Gintama is one of those shounen shows that was never popular enough to join the likes of Naruto, Bleach and One Piece in terms of worldwide success, yet, unlike those three, I have not met a person who hates Gintama. It is a well-loved series and it helps that every single episode is available to watch for free on Crunchyroll. However, our first UK physical release of Gintama is the movie, and the question is: is it worth picking up, even if you know nothing about the show? This review will hopefully answer that question.
This shounen anime might look very strange at first, since the introduction breaks the fourth wall with its main characters trying to decide how they are going to start the movie – but this is typical Gintama. It can be very witty at times and for the most part, it gets a laugh. On the other hand, the show can get very violent and surprisingly gory as well, and this is noticeable in the main battle sequences.
I first thought this was a brand new story but, in fact it’s a re-hash of the Benizakura arc and I can see why they would do this. This arc contains a lot of action and backstory, while still having that hint of humor that the show really excels at. The end product is a much darker movie than I was expecting but still possessing those witty elements that make it work.
If you’re a newcomer to Gintama, then the weirdness of its Edo period/futuristic setting and characters might take a while to get used to. Fans will definitely feel much more comfortable with this and will most likely be happy that this arc has been re-made in a movie format.
One thing that I was disappointed with was the fact that the animation didn’t seem to have been given the big movie budget quality that I expecting. Normally shounen anime movies seem to have crisper animation which makes them feel different from their TV counterparts; however I never felt like that with this film. It’s not much of a gripe since the animation was still great, but it was noticeable.
As for the plot, it has a decent pace throughout and things start to unravel of their own accord.The antagonists, except for Lord Shinsuke, aren’t really developed, and most of them have only one comical trait. Because this is a re-hash of one of the story arcs, there is no final conclusion, and the only way to know what happens after this arc is to watch the TV series. After the film ends, the ending “special” is a hilarious fourth wall-breaking short that is worth sticking around for.
The English dub of Gintama – The Movie is a bit lacklustre compared to the Japanese dub, which is understandable since the TV series has never been dubbed itself but the English dub cast do a decent job.
Overall though, is it worth watching this movie? Yes. But I would recommend that newcomers check out some of the Gintama TV episodes first as an introduction to the whole series and its characters.
There are no extras present on this disc.
Though it hasn’t got the film feel at times, Gintama – The Movie has those core components that make it both funny and exciting. Definitely worth checking out.