By Ben Clarke / October 22nd, 2012
*Warning. The following article contains spoilers and steel bolt genitals.*
This week’s episode begins right where we left off, in a dark alley with Tama being cornered by the fair haired antagonist of the arc. We’re shown right off the bat that we’re in for a more serious episode of Gintama. Kintoki ruthlessly proceeds to damage Tama’s hardware, as she is the last nuisance aware of his true nature. The broken robot maid makes quite the astute remark though: Kintoki is nowhere near as sadistic as the original permed samurai. What follows here is one of those golden scenes that make Gintama so special. While still keeping the tone just as serious as before, Gintoki appears from nowhere and grabs his imposter’s crotch to the sound of scream-like tension music. Perhaps I just have a soft spot for this kind of “immature” humour, but seeing Gintoki smash his foe into the wall and ripping of his “scrap metal” is so satisfying. Haven’t we all been in that situation where we met some deceitful bully who is in desperate need of such a treatment?
After that good laugh, more seriousness and drama follows as Gintoki desperately tries to keep his robotic friend alive while running to the nearest workshop with her on his back. In the manga, this is an amazingly well-written scene. The sincerity in Tama’s words as she pulls a prank on Gintoki before fading into unconsciousness is so moving, and the usually oblivious Gintoki’s anxiety over losing his one friend who still remembers him is heart-wrenching. However the anime tackles this scene terribly. The direction, pacing, use of music and quality of animation is just so sub-par; it turned what should be a tearjerker into something forgettable. Granted, the quality of animation is pretty low for the series in general, however, normally the quality delivery of the jokes and lines make up for that.
Back to the story! Kintoki somehow recovers from getting his crown tools ripped off, he is a robot after all, and frames his rival for the murder of Tama, thus turning the entire Kabukicho district against the silver samurai. This leaves Gintoki to fight a war against an entire town of people who he holds dear; and my god, if there is anyone who can pull that off it certainly is Gintoki. The rest follows Gin as he frantically tries to dodge his friend’s blows and heroically shelters them from any dangers that come their way. In doing so, he woos the wavering hearts of his three lady friends (and me), successfully turning them against the golden paranoid android as he emerges at the end of the episode.
I’m hoping the animation team gets their act together in the next episode when it’s time for the imminent clash of Gold vs Silver. It is bound to be an intense battle of wit and brawn.
Gintama is currently available as a stream on Crunchyroll.