One of the most popular Weekly Shounen Jump manga series is Gintama, written and illustrated by Sorachi Hideaki. It was first adapted into anime Spring 2006 and it has multiple sequels years after that. This Winter 2018, the final arc will air.
Last year, a live action and a 3-episode drama series adaptations are released. It is directed by Fukuda Yuichi, the one responsible for the drama series Yuusha Yoshihiko to Maou no Shiro, Aoi Honoo, Mr. Nietzsche in the Convenience Store, as well as the recent Saiki Kusuo no Psi Nan film adaptation. (These titles are comedy series/movie, too!)
Gintama is famous for its good mix of comedy, drama, science fiction, and action. It’s fun to watch certain characters parody other famous series’ characters or sometimes even real life people. This film actually stayed true to it.
This film covers Benizakura arc (episodes 58-61). So, what’s the Benizakura arc about?
The Yorozuya received two jobs, namely searching of Katsura requested by Elizabeth and to search a dangerous sword known as Benizakura, by the blacksmith Tetsuya. Yet it’s revealed there’s more to both requests then they thought. (source: Gintama wikia)
For the first 20 minutes or so, they used some parts from episode 65 where Yorozuya went beetle-hunting. I think it’s a nice way to have a quick introduction of the characters. For viewers not familiar with the manga/anime, however, this can be a bit too quick.
So sad because episode 65 had a lot of OkiKagu interactions, but the movie didn’t have any of them.
After that intro, it’s the Benizakura arc story. They only altered and added some scenes, but it’s mostly a faithful adaptation of the source. I was amazed by how few changes are done in it.
Anyhow, we still follow Yorozuya as they try to fulfill the requests to them, with Kagura and Shinpachi looking for the missing Katsura while Gintoki is looking for the missing Benizakura. The story gradually unfolds to reveal the truth about what happened to Katsura and about what Benizakura really is. We also get the backstory here about Gintoki, Katsura, and Takasugi. Of course, though we get a general story about them, viewers may still find it lacking as it’s not everything there is with those three.
Still, I think it’s a well-chosen part to adapt. The Benizakura, after all, is a major arc which set a stone for the bigger storyline of Gintama. There’s a good balance of comedy, drama, and action in an arc important to the storyline.
I love how they break the fourth wall and include a lot of parodies as much as how the source does it. I won’t forget that scene where Oguri Shun did the “Makino~” line (from his role as Hanazawa Rui in Hana Yori Dango) during their intro for Kagura! (Fun fact: Episode 66 is entitled “Hana yori dango”.)
I think Oguri Shun did well as Gintoki. It just bothered me a bit that he looks older than how I perceive Gintoki. I haven’t really seen much of his shows, but this role of him is probably the best one I’ve seen of him. Masaki Suda didn’t disappoint me with his acting as Shinpachi. On the other hand, I liked how Hashimoto Kanna did the funny scenes, particularly those with exaggerated facial expressions. Some of her scenes are a bit disappointing, though. And it felt weird to hear Kagura speak like that (I’m so used with how Kugimiya Rie does it).
Nagasawa Masami did well as Tae! I loved how they gave her the scene of reading JUMP for Gintoki! It’s actually originally Kagura’s role during episode 62.
Too bad we couldn’t see some funny scenes from Masaki Okada because Katsura in this arc is serious but he got to show Katsura’s fierceness and seriousness.
One of the notable additions here is the involvement of the Shinsengumi with the Benizakura issue because Kondo, Hijikata, and Okita doesn’t really appear in the source. I’m not complaining because I actually enjoyed their scenes. We get to see the good combination of Nakamura Kankuro VI, Yagira Yuuya, and Yoshizawa Ryo as they nail their respective roles.
I have seen Yasuda Ken in various roles and he has never disappointed me. He already managed to irritate me with his raising an eyebrow, to make me support him as he pursue his love, to adore him as a father, and others. He’s a good actor and his role as Murata Tetsuya is one of the roles he performed well in.
Meanwhile, Hayami Akari also portrayed Tetsuko well. By the way, she’s Koizumi in the drama adaptation of Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san which aired in 2015. (Now I’m planning to watch it because its anime adaptation is airing and I just want to see real ramen onscreen.)
Sato Jiro‘s Takechi Henpeita might be different, but I liked his version of him because the character is still part of the comedy of the story. Anyway, Sato does funny characters well so I guess it’s not surprising.
And Muro Tsuyoshi! Aahhh, I almost didn’t recognize him because of the fake wig and beard and goggles. Hiragi Gengai doesn’t originally appear in this arc, too, but he’s a wonderful addition to the cast.
Anyway, I didn’t like Nanao‘s acting here. She’s clearly a pretty Matako, but her acting looks forced as she tried to look tough and aggressive. Another one I thought gave an underwhelming performance is Domoto Tsuyoshi. He didn’t really give off that antagonist vibe to me. With his acting like that, I felt like Takasugi’s being too laid back. I don’t know. I just… didn’t find it appealing, especially because I really find the manga/anime!Takasugi interesting, with him having more range of emotions. I guess I’m a bit too attached to the source.
As for the technicalities, the CGIs are cringe-y. I especially dislike that one scene with Kaguya and Sadaharu. I could pass that off if this was Yuusha Yoshihiko because it knows that it’s a low-budget film.
Though perhaps the CGI being like may be intentional, too? Yuusha Yoshihiko having poorly-done CGIs add to the series’ comedic effect. Perhaps it’s the effect Gintama wants to have, too? It’s by the same director, after all. But ugh. It’s still frustrates me.
Moving on, compared to how Yuusha Yoshihiko and Mr. Nietzsche are directed, there’s a lot more close up and dolly shots. I liked some of the shots of characters speaking. The fight scenes are okay, but isn’t nearly as impressive as those in Rurouni Kenshin. I didn’t particularly like the last one because of the constant change in camera shots while fighting. I feel like I got cheated; I’m not sure why.
The music and sound is good and not overly done. UVERworld’s Decided, the film’s theme song, is nice, but it’s not something I’m fond of listening to.
Here’s the trailer of this film:
I looked forward to this because of certain actors you probably now know that I like, and they didn’t disappoint me. Despite its flaws, I enjoyed this much more than I expected and I can tell the “original fans” that they should try watching this, too, if they don’t mind live action films. For the common viewers, the drama and comedy may provide entertainment, too.
3 thoughts on “「 Gintama 」You Can Enjoy Things Through a Certain Viewpoint。”
I love gintama so much! Im so keen to watch the live action movie
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Aww… I’d love to read your thoughts about it if you ever get around to watching it! 🙂 Thanks for dropping by!