GINTAMA THE MOVIE
September 8th 2012 21:59
Based on the original Gintama manga by Hideaki Sorachi
Directors: Yoichi Fujita & Shinji Takamatsu
Screenplay by: Gyo Yamatoya
Producers: Fukashi Azuma
Starring: Chris Patton (Gintoki Sakata), Luci Christian (Kagura), Mark X Laskowski (Shinpachi Shimura), Illich Guardiola (Katsura), Shelly Calene-Black (Tae Shimura), Brittney Karbowski (Tetsuko Murata), John Swasey (Tetsuya Murata), Andrew Love (Bansai Kawakami), Jay Hickman (Nizo Okada), Carli Mosier (Matako Kajima), Christopher Ayers (Kamui), David Wald (Isao Kondo), Blake Shephard (Toshiro Hijikata), Clint Bickham (Sogo Okita & Yamazaki), George Manley (Henpeita Takechi) & Kyle Jones (Shinsuke Takasagi)
English Language Version by: Sentai Filmworks
Released by: Madman Entertainment
Running Time: 95 minutes Rating: MA15
I picked up this particular feature around the same time as Blade of the Phantom Master, apparently this is the first time that Gintama has been dubbed in English and frankly I find it curious as to why go with the movie first and not the actual anime series? Unlike Phantom Master this is a film made based on an anime and manga series the later having been translated into English and has reached around twenty three volumes as far as I’m aware, though apparently VIZ have stopped publication of the manga. Perhaps the whole angel is to generate support so that Sentai Filmworks can get the rights to the anime series? Or maybe it’s simply something to reignite the sales of the manga series? Who knows…it’s all as confusing sometimes as the Gintama manga itself which can I confess be rather confusing at the best of times.
Set in Japan at the time of the Tokugawa Shogunate this is a Japan that is markedly different from that depicted in the history texts. At some point the Tokugawa Shogunate found itself coming into contact with aliens known as Amanto. Unfortunately for the Shogunate the Amanto found that Japan was very much to their liking and they decided to take the place over…one war later and the Land of the Samurai is under the occupation of the Amanto, their allies and their puppets in the regime. Thus the local society is a mix of elements that are both modern (in terms of technology) and at the same time traditional (in terms of fashion, architecture etc). It’s a world that is a real patchwork of varying elements, yet it all comes together nicely – probably due to the fact that the crew stick to using this as setting, rather than being something that drives the story.
And just what exactly is the story? What is the driving force behind this feature? It all revolves around two key factors – the Yorozuya or Odd Jobs Crew and the Benizakura. The Yorozuya are three individuals who are united by for a variety of varying reasons, consisting of the boss Gintoki Sakata, his offsiders Kaguara and Shinpachi Shimura this ensemble are played by Chris Patton, Luci Christian and Mark X Laskowski respectively in what was an inspired piece of casting. These three nail the parts superbly and are a real treat to watch in their roles, but that aside the three find themselves confronted with a mystery. Namely the disappearance and possible death of a ‘friend’ of theirs Katsura, a former revolutionary and colleague of Gintoki back in the days of the war against the Amanto.
But this isn’t the only mystery going around…apparently someone is killing ronin (masterless samurai) on the streets of Edo and its feared that Katsura might have been a victim of this serial killer. Then there is a master sword maker who has lost his prized possession; the Benizakura, a masterpiece weapon. Could all three things be actually connected? Is the Pope a Catholic? Although when its finally revealed the actual linking behind all three elements is somewhat unique and actually has its basis both in the past and the present. You see even though the Amanto have the upper hand in the Edo of today not everyone is satisfied with the way things stand, and as a result they seek to change the nation. There are various factions who seek to overthrow the Shogunate and one such group known as the Cavalry is a truly violent faction lead by Shinsuke Takasagi, a former colleague of both Katsura and Gintoki during the war.
This sinister figure is behind the whole affair, albeit somewhat indirectly, he isn’t pulling the strings but his mere presence is enough a catalyst to cause a literal meteor to be dropped into the placid pond that is Edo. And the waves this stone creates are felt throughout…and in true anime fashion there are landscape altering battles and carnage on a grand scale aplenty. Gintama the Movie is a real treat to watch although if you’re not really familiar with the whole Gintama shtick it might be somewhat confusing…I suspect part of the reason behind why this film was made was to serve as an intro to a new horde of fans, in that regard it isn’t much of a success, its more likely to appeal to diehard Gintama fans only…so if that isn’t you…watch at your own risk and don’t say I didn’t warn you if you end up going “What the…” at various moments.
subscribe to this blog