The best way to describe this anime is that it is an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve found myself (almost) rolling over the floor from laughter, but a few episodes later I could be crying my eyes out (and not from laughter this time). The randomness is what makes this series special, and it can turn the dullest events into hilarious arcs.

Gintoki and his two friends Shinpachi and Kagura run a Yorozuya business, which basically means that they do all kinds of odd-jobs. This ensures that they end up in unsuspected situations. Luckily they have each other to rely on.

201 episodes
Comedy, action

This anime is very episodic, and even though there is an overarching storyline, it’s only shown on rare occasions. Every now and then a longer arc takes place, and these are often more serious and dramatic than the stand-alone episodes (even though there are some exceptions). The stories are often focused on either humor or a string of tragic events, but the two are sometimes combined in an interesting way. An occasional parody is no exception (especially the well-known series such as Bleach, Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon are victims in this case).

The art is very good. Even though the details seem to be lacking sometimes in one-episode stories, the art totally makes up for that during the longer arcs. The colours are bright and contrasting, but occasionally (especially during flash-backs) the anime switches to an other style, with black and white images to convey the feel of a past event. The character designs are very original, and even though some characters don’t really have a defining aspect (take for example Hijikata or Sougo), they are still very recognizable.

The three main characters have rather different personalities, and yet they get along perfectly. Gintoki is a lazy bum that refuses to pay his rent and would love to read his manga magazine all day if possible. Yet, he is a reliable friend and willing to do about anything for his friends. Shinpachi is the serious, down-to-earth character. But even he, as the most mature and sober character of the bunch, manages to surprise the audience at times. Kagura, the only girl in the Yorozuya, is good-natured and kind, yet a bit spoofy. She often comes up with the weirdest ideas. These three main characters are surrounded by minor characters, of which some get their own arc or recur quite often.

The soundtrack of Gintama reflects the mood of the show: it’s crazy and cheerful, with a more dramatic song every once in a while. The music is weird if you’re listening to it without watching Gintama, but it sure brings back great memories of the anime. I loved almost all the voice actors; Gintoki, for example, has a very recognizable voice. Kagura’s upbeat personality is shown in her voice as well. My personal favourite is the voice actor of Hijikata; even though his vocal range is not enormously great, he’s still amazing at portraying a more moody and angry character.

This series is loved by a lot of people, and this is no surprise. The humour is refreshing, and so are the numerous characters. I watched this anime in a rather strange way: it was the first time that I would start a long anime (until then I had never seen an anime with more than 26 episodes). That’s why I decided to watch one episode a day, rather than to watch as much as possible in the shortest possible time span. It worked out great: even during the exams I watched my daily Gintama episode, and it was my 24 minutes of pure entertainment. Now that the second season has started, I have to wait a week before I can watch a new episode, but so far adapting to that has been no problem. If you’re looking for a comedy anime with an occasionally more serious undertone, then I definitely advice to give this anime a chance. Even though I admit that not everyone will like the kind of humour, you should at least give it a try. The first two episodes were not that interesting in my opinion, but by episode 8 the anime definitely improves, and it keeps improving after that!