Shinpachi discovers that two years have passed and his world is very different than how we left it, for better and worse.
What They Say:
Everyone Looks a Little Grown Up After Spring Break
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a lengthy break, Gintama has returned to the airwaves with new episodes. When it was airing before was just around the time Sentai Filmworks started to release their first DVDs so I never really got into it since we knew it was going off the air. After watching the first years worth of episodes in that format, I fairly well enjoyed parts of it but felt that the collected form of it may not be the best way to watch it since it gets to be overkill in going through a marathon viewing. So to see it again, a hundred and fifty episodes past where I left off, in an episode by episode form is an interesting new way to deal with it. After all, Gintama is the kind of show where you can go this many episodes and not really have any significant changes to deal with. The core characters are here and the humor just continues on.
The show has fun right from the start after the opening where Gin has changed his look in a lot of ways, a very Dragon Ball and Kenshin kind of way, in order to make the show fresh and new. He's the same but different and has an amusing look about him. The flashbacks that deal with Dragon Ball Z are priceless in how they play up that series and just have fun with it. Kagura has a much more significant change as she's actually a taller woman now, which totally blows Shinpachi's mind. The height is bad enough but the size of her breasts just boggles him as well. Of course, she uses all her newfound skills in effort to loaf, so she hasn't changed in a lot of ways either. Suffice to say, it's been an interesting two years in show time since we last saw these characters.
The changes that rollout as it progresses are of mixed value overall, though there are some good moments to be had. Sadaharu has changed dramatically in a very comical way and the already bad looking ladies at the restaurant are even more hideous after two years. Shinpachi's worst moment comes when he figures out what's going on with his sister Otae, finding out that she's married to Kondo. It drives a stake through him that leaves him like a husk of his former self. Otae and Kondo are positively adorable for all of this though and it just leads to Shinpachi being pushed over the edge even more. Of course, what does it in the end is Kyubei, who has changed very dramatically in the time that's past, and it's left him completely shell shocked when the larger reality of what's going on is revealed.
The problem with episodes like this, especially since it carries into next weeks episode, is that you can't be sure where the gag will end and when things will go back to normal. Putting Shinpachi through the various changes that have apparently occurred in the two years that he lost is very amusing and there are several changes that I really hope are kept in the long run. I really like Kagura in this form as it offers up some new story potentials and the pairing of Kondo and Otae together also brings some new things to the table. But you can't help but to watch the episode and think that none of this will be kept and it'll all be swept away, which would easily fit within the way the series works. But it still feels like it'll be a loss. I definitely had fun with this one though, but kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.