Continued Greatness – Gintama: Silver Soul Arc Second Half War (Season 8) Anime Review

This is the second season of Gintama’s final arc and the eighth season of Gintama’s continuity. In the episode continuity this corresponds to episodes 354-367 of Gintama.

This season is another great Gintama season. This was the finale to the major conflict that’s been brewing these past few seasons while also being the beginning of the epilogue. With that, there’s a lot of laughs, emotions, hype moments, and by the end, I just have this feeling of bitter-sweetness that this amazing anime is almost over.

Like half, this season is the direct continuation of last and it starts with some Kiheitai backstory. It was about time we got to see how this current version of the group formed. And it came as no shock to me that Gin and Shinsuke are alike in a lot of ways. Shinsuke is the hero that the Kiheitai look up to and follow no matter what just like Gin is too odd jobs. They even have a thing for deep introspective monologuing. It was nice to see it all and added a lot to their group dynamic and especially to the Bansai scene. Bansai is a cool character that I’ve always liked. So I loved his final stand scene and overall it was beautiful with him playing his shamisen while fending off the enemy. You never really know with Gintama but all signs lead to him dying so rip to Bansai.

The Ensho flashbacks made me dislike him as a person even more but heightened my appreciation for him as a character. Man is truly ruthless. It wasn’t clear if he set his brother up or he just left him for dead. But either way, he was in some way or another responsible for his brother’s death due to his jealousy. Then he comes home and takes his girl and gets her pregnant. I mean he clearly feels somewhat disgusted in what he did but I can’t sympathize with him at all and that’s okay. Not every villain deserves sympathy even though he comes to a realization later and tries to help. I enjoyed disliking him. Also, the dude is a beam saber master that’s hilarious.

Speaking of villains getting sympathy and redemption. First on that list is Nobunobu. I’ve eaten my words ever since I said “I don’t think there’s anything that can redeem him in my eyes.” I liked him a lot last season and I liked him a lot here. I still remember all the bs he was him but it’s undeniable that he turned a new leaf and truly understood and felt remorse for his actions. Ultimately dying trying to make his wrongs right. He’s a really well-done character and he’ll shockingly be missed.

Kamui finally coming around was great. The familial fights he had with Umibozu and Kagura. Him and Kagura fighting that ancient Yato. Him putting his body on the line multiple times to protect her. He’s just come a very long way from the masochist murderer who fantasized about being the most powerful person in the universe. I very much welcome this change of character.

Utsuro progressively gets better as a villain every season. The whole final battle was awesome. His constant boasting turning into fear when he realizes that his body isn’t healing. Him just mowing down waves of yato and Shinsengumi and the main cast gave me Madara vibes. I’m a sucker for Shinpachi moments cause he doesn’t get many. He had one of the best during this fight. Hasegawa finally got a serious moment where he takes control of a situation. Then the MVP of the season is easily Sadaharu. This series is never shy to make a meta-joke. So Gin saying “why did he [Sadaharu] have to remember an ancient premise now?” Was very funny. The whole dragon priestess and Sadaharu backstory were like around episode 60 right? That was so long ago and for it to be a major plot point now is crazy. The end of this battle was epic. Utsuro feeling fear because for the first time in a long time. He’s facing humans that don’t fear him. The impending threat of the ship falling from the sky. Utsuro throwing himself into the leyline while saying some ominous words to Gin then the ship hitting Edo and the screen turning white. Perfect climax and ending to this battle.

With that all being in like episode 8 had me wondering what was gonna come next. I wasn’t expecting a two-year time skip. Seeing where everyone was it in their lives and what they look like now was hilarious and fun. Especially the Katsura Trump joke, Matsudaira trying to assassinate him, Sogo being a hitman, Robocop Yamazaki. The post-time skip stuff is among the funniest Gintama content there is. Almost every episode had me laughing hard. The last two episodes in particular have some hilarious gags. Gin cutting off what was about to be a really cool Shinpachi moment to hold this meta trail and explain why the anime is ending right here. The comedy was on point. I didn’t even mention the Final Fantasy Phenomenon (which Sorachi is a genius for coining). I could, and probably will write a whole post about that in anime.

The flashback of everyone going their separate ways was a very emotional scene. It killed me seeing them all go their separate ways for the time being and I just couldn’t help but feel bad for Shinpachi. Kagura goes off to find a fid to what happened to Sadaharu. Gin goes off for some reason and Shinpachi is just kind of there. Having to be the one that stays behind. That whole moment got a couple of tears out of me. I love that crew so anything that comes between them hurts. I can’t wait until they reunite.

Gin and Shinsuke make such a great duo. It sucks that they spent so much time as enemies. The flashback that explains why gin can’t swim with Shinsuke just sitting there in the background was comedy. But I wasn’t prepared to find out the reason why Gin left. Utusro was reborn and being taken care of by Gin. First off everything about that was heartbreaking. The campfire scene where he couldn’t bring himself to kill a baby Utsuro. Them traveling together, then the cliff scene where he’s captured but gives gin his heart. It was sad as hell. What’s also sad is that the Tendoshu are alive and well and now use religion to gain power and control. Didn’t see that coming. Also, I didn’t see Shinsuke having to use Oboros ashes to become an incomplete immortal to survive. I can already see a sad ending for him and that really sucks.

Their return to Edo was hilarious but also kind of sucks for Gin. Not only did he just up and leave for two years but now he’s back on a mission to save the person who just started a galactic war to destroy the earth. That inner conflict is always lingering there while we see him endure all the shenanigans from the ladies of Edo. Also, Sorochi coined another term for when the main character turns to the dark side, dude was on a roll.

Music, voice acting, all of that is great as usual. There are some really good-looking moments this season then there are some eh moments. That’s pretty much par for the course for this series but there were some glaring jarring editing mistakes? Decisions? Whatever you wanna call it that just came off as jarring. A weird cut here and there, some things in fights not being clear. But it never took away from my overall enjoyment.

This season was once again amazing story-wise. It sucks that everything is coming to an end sooner than later but it’s been a great journey thus far. I’m very much anticipating what’s gonna happen in the final movie, yet I’m not ready for this journey to end. Gintama’s is continued greatness. Also, the first scene of this season with Kagura and Gin draining the swamp than it revealing Asaemon and Shachi at the bottom was hilarious. Sucks that for whatever reason they didn’t get any screen time last season after we see them move out to help Kabuki. But I think that whole gag was funny enough to warrant it.

Gintama: Silver Soul Arc Second Half War – 10/10

Notes – Slip arc next then the semi-final and final review after that. Sad that i’m almost done but so happy I watched this.

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