles and in a huge body! Yeah, this is what they think growing up is. I guess they never thought it would apply to the brain or mentality. When Kagura is here, they think her boyfriend won’t come in is because he is having cold feet meeting them. Turns out he is a giant! A big baby!

Episode 330
Folks, meet Dai. Kagura explains the one who gave her the letter was Dai’s friend as he is shy and too big to write a letter. Oh, did she mention Dai is the prince of Planet Titan and was introduced by Soyo? Oh, look at all those Titan bodyguards… Dai does away with this formality crap and talks casually. In short, one can see his is a big jerk. It seems Dai plans to bring Kagura back to his planet and marry her. I guess that is shocking enough. So the fathers try to dissuade him by badmouthing how useless Kagura is as a wife? No wonder she is mad. So while the fathers keep punching each other (probably taking Shinpachi’s advice of being an adult literally), Dai and Kagura are long gone on their date. Kagura feels bored on the date and doesn’t think it will work out. Besides, she isn’t ready for this marriage thingy and is okay with long distance relationship. But Dai won’t accept this and puts her to sleep. Gintoki and Umibouzu confront Soyo. Why do they make her sound it is her fault? Anyway she reveals the Titans have this particular habit of taking brides from other planets. Once they do, to keep their DNA pure, they will destroy the entire planet of the brides. Technically, isn’t Kagura a Yato and not an Earthling? Dai initiates the wedding ceremony with his Titans wrecking the place. As the priest gives them the green light to kiss, Shinpachi kicks them and Dai accidentally kisses the priest! Shinpachi lectures him about the feeling of a daughter being taken away from her fathers. Dai won’t listen and sends his Titans to attack. But it is raining Titan blood? Turns out Gintoki and Umibouzu beating them to a pulp. You don’t know how scary fathers are. Eventually Dai gets beaten up but Kagura also beats them up for forgetting about her. In the aftermath, Dai sends a letter to Kagura. Looks like he has turned over a new leaf and is grateful about fathers. He will respect them and the family when he gets a girlfriend next time. But why does he sound scared about fathers too? The ultimate creepy twist is that Dai has found a new love: The priest! OH SH*T! Must be some twisted father joke…

Episode 331
Ikumatsu narrates that an old scruffy man always show up at her ramen store on New Year’s Eve, ordered a bowl and shared it with her and her husband before leaving. When her husband told her to keep up this tradition, that was when her husband soon passed away and that man never showed up anymore. She wonders what happened to him as she never got the chance to return his scarf. So Katsura and Gintoki are going to get to the bottom of this (is it because Katsura has hots for her?) as they assimilate as homeless people at the park? They are introduced to the Lawd who is no other than Hasegawa! He is speaking through a translator?! Is he that holy?! Actually the ‘translator’ is the Lawd. There is also a rival group of homeless people led by a ruffian who was done in by Katsura and Gintoki. Meanwhile Shinpachi and Kagura try to investigate more about the scarf as it has the crest of the famous Nishikiya on it. From what we hear it sounds very much like Ikumatsu is the heiress of Nishikiya whose father died 20 years ago. Ikumatsu admits to this but doesn’t remember how her father died since she was too young to remember. When the brand was booming, he started to flirt with employees and mom kicked him out. He is said to have died on the streets via illness. She could only remember her mom’s sad face. Well what do you know? That old scruffy man is supposed to be her dead father! The ruffian’s goal is to kill him. He forces Katsura and Gintoki to bring his head or else who knows what his men waiting outside Ikumatsu’s shop will do. This is his revenge on them. Lawd has a plan. Instead of looking for her father, they need to ensure Ikumatsu’s safety first and hence leads the morons out via sewer. Oh boy, Hasegawa is going to have his hands full saving them from stupid plunging jokes.

Episode 332
It is revealed that Ikumatsu’s dad saved a drowning boy on a bad weather. Though the kid was saved, he went missing. Many years later when he was found, he was seen with another woman. More accurately, he has amnesia and forgets everything by the next morning. The saved boy grew up to marry Ikumatsu as he kept searching for her dad until he found him at the park. He begged him to come eat ramen at their place to see his daughter even if he doesn’t remember. Strangely, he often wanders about on New Year’s Eve and into Ikumatsu’s store because of an old memory his family used to eat together. It turns out Lawd is Ikumatsu’s father. Gintoki fights the ruffian boss and his gang to let Katsura deliver Lawd to Ikumatsu. At the same time, Kagura and Shinpachi fight off the homeless hordes to let Ikumatsu do a ‘delivery’. Ikumatsu laments how she could forget about someone whom she loved so much. She accidentally falls into the river. Katsura is passing there as Lawd swiftly jumps in to save her. It seems Katsura only manages to pull Ikumatsu out. In the aftermath, Ikumatsu talks to Katsura and ponders if those last words she heard from her father were real. She is still grateful to him for if not for him, she could not have met her husband. She makes ramen for him to eat but he refuses because he is not related or part of her family. However he can still share her suffering as friends. The greatest news of all as her dad on a wheelchair is wheeled in by Gintoki. Ikumatsu immediately hugs him. We take a small detour as we see Hasegawa on the verge of jumping off the bridge. However he is told to appreciate life by an assassin who is about to snipe at someone! Suicidal man versus assassin. Who has more right on the views of life? Stay tuned…

Episode 333
Hasegawa suggests shooting him but Isshen won’t waste his bullets. However if he jumps from the other building, he can snipe at him and his target with one bullet. When Hasegawa treks up the other building, there is another assassin, Irron trying to snipe at Isshen! Hasegawa tells what is happening. Too bad Irron won’t kill him but only scumbags like Isshen. So Hasegawa has to go all the way back there to bait Isshen in hopes Irron will kill them with one shot. Back there again, Hasegawa is close to dead from all the running so Isshen is going to bring him to hospital! Life is more important than his job! What a nice guy! When Irron starts shooting and miss, Isshen tells him to go back there while he becomes the decoy. Hasegawa has to run back there again but Irron has injured himself. Then the baddies take him hostage and it turns out Irron is Isshen’s cross-dressed little sister. Hasegawa came here to die and became implicated in such complications. He has had it and takes Irron to jump down. Isshen then fires a shot that saves them from free fall. Looks like somebody will continue living today.

Matsudaira is conducting some lecture but Hijikata and Sasaki start arguing some crap that has them and their lazy partners do a case study via VR. It looks like somebody killed Momotaro and they must solve this whodunnit case. At first looks, it seems grandpa and granny might be suspects in killing him but further observation shows he has already been killed beforehand and stuffed inside the peach to frame them. Then they all go crazy with their theories as they suspect Momotaro’s comrades. With x-ray evidence showing he choked and he ate his animal comrades, Hijikata deduces after they slew the demon, they were drifting back and ran out of food. Momotaro gave his dango to his comrades but it soon ran out and they all died. Hence he ate them to survive. Finally when there is nothing left, he ate the dango bag and choked on it. A sad ending but the shocking revelation as Matsudaira says is that this isn’t Momotaro but the demon in disguise. After he ate the animals, he tried to make his way to eat more humans but died without achieving his goal. Cause of death? Brain tumour. WTF… Trolled…

Episode 334
As Tetsuko is looking through the swords, there is one without a scabbard. Gintoki nonchalantly throws it away in the incinerator. It comes alive and sticks inside his ass! Oh, it’s a talking sword. Kusanagi is from Planet Excalibur and came to Earth with his wife, Sayako the scabbard after smelling war. As time passed, he became blunt and tossed away. They only took Sayako who remained beautiful. He wants to be reunited with his wife so the gang conducts a free sword check. But why does Gintoki and Kusanagi sound like they are catcalling? Kusanagi starts resonating when his kind is near. It seems Kusanagi fears this dangerous guy, Senbei. But Senbei has to go since the cops after chasing him. Sougou couldn’t catch him so he arrests Gintoki for public indecency as replacement. Back at the HQ, Sougou rips Kusanagi out from his ass! Man, it looks like some sick bloody porn… Kusanagi realizes Sougou’s scabbard is Sayako. As he tries to talk to her, unfortunately she doesn’t remember him. She is very much in love with Sougou who saved her while being put on display in a shop in New York. They are leading a nice life now so she wants Kusanagi to stop bothering them. Kusanagi is so hurt that he sticks himself deeper into Gintoki’s ass! Since this won’t do, Gintoki challenges Sougou to a sword battle (buttle as they call it) over Sayako. But first they need to get the sword out from his ass. Looks like tying him to a tree and pulling it out via a truck isn’t going to work. With Kusanagi’s morale so low as he is obviously blunt, Tetsuko promises to beat him back into shape. Well… She broke him in half…

Episode 335
Kusanagi breaks again when reforged. At least his sarcasm is sharper… Tetsuko can tell it is because of his old wounds. Indeed. Sayako belonged to another sword initially. He was the cursed sword named Maganagi who consumed the life of all other swords and scabbards. Kusanagi couldn’t bear see his childhood friend become his latest victim and fought him and barely escaped with his life. Meanwhile Sougou is confronted by Senbei and as they are gearing up for a fight, another horrifying truth is revealed about Maganagi. Unlike Kusanagi who sticks in ass to be friendly with the wielder, Maganagi consumes the soul of the wielder. Hence Senbei isn’t actually himself but just a vessel for Maganagi. However Sougou easily defeats him! The day of the buttle is here. To Kusanagi’s fear, it seems Sougou is now the wielder of Maganagi. However it is Sougou who has tamed him! The real Senbei has been reduced to a vegetable state in hospital. He goes into trauma each time he thinks about being consumed. Hijikata realizes the horrifying implications of this if the greatest cursed sword falls into the hands of a super sadist. So the buttle begins with Gintoki and Sougou picking up coloured turds with the swords? And they’re throwing them at each other? After we’re done with all the poop jokes, the sword fight gets real.

Episode 336
At this point, Sougou has been consumed by Maganagi. The Shinsengumi try to arrest him but he is quick to slash their swords. They could have been goners had Gintoki didn’t distract him back to their fight. Gintoki is able to avoid all of his attacks because even though Maganagi took over Sougou’s body, his movements are now sluggish and easy to read. But shortly, Kusanagi goes flaccid. Ran out of juice? Maganagi is now quicker and sharper, doing some HP damage to Gintoki. This is when Sayako comes in between them. She doesn’t care about the swords but Sougou. Kusanagi thought she has really forgotten about them but Maganagi reveals the truth about her. She is Kusanagi’s daughter! WTF?! How can swords give birth?! It seems Sayako was pregnant with his child after he left and since it isn’t easy for a single swordless scabbard to protect a child, she housed many other swords even if it meant betraying her husband. By the time she was exhausted from it all, Maganagi freed her from it. By killing her. He is here to keep his promise to her so that all the family could reunite together in death. The shock kills Kusanagi as he disintegrates. As Maganagi tries to consume the scabbard, Sougou regains control of his body and doesn’t want the fight to end yet. Gintoki did the unthinkable as he becomes the scabbard to revive Kusanagi. Yup, he sticks the broken sword in his ass! Sougou won’t lose out and stabs Maganagi in his own heart. Both power up to astronomical proportions and explode upon clashing. In the end, Maganagi lost and disintegrates. Kusanagi is also on the verge of disintegrating but we get to hear his last rites of gratefulness. In the aftermath, Sougou and Sayako continue their normal life. Tetsuko and Yorozuya pick up all the disintegrated iron they could find. It took them a while but Sayako plans to forge the dullest sword out of it. Even so, Sougou hopes he could get it when it is ready as he is okay having a sword that doesn’t cut anything because the sword and the scabbard will never be apart again.

Episode 337
Otsu might still be a good singer but Gintoki argues that as a solo artist, her popularity would soon wane and she might be doing shady stuffs to keep relevant. Hence it is suggested she teams up as a unit. So they had to pick Kagura as her partner? Whatever. I’m sure we can see she has some talent aside from that nose picking thingy. Gintoki becomes the producer while Shinpachi becomes the manager (and everything else) in this duo unit called Hanakuso Diamond 48 (HDZ48). There is also some silly argument over the roles that they would be taking on that pretty much obsessed over some producer called Daisuke as well as the bands of B’z and Wands. Otae enters the scene to give her 2 cents worth of opinion about backup dancers and bands being the more dangerous enemies than fans. I guess it’s her cue to introduce herself and her all-girl band comprising of Kyuubei, Tsukuyo and Ayame as their backup band. They know nothing about music… With HDZ given the green light, it seems not all parties are happy. Like this intergalactic idol group as well as Otsu’s loyal fans who do not approve of her being in a unit. Looks like Shinpachi as their captain is going to be answerable to his hypocrisy. Gintoki arranges a sleazy handshake event that attracts perverts. But with Kagura’s strong grip that ‘destroys’ their perverted hands, Gintoki tries to cover up by selling stuffs and throw in idol service as extras but with unexpected consequences. Like a lap pillow, Kagura knee kicks them! Yeah, each cover up sounds more and more like some shady TV shopping channel. The disgruntled fans has have had enough when the intergalactic idol group drops in. Galaxy Kingdom Bitches 48 (GKB48)!!! I’m not kidding you.

Episode 338
GKB48 has private curtain rooms for their handshake. Makes you wonder what ambiguous stuffs they’re doing behind the privacy. Poor Otsu is so disheartened that all her loyal fans have deserted her, she runs away in tears. However GKB48 won’t let it end like that. As Otsu locks herself up at the agency, a new scandal surfaces. Superimposed pictures that make it look like Shinpachi and Gintoki are flirting with her. You know the journalists are going to be hard on their asses. GKB48 soon announces their debut on Earth. It will be on the same date of Otsu’s release. They are also planning to hold a concert for this debut and invite Otsu to battle with them. The winner gets to release their album while the loser quits forever. Otsu may not stand a chance but Yorozuya won’t go down without a fight since they are technically her last standing fans. GKB48 are insulted when Shinpachi and Gintoki dress up as new female members. Furthermore, Otsu didn’t show up. Her replacement? But HDZ48 has the backup band as support. The competition begins to see which side can get more handshakes from their fans. It seems the fans are all rushing towards GKB48’s gate while HDZ48 is a ghost town. HDZ48 plays dirty as the backup band girls start insulting those at the end of the queue. While this looks like they are only alienating fans, they quickly put up an apology act. The perfect tsundere act has some fans defecting to them. As Gintoki puts it, this isn’t a competition to see who the best idol is but the biggest slut alive! Hey, they started it so don’t regret. Gintoki then introduces their own private handshake room: Toilet stalls! Don’t understand his explanation but it sounds very shady and perverted that the backup band girls beat the hell out of him. At least more fans are coming their way, right?

Episode 339
It gets even worse when Otae and the girls are just arguing among themselves to be the centre. Don’t even talk about abusing the fans in the process. So are they serious or not? Not too surprising, the fans abandon them. With GKB48 taking an immense lead, Shinpachi dons his headgear as Otsu’s fan club captain. He is going to settle this once and for all. Yup, he is going into that private curtain. After all that big talk, he couldn’t even last a second inside! But did he? Actually he tore out an antenna that is supposedly mind controlling all their fans. Not only their fans revert back to normal, GKB48 revert to their ugly true form. With GKB48 disqualified for cheating and HDZ48 gaining fan support, GKB48 of course is going to get some payback. Kagura and the backing band keep them at bay with their immense strength and rotten music respectively and ultimately defeat them. And while they talk about dreams and ideals, Otsu who heard their sincere heart, makes a return to stage. Her fans are delighted as she starts singing for them. In the aftermath, Otsu shines as bright as before. HDZ48 got disbanded even before it lifted off. But I guess for all those who know, the legend of HDZ 48 lives in everyone’s heart.

Episode 340
A blatant promotion of their Gintama Rumble video game but also badmouthing and criticizing it in their usual fashion. So Yorozuya sneak into the game company with Tama to hack and change the game. First it spoofs the Tales series by giving some lame ass main protagonist who can only answer S or M. Then some outbreak disease that is so horrifying that it kills you in no time if you don’t do anything. Trying to scare us NEETs, huh? The zombie outbreak leads to a change in genre, a survival horror game Resident Evil style before a mission to save the princess that parodies Mario. Safe to say this game got cancelled.

Shinpachi broke his glasses so he sees a shady optician who gives him glasses that would make him see ‘clearer’. Turns out he could see ghosts latching onto people’s back! Cursed glasses! When he tries to return to the store for refund, it isn’t there anymore. Ghost store? He returns home only to find a terrifying deity-like ghost (Asuraman) haunting Gintoki. It turns out to be a vengeful spirit trying to kill him?! What about Kagura? She’s got an alcoholic Pikachu rip-off (Alchu)! Maybe that’s why she’s always in a bad mood when she wakes up. Then everyone attends a local race. Too bad Shinpachi could see dead warriors and fighters itching to kill each other…

Episode 341
These are the other ghastly things Shinpachi sees: Hasegawa is a ghost too?! Asuraman and Alchu sabotaging their own team because more spoils for the victors?! Other characters also have their ghosts haunting them like Otae has this super majestic monster Buddha, Kondou has his from his balls (?!), Katsura is a Toyota Corolla rip-off as well as Hijikata a Maserati rip-off?! Also, Hasegawa, Asuraman and Alchu combine to form one hideous (in a funny sense) sphinx beast or something. In the final game, it is kibasen mixed with a few other games to save time. It seems ghosts are also invited to participate! Naturally everyone targets Shinpachi’s team and as he resigns to his defeat, suddenly he sees a vision of that shady optician. Turns out he is his guardian spirit and just wanted him to see what their world is like. Giving him his original glasses, should he put them back on, he will never return to this world. And so Shinpachi takes it and uses the power of his glasses as his weapon and fails. His glasses break too. Time to get another one.

Do Not Slip Up Now!
Okay. I’m ready to do this now. I’m ready for it all to end. I’m ready for the final season. I’m ready for the final long arc as announced at the end. Unless they troll me hard again. But I could accept that. Anyway, back to this season. Well, I’m glad the same ol’ Gintama formula is still there. The funny exaggerated slapstick moments and the sudden ‘lessons in life’ that would instantly give you the feels are all too familiar and very much welcomed for veteran Gintama fans. It is a roller coaster ride from laughing and feeling touched. One minute you’re laughing out loud like a maniac, the next second you could be welling up some tears in your eyes. Oh, Gintama. That is why we love you throughout the years. It is that same love that we are going to see it end.

It is great for this ‘light-hearted’ season to feature some of the characters who didn’t appear in the couple of previous story arcs like the Shinsengumi. They were obviously and sorely missing from the previous Rakuyo Arc. This could have been well before that arc since Sasaki is ‘revived’. But you know, Gintama doesn’t really need to stick to all that who-lives-who-dies timeline just to make us some great entertainment. Also given more screen time this season are Hasegawa and Otsu who have been one of the few ‘favourite’ minor supporting characters throughout the long running series. Oddly for Katsura’s focused episode, I wonder what the heck happened to Elizabeth. That fake duck mascot character has always been by his side and they are like inseparable. So it is quite odd (at least for me) to see Katsura without his trusty sidekick for a long period of time especially a short mini arc even if it is just for 2 episodes. Of course Elizabeth is seen back in the final ghost haunting race for a short while and owning Katsura like he does sometimes.

I theorize why they called this season as Porori-hen (Slip Arc) is because they slip some random weird non-related arc into it. Okay, that is not what the slip for porori actually mean. At first you might think there would be some crazy-like fanservice because porori is often heard in anime when a female’s top gets loose. This is Gintama. We’re not expecting any bare breasted females for shock but there’s still that chance. But could it be there is a deeper meaning about this series slipping down? Maybe it doesn’t mean degrading in quality but while heading towards straight towards the final arc, a staff slipped on a banana and hence the production decided to take a detour, hence the slipping from its original path. I think.

This season’s opening theme, Blue Encount by VS feels reminiscent like their past songs like Pray, Donten by Does and Giniro No Sora. But if it sounds a bit more similar to DayxDay that’s because Blue Encount also sung this song. Then ending theme, Hankou Seimei by Ayumikurikamaki is quite a fun and lively rock piece. It has this cheeky and playful beat to it. The ending animation credits might troll us because we see many of the series’ characters in wedding outfits like as though somebody (or all of them) is going to get married. Turns out to be one elaborated birthday bash for Kagura. Do people use wedding theme for their birthdays? How else are they going to dress up so nicely then?

Overall, what needs to be said about Gintama has been said. What I wanted to say about Gintama has been said (unless I have forgotten). There is nothing else for me to comment on this season but just another reminder (might sound like a nag after a while) how great this series is. It’s so weird and random that it’s just funny and good. At this point, to a godly level. Unless you have no taste in comedy than that’s a different story. Now that the fun time is over, it’s time to get serious and look into the colour of Gintama’s soul. Unless somebody laced the entire pathway with bananas then more potential porori. Oh, we’ll get there. Just a bit later…

Gintama S5

August 26, 2017

OMG! More Gintama! I wasn’t so sure it would have another season the last time the previous season ended but I guess this is what clinging on to hope feels like no matter how miniscule it is. So yeah, I couldn’t be happier for another season of Gintama but this comes with some ‘trade off’. Unlike the nonsensical slapstick comedy Gintama that parodies everything I have known, it continues the big storyline that got things running from the previous season. Yup, it is going to be another grim season. In fact this entire season can be dubbed the Rakuyo Arc. More revelations, more surprises, more things coming to a closure and hopefully a tiny bit of crazy nonsense to remind us that Gintama will always be Gintama. Oh heck, they have always been like that since the start.

Episode 317
A flashback of Gintoki in a bout with Shouyou but as usual lost. He tells Gintoki to stop growing stronger by trying to imitate him. He wants him to grow stronger by wielding his own sword. The sword of a human. Currently Yorozuya is hiding under the refuge of Katsura and his Joi rebels. Nobume seeks them out for a request. However they are cut off when angry Matako views Nobume as a traitor for selling out the Mimawarigumi to join forces with Gintoki. Nobume explains Mimawarigumi was just a pawn being used. Now they are gone along with Sasaki. Henpeita confirms the rumours are true. Nobunobu and the elders betrayed Kiheitai and cut them out of Harusame. Kamui led his division to attack one of the syndicate’s bases but it was a trap. They barely escaped after realizing they hired someone with a familiar killing style. That person is no other than Umibouzu, the world’s strongest hunter and the father to Kamui and Kagura. When the Kiheitai was under attack, Bansai took it upon himself to let the others escape while he went to rescue Takasugi still in coma. They want to find his whereabouts. Nobume further explains about the Tendoshu. They are all beings born from Altana, a new energy resource Amanto discovered. In some worlds, they are referred to as ley lines. Thus the terminals you see built by Amanto around Japan are powered by it. Thanks to this energy, rapid development across the universe like interstellar travelling became easy.

This led to many parties trying to gain control over it and after many wars, a non-aggression pact is signed to render Altana reserves off limits and an agency is formed to monitor Altana gates or holes. The Altana Preservation Agency was later known as Tendoshu. Thus the group formed to monitor the holes became obsessed with it for their own use. That’s why they are interested in Earth which has a massive reserve of Altana. An unexplained effect influences the principles of life and on this planet it took the form of a man: Utsuro. It is the founder’s name passed down through generations of Tenshoin Naraku and each head is said to inherit that name. During the Tokugawa’s reign when Naraku served Tendoshu, the Utsuro then mysteriously went missing. It is believed he concealed his identity as Shouyou. His students later caused a failed rising in which he was executed. However when they burnt his body, he came back to life. Over its 500 year history, Naraku has had 13 heads. All of the same man. A man incapable of dying due to Altana. Nobody knows how long he has been living but he is now the most dangerous man in the universe. Meanwhile Utsuro is meeting with the elders. He eliminates all of them so that he could have full control of Harusame and of course to shut them up forever.

Episode 318
Gintoki and Katsura discuss about Shouyou. Gintoki believes Utsuro is not Shouyou because that is something else not even Shouyou could defeat. Shouyou is dead. Umibouzu meets with Utsuro. He makes it clear that his intention is to kill his own son. Get in the way and he will kill them all too. Oh, Oboro is still alive. Although he has died, he has been resurrected simply he has to immortal blood of Utsuro. However the numerous times of reviving has taken a toll on his body and he vows to continue using it till his body rots away. Shinpachi relays the bad news that Kagura has left Yorozuya. She joins Matako and Henpeita’s troops on a journey. So everyone also leaves a leave letter to leave Yorozuya with a promise to come back. Bansai wakes up in the company of Sakamoto and his Kaientai fleet. They are waiting for Katsura and his Joi rebels to join them for departure. But looks like they have another guests coming on board: The Yorozuya boys. Bansai is sceptical of the trio because he believed they cut ties with Takasugi a very long time ago. Their departure is hindered when Nobunobu and his fleet surround them. He is going to destroy the traitors however the Kaientai’s ship they were communicating was just a decoy. The real one rammed Nobunobu’s ship from the back. They jump in and easily take down Nobunobu’s men. Bansai is shocked in seeing how they could easily turn the tides in their favour so fast. With Nobunobu as their prisoner, the new shogun thinks he still has the upper hand because he reminds his men to die for him or kill themselves. This makes Bansai punch the hell out of him. He tells everyone to not give their lives to a leader. This country no longer has a deserving leader. Nobunobu is now alone at the summit as slowly everyone by his side leaves. Bansai agrees to take the gang to a secret hideout the Kiheitai converge in case of such emergencies. Kamui and his troops are taking refuge on a planet named Rakuyo. A planet ravaged by wars and the birthplace of Kamui and Kagura. Umibouzu is also here.

Episode 319
Nobunobu still acts tough till Sakamoto reminds him that he may no longer be of use to anybody. Because of his blunder due to his personal grudge, he has been too sullied to be used even by Tendoshu as a puppet. At this rate they’ll just get rid of him with the rest. Might as well join with them and fight through. Abuto warns his men not to fight Umibouzu because they can never defeat him. His side is keeping comatose Takasugi. Gintoki’s group have already arrived on Rakuyo. Each time Bansai points out their hideout, it explodes! Apparently Harusame is already here and they’re waiting to take them all out. The skirmish begins as the samurais run faster than bullets to take out the lowly Harusame soldiers. Watching them in action, Bansai now understands why Takasugi stayed alive all this time. Sakamoto suggests the group to split up because he realizes the enemy is trying to take them out one at a time. They might be outnumbered that way but it is better than being easy targets in a huge group that can be taken out at one go. 6 of the 12 Harusame divisions have been mobilized for this mission and half that number just to hunt for a single man. Among the leaders of the divisions, the most dangerous and strongest trio known as the Three Mad Stars are on this mission. Uranus Hankai who is the only division without any troops below him faces off with Sakamoto and his Kaientai. Pluto Bato who can read people’s mind with his third eye are up against Gintoki and Bansai’s side. Finally Katsura and his Joi rebels stumble into the syndicate’s strongest assassin, the monkey dude Neptune Shokaku.

Episode 320
It is an animal fight between Katsura and Shokaku, throwing all sorts of trickery and brute force at each other. Therefore it is no surprise we have flashbacks on Katsura on how he got the nickname of being a coward. It stems from his grandma telling him a general should be the most cowardly person in the battlefield. Because if he dies, who else is going to lead? With that philosophy is how Katsura fought all his battles. In the end, it is his hard head butting tactic (which is also his other nickname) that earns him victory. Shokaku’s army would have wanted to take out Katsura but monkey dude admits his defeat. Katsura presses for answers regarding Utsuro’s goal but nobody knows anything. All he knows is that they’re being toyed with till they break. Meanwhile Sakamoto and his Kaientai cause damage as diversion and run so as to take the battle away from the main field. However they are soon attacked by their own allies. Actually it is Hankai who has hacked the computer systems of his ships. He gives Sakamoto a choice to either gun them down or be gunned down by them. Either way he loses. Hankai not only hacks the computer but the minds of his crews. His real army are the millions of tiny nanomachines invading and taking control of one’s nervous control system. Sakamoto and Mutsu leave the steering of the main ship to the rest while they go handle their zombie crewmates.

Episode 321
Before Nobunobu is about to be zombie fodder, Sakamoto and Mutsu save him. They believe Hankai’s goal is to steal the ship’s greatest firewall and is at the control centre, thus the zombies to stall them. Nobunobu is left to ponder why they spared him as well as observe the fool or great man Sakamoto is as he doesn’t abandon his men nor kill them. When they finally arrive in the control centre, Mutsu saves Sakamoto from Hankai’s attack. Actually Hankai has possessed Nobunobu earlier on and used this trick to get to Sakamoto. Sakamoto does a shocking move by trying to destroy the firewall. He doesn’t mind going down with the ship because you aren’t qualified to do so, you don’t have the right to fly with it. It is also part of his ploy to force Hankai out of Nobunobu’s body. Nobunobu can’t believe he still isn’t abandoning him in such dire straits. Unfortunately Hankai can read Nobunobu’s mind and repels Sakamoto’s attack. This makes Nobunobu think he wasn’t empty when he was at the top, he was empty to begin with and that he could only define his existence by using others. He tries to fight Hankai’s mind control. Eventually Mutsu who was under Hankai’s possession fought it off to give Sakamoto enough time to shoot and destroy Hankai. Once that happens, everyone is free from their brainwash. Their other ally ships support them just enough time for them to fix what is necessary and keep them afloat. Gintoki clashes with Bato who claims he has been searching for him for the last 10 years. Did he get the wrong person? Because I certainly don’t remember Gintoki be this fat. And who the heck is Pakuyasa?!

Episode 322
Hankai thought he is playing dumb as his third eye sees everything. After all that refuting and Gintoki thinks back harder, yeah, maybe there is a fatty named Pakuyasa. Turns out he tried to be Gintoki’s disciple. He tried to prove himself doing errands but eventually wasn’t cut out for the sword and eventually went on doing shady things nobody cares about. Although Hankai could read every move Gintoki makes, eventually Gintoki too can read his every move and defeats him. Simply because he is empty. For the first time, Hankai could see things when his eyes are closed. Bansai is willing to sacrifice his life to let Shinpachi get away from Oboro and his Tendoshu. Guess who came back to save his ass? Takasugi! Whit this guy’s revival, you can see his Kiheitai motivated back up to kick some serious ass. Then Gintoki and Takasugi just wiped out the entire field of Tendoshu in their way so they could just beat the heck out of each other. It’s their way of greeting the other bastard. Some things don’t change. Katsura and Sakamoto join them and for the first time in ages, the quartet are fighting together again.

Episode 323
The quartet begin their full assault against the entire army of Tendoshu and Harusame. Nobody can beat these guys when they’re together, right? Apparently Sakamoto, Katsura and Takasugi decide that Gintoki should be the one to press ahead and save his new friends while they stay back to handle these pests. Meanwhile Umibouzu is about to face off with the big boss of Harusame. However that lion face is instantly cut in half by Kamui! What a way to make your debut and death scene. Kamui is like a raging beast as he goes all out to kill his father. Something about him wanting dad to acknowledge how strong he has become to kill him. Family issues. The super power fight is interrupted when Kagura stops Kamui. Unfortunately he cannot be stopped so he beats her up thinking he would awaken Umibouzu’s beast mode if he kills her. Fortunately for Kagura, she has changed. She has become much stronger as she fights back while telling off her brother he is the only one who has not changed all these years. That’s why the family left him behind. Umibouzu tries to stop his children from fighting but complicating matters is Utsuro who jumps in to kill Kamui. Umibouzu sacrifices an arm to push his children out of harm’s way.

Episode 324
As the epic battle between Umibouzu and Utsuro gets underway, we have Umibouzu narrate his flashback. More like him telling his story of his younger days when he was still taking care of Mutsu. The Yato originally came from a planet named Kouan. It was ravaged with war till it became inhabitable. The Yato survivors fled to other places and Kouan became infested with dangerous mutated monsters. It is believed Umibouzu tamed its monster. He disagreed. Something along the lines he lost a bet and had to go back home and hit on a woman. That is where he met the last remaining Yato survivor who has stayed on Kouan, Kouka. A dangerous but strong and beautiful woman. She is fighting the monsters and it is no surprise Umibouzu is also fighting his own ‘monster’. So amidst all that fighting, he tried to flirt with her. Ignored at first, they finally open up to each other. Umibouzu would often tell stories of his travels as she listened to him with that same boring expression. Umibouzu had to always leave for business and then return to her. Because he always felt lonely without her and she too expressed she would like to visit another planet, the time came when he finally took her away to live on another planet. Despite being the strongest in the universe, he is the weakest in the household! Nobody can stand the wrath of an angry housewife! But after giving birth to Kamui and Kagura, she started coughing blood. Death was creeping up. It was then he understood why she once said she couldn’t live elsewhere. This is why Kamui always blame him for killing their mother.

Episode 325
Kamui explains Kouka was ‘born’ on Kouan as a result of Altana. She would have lived forever had she not left the planet. That’s why he blames father for her death. When Kamui was young, Kouka was already sick and he often got bullied. However he had to often hold back as father didn’t allow him to use his Yato strength on those weaker than him. So he tried to learn getting strong the hard way like picking a fight with the Harusame that docked here. He was desperate to get mom back to the planet but she wouldn’t want to. She would rather die together here than living alone forever. However it fell on deaf ears. Kamui had decided to cast away the idea of being family even if it means keeping mom alive. Even if it means beating the crap out of dad. All came in a bad time when Umibouzu just found a rare Altana crystal (which is why he spends most of his time away) as cure. But the damage was done. Kamui chopped off an arm of his and Kouka died soon after. With no family and no one to protect, his only goal was to become stronger. Kamui defeats Kagura and hopes she would release him as he is seeing shades of mom in her. Umibouzu’s epic battle with Utsuro continues. The former claiming this high level battle, his own life is a hindrance. So he sacrifices himself to plant some Altana crystal into his heart, believing that it would work along the lines of pouring diesel into a petroleum car. It didn’t. Utsuro revives and finishes him off. But he has to leave as his Altana is getting low. Though he is sad Umibouzu can’t kill him, at least this is the closest he gets to experience death. Apparently Kamui is not happy father is down. He still wants a go at it but Gintoki now comes in between. Since Kamui is stubborn to be the strongest, Gintoki ‘defeats’ Umibouzu to take on his title to be the strongest. Then Gintoki beats up Kamui to show how weak he is. It is no wonder why he could never beat his old man.

Episode 236
Enter one of the bloodiest and hard hitting fights you’d ever see. Gintoki is trying to pummel into him about protecting those you love as well as emptiness (talking from experience). But that isn’t enough as now Kamui turns into a mindless violent beast. Now Abuto has to jump in and beat some sense back into this guy so the Kamui he knows would come back. So talking about moving forward and not stopping him then, eh? Well, if Abuto wasn’t enough, now comes Kagura and Shinpachi into the fray. So what they’re talking now? He doesn’t have to lose anything. Nobody will be taken away from him anymore. Nobody has to die. And when Kamui finally got a little bit of himself back, the siblings aim one final punch at each other. They couldn’t hit. After a thousand punches from everybody, all it takes was a sister’s tear to knock him out and cry himself to sleep like as though he is sleeping on his mother’s lap.

Episode 237
So everybody patches up and goes home. Kamui wants to be stronger but for a better cause. The end. Oh wait. Not just yet. Umibouzu might have lost both arms but he’s got a better replacement for them: Bazooka arms! What a super upgrade. But it’s time to go back in time a little. When Takasugi and his Kiheitai got separated from Katsura, they bumped into Oboro. They clash as we get to peek at Oboro’s past. He was the only survivor when his clan or monastery got massacred. In fact he could have also died had not Utsuro resurrected him with his plan. His intention was despite he cannot die, he wanted Oboro to live long and hate him forever. But Oboro decided to dedicate his life to him and serve him till his blood dries up. He wanted to learn assassin techniques but Utsuro declined. Instead, Utsuro wanted to be a student and learn alongside him. Oboro then made a deal with him he won’t learn assassin techniques so please establish a school and he will be his first student. Then one day Utsuro went missing and Oboro set out to find him. When he did so, it was a ploy for Utsuro to make Oboro leave Naraku for the outside. He wouldn’t do it himself so the only way was for Utsuro to defect himself. With Naraku hunting them down, Oboro decides to sacrifice himself to let him escape. He thought Utsuro thought he had died but of course Oboro is immortal as long as his blood flows through him. Oboro returned to Naraku to keep Utsuro out of it all as he turned into a cold hearted killer. One day Oboro saw Shouyou with his new students. Some sort of jealousy must have hit him. He was the one who captured Shouyou and made Gintoki execute him, believing he would come back. Before his execution, Shouyou thanked Oboro for he would never have become so had he not met him. He is proud of his first student. Takasugi defeats Oboro and the latter believes the blood has dried up and is time to go. This pain is nothing to Utsuro’s eternal suffering. But he will first tell him what Utsuro and Shouyou are.

Episode 328
Utsuro lived so long that he doesn’t even know his name. All he know was he was always abused and killed throughout time. But each time he resurrected and this only made the people fear more and show more animosity. So as time passes, Utsuro then started to return the favour by killing people. After all, he only learnt from humans how to kill, right? So when his killing spree seemed unstoppable, the only Utsuro to stop Utsuro was Shouyou. When the Tendoshu got hold of Utsuro, he made a deal that in exchange for his blood to gain immortality, he wants the power to destroy himself. But they feared him and did not give the power and authority, the key forever engraved on their palm that would allow him to control Altana on the planets. When a planet with Altana is destroyed, they think a traitor is among them. Till they realize it could be Utsuro’s plot to destroy the planet. But how could he get the key? Did he steal them? Their ‘dropped’ arms. He just picked them up. Apparently the Tendoshu may have received his immortal blood but their body isn’t immortal. It will fall apart but they cannot die. Thus it will always be there until it rots away. Since he has so many arms, I guess there are so many traitors among them and more planets exploding soon. So cutting a long story short, Utsuro’s goal is to wrest the control of Altana from Tendoshu and start a universal war that will end on Earth, the planet he was born and the Altana of which he cannot die as long as he consumes it. His suffering, their suffering will go on as long as Earth exists. It is a monster Earth itself has created. So while Shouyou failed to stop Utsuro, his death gave birth to his students in which his spirit lives on. Oboro laments he can’t fight for Utsuro, his teacher or himself. If he had a chance to do it again, he would have love to be in the same class with them. Oboro dies as Takasugi picks up his body to bury it in an appropriate place. Henpeita tells this same story to Gintoki, Katsura and Sakamoto. They believe they were the ones who created Utsuro. Maybe Shouyou created his school as hope to fight against this. He may have gave birth to his students and now their battles have given birth to other comrades. There is more hope now. Umibouzu and Kagura visit Kouka’s grave. Umibouzu wants Kagura to relay a message to Gintoki. Utsuro is not immortal. There is a way to kill him. But he needs to hang in there long enough till he finds out what it is. They realize Kamui has left a flower here too. Everyone returns to Earth where the final battle is about to begin.

Family Ties That Bind
Well… It sure is another splendid Gintama season. Despite the predominantly dark tone, it still shines through. But I’m sure I don’t have to worry if there would be any future sequels because I am very sure there will be. Having come this far and that the manga has reached its final arc, there would be no justice and closure for the anime if this series does not get another season. Besides, the Rakuyo Arc has been the longest arc in the manga and despite only a dozen episodes for the anime, this arc itself has become the longest arc for the anime. And ironically this is the shortest number of episodes for a season Gintama has. So we are just a step away from ending it all… Although Gintama still continues to ‘continue’ for now, they are just rerun of past episodes with new opening and ending themes. NOOOO!!!! GINTAMA ENDING FOR GOOD AFTER THAT???!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!! I HOPE THEY’RE JUST TROLLING ABOUT THIS LIKE HOW THEY TROLLED US IN THE PAST!!!

Anyway, this season seems to bear the same sentiments like the previous’ season’s Shogun Assassination Arc and Farewell Shinsengumi Arc. There are very heavy drama and emotional moments and thus it doesn’t feel like the usual nonsensical slapstick parody that all of us has been growing up with. Sure, there are very spontaneous and light hearted moments that will make us burst into laughter. But that is far and few in between. Like a short distraction to appease viewers so they won’t be in gloomsville for the entire time. But this time we are well prepared for it seeing we have those previous arcs as ‘preparation’ and learning that this Rakuyo Arc would be the centre stage of this season has made us know what to expect.

The plot gets a lot heavy on the family drama side of Kagura. Finding a closure of why Kamui has been such a train wreck when we first know him. Therefore sometimes I feel this Rakuyo Arc can be summed up as Kagura’s family arc as it was mainly about them. But even if that takes the main focus, you can’t discount about Utsuro and Oboro as well as the Tendoshu. It also gives more insights about what really happened and what they really wanted. It builds up to the final fight that our main characters will have to battle. Well, I can’t say I am too surprised of what Utsuro’s main goal is although I didn’t really guess it accurately. I’d figured out it would be something on that universal scale. I mean, it would be a big shocker if the real goal was just to find his lost pony, right? Holy crap! I don’t know if that would be the ultimate comedy or insult for this series.

Hence it goes without saying that Kagura, Kamui and Umibouzu take the limelight while the other characters like Shouyou’s students take a little backseat despite being reunited for the first time in ages. At the way the plot is going, many missing characters were felt too like the Shinsengumi and all others back on Earth like Shinpachi’s sister, her gender confused friend and that old hag who runs a snack house beneath Yorozuya. Gintama that prides itself with many quirky and eccentric wacky characters, this arc in this sense has ‘limited’ itself with the absence of this characters. I know it is no fun and games here and that real sh*t is going to hit the fan but like I said, we have grown up watching these characters that it just feels a little empty without them. Besides, our beloved characters are now away from home fighting. It’s like playing an away game in your opponent’s home ground but your supporters have no money to come watch you play and nobody has money to sponsor them. But since the final round will be on home ground, I have a feeling that every character big and small will have a part in deciding fate and the future.

This season’s opening theme Kagerou by Real is another rock based that befits the overall theme of the series well. I know this series is as gloomy and melodrama but there are some brutal action parts with blood spilling and limbs being cut off so I suppose this kind of beat isn’t that bad. Though, I feel that tune feels kinda familiar. Can’t put my finger on it at this point. The ending theme is really in hard metal punk rock fashion, Silver by Rize. With the funky bass lines, the singer is screaming at times like as though it is the only way to sing this song. Oh wait. It is.

Overall, this season can only be appreciated by Gintama fans and those who have followed it from the start. New viewers might be confused what the hell is going on and might not appreciate the long heavy drama that permeates the entire arc. It is a season that is made for fans and stays true to it. At this point even though I have said that I would love Gintama to run forever, I guess when reality hits you, even immortals like Utsuro do not want to live forever. This is a sign to us viewers and fans to prepare for the inevitable. Because when that time eventually comes, we will be ready to see off this great series that has ran for over a decade with respect and leave with a smile. Gintama, you have always been part of our family and will forever will be. It is the only part that will never truly die. Like the eternal spirit of the samurai.

Gintama S4

March 4, 2017

More Gintama?! Oh yeah! Bring it on! What is there more to say? Let it get rolling, season 4! As usual, my blog will be just listing down some of the episodes I enjoyed and the important arcs.

Episode 266-267: What a way to start the season with Gintama holding a press conference to apologize about the misuse of funds. Not that we care! Anyway the story proper has everyone except Gintoki, Kagura and Shinpachi frozen in time. As expected, it was Gintoki’s fault in destroying some intergalactic clock and not giving a hoot about it since he was recovering from a hangover. So they try to leave it to Gengai to fix it and no matter how they adjust whatever variables, Gengai and/or Hasegawa gets killed! How the f*ck did this even end up in some Dragonball showdown?! Then they realize it is just out of batteries and go through a whole lot of crap just to get the batteries. Yeah, there seems to be some sort of conspiracy in preventing them in getting the batteries and making it more complicated. So complicated that we don’t know how the timeline changed to Otae marrying an anthromorphic sound effect guy. And when everything goes from bad to worse, even Gintoki and co are now frozen in time (because it is the wrong battery type), that guy just inserts the right batteries to reset everything. Like it all never happened. Hey, this is Gintama for you. What do you expect?

Episode 268: Yamazaki must be bored and sick of eating anpan while he stakes out Yorozuya. With Tama to the rescue (misinterpreting her words), he starts stalking her instead. Of course Sougou finds out about it and you know how he is going to screw everything up. So he sets up a marriage meeting between the Shinsengumi and Yorozuya. You know how both sides hate each other, right? So it is like they are sabotaging the entire event and it is just pitiful for Yamazaki trying to salvage everything but was for naught. A little chat with Tama in the end restores his confidence and normalcy till he had to vomit on her. Oops…

Episode 269: Gintoki and Tsukuyo are forced to teach Seita some history lessons. You know how boring it is, right? So the only way to make him interest is to add lots of exaggerated crap in it. Yeah, changing history? More like fantasy! Till Hinowa ends with an even absurd tale, which is a big warning for the adults to restart a proper history lesson for Seita. Shinpachi is holding some porn for his friend. Of all people, why did he get Gintoki’s advice to hide porn in his room from Otae? People, do not take their advices here. This is how NOT to hide porn. In the end, they find this naughty manga fits nicely with the other normal manga. Like hiding a leaf in the forest. They head out and realize they forgot to clean up the S&M equipment that was used during all the silly examples.

Episode 270: Ayame makes a secret chamber behind the mirror of Yorozuya’s toilet just to spy on Gintoki. But she gets more than she bargained for when she sees Shinpachi’s chest hair and Kagura’s cat tail. The last straw came when Gintoki reveals his baldness and uses the chest hair and cat tail as something naughty so Ayame breaks out and kicks his crotch before running away. They knew Ayame was behind it all along and just to teach her a lesson. But she soon comes back and this time without a mirror but imitating them like one. Yamazaki hears his colleagues badmouthing him despite getting special distinction from a mission. So he thought of applying for something cool like having a ninja licence along with Zenzou. So why does every training must have them abuse the old ninja lady? So by the time they take the last test that involves killing her, old ninja lady kills off her old ninja husband. The reward is a ninja licence or chikuwa. Yamazaki made the right choice for opting the latter.

Episode 271-272: Gintoki, Katsura and Sakamoto join a reunion for the Joi members. Other than Takasugi who didn’t even want to attend, they suddenly have vague memories that there must have been a 5th member supporting them from behind but cannot remember. So who the f*ck is this Tasuke Kurokono? They definitely cannot remember him but try as hard as they might to avoid any awkwardness when he arrives. But remembering the memories feels like a farce since we have them reminiscing about their high school basketball tournament and everything always leads back to that damn Pokari can drink. Or Yakulk? And what is this about Gintoki scamming every one of their money to buy Yakulk? Then the memories come back… They remember during a war when both sides have taken heavy casualties and are resting on their respective sides. Gintoki and Takasugi got into an argument about whores so it is suggested to calm their tension down by playing kick the can. Kurokono was counting in the temple when the enemies launch a surprise attack. But Gintoki and co anticipated this ambush and fought back, including blowing up the temple. So okay… They killed Kurokono?! So could this be his ghost has come back to organize this reunion and drag them to hell? Oh sh*t… Gintoki seems to be sweating in his pants (I don’t think singing Doraemon’s theme song would calm any nerves) and the other 2 were nonchalant about it that they got ‘abducted’ by the ‘ghost’. Turns out to be Henpeita Takechi and Matako Kijima of Kiheita setting up this to get rid of them as they believe they will become a hindrance in the future to Takasugi’s ambitions. So when they begin their final ghostly assault, Gintoki remembers what happened. While the troops were sleeping, Kurokono said his goodbye and left the force because he felt he couldn’t contribute any better. He hopes to be forgotten. But Gintoki told him it wouldn’t be a problem if just one guy remembered him and if they are in trouble, come back and help them again. Gintoki fights back and even Kurokono makes his mysterious appearance to put a stop to this farce. Next morning when Katsura and Sakamoto wake up not remembering anything last night, did Gintoki remember a thing? Nope. He forgot everything.

Episode 273: Hijikata is forced to hold onto a lost lottery ticket. Imagine his great dilemma when he discovers it as the winning ticket of 300 million! Even worse, Gintoki is the holder of this lost ticket! Tempting not to give it back, right? And so with money comes corruption because not only Hijikata sees evil Mohawk gang illusions trying to take money, they get involved with a real Mohawk gang robbing a bank! Attempts to break free only make it worse for them because they end up aiding in robbing more banks and dispatching police officers! In the end, they realize that their life is not worth being controlled by scraps of paper and tear the ticket up. But what about the real 300 million that was burnt during the final getaway? How are they going to repay that? Well, they’re going to buy more lottery tickets…

Episode 274: Yorozuya trying to advertise?! After all those parodies, ripping off and silly selfish desires, I guess they end up fighting and the best picture for it all is that big fight on a paper smeared by Sadaharu’s paw. After the aftermath in the Kabukichou Four Devas Arc, we see new ones taking over their respective group. But who is the one that rule them all? Not tranny Ago or gangster Katsuo or even Gintoki. But Otae! She holds a meeting to come up with a mascot to improve Kabukichou’s image. As usual, lots of silly rip offs and random weirdness. Since Katsuo was against it all and tells what he believes should represent the district better, he ends up paying the price and facing copyrights infringement over this newly created mascot. Turns Otae has been the bid devil behind his troubles.

Episode 283-284: Seeing how Tama’s confession is with men, Gintoki decides to take advantage of it and use her to scam for money. So it turns out to be his disgruntled employees taking out their anger on him. Then slowly it becomes a complicated murder plot when the shogun gets involved. I mean, with all the silly confessions, the shogun somehow is believed to be killed amidst the confusion and Gintoki becomes desperate to cover up this crime but it only gets from bad to worse. When the final person who comes in to confess is no other than the shogun himself, Gintoki breaks into his confession mode and repents his sins, vowing to turn over a new leaf. Amen! Then it turns out the shogun lost his memories and is now best friends and Joi member with Katsura. And Gintoki gets arrested. Katsura wants to teach the shogun about leadership while the Joi members can only look on in disbelief that their dumb leader still hasn’t figure out who this dude is. But the lessons end up being games and Katsura always loses. The game and his cool. In the end, everybody abandons Katsura to follow the shogun. Nobody cares about you anymore. So Katsura goes to rescue Gintoki alone but why is he whining about losing his leadership? Oddly, the shogun leads the Joi guys to raid his own castle?! Gintoki gets involved further in the sh*t as it becomes a stupid race between Katsura and the shogun to see who can kill the princess first! In the end, both sides actually realize their true identities a long time ago and were just testing out each other. There were numerous chances they could kill each other but where would the fun be as they want to know what the enemy commander is really like. But in the end, after all this leader crap, the true leader is Kagura because they all disturb her beautiful sleep with Soyo and they got owned.

Episode 285: Kondou got rejected by Otae to visit the festivals together so he is annoying couples there as a masked cockroach! Since Otae is there too and she doesn’t realize it is him under the mask, he tries to flirt with her. But Gintoki and co hatch up a scheme to rip him off his money like shooting gallery (shooting at somebody’s funeral?), katanuki (how can he carve out a realistic dragon from the candy?) and goldfish scooping (bungee jumping?! Tied to the neck?!). Eventually it was just an elaborate prank to teach him a lesson but they’ve all learnt a bigger one that the festival is much better when you have fun with everyone. As long that someone is paying. Yeah…

Episode 290-291: A back story of how Sakamoto and Mutsu came to be. Mutsu was the daughter of a pirate group that does human trafficking. And she works part time as captain?! Sakamoto was accidentally picked up as he tries to con his way to trade and buy this ship but was eventually thrown into prison (for vomiting on the commander’s face many times). Mutsu would soon learn a valuable lesson of Sakamoto as a trader always seems to make others happy with his trade. It makes his profits more meaningful. So when there is a mutiny from the commander after her father falls ill and he plans to take over and kill everyone, it’s time for Mutsu to rethink and make her move. The night before the rebellion, she sets Sakamoto and the slaves free. Then she gets captured and to walk to plank. Apparently Sakamoto and the slaves didn’t abandon her. They return to turn the tables on the commander and his team and took off into the skies as traders. Now, history seems to be repeating itself as the commander is back to get his revenge by kidnapping Sakamoto and Mutsu. But you know how funny sometimes some things never changed. Because history repeats itself again. The entire Kaientai fleet is made out of those slaves as they bust them out. Mutsu’s fighting style resembles a lot like a Yato and this means she is one powerful kickass mother f*cker. The day is saved. Back to trading again. It’s another usual day in business.

Episode 292: Fancy our Yorozuya characters in a new fashion? Well, with all the silly alterations and adjustments, they just don’t look like the characters we know anymore. And so it is decided the way they originally look is the best. But Shinpachi might want to look a little cool in his suits for a while. Also, Shinpachi finds a lost scroll believed to be left behind by his late dad supposedly to inherit some super finishing move. Despite its long ass name and weird instructions (is that a video game input?), not everybody else easily learns it but the kick in the nuts turn out to be all that hard work in practising the move is to collect cacao and macadamia to create the perfect delicious chocolate nut bait for your enemy.

Episode 293: Ape Boy, some sort of Robin Hood who steals from the corrupted and gives bananas to the poor. He mistakes Kondou’s stalking on Otae to be prodigal material and before you know it, Kondou is under his wing to succeed him whether he likes it or not! Each time they escape from Shinsengumi, Kondou’s accidentally tactics only serves to enhance his reputation as a successor. Poor Hijikata… Eventually Ape Boy’s age is catching up so it seems Kondou is forced to succeed his last wishes. He does some deed on his behalf at a shrine. Hijikata is also there and knows Kondou was the one sabotaging him. Well, let’s call it undercover job. To deceive your enemy, you have to deceive your friends… This shrine proves familiar for Kondou. There was once a troubled kid here and it wasn’t Ape Boy but Kondou. Ape Boy was his sensei. His kindness was his downfall as loan sharks took advantage of it by kidnapping the other orphans. Kondou went alone to get them back but the loan sharks retaliated by burning down the shrine. Kondou was sent away on grounds he brought trouble and that was the last time he saw his sensei. It is believed he became Ape Boy to protect him from turning into a thief and atone his sins. Ape Boy is captured by punks preying on the weak. Kondou singlehandedly beats the crap out of all of them. He makes his final tearful reunion with sensei.

Episode 294-295: Shinsengumi has got a new skilled swordsman? It’s Katsura in an afro?! However he is owned by the third squad captain, Shimaru Saito. So Katsura takes his complaints to Yorozuya. He joined Saito’s silent squad but he never talks. Never. The only words coming out of his mouth is “Zed” and when he is sleeping. Apparently before Katsura joined, he was the only member of the squad and it is believed he purged his entire squad member. Then they realize Katsura is in danger because Saito might now his identity and is waiting for a chance to kill him. Saito even comes to Yorozuya and the rest thinks he is looking for Katsura but just to take a dump? But he leaves with a letter addressing his problem of being unable to talk naturally to others. It makes him nervous that he wants to take a dump. I guess Gintoki has to play advisor since he got paid. He writes back a letter to smile. So creepy that Katsura gets scared of him! How about bringing along your partner for work and some conversation might string along? So Saito captured Elizabeth and is about to torture her?! Turns out he tamed her to be his pet. Now Elizabeth won’t look at Katsura! Poor guy. He is having lots of problems. So is friendship between Shinsengumi and Joi rebel impossible? But soon Katsura has become a famous in Shinsengumi and everybody spots an afro! It seems he has used Saito’s silence to his advantage by framing him in his bid to take him down. During his trial, Saito shockingly speaks! Actually it is Yorozuya speaking via communicator on his behalf. I mean, nobody heard his voice before, right? So in this silly trial to prove his innocence, silly rants and inconsistent talking, it all boils down to a sword fight between Katsura and Saito. More silly incomprehension that leads to napping? This is where Katsura fails since he took off his afro to sleep and the Shinsengumi is now hot on his ass. However during this commotion he has Elizabeth planted bombs everywhere. Not needing any meddling from Yorozuya anymore, Saito hunts down Katsura while the rest defuse the bombs. Their fight ends in a draw with Saito cutting his detonator and Katsura wounding his leg. But a big bomb is set to go off. All Saito needs to say is cut all alphabet wires except Z (as revealed by Katsura). But since he can’t speak and has accepted his silence, he thought his Shinsengumi guys would get the hint when he catches some Zs. Boom! Everyone is afro again.

Episode 296-297: I bet we have forgotten that Kagura as a Yato cannot be exposed to the sunlight, right? Thanks to the hot summer and with Gintoki and Shinpachi wrestling to get under her shade, she is inadvertently pushed out and… OMG… Something is wrong… Somebody call the ambulance! Kagura is hospitalized and her condition turns for the worse. Our Yorozuya boys feel guilty as not even the doctor can do anything about it. Human medical technology not good enough for Yato. Of course everything is just an act by Kagura for payback and do errands for her. However her plan starts to backfire when she plays her prank too far and now she has to act like she is in a coma! Worse, with more people gathering, they already start talking about her funeral! And before she knows it, she is already in a funeral! A state wide funeral! Then she realizes Sougou might have known she is alive because he purposely installed sunbathing device inside her coffin to roast her. Due to some drugs, she cannot move or speak for a few more hours. And so we see the wacky send off as everyone tries to pay their last respects while her coffin is on a conveyor belt to the crematorium! Are they really trying to kill her with their absolutely silly last rites?! When Kagura realizes she was wrong and taking advantage of everyone’s kindness (they shed real tears after all), that is when she ekes out an apology. Everyone heard it. Gintoki and Shinpachi try to hasten her death because they realize they can’t go back after ‘cheating’ everyone out of their funeral funds. But eventually the truth is revealed so everyone gives a ‘grand send-off’ to Yorozuya for their terminal disease. Still blaming each other till the end, eh? Well, you only live once. Or do they?

Genderbend Arc
Kyuubei as a man?! Apparently her dilemma to be a yuri or tomboy character has a suspicious fortune teller not only converting her into a man but the entire Kabukichou swapping their genders! Fancy seeing Gintoki as a cutie? Kagura as a manly Three Kingdoms general?! But Sadaharu completely turned into a fine white steed?! Not all are changed as Shinpachi only had his glasses turned feminine and Otae is pretty normal too. It is revealed the wanted intergalactic cult leader, Dekobokko is fed up with everyone being untrue to their gender so he swaps everyone to make them live a new life. So if they can exhibit being faithful to their genders, he will turn them back or else he will destroy the world. Even with Kabukichou being quarantined off and the cult watching their every move, our usual characters can still talk nonsense especially the case of taking a pee and Otae becoming a jealous monster since well, many of the guys in Shinsengumi have turned into hot gorgeous babes with big boobs!!! Except Hijikata who looks like a fat ugly woman… Apparently the Shinsengumi have been on Dekobokko’s tail ever since they’ve got word they are coming into contact with Earth but didn’t expect them to move this quick by settling into this town as their base. The real ‘God’ himself is up there in space in a satellite. The cult was trying to make a drug that manipulates hormone balance, making men more manly and women more feminine. But the drug had an opposite effect. It swapped their genders. Therefore it is not the work of God but a virus. Thankfully it doesn’t stay long in the air and is not contagious.

The plan now is to cover up all the surveillance cameras set up throughout town. But with their moronic egos and getting distracted by it, you think they can do the job? While they’re at it, Ayame and Tsukuyo singlehandedly destroy all the cameras and rounded up most of the cult members! Are you manly enough to do your job? It leads them to their sewer base. They round up all the cult members and even discuss about returning to their original genders. Because heck, the ladies (men now) were much more useful than those men (ladies now) all the way. But the archbishop has observed Kyuubei and believes she has been the chosen one and has upheld both male and female qualities. As promised, a beam is fired back on Earth, turning everyone back to their original genders. Unfortunately for our heroes who were underground, they were the only ones left unchanged. Life goes on like normal but a lot smoother for many of our characters like Kyuubei now stronger and attracting females’ attention, the Shinsengumi become some sort of police cabaret and Shinpachi trains in another dojo to become stronger. Life is indeed smooth sailing than before but Kyuubei can’t help feel some sort of gloominess. She realizes she is neither man nor woman but a coward. Luck would have all that changed since Yorozuya manages to get tickets to outer space as they have found the next planet the cult is targeting. They manage to change back to their original genders and kick their asses once again. Kyuubei acknowledges she isn’t a man or woman but just Kyuubei.

Reaper Arc
Gintoki heard there are serial murders of people’s neck being severed but enough flesh left behind to keep the head and body intact. He doesn’t believe it until he comes across a reaper trying to kill herself and she wants him to assist her! Lots of bloopers till it looked like he did it. Why did he have to bring her back to Yorozuya? However Asaemon Ikeda is not dead yet and laments she cannot even take her own life before leaving. Meanwhile Shinsengumi is investigating the murders and Hijikata has sought the assistance of Yaemon Ikeda, the royal swordskeeper. Apparently they have been the royalty’s executioners for generations who assisted people who are supposed to commit seppuku by cutting off their heads. It is an act of soul cleansing so it is believed that such cuts can only be performed by such skilled swordsmen. Currently Yaemon is the head after taking over their previous master. There is another one who has this skill but is on the run. The royal guards are looking for Asaemon in hiding but Gintoki finds her and brings her back to Yaemon. Gintoki is told why he took her back when such acts of treason would usually mean her head. They were both like siblings and rivals who raised the bar for each other. When it is discovered their late master was responsible for helping criminals escape, the entire Ikeda could have perished if the courts find out. Thus the siblings punished him in secrecy and Asaemon assisted in his suicide. It won’t be long before the courts find out and thus Asaemon wanted to take this secret to her grave. After all, she loved her master more than anybody else. But Gintoki knows something is amiss. In addition to this, they are also the ones who commit those murders. They were all escaped criminals set free by their previous master. So why is Yaemon telling Gintoki all this despite the risk of all this coming to light? Yaemon takes out the list of escaped criminals. Gintoki’s name is on that list. He must cooperate or become a victim too.

Officially it is announced that the serial killer is caught and executed. Hijikata and Sougou don’t buy this crap and board the ship supposedly carrying corpses of executed people. True enough, Asaemon is still alive as she talks to Gintoki about her master and the many things he taught her. She is confused by his deeds that needed to take his life. Gintoki knows by heart that he was a good man. Especially how humanely he was treated despite being a prisoner. Once Hijikata and Sougou find them, they tell the other part of the true story that all the murder victims were related to the rebels of the Joi war. They were all involved in the battle at Anekohara where they inflicted the greatest defeat to a great general, Narifuyu Hitotsubashi. He became a politician and spent years on the side-lines till he is enough to take over the cabinet. He ordered the purged of these people but a certain man couldn’t bear the sight of people being mercilessly slaughtered and set them free. Therefore Gintoki and Asaemon have been sold out by Yaemon to gain favour with Nobunobu Hitotsubashi who is rumoured to be the next shogun. While Gintoki and co fight off the guards, Asaemon is greatly confused what she has been protecting all the while. Leave it to Gintoki to clear her mind and conscious about it as she gets back into the groove to face off with Yaemon himself.

Gintoki gets shot but not a fatal one. It becomes a draw to see if Yaemon can cut Gintoki’s head first or Asaemon taking Yaemon’s head. Yaemon reveals the truth that her biological father wasn’t killed in the Joi war but by her master. He adopted her out of guilt. Gintoki remembers talking to young Asaemon when he was on death row. She was confused about his imprisonment and didn’t think he was a bad guy. She decided to grow up and become an executioner and take his head. So don’t die until then. Yaemon thought he cut both Gintoki and Yaemon’s neck. Actually Gintoki attacked from his blind spot by unsheathing Asaemon’s sword accidentally grazing his own neck. Gintoki was fast enough to break Yaemon’s sword. Yaemon realizes his dream and sword were long broken. He helps everyone escape as his final deed before he got beheaded by his partner, Hitotsubashi. And this guy too seems to be in an unofficial cohort with Takasugi. Sougou takes Gintoki, Shinpachi and Kagura to be executed. As Yaemon has gone missing, the link to the serial murders have disappeared and to cover their own asses to prevent Hitotsubashi from bringing down the hammer on them, the trio are being made a scapegoat. Gintoki gets mad when he learns Asaemon committed suicide to take responsibility for this entire uproar. Sougou reminds him that he already assisted in her suicide when they first met. To their surprise, Asaemon is going to be their executioner. She has discarded her past and took on the name of the next Yaemon. The Shinsengumi turn a blind eye over their execution. Any criminals seen with a sever around their neck, they’re going to just assume they are corpses. Asaemon cuts her mask and their cuffs. There are no more criminals here.

Ego Switch Arc
Shinpachi and Kagura are chasing Gintoki for their overdue pay. Hijikata is chasing Yamazaki for slacking. Gintoki and Hijikata got into each other’s way, started arguing and a truck hits then. Before they know it, they swap bodies! Since getting back isn’t easy, they are forced to live as each other’s life. After all, they can’t be safe either way. Those kids still kill Gintoki for their pay and Sougou loves to bazooka Hijikata. So imagine the culture shock when the swapped duo bring to their organizations. Gintoki does away with all the code crap and instils slacking for Shinsengumi while Hijikata instils punctuality and discipline for Yorozuya. In the end, Shinsengumi turns into some wild bandits and Yorozuya a justice squad! Messed up! The duo continue to fight till Kagura and Sougou fight and blew up each other. Bodies still not swapped, though. It is then Tama brings them to see Gengai who reveals that they were swapped thanks to the truck carrying an experimental swapping device that instead of swapping eggs and soy sauce over rice, swapped their souls. WTF?! Do you need such complicated device for egg on rice meal?

Of course trying to swap them back via machine swapped everything but their souls. Since they realize something is lacking that rendered the machine unable to work properly, they think back and remember half of Gintoki’s soul entered the ass of a dead cat during the swap! Now they have to find that cat who might be resurrected as a zombie all over town. So both meet the least person they want to meet. Katsura is now part of Yorozuya as wells as Hasegawa and Ayame! There is going to be a big brawl showdown between the free spirited Shinsengumi and disciplined Yorozuya. Sh*t is going to happen. They cooperate when they finally spot the cat. An amnesiac alien?! So this cat is taking after Gintoki’s negative habits? Nobody can touch this strong feline. Gintoki and Hijikata blame their own inaptness that got their team owned so they will go take the cat back on their own. They follow it back to Otae’s place. She is keeping it as her pet! Dozaemon?! There are lots of chivalry talk going on from how she found him and nurse him back to health. She won’t leave him till he gets his memories back and doesn’t mind the rumours about them. When he eats her food, he passes out and loses his memories! So was this how he got it in the first place? Hijikata is forced to talk to her since he is in Gintoki’s body and has got to act like him.

Otae can tell something is strange since both of them are trying to flirt with her with the tactic of making her break up with Dozaemon?! It gets complicated when Shinpachi and Kondou enter the fray. Shinpachi takes Otae and run while Kondou wheels Dozaemon away. It soon hit Gintoki and Hijikata that Shinpachi is Kondou and Kondou is Ayame! And get this. Shinpachi is glasses while Yamazaki is Hasegawa’s shades! So who is in Yamazaki’s body? Sadaharu? And that dog? Hasegawa! If that is not confusing enough. Sougou swapped with Katsura and Kagura swapped with Elizabeth. Yeah, this madness happened when Gengai rammed all of them with his truck earlier on. Dozaemon wakes up when he hears Otae’s scream (apparently Shinpachi (Kondou) is trying to rape her). So once everybody faces off, Otae tells everyone to stop bullying Dozaemon. The rest argue they need to return him to his proper place. Otae would have believed them at other times but tonight their weird acting just makes it suspicious. Especially this gay moment between Kondou (Ayame) and Hijikata (Gintoki). Hilarious! Dozaemon goes into overdrive to fight everyone to protect Otae. They can’t stand up to his brute. So here comes a giant poop! Yamazaki and Hasegawa combined? Eventually it ends with Gintoki’s half soul coming out from Dozaemon the way it came in. Yup, through the butthole. Man, there’s a lot of sh*t going around. And vomit too. In the aftermath, Gintoki and Hijikata return to normal. But everyone else is some sort of human poop! They hound their respective bosses for a way to return back to normal.

Shogun Assassination Arc
The shogun was nearly assassinated via poison in his tea had not Ayame acted in time. Later she talks to Zenzou about the political chaos ever since Sadasada was ousted. Everyone is trying to eye for the throne. Ayame and Zenzou were once in the Oniwaban that was dissolved under Sadasada but Matsudaira took them in. Matsudaira talks to Kondou and Hijikata about the need to escort the shogun out from Edo to Kyo secretly. Of course they are going to place doubles in the palace not to raise suspicions but how can you not have any when the doubles come in all shapes and sizes! Even Yorozuya dudes are doing a sick impression of it. Nobunobu is seen as the main antagonist trying to oust the shogun. He has Takasugi and Kamui on his side but was accidentally taken out by Kamui who mistook him for the shogun. Of course they are using him as a pawn for their own gains but with Nobunobu out for the time being, no one will suspect them as he will also be seen a victim of somebody who wants the shogun dead. Matsudaira’s fool proof plan not only has doubles in the palace but several diversions on air and ground as decoys while transporting the shogun. So our usual group has got the ground troop and the Shinsengumi duo don’t quite like it that Gintoki is acting as the fake shogun. But they better treat him nice despite his sh*tty attitude because the Oniwaban and samurai guards will not hesitate to take anyone out even if it’s a joke. The real shogun has the company of Zenzou. He reminds the shogun that the Oniwaban’s duty isn’t to protect the shogun but his duty, which is to protect the country and people at the cost of his life. Zenzou then decapitates him. He plans to bear the cross and become the nation’s traitor.

When Ayame’s group learns of the shogun’s demise and that there may be traitors among them, she and the rest quickly take out the supposed traitors since it’s easy to detect their killing intent. To her horror, the Iga ninjas in which the Oniwaban originates are siding with the enemy. With such a large force mobilized, she believes only one of the 3 head clans who rule over Iga can do so. Either Gaimon Fujibayashi, Rappa Momochi or Zenzou. Meanwhile with Soyo being targeted, thankfully there is Sougou to protect her. He then faces off in an epic battle with Kamui. It was a race between Kamui and Takasugi to see who can take the shogun’s head but the latter lost out. Although Takasugi’s plan is no to take the shogun’s head but the shogun’s limbs. Zenzou stops Sougou and Kamui’s fight by showing them he has the shogun’s head. They have no more reason to fight. Ayame and co are unfortunate enough to stumble into Fujibayashi and Momochi. They tell him the state of their Iga homeland. 6 months ago, strange men in umbrella attacked and threatened them to help assassinate the shogun and in turn they will be hired as the new Oniwaban for the reformed government. But once news of the shogun’s death reach them, Fujibayashi wants everyone here killed. However Momochi won’t mobilize her side citing she doesn’t take orders from traitor. Seems the real shogun is still alive and is right here disguised as an Iga ninja. He orders the rebels to be taken out.

Apparently after the poisoning attempt, the shogun was kidnapped and brought to Iga where he stayed safe. The shoguns everyone met so far were doubles. Fujibayashi still won’t admit his defeat. He tries to kill Momochi but this wheelchair lady is just a puppet. Her real body is the maid pushing the wheelchair. He gets taken out by a super bazooka. Back at Iga, Momochi further explains that Zenzou who was keeping tabs on the situation, knew the enemy has grown into a massive force that they won’t stop attacking as long as the shogun stayed as the shogun. The only way to prevent further warfare was to kill the shogun and merely return him to just being Shigeshige. So what Zenzou lopped off was the position and by taking him out of the political picture, he was trying to protect him as a man. To that end he decided to go down history as a traitor. But now it won’t end just here because Takasugi and the rest of Harusame (minus Kamui) are already here at Iga. Also with them is Zenzou who realizes Takasugi’s intention of killing the shogun is to become one himself. Takasugi has his men kill Zenzou but he sets off bombs planted on all their ships. Gintoki and co are tasked to keep the shogun safe while the Iga ninjas ward off the bloodthirsty Yato killers. Thanks to Sougou, Soyo and Maizou still live although Sougou is now in comatose. Maizou believes the decapitated shogun isn’t the real one because he checked the body and lacked the scar. He narrates Shigeshige’s young life already associated with the Iga and Oniwaban. It all started when he realized kids his age were laying their lives to protect him and even became his doubles. He wanted to save his double from some rebellion, he and the Oniwaban youngsters barged into the base to rescue. It ended with Shigeshige having a deep scar on his scar. If the incident of the shogun saved the double got out, his entire clan will be beheaded. So to cover up this incident, the double took his place a little longer on the throne while Shigeshige hid and took refuge at Iga where he learnt some ninja skills.

Zenzou takes a lot of beating but there is a limit to how much a man can take and stand his ground. Fear not. Ayame and his other Oniwaban ninjas are here to save his ass. No pun intended. Gintoki and co have a lot on their plate while defending and escaping with the shogun. Because the Yato lot are numerous and tough as hell. It’s amazing they’re still having the stamina after that pounding onslaught. With a little help from Momochi, they reach the secret exit to escape Iga. Likewise, Ayame is taking Zenzou to another exit but Takasugi stabs her and Kamui just arrived for the party in time. An epic showdown is on the cards because Gintoki and Kagura have a score to settle with their long time foes. So amidst the ground shattering punches and bloody sword clashes, we see flashbacks of their pasts. From family troubles to little lost weaklings trying to become stronger and finding a place to belong.

Well, at least it’s like another whole flashback arc by itself watching young Gintoki, Takasugi and Katsura under Shouyou’s guidance. As Takasugi slowly prefers to learn from Shouyou’s free-spirited samurai ways, his father learns of this and is not too thrilled. Word gets out that Shouyou might be a school gathering kids teaching seditious propaganda and being anti-bakufu. Despite all the threats, Shouyou treasured his students and kept them safe. Until that war which many of his students died. To Takasugi’s dismay, Shouyou was executed and decapitated by Gintoki in a bid for the remaining students to survive. This became Takasugi’s hatred for revenge. Although Gintoki last saw Shouyou’s smiling face and his thanks, Takasugi last saw Gintoki’s crying yet smiling face before his left eye was blinded by Oboro. That vision was burnt into his left eye. It would have been so much easier had it been the bakufu. But the sworn enemies are themselves. Even though they fought to save him, they were so weak to use him as a stepping stone to survive. Takasugi never understood why Gintoki never avenge Shouyou’s death and that he chose them instead over sensei. All Gintoki can say is that he knows Takasugi isn’t cutting himself but his alter ego. That’s why he sought a revenge that hurt himself far more than cutting himself. Gintoki is his alter ego and will stop him and stand up no matter how many times it takes. He knows what Shouyou holds dear and if he has to walk over his corpse, he will protect the soul of his student and fellow friend as his disciple. Just when you think Takasugi has come to terms and has some closure, he is stabbed by Oboro.

Apparently the Tendoshu has arrived in what it seems like a fell swoop to take out all their enemies once they wear each other out. As they point out, Shigeshige is no longer the shogun because he handed his resignation to Sadasada at the end of the Courtesan of a Nation arc. At that point because there was nobody suitable, it was put on hold. But now there is one: Nobunobu. He is now the shogun. This guy is bandaged up like a mummy and fuelled by rage and revenge. He wants everybody killed! But so as not to rush things yet, they want Shigeshige to be handed over first, which doesn’t make any difference or change the fact he would still be standing in Nobunobu’s way. However Shigeshige asserts that he is still the shogun and will not take orders for everyone. He will not run away and protect his country and those who gave their lives in protecting it. Shigeshige believes in his friends and that they are not easily broken. Here comes Matsudaira and the entire Shinsengumi backup. This means that sadist Sougou is back too. Takasugi revives to help Gintama wound Oboro. It’s payback because Takasugi blinded Oboro’s left eye. Kagura and Kamui put aside their differences for now to help Gintoki and Takasugi face off the rest of Tendoshu.

Oboro lets them go thinking they are struggling a futile struggle as students of Shouyou. Shigeshige hints he wants to abolish the position of the shogun and will be the last one if it is hindering the lives of this country. After 2 weeks, Takasugi is still in coma. Kiheitai have taken a bad beating and it will take them some time to recover. Harusame is now no longer pirates and targeted by Tendoshu but Kamui isn’t worrying since if he is going to be the best in the world, he needs to turn everyone against him and beat them up altogether. Nobunobu announces Shigeshige is dead and proclaims himself as the new shogun. Shigeshige has left for Kyo where the emperor resides so he’ll be safe. He plans to gather his allies and make a comeback but cannot take the rest of them since he doesn’t want them to be Tendoshu’s enemies. Although Soyo wrote a sunshiny letter that everything is okay and hope is still within reach, it seems there is an assassination attempt on Shigeshige as he got poisoned by a needle while meeting up with his old friends.

Farewell Shinsengumi Arc
The entire nation is in mourning over their assassinated shogun! Nobunobu ascends the throne and eliminates everyone who gets in his way. He doesn’t care if Matsudaira who is supposed to serve him shows him great disrespect because he doesn’t need him or Shinsengumi. He has Sasaki and Mimawarigumi behind him. He makes Matsudaira take responsibility for failure to protect the shogun and will be beheaded alongside Kondou. This means the Shinsengumi is disbanded. Everyone is scared and confused. Hijikata is transferred under the department of that hardboiled detective, Heiji Kozenigata. The rest of the Shinsengumi want to save Kondou because sooner or later they will be crushed. But Hijikata holds no authority over them and has them do what they want. Whatever they believe in, just do it. Believe in that and fight. They are still all Shinsengumi deep down inside.

Visiting the cabaret certainly won’t help drown your sorrows. It gets worse when Nobunobu and Mimawarigumi also pay a visit with the excuse of wanting to mix with commoners like Shigeshige. Things started getting heating up not when Nobunobu suggests Hijikata to execute his former boss and comrades but when he cuts down innocent cabaret girls thinking they were treating him as the same level as Shigeshige. He thinks he is superior to all that in this new age. So when Otae protests, she is also in risk of getting hurt. Hijikata wanted to punch him but Gintoki took it in the face. Save that punch for his dumb boss. Gintoki punches Nobunobu instead. Sasaki understands fools never change so instead of letting the new government’s reputation get worse, he arrests Gintoki so that a single fool can take the entire blame. But then Katsura throws his smoke bomb to let everyone else escape. In turn he gets thrown into prison and ironically with his eternal enemy Kondou in the next cell, he suggests forming an unusual alliance to protect this country. He gives him a pill that would put his body in temporary suspension (playing dead, that is) so that the guards will open their cell doors when they see ‘corpses’.

Hijikata is still torn on what to do. Still wallowing in depression he cannot protect anything. But when Kagura relays a message from Sougou, how that sadist is still following the Shinsengumi code and waiting for the vice captain to give orders, Hijikata makes his move back to Shinsengumi HQ. He finds everyone waiting in line awaiting his orders. They go meet up with the Joi rebels. They still hate each other but agree to work with each other in this last joint operation to save their bosses. When Katsura is about to throw the same pill to Matsudaira, he flops as it ricochets back into his own mouth! Now he is dead. Then the guards come by as Kondou and Matsudaira also play dead. But these guards enter the cell not to check on the corpses but to kill them! Luckily Kondou acts fast enough. Katsura pretended to only eat the pill and is able to fight back. They realize these aren’t ordinary prison guards. The mark on their arms indicate they are Naraku, the assassination syndicate under Tendoshu. They too have killed other prison guards. The trio take advantage of the situation by dressing up as prison guards and sound the alert that the prisoners have made a prison break. However Katsura knows this place well and even though it is easy to slip and escape their situation, they cannot go further beyond the gates because they are on the prison island, Kokujo.

But Katsura knows his allies will be coming to save them. That’s right. Shinsengumi and the Joi rebels are on their way here. Their plan is to infiltrate by disguising as prisoners but Naraku intercepts them and it becomes a bloody boat battle. They get the most unlikely of help from Yorozuya joining in the fray. Wow. It’s like they’ve powered up and become more badass. I didn’t know Shinpachi was this badass. Sasaki orders his Mimawarigumi to move and hunt down for escaped inmates. However Nobume feels there is more to this. She thinks he purposely let Nobunobu into public to show his tyrannical ways and plant Katsura in the same prison with Kondou. All to incite a rebellion and gain an excuse to purge them. On the contrary, if he wanted to do so, he could have just executed them. He claims he is cleaning up something far bigger in scale they happen to be part of. Mimawarigumi intercept the ships coming from the front but they are nothing but decoys. Because everyone is climbing the steep cliffs at the back. However the enemy already anticipated this and sends arrows raining down on them. If not for Elizabeth’s drilling up from behind, who knows what might have happened. But at the top, now they have to face off with stronger opponents. Gintoki will give his pay back to Oboro and Sougou deals with Nobume. Katsura now has an extra navel after being shot by Sasaki. He wants Kondou to leave him since his mission is to rescue him. But Kondou won’t leave him after realizing he thought at first it was okay to die to protect his friends. But now he wants them to return and see their comrades again.

Sasaki notes Kondou has never changed. Time for another flashback when the newly formed Roshigumi were taking in new recruits. It was a weird and shady organization recruiting Joi rebels, giving them the freedom to hold a sword and protect the land. In actual fact it is a perverted idea of eventually making Joi rebels and wipe each other out. Kondou and his other comrades joined it after they reached Edo. There is this punk kid, Mountain Zaki who keeps challenging and showing off his strength. He challenged Kondou but he will not fight him, believing the power is not needed to subdue a subordinate but to protect one. Then he realizes their swings can actually kill, he pissed in his pants and become a docile guy whom we all know as Yamazaki today. Under Kondou’s guidance, Roshigumi flourished. But top brass wanted to give them a ‘special’ escort mission of the shogun and his son. Assassins will attack and they will allow the assassination to succeed. Then they will take responsibility and disembowel themselves. In this chaotic era, Sasaki is also an expecting father. Even with Kondou’s answer that there is no one answer to be a samurai, Sasaki might not want to be a fine samurai or a fine father but a fine name for his child.

So while the Shinsengumi and Joi rebels now enter a chaotic battle with Mimawarigumi, a shocking truth is revealed about Sasaki. He met a few kids trained by Naraku to become cold hearted killers. One of them is Nobume. Sasaki was too late in saving his pregnant wife as she was killed by Nobume. But since he is her target and she didn’t kill him, Sasaki didn’t kill her. Nobume once met Shouyou and learnt everyone is born weak and have the freedom to change. They were all struggling and straying down the wrong path, the reason Nobume couldn’t kill her, though she believes she deserves to be killed by him. Sasaki might not hesitate to cut her down but what he wants to cut down is this era where the country commits acts of brutality. He wants her to swing her sword for his sake since he cannot protect anything. And when the time comes, use it to kill him. It is his vengeance. It is her duty. But despite Nobume taking everything from him, she still cannot bring herself to cut him down. All along Sasaki has been playing the villain as he is trying to end the samurai era along with himself by making everyone start a revolt. He is just a rebel like them. Each time Sasaki tries to start that burning rebellion, Naraku always tries to extinguish that spark. That is why Sasaki planned on using those flames on this island.

It’s getting messier because the entire Naraku fleet has dropped in to join the party. Mimawarigumi fleets are fighting off the Naraku counterparts. Kagura stops Sougou and Nobume’s fight. When Nobume gets stabbed, she gives the orders to her men to flee. Because the big bad boss of Tendoshu is here, Utsuro. He views Nobume betraying him twice because she failed to kill Sasaki. Nobume will not follow anyone’s orders except her own will. Utsuro is like the final big boss of video games everyone loves to hate because he is so overpowered that he is like having the cheat codes on for eternity. We see how he beats up the trio with ease and no matter how much they struggle, they cannot just get the better of him. Hijikata has also ordered his men to retreat because he realizes the longer this battle goes on, the harder it will be for them to get off the island. However Oboro and his men will not let one escape. He kills the small fries and wounds our main characters. Utsuro also joins in on this purge. Finally we get to see Gintoki fight on par with him. What is worse than unable to defeat him? When Gintoki cuts off his mask, he sees Shouyou! Or is this an imposter?! Best still, all wounds Utsuro sustained are healed! What did I tell you he is on cheat code mode!!! When a distraction occurs, everyone takes this chance to run. Gintoki wonders who the hell that imposter is. Nobume’s answer is baffling. He is both Shouyou and not at the same time. But she is certain Gintoki wasn’t the one who killed Shouyou.

Already worn out, injured and tired, more Naraku henchmen drop in to fight them. Thus more flashback from Sasaki giving Nobume her name that was supposed to be his daughter’s if she was alive. He also made her his vice captain. When everyone else arrives, they see Kondou killed. This didn’t drain their fighting spirit. They get even madder and fight harder. Of course Kondou is still alive and took Katsura’s pill to be in temporary suspended animation. He did so because Sasaki suggested it to make it look like he slew him. To Oboro’s dismay, Sasaki has also called for more Shinsengumi and Mimawarigumi reinforcements. Kondou and Hijikata cut down Oboro. It was never Sasaki’s intention to protect or save Kondou. Ever since back then he never wanted to lose out to him but never knew how. He had an idea despite it only lasted for a while. He couldn’t be happier to be the man who defeated Shinsengumi’s chief. Nobume won’t let Sasaki die. He reveals another twist. He knew she wasn’t the one who killed his wife and daughter. She protected them from other assassins. In spite knowing this, he still used her as part of his revenge. He doesn’t feel his life is worth saving. Nobume doesn’t care about all that. Couldn’t they just stay the same like always so she could just stay by his side? More flashback this time about Sasaki racking his brains to come up with a name for his unborn daughter. Despite his wife’s suggestions, he doesn’t find them all great. Even his room is filled with crumpled paper of unsuccessful suggestions. Is it that hard? Then it is like screw it all. He didn’t care what kind of name she had so long she lives strong. He decides on Nobume which means girl of faith. Sasaki saves Nobume one last time when all our heroes are evacuating into a ship. He pushes her in before falling to his death. Sasaki… NOOO!!!!

Everyone pays their final respects and salute to Sasaki. Nobume is glad Sasaki gave her a fine name. In the aftermath, when Nobunobu learns of this, he became furious crushed and disbanded all police force under Sasaki and decided to reform the system from the ground up. Those he dismissed join the underground faction led by Matsudaira as they plan to revolt and overthrow the bakufu. As Nobunobu is unpopular, even the sentiments on ground are slowly building up their distrust and the people growing in favour of a revolt. As suggested by Katsura, because Nobunobu won’t let the Shinsengumi who embarrassed him off the hook, he tells them to leave Edo. So we have one of the most awkward goodbyes. Like Kondou now spotting a hideous scar across his face stalking Otae but ironically didn’t get scolded or beaten up, Kagura and Sougou fighting and beating the hell out of each other, Gintoki and Hijikata trading and eating the other’s favourite food. It must suck… In the end, Kondou leads his Shinsengumi out of Edo, promising to return here and become true samurais.

Love Potion Arc (OVA)
A mysterious heart shaped pill named Aizen Kou is making its rounds in Yoshiwara. Rumours have it that smelling its incense would lead you to falling head over heels with the closest person you see. Too bad Tsukuyo inhaled it and has to control her lust over Gintoki (because he was taking a piss nearby). You know how hard it is trying to concoct a plan to snuff out the mastermind next to the person you’re in love, right? So when they finally round up all of it and going to dispose it, Tsukuyo’s mischievous love causes her to wreak havoc. Yeah, the entire bunch got accidentally burnt and all of Yoshiwara is turned into a den of sex maniacs!!! Oh… Shinpachi x Kagura romance?! Did we even expect this in Gintama?! Worse than that is Gintoki turning into a sleazy lady killer because young or old, beautiful or ugly, all women are his honeys! Even those porn stars you see on the internet are his! So we see him take down other guys to protect his honeys. A little ‘romance’ spat between Gintoki and Tsukuyo before the complication is up a notch because now we have Kyuubei and Otae in the fray despite giving lame excuses they are not. Before you know it, all males in Yoshiwara has got chastity belts attached to heavy round iron balls! And then everyone turns into a love slave for the mastermind, Hotaru who is one of the courtesans in Yoshiwara. Love her and she will love you for eternity!

So we’ve got chaos in our hands. Otae turning into an abusive stalker on Kondou, the gorilla suddenly having an affinity for butts and turning gay while Kyuubei obsessed with hunting down dicks. Gintoki and Tsukuyo might have returned to normal but not fully. From time to time there’ll be a few idiotic lover spats to make us laugh. Eventually we learn of Hotaru’s past that led her to this doing. There was this carpenter she used to accompany when he visited Yoshiwara. Despite drinking a lot, he never laid a finger on her. One day he decided to become a great carpenter and promises to come back for her. But after Yoshiwara was liberated, she caught him going out with the daughter of the head carpenter. Her heart broke into many pieces but until this day she still can’t forget about him. She tries to kill herself but Tsukuyo saves her and also dispenses some great love advice that even though flowers wilt, they will bloom again. It might seem the entire bunch of Aizen Kou is burnt down and another round of sex maniac chaos. But Hotaru these are actually the opposite, Aidan Kou and will make you hate the ones you love. So naturally, it neutralizes everyone back to normal. In the aftermath, it is believed Hotaru planned this all along including turning everyone back to normal before committing suicide. She wanted to end everything while still being loved. Or maybe she just wanted somebody to stop her. We take a short idiotic detour with Gintoki turning into a moral police officer who ends up running away together with Kondou. And they slept with each other?! WTF???!!! Hotaru’s punishment is to be exiled from Yoshiwara. She is told that the carpenter had a promising future to become a leader but turned down when his boss offered him to marry his daughter because of a promise to a courtesan. However he worked too hard and injured his body. He felt ashamed to come see her like this and is always just staring outside Yoshiwara’s gates. Hotaru comes to terms with what is happening. This time she won’t run away anymore.

Heavenly Soul
You know when I said that all good things will come to an end? I never have to worry about this because I knew Gintama will always come back again in the future and troll us. But now it seems that I have to keep my reality in check because it might end! Oh God, no! Gasp! Is it true that Gintama will finally come to end for real?! Because it seems the manga has already reached what is seemingly its final arc. Oh no. I thought the author might be trolling us as he has always been since this is Gintama but from what I read, this could be really it. Oh dear. The end of Gintama for real? This can’t be happening? But that is the manga version. What about the anime? Will they animate the final couple of arcs? That is still up in the air.

Back to this season, I am not saying that this season is the least exciting since I myself am pretty confused with my own feelings at this point after watching the last episode for this season. Because you see, for the longest time ever, this series has covered 2 of the most important arcs back to back. Although there are some spontaneous laughs in between, the general and overall mood of the arcs is quite a sombre and gloomy affair. Things get real. Things get serious. It wasn’t the usual Gintama format whereby after even like 5 or 6 episodes of a heavy arc, we’ll be back to the nonsensical and insane jokes to blow away to gloom. Therefore with 2 ‘depressing’ arcs back to back that lasts almost 2 cours and ending the fourth season, it is with mixed feelings that I felt with this series. Heck, they killed off 2 ‘important’ characters for both arcs, the shogun and Sasaki. It was really heavy, solemn and serious that it didn’t make me feel that usual Gintama goodness at the end of it all. Don’t get me wrong. This season and these arcs are still great but I can’t still shake that sad feeling at the end of it all. When you talk about Gintama, it’s all those nonsense and parodies. From this point on, remembering Gintama is like remembering this serious sh*t hitting the fan. Furthermore, it isn’t Yorozuya taking the spotlight in the final arc this season so it somewhat feels a bit side-lined, Gintoki and co.

So I suppose this might be the trend if they make the next season of Gintama. Because they have already made big revelations here and therefore it is only natural to join all the pieces of the puzzle together as well as tie everything up since there are quite a number of other mainstay characters who didn’t get to appear or play a part in these final 2 arcs. Erm, so is Hasegawa considered an important character? So it will be one big bang where all the characters ever in the series will finally reach some sort of conclusion. No more jokes, no more antics, no more fillers. Just plain seriousness from now on. Happy hours are over. Gintama time is over. It’s now Gintama time. Get it? Ah, sometimes I wish they keep continue showing mindless hilarious fillers.

If I want to point out the main characters, that would be repeating myself and I have to write a book that is as thick as my college thesis report. So to just sum everything up, everyone has changed but yet remained the same. They are friends and enemies at the same time. They might fight each other frequently but they also eat and drink together. They keep each other company and sharp because if one fails, you bet the other will be there to remind and bring back to their senses. That is always how it works here. And just when you thought the biggest antagonist would be the final boss, turns out there is another bigger badder antagonist. Yeah, and the ex-enemies now become friends to fight the stronger and ever powerful last boss. Looking at you, Gintoki and Takasugi.

So I believe Utsuro will be the final of the most final boss in the series. Nothing is particularly known about him except from this point he looks more badass and powerful that it would take all the characters to just bring him down using cheat codes. It even brings up the confusion of Gintoki and Shouyou but I’ll leave that for another time. Then there is Nobunobu whom I thought would be the main antagonist but for both arcs, he has been unceremoniously put out of the picture. Maybe his role is just to be some sort of shadow puppet? Maybe he’ll play a more serious antagonist role in the next arc.

With numerous opening and ending themes, they are all mostly rock based like Day x Day by Blue Encount (first opening theme), Pride Kakumei by Chico with Honeyworks (second opening theme), Saigo Made II by Aqua Timez (second ending theme), Beautiful Days by Okamoto’s (third opening theme), Glorious Days by Three Lights Down Kings (third ending theme), Know Know Know by Does (fourth opening theme), and Acchi Muite by Swimy (fourth ending theme). Destiny by Negoto is the first ending theme and feels a bit disco-like.

Overall, I did laugh hard enough this season like in the previous before the long final arc took most of it away albeit looking back now it is still one hell of a fun ride. It is still a good season and Gintama fans should continue watching this. Even those who aren’t into this series should stay and watch for the awesome (random) comedy, awesome fights and awesome story. Hey, Gintama is already awesome, right? I know it is bad to always cling onto something forever and there will be a time when something needs to bow out gracefully and not overstay its welcome. They have already become the silver, golden and platinum souls in our hearts. Gintama becoming unpopular? No way, man! Even a series that breaks the fourth wall regularly must come to terms with reality that it has to end someday. We have to get over ourselves and accept it. Oh well… I hope they’re just trolling us… GINTAMA WILL NEVER END, RIGHT???!!!

Gintama (cont.)

June 21, 2014

I know it has been over for a long time and this blog is very late but what the heck! I was slowly enjoying every bit of the second season of Gintama. It’s one of the very few long running shows that I wouldn’t mind it would go on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever… You get the idea. Heck, I think this is the only show that I would want to continue forever. Even though long running anime series that have ended such as Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn, I have a feeling that even if it starts up again, I will get bored of that too. Although Fairy Tail is still interesting, that similar feeling that it will no longer be exciting still worries me and hangs over my head. Need I even say about One Piece? That’s why with the return of Gintama, I was very much delighted. I get to laugh at all the nonsense (from mild to perverted, take your pick), watch all the action and cry at all the drama. This show has everything and a lot more that I could wish for. Now my only wish left is for it to run forever…

Time skip Arc
Well, 2 years have passed since the first season of Gintama ended. And what does Shinpachi find? Everybody has drastically changed and he is the only bugger who didn’t change. Even the unthinkable happened like Otae and Kondo got married. Some just leaves you WTF because Kyuubei and Katsura changed genders and are fighting to be the best transgendered around. Shinpachi is relieved that the only other person who hasn’t change is Hijikata. Just when they’re about to accept the changes, they realize some sort of pimple parasite has been affecting everyone. They go all out to rid of it and in the end, it is revealed that both of them too got parasites. The one who saved them, Gintoki is the only one who actually didn’t have a parasite.

Glasses Arc
Ayame’s glasses accidentally broke so Gintoki has to reluctantly buy her a new pair, much to his annoyance because that woman is acting like her perverted usual. In addition, the glasses are the wrong prescription but she treasures it because it’s a gift from him. This causes her to flop in her ninja missions and her superiors are sending in assassins to rid of her. She almost died and lying in coma. This has Gintoki, Shinpachi and Kagura along with Zenzou to protect her. But are the Yorozuya guys serious because they seem to be goofing off at critical moments. Don’t worry. Because the assassins themselves are pretty goofy. A guy whose ability is swapping pillows, an old guy who loves swapping tight t-shirts and a pair of twins specializing in some sort of snack. So when the real boss appears, cornering them with his assassins, Ayame revives and her new glasses turn her into some super powered super human glass mecha that kicks ass.

Kabukichou Four Devas Arc
A young girl, Pirako Chin is looking for the strongest man in Kabukichou. She thinks he is Gintoki and becomes his underling. Yeah. She is also here to turn this district into a garden of bright red flowers! Of course as revealed, she is the daughter of one of the 4 Devas of Kabukichou, Jirocho and wants to help him take over this town. At the same time, the 4 Devas are in a meeting and as suggested by Kada, call upon a truce and the first one to break it will face the wrath of the others. Otose is made a scapegoat that she has a bone to pick with Jirocho because they were once lovers. Otose’s late husband, Tatsugoro Terada was the police of this area and Jirocho the yakuza. Although both were enemies, they loved and protected this place. Their odd relationship made them also friends and fell in love with the same woman. Of course Tatsugoro won over Otose in the end and as Pirako theorizes the only reason Jirocho left his wife and daughter to come to this town is because he still cares for Otose. Otose is warned to leave this town. But while paying her respect at her husband’s grave, Gintoki sees her in her own pool of blood. He thinks Jirocho was the one responsible and becomes a demon to kill him. Because he made a one-sided promise to protect Otose after her husband’s demise. War is on the verge in this district since Otose is gone (at least lying in hospital). Saigo is forced to tear down Otose’s snack house since his young member is held hostage. But Yorozuya isn’t going to give up and did not leave town as warned. They stayed back to protect the snack bar. They received unlikely help from several other characters from the series. That MADAO guy, that fire fighter, that blacksmith, that hardboiled detective, that old guy who makes robots and even the host guys. Of course everything was a conspiracy by Kada to take over this town. Gintoki and Jirocho battle through Kada’s hordes of assassins to chase her away while the rest at Yorozuya team up with Saigo’s transvestites to deal with her army of assassins (Shinpachi, Kagura and Catherine rescued Saigo’s young lad thereafter). The final showdown between Gintoki and Jirocho ends up with the former in victory (of course). Kada thought she could launch a final attack to bring down everyone but was stopped by Pirako. There could have been a heart warming confession between Jirocho and Otose but since everybody was too busy trying to eavesdrop, it ruined everything. Jirocho gives up his title and everything and goes on a journey with Pirako as her father.

Jugemu arc
Kyuubei is tasked to train a monkey of the Shogun family. Because it doesn’t have a name yet, everyone chips in and it becomes ridiculously long. I salute to everyone who can say its name without screwing up! Yeah, it likes throwing poo too at Gintoki. Of course the monkey grows close to Kyuubei and when it is back in the Shogun’s nephew’s hands, it flees. Kyuubei’s members are forced to find the monkey or their reputation will suffer. The nephew then understood why it ran away and was jealous because he never had friends before and was happy to have this monkey as one. He gives Kyuubei to keep it and in return as favour, adds to its name. Like it needs another extra word to its already hard to pronounce and remember name.

Prison Arc
Gintoki gets framed and thrown into prison. The prison warden makes him the enemy while he somewhat strikes up an unlikely friendship with an old long time prisoner who is always writing to his son that he always looks forward to see. Then there’s this unlikely alliance with the local gang leader, Sachi too. Yeah. Gintoki becomes to new gang leader somehow. The warden wants to strike a deal with Gintoki. For his early release, he wants him to play the troublemaker role. Sure, he is going to do that but in his own way. When the prison is causing riot, Gintoki searches the warden’s office for proof. It is revealed the old man’s son died 10 years ago and the letters he wrote were never delivered. So who has been replying them all this while? The warden himself. He pretended to be the old man’s son to cover his death. So by causing havoc, this old guy’s clemency would be revoked and he can’t get out of prison to see his son. The warden gets beaten up by prisoners who have a grudge over his mistreatment but is rescued by Gintoki. Remember. If he makes trouble, he must set him free. When everything blows over, the warden quits his post and was ‘threatened’ by Gintoki to talk to the old man one last time. From the looks of it, the old guy seems to know it was him all along. Bad handwriting. And yeah. They’ll continue to write to each other.

Love Choris Arc
Shinpachi has been obsessed with his new simulation girlfriend lately. Momo. I guess this is what unpopular boys do when they can’t get a real girlfriend. Can’t distinguish between reality and fantasy. He isn’t the only one. Even Kondo has Sayaka for company. So it is up to Gintoki to bring Shinpachi back or else he would have to face Otae’s wrath. In order not to have any character overlap, Gintoki gets the ugly and horrible Pinko. Why did they even make such character that always has a censor streak over her eyes? And all those who chose this character are weird sickos! Like Tojo and Ayame… Then there is this world tournament to see whose Love Choris is the ultimate wife. Gintoki’s only chance to break Shinpachi’s habit is to enter. See all the world class otaku losers there…  Shinpachi advances to the final with Momo while Sougou’s masochistic ways makes him to finalist for Sayaka’s route. No guesses for Pinko’s one. Just when everyone is putting down Gintoki and Pinko (seriously, are you willing to make love with this ugly b*tch with a dead child behind her back?), suddenly Pinko transforms into a super sexy beautiful and tsundere character!!! Shinpachi isn’t going to lose to Gintoki (Sougou is out seeing he became the S&M victim). And after all that love and illusion lecture by Gintoki and show them the kind of adult love to those virgins, sure, everybody breaks free from this illusion. Because they had enough after Gintoki strips down naked right on stage during his demonstration. Seen enough, haven’t we?

Renho Arc
Elizabeth goes missing and a place card was left behind not to look for her. And as revealed, Elizabeth belonged to a race that lost their world and is seeking to make Earth as their replacement home. He infiltrated this planet by being Katsura’s pet. Yeah, heavily Star Wars and Gundam parody arc. Dark Vader as the big bad boss? And how can you tell from one Elizabeth from another? Oh, the funny hairstyles… Also returning after a long time and helping out our heroes to prevent Earth being taken over is Kaientai led by Sakamoto and his deputy, Mutsu. As Renho Federation closes in on their plan, they drop rain that turns everyone into faces of Elizabeth. Can’t speak… While Mutsu tries to stall with her negotiations, the rest infiltrate the base and get engaged in some weird stuff. They eat video game cartridges? And there is the real Elizabeth who has been promoted. Then there are lots of other stuffs in between which I don’t remember about Elizabeth not really betraying both her homes but to protect what she considers precious who are no other than her friends. Oh, did I mention Elizabeth here has way more spoken dialogue in all of her appearing episodes combined? Every other army in Renho Federation turn against Dark Vader whose actually form turns out to be the entire planet of Renho. We have Gintoki and the rest combining into some mecha too to fight the equally huge Death Star. In the end, our heroes win, the Renho cast away their silly white duck suits (and they all turn out to be middle aged old men in underwear) to live freely. In order to protect his Earth friends, Elizabeth erases their memories. Something tells us they can’t really forget when they see the last of Elizabeth’s face as she departs with her Renho Federation. And then the ultimate revelation… That Elizabeth was just a temporary one and the real one just returned from a long vacation. Everybody beats up Katsura for the trouble they have gone through. But they saved Earth, right? So much about Katsura being a hero for once without being idiotic…

Ski Vacation Arc
It’s that Shogun again. Yeah. This time the gang are forced to look after him when he is here for the ski trip. Once more, the Shogun gets abused like as though it’s his destiny like getting kicked multiple times by Otae or being used as a human snowboard (dicks make good snow brakes?) After all those bloopers, they get lost in the snowy mountains and the Shogun goes missing. They have to organize a search and rescue party. Otherwise heads will roll. I guess with no Shogun as the punching bag, Kondo takes his place. And he has to search for him in his underwear in this worsening blizzard. The rest need to take care of themselves first and find a place of refuge otherwise they can’t find the Shogun if they’re dead. So when they finally find a cabin to take refuge, the Shogun is there but the insults towards him didn’t stop. It ends with big disaster when they argue how to keep the Shogun warm with their body warmth and he is pummelled out into the snow again. And although everything returns back to normal, the Shogun loves the snow so much that he is back again with a new skiing style. Going airborne and naked like a human snowboard?

Scandal Arc
After a night of heavy drinking, Gintoki finds himself in a very difficult situation. Did he have an affair with Otose, Otae, Ayame, Kyuubei, Tsukuyo and even Hasegawa?! Deep sh*t. He can’t even remember but is forced to take responsibility. Zenzou is willing to help him out but there is so many a guy can take because Gintoki has to live with them without all of them noticing! And they’re all living in the same place next to each other! That’s going to be tough even for a harem series. I don’t know how he put up with his schedule but it’s torturous. A good lesson why people shouldn’t be six-timing. And then he has to go on a date with all of them somehow all at the same time. It’s like God is screwing with his life and enjoying it. Zenzou manages to help out using fake dolls and thankfully enough, the dumb girls took the bait. Gintoki is forced to take over control of the dolls when Zenzou goes to the toilet. All hell breaks loose and the ladies realize they’ve been duped. Gintoki is tied to a tree for days. It made him realized. He was so worried about his own ass that he never thought about them. All this started because of that one moment of irresponsibility. He’ll quit drinking. With that confession, it turns out to be the biggest prank ever just to make him promise that! His expression is priceless! Worth it? Definitely. Everyone cooperate and teach him a lesson after he went on a rampage in his drunken state. Even after this prank, Gintoki is in no mood to drink ever again. Till he finds out from Hasegawa that he really did him over. Suddenly he rushes to the next store to get the strongest liquor he can find! Oh sh*t! Even with Hasegawa drinking so much to forget and he can’t, it could mean…

Host Club Arc
Kyoshiro is going to quit his host club because of a mysterious lady, Yagami who supposedly brings death if she ever visits a host club the second time. Since she did declare she will be visiting Takamagahara again, his other host guys have quit in fear and so Yorozuya and the rest need to find a way to handle Yagami when she arrives. They try recruiting others for the host job like the Shinsengumi, Otae and even Hasegawa but more importantly can they even be a proper host? Things get out of hand when Tsukuyo and Saigo’s people cause things to go out of trouble, putting Kyoshiro out of commission. Gintoki has balls shrink and wants to flee this joint but Yagami has arrived. No way out. Yagami joins the rowdy group of girls who doesn’t hesitate to ‘bully’ her. I guess everybody is drunk. The host guys are having a hard time cleaning up this mess when everything leads to chaos. Yagami then leaves even without seeing Kyoshiro. She clears the misunderstanding about the rumours. Because she has no place to go and have no friends, she goes from bar to bar. By that time, the rumours of her spread. Till she met Kyoshiro and his smile was different. It was for everyone and not just for her. She came back to see that smile again. Yagami didn’t have to leave empty handed. In fact, she was welcomed back to Takamagahara by Kyoshiro for the third time. This time she’s got everyone as her drinking partner.

Thorny Arc
Mimawarigumi is an elite police force joined by those from the elite. Thus the useless failure and troublemaker son of the noble family, Tetsunosuke Sasaki is sent to join Shinsengumi under Hijikata’s wing. A big pain in the ass at first but after encountering Tetsunosuke’s older brother, Isaburou who is the commander of Mimawarigumi and self-proclaim big fan of the Shinsengumi, Hijikata’s view change. After all, Isaburou talks bad about Tetsunosuke like he is a stain that ruins the family’s name. It’s odd that without those shades, Tetsunosuke looks like a clean cut cherry boy. He takes it upon himself to learn from Hijikata and do whatever he wants. Hijikata also remembers his own bloody past. He had a brother named Tamegoro whom he admired. One day thugs set fire on the village and Tamegoro lost his eyes while protecting him. Hijikata turned into a rampaging demon and slaughtered everyone. From that day he was known as Thorny and had to leave and couldn’t be with his brother. Hijikata tasks Tetsunosuke to hand a letter to Tamegoro and he promises to deliver it. At the same time, Isaburou hired Gintoki to infiltrate some gang planning to do some large scale terrorist act. This same gang was the bunch Tetsunosuke used to hang out with and he gets kidnapped by them. This sets Shinsengumi and Mimawarigumi on collision course. The latter uses this excuse to wipe out Tetsunosuke seeing he has ties with the separatist and couldn’t care what happens to him or the terrorist while pinning the blame on Shinsengumi. This puts both sides against each other with Hijikata against Isaburou and Sougou fighting with Nobume, a deadpan female whose swords can cut through anything like hot knife through butter. It gets chaotic with Gintoki in the picture. Time to do things his way. Once Tetsunosuke is saved, the demons clash. The terrorists find it hard to escape as they are caught in between. Shinsengumi switches clothes with Mimawarigumi to cause confusion. Sougou-Nobume match ends with Nobume tricked into cutting all the pillars and the building crumbles. Shinsengumi makes a deal with Isaburou to call this a draw and avert the crisis. He has no choice. Tetsunosuke goes to complete his letter delivery mission at his grave only to see Tamegoro’s wife. Seems the brothers communicated via letters. Although Tamegoro is blind, he was always eager for his letters. That’s why she reads it for him. But they’re all blank… Probably all they want to know is if he is still alive. That’s all that matters. Actually, maybe it’s because Hijikata doesn’t know what to always write…

Other episodes:
Episode 204: Kagura has problems giving Gintoki and Shinpachi her Valentine’s Day chocolates and enlists Ayame, Otae and Tsukuyo to help out but they too are embarrassed to give their chocolates to Gintoki. I didn’t know this Yorozuya guy is this popular. And even though it seems that they won’t be able to hand it to them directly, eventually they leave it on their doorstep. Surprised to see 4 Valentine chocolates?

Episode 205: This is how Yamazaki ends up hating anpan for the rest of his life, which becomes a running joke for the rest of the series. He is supposed to do a stakeout on some Joi’s member who ran away with their money and is confident he will run into his sister. Every day, he eats the same anpan till he is sick of them. By the time he is hospitalized, it was just a trick to make him off guard. And when Yamazaki’s discharged, he gives them a taste of his anpan revenge. Also, Kondo seems to finally land a date with Otae! Is this true! However bad luck seems to be obstructing him but he won’t let it ruin his date. Finally a meteor is in danger of destroying Earth and he uses his batting skills to hit it away. The pint size meteor hits Otae’s face. Game over.

Episode 206: Catherine has a boyfriend? She is so in love that she turns into a beautiful woman! Who is this woman?! Because Otose seems like she doesn’t approve of it, Catherine elopes with him to start a new snack business as promised. However it was a ruse to dupe her of her money and she is left homeless and penniless. Till Otose comes to bring her back with her open arms and Gintoki goes to teach those swindlers a lesson that conning a woman of her money isn’t evil. He will show them what true evil means…

Episode 215: The only thing I remember about this episode is that Kada has gone senile, being imprisoned by the Harusame after her failed takeover of Kabukichou. There is also an unlikely alliance formed between Kamui and Takasugi.

Episode 216: Yorozuya puts up a ridiculous factory tour of the Patriot (whatever that is) for the kids. You think the kids really believe it? Especially with that tissue box being the main component of the Patriot (whatever the hell this thing is). Can’t blame the kids for giving Gintoki the biggest kick of frustrating when the factory tour turns into some sort of televised life drama. Wasted time but at least it was educational. Yeah. It was all crap!

Episode 217: Remember the Shogun? Yeah. It’s him again, Gintoki and Hasegawa being forced to by Matsudaira to take care of him at the pool without his identity being exposed. Expect all the constant abuses thrown at the Shogun as he tries to fit in. And his very elastic loincloth has the guys bowing down to him with respect…

Episode 218: Yorozuya fights over crab meat! Obviously it is Gintoki and Kagura who are trying all sorts of underhanded tactics to get a piece of the juicy crab legs, much to Shinpachi’s dismay. It becomes an all-out (exaggerated) war to get whatever crab meat left. In the end when everyone agrees to share the crab porridge, it tastes horrible so they get cheap crab flavoured snacks instead.

Episode 219: Kagura helps a guy who wants to be a human punching bag but you know with all those weirdoes around, you can’t help get disappointed. He won’t be getting his punch till finally he sounds like a pervert that will ‘help you forget the bad memories’. Enough to freak that guy out and land him a punch. There, he got it.

Episode 220: Hedoro’s family are visiting the public bath so Gintoki and the rest panic they have some sort of hidden agenda to take over Earth and go all out to give them a warm welcome. As the lie builds on and on, they find it hard to contain it and it involves beating them up, ripping their horns, smashing their heads, etc. And after all that good hospitality, they want to repay it by scrubbing their backs… You know how hard they scrub, right?

Episode 223: Katsura infiltrates Matsudaira’s family to find his weakness. However he ends up saving his daughter (whom Matsudaira is having strained relations with) when the building she is in is hijacked by terrorists. In the end, he somewhat patched up their relationship.

Episode 227: This was inevitable. Sket Dance crossover! They had to return the favour too. So we’ve got jokes about the cross-over seiyuus from both animes and since Gintoki and Bossun really want to be seen as the leader, they go all out forcing the rest in some scavenger hunt. Only the blockheads go all out against each other to grab some fruit that turns their crotch into hammer. Yeah. They got that eventually. Happy?

Episode 230: Kagura really wants a handphone so she could text to Gintoki and Shinpachi. Do they need this when they can just talk face to face? After everyone reluctantly gets a second hand handphone, Kagura spams everyone with text on just about anything. Annoying? Of course her handphone seems to belong to a killer and he wants it back as he has left some valuable information on it. Then the killer turns out to be a shy barber who had left messages he was never able to say for his late wife. It is until Kagura throws a ‘tantrum’ that it is them who aren’t able to say what they want (because she hasn’t received a singly reply from them) that they perhaps realize the importance of communication. Although they give the handphones back to the guy, they still keep the handphone straps and without saying, this makes Kagura happy.

Episode 231: An udon shop owner passes away and Yorozuya and the Shinsengumi attend his funeral. However only Gintoki and Hijikata could see his spirit! They’re trying to remain calm (but fail miserably) and try not to provoke his already restless soul (even failing more miserably). They have been reluctantly task to carry his coffin but it seems parts of him keep sticking out especially his dick. In the end, it was just the dead man’s pleasure to have a fun filled funeral before he passes on to the next world. These guys are always so fun, no? And as his last reward, he lets them have their favourite udon bowl. Savour every last taste of it.

Episode 243: A manga magazine is being put in charge of a difficult manga. All previous editors have gone crazy and being locked up. In order to be assigned to another manga, he needs to find a new artist but none of them inspired till he meets… Gintoki and Sachi! It becomes retorting hell for this editor due to their crazy manga drawing and story. Big shoulder pads? In the end he goes insane and gets locked up too. Anybody would if they had to put up with the duo’s nonsense.

Episode 248: Who wants to be a MADAO-naire?! A chance for penniless middle aged guys to get 10 million Yen! Hasegawa is about to get that chance. A big parody of Slumdog Millionaire, we see how past events of Hasegawa’s life lead him to answer every question correctly. The ironic part is how each correctly answered question, it digs up a traumatic past Hasegawa doesn’t want to remember! Yeah, he was a poor soul even back then getting bullied and mistreated by kids but a kind girl looks up to him because it reminded her of her debt ridden dad who ran away. She remained positive and cheerful while living with him in the streets till she contracted an illness. That’s when Hasegawa entered this game show to win and clear her debt. The organizers think he cheated and try to put in tough nonsensical questions even a newspaper article that came out today! But Hasegawa could answer them all simply because all the questions were related to him. Especially the final answer that asks about that girl’s name! Hasegawa used the lifeline to tell her to live happily. Just when he thought he had cleared her debt, he found out that was just the tip of the iceberg. Now he is told to hurriedly get the rest of it. This sucks… Why? Because he’s a MADAO!

Episode 251: New Year’s Day episode. Gintama bought a curse kotatsu because once you sink in, you can’t leave. And you’re going to feel very lazy about doing anything or moving about even if something you want is just inches out of your reach. It’s the universe underneath! Don’t ask! Just accept it! With everyone except Shinpachi balding and talking like old men, Shinpachi is reduced to retorting hell over their idle chatter as more and more character drop in to share the kotatsu. Finally when everybody wants to relax for good, they realize it is too crowded and not enough space. They start fighting with each other till the kotatsu is destroyed. Everyone returns to normal (complete with hair) and has no memories but Shinpachi has turned into a bald old man, too tired to just end it with a retort.

Episode 252: Even the final episode of the season is not spared. It turns out to be a random episode with the theme of apologizing to viewers and everyone to whom they have offended or made fun out during the entire run of the Gintama series. You’d feel there is no sincerity in it since every apology seems like adding more offense to everything. Gintama style. In the end, they have to admit that they can’t give up the dirty jokes. Because we love them too! Hell, yeah! Gintama forever!

Enchousen

The third season began 6 months after the second season ended. And it couldn’t be more welcoming for a person like me who still loves this show many years down the road. I’m sure they had their reasons in not making it continuous (like they ran out of materials from the manga) or they just like to play pranks and screw with us viewers like they always do. But this Enchousen season slightly differs. Although it only ran for 23 episodes, half of it are rerun episodes from the first season! I’m in a dilemma to whether to call it a bad move or not because although those rerun episodes are picked from one of the funniest standalone episodes and it was good to watch some of them again and remember those laughs (yeah, that Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung was one of the best ones), it wasted some time when they could have put in more materials or at least funny fillers. The only thing ‘added’ was the gorilla creator seen lazing around instead of completing his work and the announcement of the Gintama movie in 2013. Or some pain-in-the-ass teasers-cum-excuses why the second movie is being delayed to summer. Because to coincide with the end of the TV series. HOLY WHAT?! The TV series ends for good???!!! Otherwise, sometimes I feel these reruns are like fillers in between the arcs of this what I believe is the final season in the Gintama series! Gasp! NO! I want it to run forever like Naruto and let that ninja show be the one who ends! And so, just when Gintoki thought he had gone AWOL for 6 months and could return with some excuse that will have his comrades forgive him, an unexpected new hero that has taken over the show…

Kintama Arc
What’s this? A new cool blonde guy, Kintoki Sakata has taken over the show?! This is what you get for being absent for so long. To add salt to injury, everyone in town doesn’t remember Gintoki and this Kintoki guy is a true hero whom everybody loves. He’s got the looks. He’s got charisma. He’s even got the money! Oh sh*t! The perfect hero whom everybody admires indeed! Even the 60 volumes of DVDs, all replaced with Kintoki’s face! Including this season’s opening and ending themes! Did Gintoki ever exist? Was it all only his imagination? Does Gintoki have a place left? What is happening? It seems only Tama and Sadaharu aren’t affected by the hypnosis. Robots and animals not affected, I guess. As revealed, due to Gintoki’s irresponsible ways, Shinpachi and Kagura requested Gengai to create the ultimate robot that covers every flaw that Gintoki has. So now the trio will have to work to regain everyone’s memories but it will be tough because they keep screwing up and Kintoki is always on scene to fix it. It makes Gintoki look like the bad guy, huh? A pretend suicide by Ayame becomes the turning point. When Gintoki dived down to save her, he knew his fellow pals will come to save him. Their body reacted on their own. They can’t explain it but suddenly they felt they might have seen this guy somewhere before. Tama wanted to settle this herself but got busted by Kintoki. Kintoki then frames Gintoki that he was the one who hurt her friends and wants everyone’s help to track him down. This puts Gintoki’s pals in a bind. They feel something is not right but have no choice but to seek him out. Gintoki is forced to put up the biggest fight in his life as everyone in town is now against him. But when Gintoki saves them instead of fighting them, they become all the more confused. With the final showdown with Kintoki at hand, everyone surprises this blonde dude and goes against him. The bonds they had with this silver idiot go deeper than any memories, eh? Although Kintoki can still hypnotized lesser skilled people (read: unimportant extra background characters), he can’t mesmerize the likes of Ayame, Tsukuyo, Kyuubei, Katsura and even Hasegawa. Kintoki reveals his true objective wasn’t to spread his influence throughout the world but to end this anime! Gintoki doesn’t give a damn and beats him up and going to do hara-kiri with him. He is not afraid of the show losing a main character because every idiot in this show is the main character! Shinpachi, Kagura and Otae reconcile with him before Gintoki vanishes…

Mantama Side Arc
What do you get when you don’t have gold or silver anymore? You’ve got this ditzy girl called Mantama in a brand new story and anime of her own! Even her own opening theme! And so it goes that Mantama and Kintoki made some promise to meet each other in the future before the former’s demise. In a world where some strange tower that causes every man’s dick to fall off, Kintoki is the only guy left with the ‘sword’. Other guys become transvestites. He’s the object of every girl’s dream but he only cares for one person whom he made a promise before they were born. And then it’s like destiny. This Mantama-look-a-like becomes a transfer student. But a series of mishaps that involve abusing Kintoki’s ‘sword’ before Mantama truly reunites with Kintoki in class. Turns out it is everybody in Gintama in disguise! Is this their way of getting back at him? Gintoki doesn’t care what happens to him but Shinpachi and Kagura beg for him to be spared and will go around apologizing to everyone. Kintoki realized he was so busy trying to change others that he didn’t realize others were changing him. So is he going to be a follower of silver now? But whatever it is, it’s welcome back Gintoki!

Courtesan of a Nation Arc
Yoshiwara had a famous courtesan named Suzuran. But like everybody else who grows old and hagged. Well, you know what I mean. Just like many women and men who come here to make a dream that lasts for one night, Suzuran has been waiting for that one man to come fulfil that promise. For how many moons has she waited… Yorozuya with Tsukuyo go to find that irresponsible guy and he turns out to be the previous Shogun, Sadasada. How can you easily get into the Shogun’s palace? Easy. Kagura seems to be the best friend of the Shogun’s niece, Soyo. I guess girls will be girls. Not even her personal servant, Rotten Maizou could line her in. Isaburou and his Mimawarigumi are also hired to guard the palace since it is under martial law as lately somebody has been attacking important bakufu officials. Eventually when Tsukuyo gets the chance to ask Sadasada about his promise with Suzuran, turns out this evil bastard was just using her to kill off those against him during his rule. Isaburou gets in injured in the retaliation. Yorozuya, Tsukuyo and Nobume are thrown into prison with the Shinsengumi tasked to execute them by daylight for trying to kill the Shogun. Not until Soyo’s heart breaking story about a certain courtesan and Shogun retainer’s tragic love romance got their ass moving. Maizou and Suzuran fell in love with each other and they made a promise to meet each other. However Sadasada found out about this and ordered him to kill her the next time they meet. As an act of loyalty, Maizou got an arm cut off. Because of his position, Maizou couldn’t go meet Suzuran and had to live with the regret of breaking the promise because if he did, he must kill her. Everyone who heard the story prefers to become wanted criminals to attack and seize this country for the sake of an old woman.

Gintoki is faced with an old foe during the Joi war: Oboro, an assassin and leader of the Tensho and part of the Tendoshu organization. Gintoki could have died from his poison needles till Isaburou and his Mimawarigumi show up to assist. Even Kondo and Shinsengumi join in the fray. Not to mention the entire police force led by Matsudaira attacking against the palace! Wouldn’t this be amounting to treason? Well, the only guy who could summon the entire police force is him: The current Shogun: Shigeshige. He orders his palace guards to stand down and hopes to make it up to Maizou for all the years of his service. Sadasada is still confident he can get out of this scot free and not being judge. But he may need to wait longer till Gintoki finishes his rematch with Oboro. Spurned by the death of his beloved teacher, Shouyou Yoshida, Gintoki gets the much needed strength to defeat Oboro. Tendoshu arrives to pick up Sadasada to ‘judge’ him but Shigeshige resigns as Shogun to take responsibility and drag his uncle down to hell. Eventually his resignation has been rejected and his position reinstated although most likely he has just become an interim ruler since there is something brewing between the Hitotsubashi faction and Tendoshu. Also because, Sadasada who has been imprisoned is killed by Takasugi probably trying to avenge the death of his teacher too. Oboro lives and reports back to the Tendoshu council. He notes their true enemies are the students of Shouyou. Lastly, everyone sets up so that Maizou could go see Suzuran one last time and fulfil their promise before she breathes her last breath.

Beam Saber School Arc
Gintama must really love the Star Wars franchise. Yup. It’s going to pay ‘homage’ again to it in this arc. The ‘big brother’ of Shinpachi and Otae’s dojo who was supposedly dead in a blast when he decided to travel to outer space many years ago, suddenly returns. He is Hajime Obi or simply known as Obi One. Uh huh. You read that right. Coincidence that Hajime means first or one? Though, he is half cyborg and this machine part is keeping him alive. Also, he has become some super sword master throughout the galaxy with his beam saber technique of his. And so it’s nostalgia once more for the siblings because you know, he was a cool big bro and perhaps Otae’s first love. Did I hear that right? His return and vow to help rejuvenate the dojo with his beam saber technique of course sends jealousy bells ringing to Kondo and Kyuubei who view him as a threat to Otae. And now for the conspiracy part. You know those little green Jedi masters? Yeah, they’re the antagonist now. Clad in balaclava, it seems Hajime is a weapon they sent down to Earth because Earth banned some beam thingy that they produce. So now when the conditions are right, the cannon embedded inside Hajime will activate and thus a sign Earth has declared war on the galaxy. That’s when Gintoki comes into the picture to bring the real Hajime back and not this evil Kenofi (Kenobi?) persona or kill him off. As usual, it has got to be Shinpachi who has to overcome and deal with this to move forward. He finally deals the finishing blow and Hajime is proud Shinpachi has grown stronger. Before his demise, he fires the cannon back at those Yoda bastards, who also fire their beam to destroy him. In the end, they destroyed each other. Lots of drama, lots of tears but the important thing is to keep smiling. Even if you’re crying.

Episode 265: ALERT!!! FINAL EPISODE!!! They finally made Sadaharu the star of this last episode. Due to no jobs, this means no money and no food. Heck, they even had to share dog food! Because of that, Sadaharu leaves Yorozuya and despite his stomach growling, he meets an abandoned stray puppy. He takes it upon himself to take care of him as several characters in the show try to take him in but the dogs have to leave since Sadaharu knows he’ll be dead meat if he continues to stay under these sickos. Food is already a major problem and the puppy is sick. Sadaharu is forced to catch and steal fish from every source (no matter how ridiculous). But the puppy’s condition worsens and the hospital isn’t going to take in some stinky dog. He feels bad that Yorozuya is looking for him and Gintoki knows what’s going on. He is on a job from several neighbourhood women who wants him to catch the stray as they fear it may spread disease to other dogs (its owner who is a dog lover died). And leave it to Gintoki’s way to rescue the day and teach Sadaharu a valuable lesson the hardship of having someone in care. Also as a family, they share the good and painful times together. Everything ends well, they get treated in a vet and the puppy is adopted by the dead owner’s relative. And everybody shares the same dog food… Is that what being family is all about?

Platinum Soul
Good things must come to an end… I think I’ve said that before but I guess this time is for real. No word has been said about another season or continue this ridiculous and hilarious series because if you are a seasoned Gintama viewer and know all their ‘dirty tricks’ of trying to troll you, they’ll be back, right? Only this time, they aren’t! It’s really the last episode and the last season! Boo hoo! Why can’t this show go on forever unlike some blonde ninja or pirate with stretchy limbs? Or why can’t it take a hiatus like Fairy Tail and then come back again? Oh wait, it did that once. Why not do it again? I am sure that there are lots of other silly stand alone episodes and interesting arcs that are not animated. Stupid lazy gorilla. Get off your fat furry ass and do more stories. Hah. Blaming somebody is always easier.

This anime has not lost its touch of comedy, action and drama. Everything that you are familiar with the Gintama series are still retained here. Especially the jokes. From making gags that purposely break the fourth wall (that includes scolding, criticizing and insulting their own production crew) to blurting out copyrighted brands (but with a bleep and censor over it) to disgusting but humorous pervy jokes, intense retorts, shameless parodies and witty one-liners that will either have you cringing in disgust or laughing too hard that your stomach hurts. Those who watch Gintama will be familiar with the roller coaster ride of emotions that they put viewers through. One minute it can be all funny nonsense, the next it suddenly turns into an emotional melodrama that will tug some heart strings, you get emotional and want to cry, then suddenly something silly disrupts it all and you’ll be laughing like mad again. Yeah. You may go hysteria while watching this if you are emotionally unstable. But I loved it. Some scenes happen so fast that you haven’t got time to explain to yourself why you’re laughing one second and then sobbing in the next.

For both seasons, I still feel that there is the lack of the major parts of the series’ real antagonists. I thought at least somewhere within the season, they will dedicate another arc for Takasugi and Kamui. Heck, it was just one stinking episode that didn’t really get us anywhere except the fact that they made an alliance. Even there are some juicy and interesting bits about Nobume who once had some sort of connection with Oboro. Alas, we didn’t get to see anything more than that so in this sense it was a little disappointing. Big powerful villains with an equally tragic past with Gintoki didn’t really make an overall impact in the direction of this series? However this doesn’t really dampen my spirit and my overall feel good factor for this series. Because sometimes I think it is best for this show to have comical standalone nonsensical episodes that will make us laugh out loud till our tummy hurts. Yup. I think that would be the best. Perhaps that is what the movie is for? I don’t know and I can’t say since I didn’t go watch it.

Every other character has their good and bad points but this is what makes them quirky and memorable. Some become the butt of jokes and ‘whipping boy’ of the series like Katsura and his stupidity makes you wonder if he can lead his rebel Joi faction to victory. And you thought that the Renho arc would have gave him some sort of redemption but unfortunately like many other characters, they stay the same as they are in the end. Another character ‘beaten up’ left, right, up, down, centre and everywhere is Hasegawa. He has become synonymous with MADAO and nobody pities his homeless or pitiful state. Kondo is another one since he is frequent to stripping naked, being taunted as a gorilla and beaten up by Otae whenever he becomes a stalker. For Yorozuya, Shinpachi is glasses, Kagura the violent and blunt brat and Gintoki the big guy, big man, big brother of everything. He’s got so many sides from being a joker to a lazy person and to a kind person who will protect those dear to him, seemingly so perfect yet so flawed, I suppose that is why he is the series’ main character. You will love and loath everything about him. That’s what makes him cool. Other usual characters are still identifiable with their odd traits like Otae’s disastrous cooking, Sougou’s sadism, Hijikata’s mayonnaise obsession, Kyuubei’s aversion to a man’s touch, Tsukuyo’s low alcohol tolerance and Otose’s heavy smoking. Only ‘new’ to the bizarre personality is Yamazaki’s anpan obsession which has of course become a running joke each time he appears.

Besides the jokes, drama and characters, the action scenes are quite okay. It may not amount to be the best fight scene ever because this is Gintama, it is a mix of everything so you can’t have the best of every genre that it mashes in. It’s fun and exciting to see Gintoki take up his wooden sword as he go head to head with the big bad villain of the arc as well as the rest of his other pals in action. But eventually Gintoki is the main character so he has to be the one having his final fight with the final boss, right? There are going to be lots of blood spilled when the fight gets intense or reached its climax so if you are the kind who is faint-hearted, you might squirm at the sight of seeing the characters vomiting blood from taking the impact. Heck, you shouldn’t be watching this series if you are faint-hearted as the jokes can be really outrageous. The art and drawing are still good and consistent with the first season so there are no complaints from me on this department.

As usual, a variety of opening and ending songs greet and close this series. Mostly the themes are rock based. Some are memorable but some just didn’t get my attention. If I had to pick the best theme for both these seasons, personally it would be Samurai Heart (Some Like It Hot) by Spyair. This rock theme is quite befitting the Kabukichou Four Devas Arc. Tougenkyou Alien by Serial TV Drama (yes, that is the name of this Japanese band) is crazy enough to get you into the insanity world that is of Gintama. Sometimes it makes you want to go “Dah! Dah! Daaaaahhhhh!”. And that opener with those crazy troll face smiles… Classic. Wonderland by Flip is one of the 2 songs that isn’t actually rock based but more of hip hop. It’s like going through a Gintama trip of nostalgia as we see main and supporting characters from all the Gintama episodes, arcs and seasons making their one shot cameo appearance. Trying to say goodbye? The other non-rock song is Moonwalk by Monobright. No, this isn’t a tribute to Michael Jackson and in fact it sounds like an opera tenor singing to an oldies rock ‘n’ roll tune.

Well, I don’t know if Gintama will be animated with more seasons in the future. It’s like telling me to go read the manga which is still ongoing. Heck, I prefer to watch something than read. Although Gintama is not perfect and may not be suitable for everybody, this is one series that mixes up everything and comes out on top without screwing up everything. Heck, even if it did screw up, they can even make a joke out of it or come up with some funny excuses and we will still accept it. But it will be unforgivable if they do not come up with more episodes because I don’t mind waiting for a year or two. Or maybe even in 5 to 10 years. Oh please. Don’t say it’s really over. Screw your production budget and tight schedule. I want more Gintama! I think I know what kind of answer Gintoki will be giving me. Sure, you’ll get your Gintama sequels… Coming real soon, in the year 2114! I’ve been had. Here’s my crazy troll face smile for you! 

Gintama

January 22, 2011

All good things must come to an end. That is what happened to one of my all-time favourite series, Gintama last year. After running for 4 straight years and 201 episodes, it was one of those long running series that I don’t mind going on forever with no end in sight even if the plot never made sense (oh wait, was there one to begin with?). Unlike those series with a particular ninja or a substitute Death God or a crew of pirates taking a long way around the world, and still no end in sight after all that fillers and dragging, perhaps it wasn’t my luck that this one got pulled instead.

It felt like a long time ago since I started my romance with this series so much so I don’t know where to begin in my blog. So let’s start from the basics. What is the genre of this series? Heck, it’s got everything. It’s got comedy, it’s got action, it’s got drama. Almost about every darn genre you can think off because Gintama is in my opinion the king of anime and cultural parodies. You’re going to see lots of funny antics and bizarre rip-offs and thus to enjoy the effects of the funny side effectively, you’ll need to have a huge knowledge not only in otakuism but the world in general. From certain celebrities to TV show knock-offs, this series tickles your bone to the max. If not for the prompts of the fansubs, I would’ve been a total lost. Of course there will be solemn and dramatic parts in between and the way of the sudden shift in things, you’d be crying the first minute and then laughing out loud the next second. The execution between it is smooth and flawless, I tell you.

As for the setting, Earth is now a melting pot for all aliens of the universe. The alien race of Amanto has conquered the human race and of course with the former being more technologically advanced, it is obvious that the latter category is often suppressed. Please note that this is the Edo period in Japan, which means don’t be surprised to see samurais walking around. However with the Amantos in charge, the samurais are stripped of their honour of carrying their swords and thus ‘defenceless’. It is also quite amusing to see the period to be blended with the fusion of old and new technologies. How about a futuristic hi-tech tower right in the smack of the wooden houses? Gives rise to lots of ideas and concepts actually.

For long running series, the characters are the main driving force that keeps the story moving. Our main hero is the silver perm hair Gintoki Sakata or Gin for short. With a bokuto (wooden sword) with him all the time, his main job is well, do just about anything. Think of this sweet tooth guy as a Jack of all trades. From simple tasks like your cat stuck upon a tree or call him to free you people from the clutches of an oppressive warlord. Gasp! Well, as long as they pay him enough to pay off his rental of Yorozuya. But you know, as far as I’m concerned, that guy is never on time and has several months backlog! Many landlords would’ve kicked this lousy tenant out already. Plus, I don’t think he’s ever paid his followers-cum-workers a single cent. Gin is one of the many characters you should look out for punch lines or even serious advices. He can turn from a statement filled with rebuke into one with deadpan serious tone. If you could compile all the quotable quotes in this series, I think you can make an encyclopaedia! But this guy is serious when he takes up a job, he completes it by hook or by crook. Mostly in an odd way. Well, nobody else can do it, right? However I noticed that you need not have money to hire him. As long as your heart is sincere and truly hopeless, Gin and his team will ‘settle’ it for you even if he doesn’t take any payment in the end. Maybe that’s why he’s always poor. Hmm… Maybe it’s seeing those happy in the end is what counts most.

There are many other characters too such as Kagura, a blunt but strong girl of the Yato clan who has a big appetite and always carrying an umbrella, Shinpachi Shimura, the bespectacled voice of reasoning that nobody ever listens too (most of the counter jokes come from this guy), Sadaharu, Yorozuya’s giant white pet dog who likes to bite (including people’s head), Otose, the old cigarette smoking lady who runs a sweets shop and landlord for Gin (always wearing heavy make-up), Catherine, Otose’s lazy assistant and ex-thief, Ayame Sarutobi, the masochistic ninja responsible for lots of S&M jokes especially when she wants Gin to give her pain, Tae Shimura AKA Otae, Shinpachi’s older sister who is really bad in cooking (stay away or you’re good as dead), Taizou Hasegawa, an ex-official working for the Bakufu (shogun) but became a useless unemployed dork nicknamed MADAO due to an incident, the resistant movement and Joishi leader Kotarou Katsura (if you ask me, he’s more of an idiot in many ways, including stressing to people when his name isn’t said correctly) and his what-the-heck-is-this-thing Elizabeth as his pet (communicates with a signboard and her true nature may be an old geezer underneath it. Gasp!).

Then there is the Shinsengumi, the so called police force working on behalf for the Bakufu and thus the only reason they are allowed to carry a sword around. They include the extremely violent old geezer and direct superior Katakuriko Matsudaira, the commander Isao Kondo (goofy and often nicknamed gorilla and a serial stalker when it comes to Otae), the strict demon vice commander Toushirou Hijikata (I’ve known nobody who loves mayonnaise like this guy), the sadistic Sougou Okita (watch out for pranks from this guy!) and Sagaru Yamazaki (badminton lover). There are many other more characters, some supporting and some just for a particular arc. But as the story goes by, they all do play an important role in the series overall or just their respective arcs. Wikipedia has a summary of some of the other characters so you may want to check it out.

It won’t be accurate to say that the each of the episode serves as stand-alones. They can be divided into main story arcs, which last on average up to 5 episodes, mini arcs usually just 2 episodes and individual episodes that can either be a whole episode or be split into 2 separate unrelated short stories to double the fun and laughter. The pacing of the arcs and the individual ones in between is well planned. After a main story arc, usually there’ll be a handful of individual episodes to serve as a little breather before a mini or another main one begins. Unlike some animes that I know can take a whole season or heck, a whole year just for fillers! You know which shows I’m talking about, eh? Since it’s impossible for me to blog down all the episodes due to space constraints and memory problems (always this darn can’t remember thingy), I’ll (very) briefly blog on some of the memorable ones. Of course Wikipedia and Yorozuya Soul site has some short summaries for me to refresh my hazy and fading memories.

Memory Lost Arc
Gin forgets who he is after trying to get his usual JUMP magazine and starts working in a factory making Justaways (whatever the heck is this little can figure). Seems Kondo is also working there because he too lost his memories. Shinpachi and Kagura tried to help him recall his memories but it seems that the real Gin is never coming back for good. The factory is actually run by a couple of baddies under a disguise. In the end, our heroes and the Shinsengumi bust in to save the day and recover Gin’s memories. Can’t say the same for Kondo, though… He lost his memories twice…

Umibouzu Arc
Kagura’s dad, Umibouzu who is also the strongest of the Yato clan comes to Earth to stop a parasitic menace and at the same time to have a talk with his daughter. Shinpachi quits Yorozuya to go save Kagura who is captured by the parasitic alien gone out of control from (weird) animal loving Prince Hata but in the end Gin teams up with Umibouzu to save Kagura. And since this series won’t do without that specky kid, Shinpachi rejoins Yorozuya. Like any of us cared in the first place :).

Infant Arc
Gin finds a baby at his doorstep and is accused of having a child since the little one does share some of his traits and resemblance. Eventually they managed to find the baby’s real mother and reunite them but not without a bloody fight with a skilled but blind swordsman, Nizo Okada.

Benizakura Arc
I read that this is one of the most popular arcs so much so that a movie retelling its tale was spawned around when the TV series ended. It begins with Katsura getting killed so Elizabeth enlists Yorozuya’s help to find the culprit. Gin is also tasked to find the mysterious stolen sword called Benizakura. Gin then encounters Nizo again who is in possession of the Benizakura and the former gets heavily wounded in the fight. Kagura snoops around and discovers the Kiheitai faction, led by the dangerous Shinsuke Takasugi plotting to free Japan using violent measures. She gets trapped but Shinpachi and Elizabeth come to her rescue. You can’t have the main hero dying so Gin has to return (along with Katsura who wasn’t really dead in the first place since Nizo didn’t make sure that he stayed dead) to save the day, defeat Nizo (since his Benizakura is swallowing and controlling him) and put a stop to Takasugi’s plans

Fuyou Arc
Gin finds an android maid’s head, which they named Tama in the trash, takes it for repairs and gets entangled in a deadly chase from certain parties to retrieve it as part of some project.

Yagyuu Arc
Otae has been kidnapped by her childhood friend, Kyuubei Yagyuu to fulfil her promise of marrying her. Note, Kyuubei thinks she’s a male. Yorozuya and the main Shinsengumi trio go to Kyuubei’s home to rescue her and get caught in a deadly game (destroying plates of your opponents makes you out of the game). I love the one whereby Gin, Kondo, Binbokusai and Tojo are trapped in their toilet cubicles with no toilet paper and are being paranoid of trying to make the first move! It’s ultimately Gin and Binbokusai who emerge and do battle. Of course in the end our heroes save Otae and even inadvertently ‘rescued’ Kondo in an arranged political marriage with a gorilla!

Hasegawa’s Trial Arc
The MADAO guy is being prosecuted after he accidentally did a Nikuman Buster move on a passer-by while on his way to his first job. To his dismay, Gin becomes his lawyer! Now he’s screwed. But fortunately, Gin wins the case for him because the prosecution is a shady person himself. As happy Hasegawa is to reunite with his wife, he accidentally trips and did that Buster move on his wife!

Owee Arc
Parody to the Nintendo Wii console, Gin, Kagura, Shinpachi and Katsura in disguise team up against the Shinsengumi in distasteful game challenges so that the winning team can get the limited and newly released Owee game console. The final match pits the gang to don virtual goggles and play a virtual RPG game with ridiculous adventuring and in the end everything turned chaotic in the real world. Was it really worth it?

Shinsengumi Rebellion Arc
When Hijikata receives a strange sword, his personality changes into one of an otaku called Toushi! Not only he is in danger of losing his post, the advisor to the Shinsengumi, Kamotarou Itou is plotting to rid of Kondo and Hijikata to take over the Shinsengumi and has Okita on his side. More is revealed when Itou is aligned to Kiheitai and Takasugi’s right hand man Bansai Kawakami. As Hijikata pleads to Yorozuya for help and Okita betraying Itou once he found out his plans to kill Kondo, Itou realized he was just being used as a tool by Bansai to further Takasugi’s plans. Gin’s strong will manage to overcome all that and restore order. Hijikata cuts down Itou so that the he could die an honourable death.

Ryuugujou Arc
Parodying the folklore of Tarou Urashima, Gin, Kagura, Shinpachi, Otae, Katsura, Kyuubei and Hasegawa are stranded on an island and discover the nefarious plot of the aging Otohime to turn everyone as old as her with some cannon. Though Gin and Katsura turn old, with the help of a rebel human-cum-turtle, they are able to prevent just that and even save Otohime and bring her to her senses. You don’t need to look young and beautiful as long as the person you love still loves you, you’ll always be beautiful in his eyes.

Screwdriver Arc
The Yorozuya guys wake up one morning to a certain part of their body has been replaced with screwdrivers. Gin has to be the worse one because his ‘little buddy’ is an Alan screwdriver! Not a flat head or Philips! The only clue they have to confront those aliens who did the mutilation on them is via some famous online RPG game they played. Meeting other pals who also experienced this, in the end their search was futile and everyone gave up except Ayame. She finally finds them and gathers the gang to capture the aliens. It ends in a cliff-hanger because while the aliens escape, Gin used his ‘little buddy’ to unscrew some part of the spaceship to send it crashing. How they return to their original bodies remains a mystery…

Penpal Arc
Shinpachi is definitely a hardcore fan of the popular adult singer Tsu Terakado or more popularly known as Otsu (you should hear her lyrics! Kids, close your ears! Even got self censored). He even has his own devoted Otsu Fan Club but when he receives a mysterious penpal letter wanting a reply, he tries to meet the girl. Turns out the girl in the picture is her sister and was pretending to be her. After some unwanted suggestions of how to reply the letter, they go meet her and learn her story and in the end became friends.

Senbokyou Arc
Yorozuya takes a trip to the hotspring inn at the mountains courtesy of Otose. However the place is haunted and the spirits here are those who can’t seem to move on the next world. Heck there’s that Briefs Trio in the form of Nobunaga and the likes! Gin is forced to work but soon rebels to free the spirits. So the usual he comes face to face with the hotspring hostess, beats her and makes her open her eyes.

Yoshiwara Arc
Yorozuya takes on a little boy, Seita’s request to rescue his mom, Hinowa from Yoshiwara, an underground red light district run by an ex-Yato member Hosen. Kagura also meets her older brother, Kamui. Seita learns Hinowa isn’t actually his real mom but one who took him in when his real mother died. Gin and Tsukuyo of the Hyakka cooperate to save Hinowa as Gin takes on a power battle with Hosen. Don’t look down on humans because their will and determination is enough to make them stand back up and fight. In an amazing comeback Gin beats Hosen and the latter dies in the sunlight (something that all Yato clans are weak of) and liberate Yoshiwara.

Otsu Fan Club Arc
When Otsu announces a competition to be her official fan club, you know who will be taking up the challenge. But Shinpachi will be facing Toushi as his toughest competition as he has got all other fragmented fan clubs under his command. Hijikata’s reason for entering this competition is to rid Toushi in him forever. The Yorozuya along with some foreigner wrestler as quick replacement of Shinpachi’s injured friend, go through lots of challenge to show their love for Otsu like running a marathon (to downsize the 5000 mad fans), answering quizzes (answers of questions which are not related or too trivial for anyone to care or notice) and acting out a charismatic scene to hit on her. The final battle pits Shinpachi against Toushi/Hijikata in some card game turned boxing match. In the end, Hijikata is freed from Toushi and though Shinpachi is the official winner, he gives it up to Hijikata because he’d rather be the leader of his own Otsu Fan Club.

Tama Quest Arc
Tama is infected with some virus so the Yorozuya guys are shrunk into small size to enter her body to rid of the black virus. It’s odd to see her inner body like an RPG town (parody to the Dragon Quest RPG games). Gin teams up with Leukocyte King (looking exactly like Gin) to defeat the Tapir King before Tama’s body becomes pixelated.

Jiraia Arc
Tsukuyo’s twisted master with a spider tattoo, Jiraia returns to torment the student he made to perfection. He is going to destroy all the things she loved as he perceived she has grown weak. It might be surprising that Gin may be losing to this guy at first due to his speed and attacks but after fighting the baddest of the baddies, you’d figure out that he will overcome all that and beat that guy. So yeah, Jiraia wanted to be killed by his own student as his own twisted version of completing his masterpiece.

Character Polls Arc
Every darn character has a ranking right over their head! Even unimportant characters! Is this all made up or are do those characters really do have rankings? Anyway the gang turn on each other so as to be number 1 (we know Gin is right at the top. Wink, wink) when a mysterious character tries to alter the rankings by taking out those ranked above him. Everyone’s ranking drops drastically as the viewers (really?) got fed up by the incessant and petty bickering and backstabbing. Turns out the culprit to be Yamasaki as Shinpachi slaps some sense into him. And after lots of nice words, the duo end up being number 1 together but earn the wrath of the others. They throw them down the building!

Rokkaku Arc
A girl, Kirie tries to avenge her dad by killing Okita whom she believed is the culprit of the Rokkaku incident (Okita and another colleague, Kamiyama survived the incident). Turns out that her dad was supporting that faction (the real killer was Kamiyama who had to kill him in self defence) and the remnants of the faction is using her to avenge his brother’s death. In the end, Kirie learns the truth as Okita takes on all the members alone even if the cavalry arrived a little late.

Kabukichou Stray Cats Arc
Gin and Katsura are turned into stray cats (after disrespecting a cat’s grave by peeing and shitting on it respectively). For some unknown reasons, Kondo is turned into a gorilla! The trio are taken by the area’s boss, Houichi and soon learn he wasn’t a cat to begin with. He has been turned into a feline many years ago and felt he deserved this curse for killing innocent lives. But the other stray cats turn against him in order to end his so called dictatorship when they are being captured. Because of some alien cat’s failing manhood, he wants the cats to fight some beast in order to bring out their manliness to revive his libido (?!). Gin and co infiltrate the place to save Houichi and the cats and soon revert back to their normal human bodies.

Onmyouji Arc
Gin is a fan of the weather reporter girl, Ana Ketsuno. But he doesn’t know of her other alter ego as she is from the Onmyouji priest clan and her brother is no other than Seimei who protects the town with his magic from demons. Of course the clan feud between Ketsuno and Shirino has been going on for so long and it got worse when Ana married Domon of Shirino only to divorce later. Then her weather reporting misses all the time so Yorozuya team up with Seimei to end the clan feud in a Shinigami Tag Team match. Doman got desperate and summons a dark creature that tries to consume his body. Summoning all the power they have, they seal the beast and bring back the sunny smiles to everyone.

Santa Arc
Umibouzu tries to pay Kagura a visit as Santa Claus because she’s always asking why the fat guy in red never visits. However Gin, Kondo, Ayame and Kyuubei are also acting as Santa and each claim to be the real one (with their own motives of course). I love it when Gin and Umibouzu got the same thinking that they treat each other as either the fake Santa or the real deal! So Kagura has a competition for them to act out and see which is the real one by acting out some play and in the end it turns out with Kagura jumping in the lead, there was nothing to do with Santa after all. Everybody leaves in a huff as Kagura wishes everyone a Happy Merry Last Episode! Nooo!!! That’s not funny!

New Year Episodes
Some of the New Year episodes see the gang bumming around trying to waste film time as you know, they’ve been pre-allocated half an hour. They even had the guts to use repeated scenes from last year to fill the space! What about using a still picture of Yorozuya as the gang blab about? Nobody is going to listen to Shinpachi whenever he rebukes all this.

Other Episodes
Episode 6: Gin takes a criminal to see Otsu’s concert but he turns out to be her dad wanting to see her.
Episode 21: Yorozuya help a kappa to defend his lake from unruly developers.
Episode 24: Gin and Katsura are forced to cross-dress and work at an okama (transvestite) bar and help a boy reunite with his okama dad.
Episode 25: Some of the characters battle each other in a game of wits to control the nabe pot!
Episode 29: Alien cockroaches invade Edo! Unwittingly, Sadaharu kills the ‘boss’ cockroach easily.
Episode 35: Matsudaira has his Shinsengumi trio follow (read: stalk) his daughter and her boyfriend to the amusement park and try to take him out!
Episode 50: The cast try to think up a new premise for the show after the series is being threatened to be cancelled. Lots of parodies and spoofs of other movies and genres!
Episode 54-55: An old mom enlists Gin’s help to find her lost son who is found working in a hostess bar. I love Gin’s rebuke to that old lady’s face: “Your face is sexually harassing people!”.
Episode 56: Otsu tries to help increase the popularity of Shinsengumi but gets into more trouble like being kidnapped. Of course our heroes save the day and the girl.
Episode 64: A news reporter follows and does a coverage on Katsura and his group but all she is his stupidity (trying hard to reveal his own name when the station is trying to censor it) and the gang idling and goofing around doing useless stuff. In the end when she thought he did something good for once, it backfired and got her injured. So in the end she concludes, if you see this man, CALL THE POLICE, DAMN IT!!!
Episode 65: Yorozuya and Shinsengumi go on a beetle hunt. Did Gin offered to become the golden beetle Matsudaira was looking for? Hara kiri da yo!
Episode 72: Katsura takes up driving lessons so he can get a licence as identification to rent a DVD (WTF?!). With Gin as his instructor, expect all the ridiculous hilarity. It would be easier to just pull out his “Wanted” poster, eh?
Episode 74: Gin and the rest are trapped in a pachinko parlour after the invasion of unibrow zombies! Resident Evil parody.
Episode 83: The Shogun drops by Otae’s work place and Gin and the rest have no choice but to accompany him. But it seems the Shogun is always on the losing end and even ends up naked after a game of King! He even runs outside with nothing on!
Episode 88: Tojo enlists Gin’s help to try and make Kyuubei more feminine by organizing a gokon (something like a blind date) but it turns out disastrous and Kyuubei was more interested in something else on the add rather than wanting to do a surgery for a ‘Babel Tower”.
Episode 89: Using Bleach as a parody, some guy tries to teach Yorozuya an ultimate move but they aren’t really interested.
Episode 92: An assassin tries to assassinate Matsudaira but he sees Gin in the way and starts getting psycho (actually Gin’s actions were just coincidence because he was trying to peep a woman changing rather than knowing the assassin’s presence). In the end, ironically the assassin became a hero after doing a heroic antic.
Episode 96: Umibouzu is hired to save a planet being attacked by vicious creatures. In the end after all that drama and action, it turned out to be one long hair growth commercial! GIVE ME BACK MY 24 MINUTES OF SCREEN TIME!!!
Episode 106: Some of the characters have to fill in for a football team and play a match after the usual team got knocked out.
Episode 109: Yamazaki infiltrates Katsura’s group and undergoes lots of silly tests and still Katsura and co can’t find out he’s from Shinsengumi. Till he dropped his ID at the very end when he was finally recruited. Lots of Jacky Chan and Sammo Hung parody.
Episode 110: An inmate tries to dig his way out of prison when he reluctantly befriends Katsura who tells him a long winded dramatic story in order to allay his intentions of escaping. But it’s just a ploy to put him to sleep so he himself could escapes. But he can’t escape yet since he’s being watched by the other prisoners and so the endless fear of being watched by others puts Katsura and the others’ escape on hold. Yeah, there’re lots of holes just from looking outside the prison island.
Episode 113: A Shinsengumi suggests making their toilets clean. Why is Okita obsessed of cleaning his head mole? It’s amazing Kondo got his ‘little buddy’ stuck in a cardboard cut out…
Episode 114: Since Matsudaira’s daughter fell for Hijikata the last time, Hijikata knows he has got to get out of this relationship before the disapproving big boss gets his head. He manages to by impersonating as some guy from mayonnaise planet?!
Episode 119: With the ban on smoking, Hijikata has a tough time trying to light up and goes to great lengths to just obtain a smoke. Dragonball parody.
Episode 124: Otsu is troubled as she is unable to release her new album without her producer. The rest of the gang chip in to help up and though her album is finally released, due to the racy lines, her record sales are banned!
Episode 136: Gin and Hasegawa go around looking for a house and stumble upon a haunted room that nobody wants to take. It ends on a cliff-hanger.
Episode 138: Shinpachi and Kagura find out about the previous employees of Yorozuya: Black people? Who is that hot chick in the photo besides that?!
Episode 147: Shinpachi and Kagura want somebody to be their trainer to be strong but it turns out all the training methods were just sh*t and in the end they decide to do their own training even though it was a ploy by everybody to watch over them.
Episode 148-149: Hijikata and Okita are chained up by a maniac in a Saw parody as they have to kill each other to save themselves and the Shinsengumi before the time is up. In the end, it’s just a prank by Okita.
Episode 151-152: Yorozuya is made to be in charge of a barber shop when the Shogun comes in requesting for a new haircut. Not to mention keeping arch enemies Katsura and Kondo from seeing each other. They screw up and run for their lives eventually (putting dog poo on his head!).
Episode 153: Kagura can’t sleep and pesters Gin to make her sleep. After all that trouble, Kagura snoozes when morning comes and Gin is darn tired.
Episode 155: Hasegawa and Gin bet on horse races to turn their fortunes but they turn on each other and both lose everything.
Episode 164: Yorozuya goes to see some fake guy who is impersonating them. Also, Shinpachi is being visited by some odd guy from the future in a Doraemon parody. But he got the wrong guy and it’s supposed to be a Terminator parody instead.
Episode 171: The Yorozuya people are losing their hair!
Episode 172: Shinsengumi tries to interrogate a serial killer but their methods were futile in breaking him and it turns out they got the wrong guy. That innocent dude must be one very patient and positive fellow.
Episode 175: Gin and Hijikata may be tough but they have their fears going to the dentist. I think they need to go see a mental psychiatrist after all the mental torture they’ve gone through.
Episode 185: Yorozuya is tasked to clear a temple from alien bees. They accidentally killed each bee tribe’s queen (game console accidentally falling on their head) which leads to an all out war as the tribes eliminate each other!
Episode 188: A young boy did an observation diary on Hasegawa and it was so dramatic (including flashbacks and all) that the teacher and students applauded him for his impressive work. Turns out his mom did his homework. Haha!
Episode 193: The girls and Shinpachi take up cooking class and mock the instructor and thus challenged to make a good dish or risk being expelled. Even if their dish got approved in the end, it was her plan to kick the rowdy bunch out.

Golden Soul
I don’t think this blog is enough to do justice to as how much I enjoyed this series. It’s fun to see how the gang breaks the fourth wall by talking to audience like as though they are interacting with them. They also joke about the stretched and limited budget of continuing to run this show year after year! Not to mention suggesting to the staff to do this and that for improvement. They also toyed with viewers like making a countdown to end the series which began more than a year ago! Then there’s the word play they make on the name of Gintama as Kintama. Woah. Be careful a single change in alphabet could really change the meaning from silver soul to testicles (even if the other meaning could mean golden soul)! With lots of parodies also in terms of speeches, because some of the names and legal implications, you’ll often hear the beep when they mention those trademarked names. If not, they give some made up name that parodies closely to it. Even some of the graphics are purposely censored out like human/animal/alien poo or vomit. But it’s all in the name of comedy I assure you :). For some episodes that still have time left, they add short clips like Ginpachi Sensei’s class in which he tries to answer Q&A from viewers and that monkey (a personification of the series’ creator Hideki Sorachi) lazing around too lazy to do anything.

I felt that the TV series is left ‘hanging’ simply because of some of the antagonists that have yet to be dealt with like Takasugi and Kamui. Because they made their real appearances many episodes back, somehow it doesn’t really impact that cliff-hanging feeling when the series ended. Takasugi isn’t giving up on his twisted goal yet while Kamui is hell bent on making Gin his next target in his goal to become the strongest in the universe. Then there are other minor characters that don’t often appear but I think they are supporting ones (because they sometimes appear in the ending credits) like that ugly but gentle alien Hedoro and the pair of priestess sisters who gave away Sadaharu. But for the known characters, as we get to know them more about their personality and their past, all I can say is that it’s a good thing all of them stayed basically the same in the end, though bonds between themselves and others or certain groups may have increased. As long as we have these bunch of clowns around, Edo will be a safe place. Or not.

Something about each of the episode title. They feel like advices, rebuking statements, warnings and the likes. It’s really funny that it makes you laugh but some of them also had me scratching my own head. As the episode titles are written in kanji, hiragana or katakana, they literally fill up the entire space when they are displayed. I know it’s partly my weak Japanese to blame but unless you’re a pro in this language, they look like doodles to me! Just like in School Rumble, there will be a couple of short lines during the sponsor screen that serve as teasing for that particular episode or the next. The drawing and art may be today’s standard Japanese animation but in certain episodes they do experiment a little with the drawing style. Some very simple and some over detailed. Perhaps for the parody and jokes that come with it.

There are a total of 8 opening themes and 16 ending themes for this entire series. They can range from R&B to pop but they are mainly rock based. I may not like all of them but the ones that I prefer include Pray by Tommy Heavenly6 (opening 1), Fuusan Gam by Captain Stridum (ending 1), Mr Raindrop by amplified (ending 2 – song entirely in English), Shura by DOES (ending 5) and Wo Ai Ni by Hitomi Takashi and Beat Crusaders (ending 14). Others that felt okay to me include Tooi Nioi by Yo-King (opening 2), Giniro No Sora (opening 3), Donten by DOES (opening 5), Stairway Generation by Base Ball Bear (opening 7), Sanagi by POSSIBILITY (episode 9), This World Is Yours by Plingmin (ending 10), Ai Ai Ai (I, Love, Meet) by GHOSTNOTE (ending 11) and Sayonara No Sora (ending 14).

The cast is also very lively and since I have been seeing this show for so long, nobody else would fit the characters better than they do. They include Tomokazu Sugita as Gin (Kyon in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu), Daisuke Sakaguchi as Shinpachi (Sunohara in Clannad), Rie Kugimiya as Kagura (Shana in Shakugan No Shana), Akira Ishida as Katsura (Gaara of Naruto), Satsuki Yukino as Otae (Kagome in Inu Yasha), Susumu Chiba as Kondo (Takehito Asama of Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~), Kazuya Nakai as Hijikata (Zoro in One Piece), Kenichi Suzumura as Okita (Junpei in Ichigo 100%), Kujira as Otose (Orochimaru in Naruto), Yu Kobayashi as Ayame (Lia in World Destruction – man, I love her voice when she goes crazy and loud!) and Mikako Takahashi as Otsu (Ayumu in Hayate No Gotoku). There are a bunch of other famous seiyuu making their cameo roles over the series such as Mamiko Noto, Yuko Kaida, Ai Shimizu, Ayako Kawasumi, Chiwa Saito, Hiroshi Kamiya, Kana Ueda, Norio Wakamoto and Yuko Goto, whether or not they play multiple minor characters or main/supporting roles for a particular arc.

Besides from the TV series, there are quite a number of other media for this series. Aside the manga in which this series is serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump, this include movies, a couple of OVAs (the first one in which to introduce the characters and start off the long running TV series), CD soundtracks, light novels, video games and even guidebooks to help you understand the world of Gintama even better. I guess I could say that this series is popular enough to have its own following but not enough to knock the top 3 (you know which series lah). So I’m hoping in the near future, this series will make a comeback and you can count that I will be eagerly waiting when the announcement of its continuation or extension or even remake is leaked, oops I mean, announced. Hmm… Maybe I need to hire the Yorozuya guys to coerce, erm I mean, persuade those production staff to start working on it. I need my daily anime fix, help me, Gin-chan!