The live-action movie of Gintama, released July 2017, was a big hit, but Honestly, even if it wasn’t, it would have been a good joke for the author of the original work, Hideaki Sorachi. The original manga is currently being serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump and the film, a self-titled final chapter, is very exciting. We can’t guess what the ending will be but I will continue to follow the series, believing that the ending will be what is expected of Gintama.
In this article, I will talk about one of my favorite stories in Gintama’s long history. I will speak about the popular story that talks about family and blood bonds and connections with important people from the Yoshiwara is Burning Arc: Episode 142 in the anime, ‘Life Is About Making Consecutive Decisions’, which corresponds to Chapters 217 – 219 in the manga.
The Dialogue During the Battle
In Episode 142, we see the battles between Tsukuyo and the Hyakka, Kagura & Shinpachi, and Abuto. Tsukuyo says, ‘There is nothing worth protecting in this town […] That’s how I felt as I fought before’ and Abuto says, ‘An older brother who fights under order of his blood and a little sister who fights under order of her soul. […] I can’t win against that stupid brother.’ Both of these lines were in monologues. However, when you look at the manga, these lines were written in speech bubbles. To faithfully reproduce them, they should both be spoken.
In the manga and the anime, the creation of the same scene is different. The Gintama manga has a lot of words but they are still images so each reader can go at their own pace. It depends on the situation, but it’s not that important whether it is a dialogue or monologue. The tempo at which readers build the story in their minds and the paces at which they read doesn’t change.
In the case of the anime, when the characters speak, their mouths have to move. It is obvious that time is passing so it seems that there are many opportunities to be attacked as they speak. It is unnatural if the rest of the characters are not doing anything. Even more so in battle scenes; so if you don’t do it well, the tempo could be messed up.
If it’s an internal monologue, there is no need for their mouths to be moving. The monologue won’t take any time from the storyline itself, so you can take a scene and insert lengthy dialogue. The tempo of the battle won’t break down and the watchers can hear properly. I feel like Gintama, which has a lot of dialogue, is very careful about making fine adjustments around this area.
The Warrior Race, Yato
The unhinged Kagura overwhelms Abuto and corners him on the roof and within the lines that he says, this is included, ‘Obey your blood and kill me! Be proud of your blood and kill me!’ however, in the anime, this is changed to ‘Obey your blood and kill me! Be proud of the Yato and kill me!’
With ‘Be proud of your blood’, he is referring to the blood of the Yato that flows within her and urges her to accept her true self. On the other hand, ‘Be proud of the Yato’ refers to everything that makes her up: her skin, bones, muscles, everything. It can be implied that he wants Kagura to acknowledge that obeying their existence and killing their enemies is characteristic of the Yato.
It was a kind of brainwashing to get Kagura to stop fighting her blood and rejoin the tribe. The Yato ability that Kagura displayed was dubbed by Abuto as ‘first-class talent’. As a member of the same race, Kagura had respected the very blood that she was fighting against. Reconciliation between Kagura and Kamui was impossible at that point, but a reconciliation between Kagura and Abuto was impossible from the very beginning. I was left impressed by the anime episode because it seemed that Abuto’s love for his tribe was driving him crazy.
In the early stages of the Yoshiwara Is Burning Arc, Gintoki says ‘For me, whether above or below, I live by my own rules.’ Gintoki often says lines with code nuances. Because it is Gintoki, who has survived the Joi War, who has been picked up by Otose and has met and said goodbye to many people, these words are especially heavy.
During the fight with Abuto, Kagura says ‘I decide my battlefields myself. Not by my blood, but by my soul.’ Then, when trying to stop the unhinged Kagura, Shinpachi says ‘I will protect the Kagura that we believe in!! […] I will protect our precious friend!!’ Both of them had an unshakable belief within them, things they would give their life to protect. They didn’t hesitate to show this through their words and actions. When I considered that they probably learned that from watching Gintoki, I felt some really deep emotions.
While Kagura calls her blood-related brother Kamui an insensitive person, Seita calls the unrelated Hinowa his mother, and says that Gintoki and the others are irreplaceable people. There are bonds that are stronger than blood. The three members of the Yorozuya are proof of this. The preciousness of a regular daily life, their human existence. We live while teaching each other: Gintoki who had nowhere he belonged, Shinpachi who has no parents, and Kagura whose family was in pieces. They met by chance but became family.
Thicker Than Blood
I recommend the Yoshiwara Is Burning Arc not only because it is a Japanese-style story with adventure as the theme, but because we are able to see Kagura and Shinpachi’s growth.