Mania Grade: C
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- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 13 and Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Sentai Filmworks
- MSRP: 49.98
- Running time: 325
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Gintama
Gintama Collection 03
Gintama Collection 03 Anime DVD Review
By Chris Beveridge
December 28, 2010
Release Date: December 28, 2010
Gintama Collection 03
© Sentai Filmworks
Can Gin actually be a more interesting character when he has amnesia?
What They Say
Space cockroaches? Shepherding senile fireworks masters? Building snowmen? In a world where aliens run feudal Japan, no job is too strange or bizarre for Gintoki's Odd Jobs agency. Which is a good thing, because things only get stranger and more bizarre as their reputation grows. But when they're called in to assist a certain "reindeer-owning" individual with improving his image and the whole situation devolves into a "very special holiday episode" the level of weirdness may set a new record. Of course, if action and drama are more your thing, let's not forget that oh-so inconvenient case of accidental amnesia, dodging crazed sword collectors, the frantic battle to get a hold of the last copy of a rather popular manga and the unexpected rescue of a... whoops, getting a bit too close to spoilers there! Suffice it to say that if you're looking for the perfect hybrid of wild adventure and plain old wacky fun, Japan's number one animated comedy delivers again in the third breathtaking collection of GINTAMA!
Considering the length of this series and its fairly niche appeal overseas, it's little surprise that this show is only presented in its original Japanese stereo mix encoded at 224kbps. The show has a pretty basic comedy mix to it with a good full feeling that has some minor moments of directionality when needed. Placement is pretty good overall but often it's just the single character talking on screen and more often than not they're the primary focus in the center of the screen. The music makes out the best with a more full feeling but it's not anything that really stands out either. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2006, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The collection has thirteen episodes spread across two discs in the now seemingly standard Sentai format of six/seven. The show has the look you get with a lot of comedies in that it's bright and with a lot of colors to help make everything stand out. The show has a fairly average bit rate that works well for the amount of large areas of the same color we often get, or the scenes with lots of close-ups and solid color backgrounds. The show generally looks good in that it doesn't have any seriously distracting noise moments or cross coloration. There's very little in the way of line noise in the panning sequences as well, though often the pan goes by so fast you'd be hard pressed to tell.
Similar to the previous volumes in its overall design, I really do like this layout as it has a good striking feel to it with the red and white background. The white space draws the eye nicely to the logo and the character artwork while the red adds that extra bit of flair. The character artwork for this installment focuses on the Shinsengumi characters with several of them scattered about in their uniforms. Since it's all small artwork it feels kind of odd and without anything really eye-catching to it, but it's fun to see them all together like this. The back cover gives you a better idea of what the show will be like with a shot of Gin that's basically him as a furry. The top half has a solid red background where we get the premise of the show and an idea of the basic gags. The bottom half, slightly askew, has several shots from the show and a solid technical grid that lays it all out clearly, as well as a good mention of the episode count for the series. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus for Gin Tama are pretty basic but fit in with the style of the show rather well. The menus have a similar feel tot he back cover with the reds, yellows and whites making up the primary colors for the background and borders while providing a shot of the main characters on each menu. There aren't any real submenus here outside of the special features, though I don't consider trailers and credits a special feature. The second has a couple and there's no language options here since it defaults to subtitles being on. It's a decent menu that works for a comedy series pretty well with individual top level episode access.
The only extras on this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a bit of a delay, the third installment of Gin Tama brings out another thirteen episodes of the alien-Japan combination. The first two sets haven't done all that much for me, though sometimes I wonder if it's the whole too much at once kind of problem, but by and large it hasn't been the kind of humor that really gets me laughing on a regular basis. It has its moments and there are cute bits to be had, but as an overall series it's left me feeling fairly bland. A lot of shows have done these kinds of comedies before and it can really be hit or miss.
Similar to past episodes, there's a lot of the basics that you get here, from Kagura trying to sell Gin's sword in order to make some money since she's become addicted to the shopping channel. Her disconnect with how the world works is amusing in this since she initially thinks that it's all free. That leads to a real amusing moment as Gin can't handle the thought of the bills for it all and sets to return it. Naturally, that has her trying to sell the sword at a time when he needs it most and it's a comedy of errors as she goes to all sorts of shops that thinks it's junk and refuse to deal with her. Kagura's not a character I care for all that much but she comes across really well here.
A lot of this set left me feeling like it's unmemorable even after finishing it. That said, there is a significant arc throughout it that really had me interested in seeing where it would go. When Gin gets a real hard knock to the head, he ends up with a case of amnesia in which he hasn't a clue who anyone is or who he is. Of course, he's still pretty functional but Shinpachi and Kagura want to get him back on track so they take him back home to try and jog his memory. There are a lot of obvious and predictable gags here, but Gin really manages to make it work for a reason I can't quite pin down. It's the combination of his attitude and demeanor with the mixture of old Japan and science fiction.
It's not dealt with quickly and in fact Gin ends up going off to find a job since he's not interested in the Odd Jobs gig as he has no connection to it. What ties into it in an interesting way is that Hijikata is off doing an undercover gig as they're trying to track down a group that's dealing with explosives. That has him trying to get a job at a factory that makes a peculiar kind of toy that actually employs a lot of former swordsmen. And, as it turns out, Gin is working there and is one of the fastest ones on the assembly line. Naturally, everything comes together since it's all involved and even Kondo is there with his own form of amnesia, palling it up with Gin once he goes to him for some help on a toy. It's an unusual arc in its own right because it goes on as long as it does, since it's usually a one-off storyline, but there's a lot of seriousness to it throughout that allows it a different flow.
Beyond that, Gin Tama does deal with parodies and homages as you'd expect. The only one that really stood out was when Shinpachi ended up dating a girl who has stolen his heart away from Otsu. Shinpachi is head over heels since she's a cute, hot young woman with cat ears that he meets through unusual online circumstances and they even make their way back to her place at one point where she's ready to make a man out of him. Shinpachi is very cute with this as he goes down all the cliché paths but it has some nice parody moments to it with the girl going by the name of Cat Ears rather than Cat's Eye as she steals his heart.
The whole Santa episode just made me sad.
Gin Tama surprised me some in comparison to the first two sets with what they did here, but mostly because it went in a very different way with the whole amnesia arc. Gin becomes really fun to watch at this point and in how everyone else acts around him. That they follow it up with an episode where he takes advantage of a pair of alien contractors with such ease and open manipulation only makes it all the better. Over the thirteen episodes here, Gin Tama hits some good notes but also has just as many misses, if not more, for me as its style of humor doesn't consistently connect for me. Some shows work well in the whole getting away with anything on a whim angle, but this one just ends up confounding me instead.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
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