|Original Manga||Hideaki Sorachi|
|Director/Artist||Shinji Takamatsu (eps. 1-105), Yoichi Fujita (eps. 100-201)|
|Episode Length||24 minutes|
|# of Eps/Volumes||201|
Sum it up in a Sentence
Hilarity ensues in an alternate reality where aliens conquer Japan instead of Commodore Perry and a trio of lazy fighters interact with everything from the Shinsengumi and self-styled revolutionaries to alien pets and terrorists with giant laser cannons.
Reportedly, the mangaka who created Gintama originally planned to do a real manga series based around the exploits of the Shinsengumi with the encouragement of his editor. However, he had trouble getting any passion for the project until he started adding elements of science fiction and incorporating more fictional elements into his story.
In Gintama, Japan has been conquered by aliens from outer space called the Amanto. The city of Edo (Tokyo, before 1868) has been transformed into a weird mish-mash of traditional Japanese culture intermixing with futuristic alien technology as the country appears to have mostly accepted the rules of the Amanto. Several samurai rallied to fight them off in a brief rebellion, but in the end they were unsuccessful, and the Amanto ended up banning all swords in public.
Gintama focuses mostly on the "Yorozuya" (the Odd Jobs Trio), consisting largely of the silver-haired ronin Gintoki Sakata, glasses-wearing Shinpachi Shimura, the incredibly strong alien Kagura and her giant pet dog Sadaharu. In this version of Edo, they simply live paycheck to paycheck doing everything from fighting villains to dressing up in costumes, even though some folks occasionally try to use them to rekindle the great war against the Amanto.
If You Liked This, You Might Like...
- Daily Lives of High School Boys - Same director, a lot of the same staff, including voice actors.
- Most Shonen Jump series (seriously, they put out a reference to Jump or one of its series almost every other episode).
This series starts out as a straight comedy, but occasionally dives into actual dramatic plot development (for example, the Benizakura arc). In both cases, it's pretty good Jump fare, and for the most part you won't need to watch every episode to catch up on important points (and if you have the stomach to marathon all 201 episodes of this show, then you have my deepest sympathies). The one problem I've seen is that there are a lot of jokes in the show that reference manga/anime or Japanese culture, so if you don't know a lot about either of those you probably won't get it. However, the subtitled episodes on Crunchyroll do make a small effort to explain the culture behind the joke (which probably kills it in the process, but hey, it's educational!).
So yeah, if you have some time to kill, watch a few episodes and see if it suits your taste.