Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 11

Poor Gintoki. He desperately tried to fix Hedoro’s flower. He tried adhesive tape and glue but they didn’t work. So he spent a lot of time sitting on Hedoro’s back and holding the flower in place. We all know how Gintoki is always more worried about his life than the future of the anime.

It turns out that Hedoro has a split personality. The kind florist we all know is Hedoro and the killer Dakini is called Hedora.

The liberation army fled from Edo and the tired people of Edo got to enjoy some temporary peace. The peace is going to be short-lived though. The Yato clan has already started moving and we know what kind of monsters they are.

The Gintama team spent their peaceful night helping each other out and fooling around. Even Gedomaru tried to help everyone by feeding them Pandamoniums.

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Don’t they look yummy?

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This was a pretty nice scene too

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Otose treating Jirocho like a brat was quite funny

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I just hope she didn’t trigger her own death flag with that statement

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Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 10

To be honest, this episode was completely different from what I expected it to be. It was entertaining nonetheless.

It all started with Katsuo’s flashback. We got to see how he met Jirocho. However, Jirocho decided to cut it short.

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Come on Jirocho! The guy has been around forever. He deserves a flashback

If you read my last post, you know I was expecting this episode to have a lot of drama because Hedoro, the kind florist, joins the fight. The reality was completely different. We learned that Hedoro wasn’t always a kind guy. He was once the strongest warrior of his clan. He was infected with a virus called Parapper Heaven and it turned him into a peace-loving tame beast.

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love the expression of the Dakini in the background and the way he was skipping

This makes a big difference. Hedoro isn’t kind because he wants to be. He is just forced to be kind and he has no control over it. If you pluck that flower growing on top of his head, he will turn back into a monster. It makes you wonder if people should appreciate his kindness, because to him, the kindness is just a curse.

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Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 9

Jirocho and Pirako are back. Jiocho has now become a doting parent and Pirako is having fun teasing him.

Gintama Season 8 Episode 9 (9)The rest of the episode was all about fighting. To be honest, the fighting is getting kind of boring. There are too many cliché scenes. I am also disappointed with how often Otae is being taken hostage these days. I don’t want Gintama to start using a strong female character like Otae for plot convenience.

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Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 8

Do you remember how the last episode ended? Gintoki was hit by a boulder. If you have been wondering if he is alright, take a look at the below screenshot.

Gintama Season 8 Episode 8 (9)Don’t worry though. Kagura picked it up for him and he put his eyeball back in the socket. He is perfectly fine now.

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Good for you Gintoki

The first part of the episode was funny. Otae and the rest of the gang sealed the Kabuki district. Otae was not willing to open the door for Yorzuya. Enemies had already surrounded the town and opening the door was risky.  Gintoki spent over five minutes begging everyone to open the door and let him in. Here is the main protagonist who is supposed to save the day begging everyone to let him in and fight.

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Let us just pretend that we didn’t notice how Otae was having a blast

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A man, a monster, or a hero. One Punch Man

In my last post, I’ve been talking about bullet hell stories, and as it is often the case I wasn’t able to say if the setup in itself is good or bad. And it is to be expected, plot devices have their upsides and downsides. But, every once in a while I want to be able to say something more definitive, you know? So, I decided to write one or two posts about story elements that I think are genuinely good, examples of what I believe to be a good writing.

My first pick is One Punch Man series. Considering the fact that it had a very popular anime adaptation recently, I’ll assume that you have seen it or know the general idea. Actually, you will probably be fine just knowing that this is a story about heroes, and the protagonist is a completely overpowered dude, named Saitama. I will be spoiling some of the anime and manga plot twists though, so be warned. Let’s go.


When discussing One Punch Man it is important to realize that while it is firmly set in the “hero genre”, it intentionally sways from the genre’s tropes. The very premise of the show, namely Saitama being completely invincible, takes away almost half of the standard plot progression devices that you can expect from a hero show. You can’t make your protagonist climb a power ladder, you can’t make a “dangerous opponent” for him. In fact, all the character dynamics for Saitama has to with his psyche, since his physique already has no room for improvement. And as Arkada explains in his review for the tv series, the mental challenges Saitama faces, such as unfairness, luck of recognition, stupidity or hostility of fellow heroes and so on, these become the driving force for the show. The audience can easily relate to these problems too, since it is something most people experience to some degree.

In case you haven’t seen or read One Punch Man, I must clarify this point a little bit. The mental struggles do not make Saitama doubt his convictions or hesitate in his actions. In fact, he is almost a lighthouse, as far as the morality and ethics are concerned, in a sense that he continuously becomes an aspiration for other people.

This post isn’t about Saitama though. It is about monsters. Or maybe just one monster, we’ll see. So, what are they, the monsters in the OPM universe? First of all, they are sentient creatures, most with intelligence level of an average human. Some of them have huge life spans, some are being creates just recently, some used to be humans, some are aliens from outer space, some are extremely violent and some are just potentially dangerous or disgusting. The one thing they have in common is, they seem to have serious trouble peacefully co-existing with humans. They are also hunted down and exterminated by the heroes.

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That is what typically awaits a monster, casual extermination

Sound a bit dramatic, right? Maybe a bit too dramatic for a show like One Punch man. The monsters here are supposed to be an enemy, same as in any other story, no? Well, that would be a popular trope too. Just for this discussion, I would divide stories into two categories. The first is the one where the “good guys” are in fact immoral to a certain degree and killing sentient “monsters” is just another showcase of their immorality (think of Hellsing, Blood: The Last Vampire, Dorohedoro). And the second is where the “good guys” are genuinely role models and nice people, and all the killing is sort of brushed aside (think of Slayers, Bleach, Dungeon ni Deai, etc). OPM definitely belongs to this second category. Not surprisingly, most video games where you fight monsters would fall under this category too.

So, doesn’t it sound a bit off to you? A story that focuses so much on the metal states of its characters, discusses morality and whatnot, but then chooses to camp with much more naïve shows and video games, ignoring this huge moral question, isn’t that a bit… weak? Especially since OPM is clearly self-conscious and understands the tropes of its genre.

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Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 7

This episode was so full of mosaic images and bleeped out words that I had trouble finding pictures that can be used in the review. First things first, we got to see young Hata in this episode. Hata wasn’t always a bald-headed sadistic idiot.

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Doesn’t Hata look like a nice guy in this picture?

Here is the surprising part. Shijaku and Elizabeth are Hata’s brothers. The guy in Elizabeth costume is Dragonia, the cool looking dude in the featured image. He got into an accident, forgot his past and ended up becoming Elizabeth.

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Can someone please kill this creepy looking monster and bring the old Elizabeth back?

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Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 6

The first part of this episode was beyond predictable. Tama and Kintoki gave up their lives to save the world. The nanomachines rendered all the liberation army ships useless.

To be honest, I didn’t feel bad for Tama or Kintoki. Not one bit. Gengai is going to repair them anyway. Unlike humans, it is possible to create a backup of their data. The idea of Tama and Kintoki dying is ridiculous.

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What do you suppose these robots are doing?

The only resonable explanation is that these robots were providing processing power for the cannon to work and their motherboards got fried. The explanation actually makes Gengai look like an idiot. Why couldn’t he buy better processors?

On the other hand, I do like this episode title – ‘Machines that pick up useless habits are called people.’ If you think about it, if a machine has its own will and decides to pick up a useless habit just for fun, that machine might very well be called a human.

The second part of the episode was interesting though. Want to try guessing what happened?

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Katsura managed to baord a Noah’s ark. Way to go Katsura!

Katsura was supposed to help Sakamoto’s group escape from the liberation army but he messed up, got caught and was thrown into a cage. How do you think he got caught? Make a wild guess.

Sakamoto gave Katsura a stealth ship to secretly attack the liberation army. Katsura being the nut-job he is, assumed that only the ship became invisible, leaving his team in plain view. This is what he thought they looked like when they used the stealth mode.

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Trust me Katsura, a company making such stealth ships would have gone bankrupt a long time ago

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Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 5

Let us start the review with the most important piece of information we have all been wondering about for the past week. How did Yamazaki turn out to be the Rambo-like guy?

In his words, he got rid of the shackles that have been binding him all his life. He described his change as taking off a T-shirt he was born with.

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This is the T-shirt he took off. Does it look familiar?

Only in Gintama can a character call their soul a T-shirt and try to get rid of it. Kondo followed suit and took off his Isao Kondo T-shirt. I am sure you already guessed what he looked like after taking his T-shirt off.

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All hail the gorilla chief!

Gintoki and the rest of the gang forced Kondo to put his T-shirt back on because they felt bad for the T-shirt. I am not sure about Yamazaki though. The last we saw him, Shinpachi was carrying a half-dead Rambo. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gintama staff decided to continue the gag and made Yamazaki turn into a genie-looking T-shirt.

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Who wouldn’t feel sorry for this T-shirt?

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Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 4

Guess who is finally back? The Shinsengumi. Apparently they went around finding people who are willing to join the war and fight for Earth. They even managed to get their hands on some good weapons. Gintoki now has an army on his side.

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Kondo looks more like a gangster than a gorilla with his scar

I wonder why they bothered redesigning their uniforms though. The original Shinsengumi uniform is rather good looking. I can imagine these guys sitting with a designer for days on end and explaining how exactly they want their uniforms to look. What in the world were they doing when the Earth is in such danger?

Gintoki was not able to land a single blow on Utsuro. His team was crushed easily. They were forced to retreat and flee.

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I really love this scene

What makes the above scene special is the fact that Gintoki was ready to give up. He is forced to face something bigger and stronger than him and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t see himself winning. It is like he is struggling in vain. Utsuro is stronger than him and is immortal. The chances of Gintoki winning are zero. He also has to fight the Amanto and he already lost to them before. Gintoki’s situation is beyond hopeless and he knows that. When faced with his own incompetence, he understood how powerless he is, enough to want to give up and throw everything away. As he stood there surrounded by those missile-firing robots, I am sure he thought how easier it would be to just die right there and be at peace.

I love how Gintoki can give up, get crushed and get overpowered easily. This tiny detail sets him apart from most of the shounen protagonists out there. Continue reading

Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 3

Not a lot of things happened in this episode. There were some random jokes, an announcement about another upcoming live action movie and some plot developments. Before we go into them, let me show you the a really important scene.

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I have almost forgotten that Kagura is an Amanto and is an unwanted existence on Earth. Even though she thinks of Earth as her home and has been doing everything in her power to protect Earth, she is still one of the people Earthlings want to drive out. Kagura is one of the nicest people in the Gintama universe but it hardly makes a difference. The only reason the people around her are not getting violent is because of their fear of Amanto. Now imagine this. Gintoki wins this fight and manages to drive the Amanto out of Earth. Kagura will not be able to stay back. If she is one of the few Amanto left on Earth, people will stop fearing her. We might be watching people hurling stones at her very soon. This is a very serious problem and I am glad Sorachi decided to bring it up. I only wish he had spent some more time discussing this situation.

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You are a great character Tama!

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