Click here to return to the main site.

DVD Review

DVD cover

The Movie


Starring (voice): Tomokazu Sugita, Daisuke Sakaguchi and Rie Kugimiya
Manga Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 24 December 2012

Odd Jobs Gin has taken on a lot of odd work in the past, and when you're a Jack of All Trades agency based in a feudal Japan that's been conquered and colonized by aliens, the term “Odd Jobs” means really odd jobs. But when some more than slightly suspicious secrets from the shadows of Gintoki Sakata's somewhat shady former samurai past and a new pair of odd jobs collide, the action is bound to get so wild and demented that only a feature film will do it justice! Sit down, strap yourself in, and make sure you're not wearing anything too tight or constricting as the junior half of OJG takes on the task of tracking down a tenacious terrorist while their silver-haired slickster of a partner seeks out a certain sword in the stunningly side-splitting and screwy GinTama...!

The turbulent period of mid-19th century Japanese history known as the Bakumatsu, when centuries of isolationism came to an end, trade and diplomacy with Western powers was established, and the rule of the Tokugawa shoguns was replaced by modern government, is a fertile one for Japanese creators of film, manga and anime. The symbolic figure of the samurai being obliged to lay down his sword and adapt to change is a potent one, and Gintoki Sakata, the central character of the long-running Weekly Shonen Jump manga-turned-anime GinTama, is a deceptively goofy yet nuanced take on this ideal.

GinTama ('Silver Soul' - also a near-homonym for the Japanese word for 'testicles', an early clue to the series' standards of humour) sees the land of the samurai invaded and overturned not by Westerners but by aliens, bringing with them modern technology and all manner of comedic sci-fi plot devices. In practice the GinTama anime most often plays out like a Japanese Simpsons, the extensive cast getting into scrapes, poking bawdy fun at other anime and contemporary pop culture at large, and rolling along merrily with a scattershot approach to continuity and plot. When it does take a more serious tone, it can be gripping and heartfelt, and this most often occurs when dealing with the main characters' and their opponents' bloody past as samurai fighting against their country's conquerors.

The four episodes of the anime adapted into GinTama: The Movie feature the series' main villain, the vicious nihilist Takasugi, who has given up on trying to save his country and seeks only chaos: to this end he lets loose his psychopathic subordinate, the swordsman Nizo, wielding a cursed sword named Benizakura and cutting down every samurai he can find. Nizo's first victim, Takasugi's former ally Katsura, continues the struggle against the government as a bomb-tossing terrorist. Gintoki, sharing a past with the others but not caring either to save his country or destroy it, lives as a lazy and feckless jack-of-all-trades and carries only a wooden sword, but has the strongest devotion to protecting his friends and ordinary people.

While this might suggest an earnest exploration of post-samurai ethics in the vein of the hugely successful Rurouni Kenshin, GinTama aims for rude and self-referential humour at every turn, to great effect. So Gintoki's bratty girl sidekick Kagura gets into a vicious spitting duel with Takasugi's female henchman, Gintoki himself loudly demands to be brought copies of Weekly Shonen Jump while recovering from a sword wound, and Katsura's bizarre duck-like assistant Elizabeth communicates by signboard and has a neat line in Golgo 13 impressions. Elsewhere the cast make fun of their big-screen adventure's likely selective appeal, supporting characters protest their lack of screen time, and the overall refreshing irreverence of GinTama shines through.

The animation, while improved little from its TV origins, is good throughout with some dazzling moments during the fight scenes; the Japanese voice cast are exceptional, most of all Tomokazu Sugita as Gintoki who inhabits his role brilliantly, bringing both the lazy bum and passionate fighter to life. It's a fine introduction in both style in content to a wonderfully rewarding series.


Richard Hunt

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£13.99 (
£13.99 (
£14.00 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.