Release: January 2021
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi, Comedy, Historical, Parody, Drama, Samurai, Shounen
Studios: Bandai Namco Pictures
The troll of an anime series known as Gintama finally makes its conclusion with the release of the final movie. After so many false endings, we’ve reached the true end. Despite not having seen the last Gintama season for several years now, I hesitated to watch this film as it meant accepting this great series is finished. But alas, here I am processing if the ending did the Yorozuya crew justice.
Based on the final chapters of the manga series, the film goes straight into the heart of the action as Gintoki, Takasugi and Katsura push through countless enemies and fight the Tendoushuu who’ve attacked Edo and taken over the Terminal. The Tendoushuu is using the Terminal to revive Utsuro, so they become true immortals.
Gintoki, Takasugi and Katsura, along with the rest of the city, goes on an all-out battle to stop the Tendoushuu and fulfil their teacher Shouyou’s final wish: to bring an end to himself.
Funny as always
It wouldn’t be Gintama if it’s not littered with countless inappropriate jokes, blatant plagiarism and parodies, Gintama: The Final did not disappoint. Despite the gravity of the situation, they managed to illustrate and recap the events in the Dragon Ball art style from the get-go. And the ridiculousness continued right up to the end with the false aftermath of the fight from Tama’s perspective.
The film is packed with intense and fast-paced action scenes that make you feel like you’re right in the midst of the battle. But before you get figurative whiplash from the quick pacing, it slows right back down with the emotive flashbacks, bringing us all back to the events that built up this conclusion.
The combination of present and past scenarios, along with the comic relief scenes, balances out the overall progression of the film, so it feels pretty easy to follow through. Dragon Ball recap aside, it was a bit overwhelming at first being dropped in the middle of the fight right at the start. It’s like we just skipped straight to the climax. I’m still not sure whether I liked that or not.
There are pros and cons to having the entire cast making one last appearance in the film. The pro is that it signifies that it’s finally at the end. It’s always great to see your favourite characters one last time before your beloved show concludes. But with the screentime of 1 hour and 44 minutes, it was a fairly ambitious task giving viewers just a quick glance of the different characters. Trying to balance this out with the main plot of the film was probably quite challenging. But due to this, it felt like it got overcrowded trying to squeeze in as many characters as possible.
Where are my ships?
We saw some potential love lines throughout the Gintama series, with Kondo and Otae being the most obvious one. While I shouldn’t be surprised that I’ll be trolled until the very end (what with Otae and Kendo’s final scene), I felt a bit unsatisfied that no ships were eventually confirmed.
Is it really the end?
Gintama is a shounen series which means it needs to finish on a high note. But I wasn’t that big of a fan of the actual ending. It’s too open, which I know is classic Gintama-style. When they showed a potential reincarnation of Takasugi, I felt like it undermined Takasugi’s sacrifice. I know it was supposed to signify hope, but I think that’s overrated anyway (jk).
Apart from the fact that they also concluded the Ginpachi-sensei segment after the credits, it’s somehow hard to feel like it’s the end.
I’ve always liked the dynamic and relationship between Gintoki, Takasugi and Katsura. Constantly switching between allies and enemies, the different changes got me so engaged and invested in these characters. Sometimes, I do feel that Katsura is purely created for comic relief (can be argued that the whole cast is) and often feel like the third wheel of the three. While Katsura does play serious roles, they’re quite fleeting, leaving me a bit unsatisfied.
I really missed this quartet of odd jobbers. I quite enjoyed the new look during the dissolution of the Yorozuya, it’s a shame that they reverted back to their original outfits and stuff once Gintoki came back. I mean, screw time skips, right?
Their appearance is what disappointed me the most. Lucky for Kondo fans, he got his own side story with the gorilla wedding, but Toshiro and Sougo’s appearances were just not enough for me. When in actuality they probably played a significant role in the battle, being the police force and all.
All too familiar art and animation… sort of
Like the previous seasons, Gintama: The Final is animated by Bandai Namco Pictures, making the art style faithful and consistent throughout the series. I personally didn’t feel much difference from the TV seasons in terms of the quality though despite it being in movie form. There were definitely more dynamic and grand fight scenes with much more fluid movements, but I was not exactly wowed. It must be mainly due to the fact that I wasn’t bought in by the art style from the start.
Again, the most memorable scene for me when it comes to the art is the Dragon Ball parody… Alongside their clickbait-style marketing (riding on the Demon Slayer movie hype train), Gintama has a way of making themselves known.
Voice acting superb as always
Unsurprisingly, we saw many of the original voice actors reprise the role of our beloved riotous bunch in Gintama: The Final. The voice acting also helps contribute to the sense of hype and nostalgia with the show as they became the voices that you recognise and love. Suffice to say, I loved their ridiculous back and forth shoutings.
The soundtrack fits well with what you see on the screen, perfectly complementing the scenes before you. And SPYAIR’s ‘Wadachi’ just wrapped up the movie in such a perfect little ribbon. Listening to it again as I write this review just gives me throwback vibes and I know it’ll definitely have me reminiscing Gintama fondly for years to come.
Despite my slight dissatisfaction with the film, I was happy that Gintama had a grand finale. It has broken so many barriers, poked fun of pretty much everything including itself, and refused to behave. I didn’t expect to love this show as much as I did throughout the years. I’d give Gintama: The Final a 9/10.
RV is the otaku behind Raving Otaku, where she writes anime reviews, rants and recommendations.