My usually method for this is to write them as I’m watching the episode and just type stuff out as they occur to me, but this week I decided to try watching the whole episode, and just taking a couple of notes on my phone, which is probably a better and more coherent way to do things. We’ll see.
In today’s episode, Gin-san mad.
I don’t like Shinpachi. I have avoided saying so straight out up till now because I prefer to avoid insulting characters that may or may not have a lot of fans who might feel compelled to write essays defending their fave (and if any of you want to do such a thing, please don’t. I don’t care. I’m not gonna read them), but I do not like Shinpachi. His role as the straight man is redundant, and unlike the other straight men (like Hijikata) he doesn’t have anything else going for him. There’s his idol obsession, but as that’s one of the more irritating aspects of his character, it doesn’t need any more focus. It’d be one thing if he ever learned (or would stop calling the okama- a group of characters that are a) good guys, b) really cool, and c) always friendly- monsters), but he doesn’t. It’s too the series’ immense credit that he gets substantially less narrative focus than either Gin-san or Kagura (hell, even late-coming side characters like Kyubei and Tsukuyo have gotten more attention recently than he has throughout the entire series), but whenever he is the focus it tends to result in material that’s more annoying that entertaining.
All that being said, his fight with Utsuro is the coolest part of an episode chock full of really cool shit.
When they did the initial pan from him to Utsuro’s sword, I thought he was gonna grab it and try to take the bad guy out himself, and while I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t, I can understand why not. Swords in Gintama tend to represent a lot of their wielders, so it would be a huge character shift for him to toss away his Odd Jobs wooden sword in favor of a villian’s weapon.
I’ve been feeling a bit burnt out on emotional climaxes the past few episodes, but this one managed to bring back the excitement and resonance and all that good stuff. I’m sure the fact that I was actually paying attention to the whole thing instead of stopping constantly to be a smartass on Word Press didn’t hurt either. Instead of being exhausted at the prospect of goddammit still more fighting, I’m really looking forward to next week’s episode in a way I haven’t in a while.
And speaking of, next episode is godammit still more fighting. Till next time.