For Gintama fans, this works as a nice little fun movie for your favourite characters. For people who haven’t seen the series…not as weak as you would may expect.
What They Say :
Hilarious violence is guaranteed. Your sanity is not. Odd Jobs Gin has taken on a lot of odd work in the past, and when you’re a Jack of All Trades agency based in a feudal Japan that’s been conquered and colonized by aliens, the term “Odd Jobs” means REALLY ODD jobs. But when some more than slightly suspicious secrets from the shadows of Gintoki Sakata’s somewhat shady former samurai past and a new pair of odd jobs collide, the action is bound to get so wild and demented that only a feature film will do it justice! Sit down, strap yourself in, and make sure you’re not wearing anything too tight or constricting as the junior half of OJG takes on the task of tracking down a tenacious terrorist while their silver-haired slickster of a partner seeks out a certain sword in the stunningly side-splitting and screwy Gin Tama!
The Review :
The DVD release has a 5.1 English and Japanese option, which whilst more common in movies is more than welcome and I watched the movie in Japanese. As expected, the sound is excellent and there aren’t any issues combining audio with subtitles as far as I noticed – I didn’t actually watch the dub for this version but from clips, the audio is spot on with its 5.1 release as well. The video is also excellent, in widescreen format with no real transition or issues regarding quality, whether animated or in stoppage when pausing. Colours were fine and just the sort of release you want visually and verbally for a cinematic experience.
The menu is basic, with a screenshot of three of the main guys from the movie, Gintoki, Shinpachi and Shinsuke either ready or battle or ready for a kimono party with their attire. Selections are made across a black bar, with easily accessible selections on the menus whether it is Play, Scene Selection (again, more common in movies than series) and Audio Selection. Straightforward, not outstanding but it does the job enough and sets its market for its audience.
Sadly, there are no extras for this release.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Gintama is a series I’ve only heard bits about from friends at anime clubs/conventions, etc. It’s a series that from the looks seem to be not my cup of tea being not a huge fan of the big Shounen Jump style of anime. However, recently that has changed with a few key series I admit to being fans of (One Piece, Naruto) in both small and large quantities, so I was wondering if the movie would manage to give me interest in the series.
The fact the beginning basically give you a very abridged version of that the series has been going for 5 years with very brief introductions was both unhelpful and hilarious at the same time. It didn’t really help me in knowing the characters beforehand, but at least it kind of admitted that so it was a case of hoping just to enjoy it as a movie.
Set in what appears to be feudal Japan, we get a shot at a character named Katsura, who from what I could tell, is a character that is seen to be powerful yet is apparently killed by a mysterious assassin who has been the talk of the town, even more so when Katsura is found dead. We cut a bit to our main character, a cocky young swordsman named Gintoki, his cowardly comic relief glasses wearing sidekick named Shinpachi, and a kicking butt girl named Kagura. They are all very skilled and competent warriors, but they seem to just make ends meet on various odd jobs. As such, here we see Gin looking for a sword that has been stolen known as the Benizakura brought by a father/daughter pair. However, when a giant duck being/friend of theirs named Elizabeth appears with the wallet of the deceased Katsura…
Suddenly the two events appear to be linked as the sword used to kill Katsura turns out to be the Benizakura, wielded by a past enemy of Gin’s named Nizo The Killer. He is apparently a lot stronger with this sword which seems to wield demonic energies, fused by the creator trying to create the perfect weapon. However they are being watched by a mysterious ship controlled by the Lord Bansai and featuring their best warrior Shinsuke. Gin is almost killed by Nizo but saved by Shinpachi whilst Kagura tries to sneak up onto the ship to find out what connections they have with the sword, but nothing is ever easy when she gets caught despite showing she is no damsel in distress…
Gin is saved by Tetsuko, the sister of the man who created the sword and the daughter of the man who originally gave Gin the request – it turns out Benizakura is a mechanical anti-warship mobile weapon modeled after her father’s sword, as the best weapon to cause destruction and feed on demonic energies. They feel Gin would be the one who could repel it, but he refuses to use it. And despite his injuries, he flees to go stop it. The main villain Shinsuke is also ridiculously powerful, able to defeat the possessed Nizo with ease, but when a combination of Elizabeth and Shinpachi reveals what really happened to Katsura, all hell brings loose.
The last part of the movie is very battle orientated, there are a few things I won’t spoil – basically Tetsuko the creator of the sword has to decide to keep to his obsession or to listen to his family, various other characters from the show appear for vengeance, and it leads to a lot of blood, and a rather anticlimactic ending. Of course, it then pokes fun of itself with the special feature, about all the characters from the series that weren’t in the movie and that they should be the heroes/heroines of the sequel…before Warner Brothers (who were the makers of the film) cancels it. It’s very tongue in cheek and comic.
I’m not sure how to rate this one to be honest. It’s hard to understand the characters because I hadn’t seen the series and it wasn’t long enough to engage in their personalities. Kagura was the one I enjoyed the moment because of her comic timing with her gun slinging rival in the movie whilst managing to kick ass at the same time. Gin himself seemed just a typical shounen hero, a bit dumb but has a kind heart and able to access power when he needs to protect his friends. It was quite funny at times (the beginning and the end in particular being quite comic both for fans of the show and those who have never seen it) and the action sequences were quite inventive and eye catching. The problem is for those who haven’t seen the series, the villains are quite one-dimensional and their reasons for their role in the show weren’t fully established. I don’t know if they were part of the series or not, but they barely figured at all in the end bar the Nizo character, even Shinsuke who is shown prominently in the DVD menu has a minor moment in disposing of Nizo, with some exposition but very little action time to really showcase himself as the villain.
In terms of a general movie, I did enjoy it. It was a basic samurai style adventure with modern technology involved without explanation (again, knowledge of the time period and the series would have helped) and the end felt really rushed, with the non-mentioned spoiler again not very well explained. It was passable as a movie, and I’m sure Gintama fans will enjoy it a lot more than I did. But for a general movie, it was OK at best. I’d say raise the grade by one if you are a Gintama fan, because the funny in-jokes will probably become even funnier and the characters will be much easier to understand.
Gintama The Movie is a film specifically for the fans of the show, which means if you like the show, you’ll love the movie. If you are just going into it without knowledge of the series, you’ll find an OK hack and slash movie, with some intrigue and mystery, but little background or exposition to really gauge the characters strengths and weaknesses. You’ll get a laugh out of it, but there is a lot better out there of this genre if you just want to see the basics of the series. One for the fans definitely, but a passable rent for anybody else.
Japanese 5.1 Language, English 5.1 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: December 24th, 2012
Running Time: 95 minutes
Review Equipment: Playstation3, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.