Gintama The Movie
Released By: Manga Entertainment
Audio: English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital
Running Time: 95 minutes
Reviewed By: Sandra Scholes
Sakata Gintoki is the very spirit of a samurai warrior, surrounded by two other friends who help him out when they can - he is asked to find a missing sword, known as the Cherry Blossom blade which has evil powers within it, and no matter how able the swordsman who holds it, they end up dying in a most horrible manner.
The Japanese are very good at putting characters in a twin setting, and this is Edo period Japan where future technology is around at the time, so it seems unusual, but go with it and the viewer will find out this is more than just a period/futuristic drama, it is funny, bloodthirsty and unusual if you consider unusual to be a woman fighter in a duck outfit called Elizabeth. The strange part is that an alien threat has come from space, called Amanto who has decided to manipulate the Edo shogunate to his advantage, and order the murder of all samurai warriors not under their power by sending out a samurai serial killer. Many have fallen under the man's blade, but there could be one out there on the streets who could be a match for him.
You know when anime is getting popular overseas when a major movie making company put their name behind a series like this one. Warner Brothers, responsible for hugely successful cartoons, action movies and science fiction series are mentioned within the first five minutes of the anime itself, and after several false starts, the movie begins properly by introducing the characters from all sides, both good and bad, but doesn't go into the details of what they are like, or their previous escapades, so in a way it is only for the fans of the series.
As far as samurai themed anime series go, there are a few of them around, Samurai Gun, Samurai Champloo and of course, Sengoku Basara, but there aren't many that involve a science fiction element. The special police have an idea of who might be doing the slaughtering, but as of yet no one has been able to stay alive long enough to apprehend him. They only know that Shinsuke Takasugi has got together an army of villains ruled by a few special assassins; Nizo Akada, Matako Kajima, Henpaita Takechi and Bansai Kawasami. And if the police can't sort him out, maybe two guys and a samurai might as Gintoki has two other able assassins of his own, Kagura and the bespectacled Shinpachi. They both have a comical manner that is endearing to the viewer, and could be the reason why Warner Brothers liked it so much. It's a shonen style anime with the clashing of swords, and powerful dialogue, but it is also for the girls, and the girls do pack a lot of punch in this - Kagura can wield a sword as well as any man and Matako, the sensual, gun-toting enemy likes to blow anyone and everyone away within her reach.
There are several characters who make this anime a good one to view. Elizabeth the white duck is quiet at first, but soon becomes her angered self when she meets Gintoki and his friends, holding up signs when she wants to talk, and some of them aren't what you would expect from a duck either, nor would you expect one who could actually fight. Nizo is the perfect nutty killer, who takes pride in his ability to kill others with such a prized sword as he wields. Shinpachi is more of a student than a fighter, and takes his work seriously. He is the sort of guy who wishes he was a samurai and even tries his hand at fighting one of Shinsuke's assassins later on. He might act the fool, but he is strong, whereas Kagura doesn't take fools gladly and barks at both Gintoki and Shinsuke if they get on her nerves.
All in all, Gintama the Movie is a success as it has something for everyone. excellent battle scenes, comical scenes, and fun moments between the characters that is unexpected.
Bonus Material: Adverts for other anime series.
Summary: Get ready for some samurai fun and be proud to love anime - it gets bigger and better right here, folks!