I've been on an anime kick lately, so I figured I'd do a short post about this one.
I've watched and read Gintama from the very beginning, but only just now did I realize that it's outscoring Full Metal Alchemist in both "critic" reviews and user reviews.
This is definitely not a manga/anime for just anyone -- there are very few "serious" parts. It takes every stereotype, cliche, and trope and twists it into some hilarious version and turns up the volume on them by ten.
It deals with a lot of modern day themes and occurrences, usually with very black humor, and never seems to take itself too seriously. Yet somehow, I found the story very engaging from the very first episode.
Aliens invade the world and a big war followed -- how the other nations fared, we don't know, but the samurai of Japan lost. And they lost hard.
To add insults to injury, the aliens then begin taking all the "human" jobs and putting millions out of work. ( this isn't racist, I swear! They're ACTUALLY aliens.)
The aliens then confiscate all swords and ban their carrying in Japan, due to the war. All across the country, samurai are left to take odd jobs, and that is true of our main character, former samurai Sakata Gintoki.
There's a mixture of modern and feudal Japan at work -- we have sword wielding samurai in front of a backdrop of highly advanced alien technology. Spaceships vs steel-forged swords.
We have the classic feel of a feudal Japan in a lot of areas, then the highly industrialized alien zones who enjoy their cushy lifestyle as being the "conquering species."
The main character is Sakata "Gin" Gintoki, a former samurai who fought against the invading aliens in the war. He was so good that he was nicknamed Shiroyasha -- which means "The White Demon."
After the war, he starts up a company that "handles all jobs," with barely making enough money to get by -- with only two other employees.
One is Shimura Shinpachi, a weak-willed but level-headed trainee under Gintoki, and the other is Kagura -- who looks human, but is actually an alien with immense physical strength.
That being sad, the lack of "direction" is the one major flaw of this series. Each episode is more or less stand-alone, save a few arcs that happen from time to time.
Summary: 3 / 5
Recommended: Only for people who like a lot of "fluff" in their anime -- not bad fluff, just a lot of comedy fluff with no real story beyond the day-to-day ( though not quite Slice of Life.)