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Let's be clear, Gintama is one of the few quality mainstream anime of recent years.
By avoiding most of the usual codes of the Shonen Genre with an older-than-average protagonist and no childish goals such as To Be A Master or Revenge, the show usually appeals to a wider audience and is enjoyable on many levels.
The characters are the main attraction in Gintama. All of them are very enjoyable and endearing to some extent. Not to mention, female characters are actually...well... USEFUL, which is a nice change. The large range of secondary characters who are not 2-dimensional is also quite amazing. Technically, the animation is top-notch and offers a real feast fot sore eyes. The overall humorous tone is also a good point, often due to a non-existent 4th wall, and it's actually one of the few animes able to make me laugh for real, so kudos.
The downside of Gintama is the unevenness of the plot. While there are humorous skids that anyone can enjoy, when the series isn't in top form, it's just nowhere. Yes I went there. If the serious arcs will always keep you holding your breath and may even reach for your heart, some of the not-so-serious arcs may as well just be skipped.
So all in all, a very good show but not always in top shape.
When I first watched Gintama, I had no idea how hilarious it would be. But, as I watched more of the series and read more of the manga, I found myself laughing very hard at various scenes/episodes/chapters, such as the Bentendo Owee Arc, the Neo Jet Armstrong Cyclone Jet Armstrong Cannon episode, and Otsu-chan's "Chome Chome" (a.k.a. "You Father/Mother/Brother/Whatever is a -xx-"). Plus, there are many things about the anime that I find relateable to my own life:
1. Like Gintoki, Shinpachi, and the rest of the Gintama crew, I live in a big city (Los Angeles instead of Edo), which leads to many adventures in town and the surrounding area.
2. Just like how Gintoki has a crush on the weatherwoman, I know at least one person who has a crush on the weatherwoman.
3. I'm kind of a slacker, I love sweets, and I love anime and manga from Shonen Jump, especially One Piece. In essence, i'm pretty much like a gender-flipped version of Gintoki.
4. The people around me are pretty crazy, just like the cast of Gintama. ^__^
If you are looking for a good laugh, watch an episode of Gintama. Your laughter may range from a giggle here or there to the point where you're laughing so hard, you can't breathe.
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