Chocolate covered Kagura strikes me as a tasty treat one might not want to partake of.
What They Say:
Use a Calligraphy Pen for New Year's Cards/The heart comes before chocolate
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the fun of the two part return now behind us and everyone back to normal, sadly in some ways, Gintama gets underway by covering a couple of holidays in quick order. The return to short form humor for the series is definitely welcome since sometimes the gags in a longer two part storyline can go over overly long and wear out their welcome. This one kicks off with the fun of Gin complaining about New Years cards and that nobody should send them next year because of how people abuse it. Of course, he's just trying to get out of having to deal with return cards for this year since they're obviously far behind and there's massive stacks of them to work through.
Gin's view of the cards is definitely that of a curmudgeon as he provides short form versions of what should be on the cards, which can be rather amusing. The initial batch is worked over quickly before it delves into the large supporting cast in the series that are all trying to get some screen time since they've been away so long, which of course infuriates Gin to no end. Even worse is that Ana has sent out wedding picture cards with Gin's head photoshopped on it and she sent them to everyone, so they're getting congratulations cards over that as well. It's really quite cute how they manage to get so many people in to deal with their characters, even as just a card with a voice over, to let us reconnect with some of them at least briefly.
The second half kicks off in much the same way with Gin going on about Valentine's Day and the way people gloat over the chocolate they get. His anger is amusing, especially as there aren't any chocolate in the Odd Jobs place since nobody there is actually the kind that deserves to get it. Katsura becomes the focus for this one as she heads out into the world and wants to get chocolates for them but she isn't sure of the best way to actually do it. Of course, she ends up with the wrong people along the way to actually do this after Otae gives her some ideas. With k Tsukuyo and Sa-chan getting involved, it just goes from bad to worse to weird as they look for the right approach. Kagura even gets pretty bland about the whole thing as it progresses and it's hard to tell if she's really all that interested in it anymore. It's definitely a nice diversion to let the women shine for a bit and to deal with Valentine's Day like this.
Gintama has a fun episode overall as it plays between two different styles and two different holidays. The New Years piece is a bit more slapstick in a way and it's used to re-introduce the bulk of the supporting cast and just mess with Gin. The second one is a bit sweeter as it's a girls day out kind of events for Valentine's Day as Kagura goes chocolate shopping with some friends for the Odd Jobs guys. Each has their merits and after the two part storyline, I'm actually glad to get something that's a bit shorter and more relaxed in a way overall. I still lament the loss of some of the changes we saw from that storyline, but it's back to more of the same kind of stuff with this one and that's not exactly a bad thing.
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.