12 Days of Gintama – Day 2: A Jocular Look at Gintama
First off, the world is a godsent for Gintama. While “samurai world” feels especially alien to all of us who live in the 21st century. Having actual aliens (Amanto) who took over the world and brought in their technology and culture, resulting in a world that blends old Edo-period Japan and modern, sci-fi cyberpunk Japan.
So essentially, Amanto are practically us — the aliens, the foreigners who invaded the world and give these samurai technologically-advanced devices like a LED TV and blu-ray player so that they can watch their favorite idol shows in HD quality. This weird synergy between the characters and us makes it easier to relate to the jokes since the anachronistic nature of the show gives us a lot of real life parallels to work with. And this is a critical factor since from a comedy standpoint, Gintama is always at it’s best when it’s self-aware.
And my god, does Gintama commit to their jokes.
I might even say they are over-committing to their jokes and for some reason, it works. Gintama has pulled off crazy stunts after crazy stunts — like parodying famous shows and games, making fun of some of the industry’s genres and tropes; and even parodying some important names in politics. In fact, I don’t even think the phrase “copyright issues” exist in Gintama’s dictionary.
Gintama is filled with stuffs like these, episodes that parodied Dragon Ball, episodes that parodied Monster Hunter, episodes where they had their own ridiculous spin on the harem genre, scenes where characters break the fourth wall (if it’s not already obvious) and blatantly telling “us” they are just filling time by reusing old footages and flashbacks, or having an idle dialogue for 5 minutes with a still frame of their house.
Gintama is self-aware, and they kept trolling us, and I will be lying if I say I’m not entertained.
I think one thing that was very fortunate for Gintama, was that it was out at the same time when meme as a concept, was becoming widespread due to the increasingly higher usage of internet around the world. In fact, now that when I think about it, Gintama as a show, is like one huge meme machine.
In a way, Gintama is just one of us. That’s not to say that Gintama is bad when it’s not being self-aware or parodist however. Like I said, Gintama truly over-commit to their jokes, and you can find just about any types of jokes in this series. Physical comedy? Surreal comedy? Satire? Dirty Jokes? Gintama has it all, but I find Gintama is truly at it’s best when it’s just being a self-aware trolling piece of shit that just meme every single crap they can find; and I fucking love it to bits.