Gintama Ep. 256: The Meaning of a Main Character

Monday, October 29th, 2012

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The final clash between gold and silver

*Warning. Spoilers for Gintama episode 256 are present beyond this point*

Shonen Jump, the magazine in which Gintama was originally issued, has three core words that define the psychology and content of the publication and its series. One of these words is friendship, and this week Gintama radiates companionship so intensely I think I may be developing some kind of friendly radiation sickness. This episode gives me emotional love-cancer, and I mean that in the warmest possible way.  The alpha-decay of camaraderie already began at the end of the last episode, and as the arrogant and increasingly evil Kintoki raises his sword against his “former” comrades the “nuclear” reaction of brotherhood spread amongst the residents of Kabukicho –effectively turning the entire town against him. Even when the copycat antagonist brainwashes everyone again, Gintoki’s closest friends still keep their memories thanks to their immense bonds of friendship. It may be corny, and it may not make complete sense plot-wise, but Sorachi’s optimistic depiction of friendship moves me and puts a wide smile on my face. Who would be so cynical as to ask for anything else?

One of the things that really bothered me last week was the episode’s overall quality of direction and animation. Thankfully, these problems were a lot less prominent during the epic fight between Kintoki and Gintoki. It is a short but sweet brawl though, as our villain is quick to explain his true motives. Once he is defeated, or the four characters that started the series come together, Kintoki’s core is set to explode and wipe the memories of everyone in the city, which would end the anime for good!

Gintoki, being the honorable and manly man he is, decides to go down with his doppelganger in order to absorb all of the hypnotic blast by himself. He rips off the head of his robotic nemesis, ties it to his body and gets ready to commit seppuku. While this may mean the death of him, Gintoki believes in his friends and that they will carry on the legacy of being the main character through their souls. Of course, this legacy prevents them from ever abandoning a friend in his final moments. Shinpachi, Kagura and Otae (the people who together with Gintoki started this insane journey through 256 glorious episodes) rush to their silver-haired friend’s side to take the blast with him. And so, an atomic explosion of pure platonic love lights out the twilight sky – sparing all but the four who raced to the aid of the town they loved.

Thus ends what may very well be one of the greatest anime of all time, and it couldn’t have done so more beautifully.

[Gintama Season 6 END]

From the ashes of one great anime another must rise. Filling the hole that Gintama left is a brand new anime from Sunrise by the name of Mantama, an exciting series that seems like it will be covering multiple genres such as romance, humor, drama, gambling, fishing, fighting and, of course, plenty of moe fan service. So without further ado, let us begin Oprainfall’s coverage of Mantama.

*Beware: Spoilers for Mantama episode 1 below.*

Mantama Episode 1

The anime is so good, even the soon to be released OWee U is sponsoring it!

The plot of Mantama is a very deep and interesting one. One day on present day earth, a mysterious and accursed tower rose from the abyss – spreading a new kind of disease across the earth. This sickness caused the male genitalia to drop off from every living man on the planet, eradicating the entire male sex. Save for one single man; A man who every girl wants to have, a man who rebuilt his body in steel so he could one day meet the reincarnation of his dead childhood love. He is the main character of this anime: Kintoki.

By now you’ve probably realised that Gintama never actually ended. This is simply Hideaki Sorachi’s crazy mind working its magic. I have heard Gintama being described as something along the lines of a Japanese Family Guy, but this episode proves it is so much more than that. There are very few series, be they comedies or otherwise, that can pull off these kinds of shifts between exciting action, moving drama and pants-on-head retarded comedy. This is what makes Gintama unique, and why you really shouldn’t shrug it off as “just another shonen anime”.

Anyway, it turns out the reincarnation of Kintoki’s childhood friend, Tokiko, is Gintoki in disguise. Together with the somewhat ridiculously camouflaged Shinpachi, Kagura and Otae he relentlessly obliterates the golden steel genitals of Kintoki, and whacks him back into the good old normal Gintama universe. He then spares his double, teaching him a thing or two about what it means to be a true main character.

[Mantama Final Season END]

Well, this arc sure has been a wild ride. Even though the two episodes before this suffered some quality problems, both animation and joke-wise, the Kintama arc began and ended on an extremely high note. I cannot wait for next week’s usual random shenanigans of Gintoki and co. All that’s left to say now is: Welcome back Gintama!

Gintama is back baby! For real this time.

Gintama can be found streaming on Crunchyroll.