12 Days of Gintama – Day 10: Gintama and Sket Dance
Time for some fluff — this time I will talk something a little more fun, namely on the crossover episodes that Gintama and Sket Dance collaborated with each other. I mean, come on, we all love crossovers. Sure it may be one or two episodes, but who doesn’t love to see Luffy teaming up with Goku? Or the cast of Fairy Tail teaming up with Rave’s?
Gintama has a close working relationship with Sket Dance as far as crossovers are concerned. It makes sense why the two are closely associated. In addition to both having really similar premise and concepts (Yorozuya and SKET Brigade helping with various odd jobs), Sket Dance’s mangaka, Shinohara Kenta has worked as an assistant for Hideaki Sorachi’s Gintama before. As a bonus, there are also characters in both shows who shared the same voice actor (Sugita for Gintoki and Usui, etc…). What they did was to have both series have a go at their respective crossovers; Sket Dance would have Gintama’s characters visiting their world and vice versa.
In Sket’s Dance version, it still seems fairly tame, despite the appearance of the trios from one of the craziest anime in existence. In Gintama’s version, everything that makes Gintama shine as a series filled the entire crossover episode — shitting on the Sket Dance’s cast, competitive to the point of pettiness and a hilarious parody on the One Piece X Toriko crossover to boot.
Despite the similar concepts, both shows are still vastly different, mostly in tone and execution. I find it interesting to compare the two, and the crossovers just made it even more obvious just how unique and creative a show like Gintama can be. That’s not to say Sket Dance is bad, it’s a good slice-of-life shounen show. But it stays safe — just like adolescent teens stuck within the construct of their school walls. It doesn’t traverse beyond the walls and challenge the unknown.
Gintama on the other hand, likes over-comitting to just about everything. Sure some of them don’t work, but when they work — it is one of the most unique, wacky and entertaining show you can find. Gintama is an energetic show, if nothing else, and while Sket Dance lacks that energy and spirit, it perfectly scratches the itch for an episodic comedy that is a little bit more tame and chill.
Their tropes are also interesting to look into. Sket Dance’s characters have items and accessories that really help distinguish them as characters (Bossun’s goggles, Usui’s laptop, etc…) while Gintama has characters where their entire gimmick is their lack of character (Shinpachi, etc…). Sket Dance adhered to the formula of the iconic shounen characters of old while Gintama literally made jokes out of the trope. However, Sket Dance also doesn’t try to go too crazy if it can, and stays within it’s anime confines, while Gintama sticks to what it does best — being self-aware.
All in all, I suppose the crossovers are fun, though Gintama’s way more entertaining than Sket Dance’s. Despite sharing similar ideas and concepts, both shows are just too different, and their crossovers reflect the very nature of the shows; Sket Dance’s simplicity and Gintama’s vigor. Again not to say Sket Dance is a bad show — there’s just no show quite like Gintama.