Keeps Getting Better! – Gintama: Enchousen (Season 3) Anime Review

“While Gintoki Sakata was away, the Yorozuya found themselves a new leader: Kintoki, Gintoki’s golden-haired doppelganger. In order to regain his former position, Gintoki will need the help of those around him, a troubling feat when no one can remember him! Between Kintoki and Gintoki, who will claim the throne as the main character?

In addition, Yorozuya make a trip back down to red-light district of Yoshiwara to aid an elderly courtesan in her search for her long-lost lover. Although the district is no longer in chains beneath the earth’s surface, the trio soon learn of the tragic backstories of Yoshiwara’s inhabitants that still haunt them. With flashback after flashback, this quest has Yorozuya witnessing everlasting love and protecting it as best they can with their hearts and souls.

Gintama’: Enchousen includes moments of action-packed intensity along with their usual lighthearted, slapstick humor for Gintoki and his friends.” – MAL

Episodes: 13 – Studio: Sunrise – Sub – Aired: Fall 2012 – Finished – MAL Rating: 9.04 – Genres: ActionComedyHistoricalParodySamuraiSci-FiShounen

I don’t know if my allergies are starting to get to me but there were a lot puffy eyes watching this season. There’s no mistaking by this point that I love Gintama. I feel like it’s all but solidified itself as my favorite anime ever with only a few contending for that title. This season was the best so far. In 13 episodes there were three phenomenal arcs. All three added a lot to the overall story, characters and introduce a major new conflict. And I really want to talk about all three individually cause at this point these reviews aren’t really spoiler-free. If you somehow haven’t watched Gintama yet these reviews going forward (well really since the movie review) aren’t the place to start. We’re getting pretty deep into the series I want to sort of deep dive into all these moments in a little more detail.

The Kintoki arc is so good. Multiple characters have joked about Gintokis’s name and have called him Kintoki (Sakamoto in particular) so it’s hilarious that they actually made Kintoki into a character. He’s everything that Gintoki isn’t to a fault. This has to be the season of feels, cause for me it was very gut-wrenching after 252 episodes and a movie for Gin to not just be erased, that would already be bad but completely replaced in everyone’s memories. I really hated seeing that. Gin had built such a strong bond with so many people in the city and for as great as Kintoki is (or appears to be), he’s no Gin. Which was really touching when everyone started to come around to that fact. But only after a tremendous amount of gaslighting from Kintoki. That scene with them in the bar where he basically tells Gin that this city and its people are better off with me than you. That was rough to watch.

I talked about it in my season 2 review how we see a lot of Gin getting psychically beaten but that mental beating he got from Jirocho hit differently. I don’t think it was to that same extent here, but there was a semblance of that during this arc. Which that bar scene indirectly led to one of the funniest scenes I’ve watched recently. When Gin & Kintoki were trying to talk down the girl from jumping and Gin seemed more suicidal than her. When she falls and he jumps to go grab he, it was so selfless and in character for Gin. That was the pivotal moment for everyone to start to wake up from the hypnotization. Gin doing something that Kintoki couldn’t even comprehend is just so Gin. The similar sentiments he does with Kyubei, Sarutobi, and Tsukuyo were nice to see as well. We’ve seen it time and time again that he will put everything on the line to protect what he holds dear, and once again that’s a character flaw that Kintoki just couldn’t possibly comprehend. Ultimately leading to his downfall. Before and during the big clash it was touching to see how as the cast started to wake up they kind of got this feeling that Kintoki is too perfect and that they were missing something. They all come to realize that they care for Gintoki because of his flaws and the enjoyment he brings to their lives.

Tama and Sadaharu were great here too. Tama has some great heartfelt lines, I’ve always really enjoyed the connection that she and Gin have. I didn’t touch on this arc in my original review but it’s so sweet that her ideal protector in her mind is Gin. Their bond is really sweet. Sadaharu and her dressing up as Shinpachi and Kagura respectively was cute and funny. Overall I really enjoyed this arc and it was a good start to the season. My only gripe would be the ending. It was kinda eh to me. The whole gag with it being a new ideal show with Kintoki as the main character kinda went on too long for me. Oh and I don’t know how I forgot to mention it. They changed the opening name characters to Kintama in gold and replaced Gintoki in the op and ed with Kintoki. Which was pretty funny but also kind of sucked because the op and ed for that arc were so damn good.

No buffer episode(s) in between, straight into the next serious arc Courtesan of a Nation. This arc! This damn arc right here is like the culmination of so many moments from serious arcs and gag episodes/ arcs starting to come to a head. The first season lays the foundation for a lot of big things. Those big things are starting to unfold here. Yoshiwara being the focal point of a lot of past and current events makes a lot of sense given the nature of the city. I’m always down to learn more about the shady stuff that goes down/went down in Yoshiwara. So let’s start with that. The story between Suzuran and Maizou was very touching. Yet again we see another courtesan being used and toyed with for personal reasons. This time around being political gain. It was sad seeing them make that promise but not being able to fulfill it until decades later because of the controlling and megalomanic actions of the former Shogun. Then when they finally do it’s bittersweet on their deathbed. That whole plot point touched me a lot and I like how the whole tie your hair around someone’s finger to seal a promise thing was used between Gin and the gang.

Speaking of the Shogun I think it’s been mentioned in passing that the current one is pretty new but honestly I forgot. So whenever it’s brought up what the previous Shogun did whether it be: basically giving the country to the Amanto, outlawing swords, all the assassinations ordered in the name of him. My mind always just went to the current Shogun being behind those actions. But from what we’ve seen from the current Shogun that kind of seems out of character. Well, there being someone in his circle (who is also family) that’s been responsible for that makes a lot of sense. Sada Sada was despicable. The other villain of this arc put it perfectly. He is the symbol of the Bakufu that the Joi hate and will rally to destroy. He was a really good sort of puppet master-type villain for this arc. He has a giant ego and a pretty glaring kind of god complex. It was a nice change of pace to have a villain who wasn’t strong in combat but strong in influence and power.

The other villain in this arc is Obo, the leader of the Naraku (which as an organization name is just cool as hell). He’s only the second villain to have ties to Gintoki’s past besides Shinsuke. He was cool. I liked his character design, I’m very intrigued as to what the relationship is between him and Nobume. The connection between him and Gin was definitely the most interesting thing about him this arc though. So speaking of Gintoki, this arc gave us a lot more info about his past. We’ve known he was a war orphan taken in by Shouyou and learned under him along with Shinsuke and Katsura. We also knew up until this point that he’s dead. So seeing that the two people responsible for his death are standing in front of him. Boy oh boy the rage in Gin’s eyes during those moments was so hype. This whole arc was the most hype in Gintama yet. Even if we rewind a bit. The moment when Gin first attacks Sada Sada, the two seconds that encapsulate that moment I could rewatch all day. Back to Gin’s past though, we now know a fair amount about it and why he is the way he is. That scene of Katsura, Shinsuke, and him standing around Soyo’s decapitated head was heartbreaking. Like I love that dude and he’s barely said probably more than 20 words up until this point. But I just know from the way the show and its characters frame him and talk about him Shouyou was amazing. These reveals and Gin as a whole were amazing this arc. 

The last thing I got to say about this arc, in particular, is it’s a real treat to see things on a massive scale start to unfold after all the foundation that’s been set. In terms of scale, this is by far the biggest arc yet. High-ranking Amanto, the Bafuku, Shinsengumi, Mimiwarigumi, Odd Jobs, and new organizations like the Naraku all play a major role here. I’m really looking forward to how the amanto respond to this. How the Mimiwarigumi proceeds alongside the Kiheitai. How the Shogun proceeds politically after all that’s happened and a strong sense of opposition from another political party. But most importantly what Odd Jobs will get into after this and what battles they’re going to have to face. The plot thickened tenfold after this and my hype is on maxed out

The last arc of this season I thought was gonna be a really fun Star Wars parody with lightsabers (or beam sabers). I was not expecting an arc full of heartbreak (definitely the theme of this season). I love the semi-new running joke that Otae’s character has just completely forgotten/moved on from her initial dream of restoring her Fathers dojo. It was nice, not directly coming back to that motive, but introducing a new character who was a friend from the past. This arc was once again bittersweet. The Star Wars stuff was pretty funny. I think Star Wars has the most hilarious parodies across all media. It was definitely a first seeing a species of war criminal Yoda’s though. This was another one of those arcs where Gin had to play the “bad guy” for the sake of keeping what he holds dear safe. I can see people not liking Shinpachi during this arc especially in that moment when he and Gin got into it after Gin attacked Obi. But his feelings are completely justified and understandable. I’m kind of sad that we won’t see more of Obi. He was really fun and the energy that he eradiated was great. That positivity and bright outlook on life will be sorely missed.

I feel like we don’t often see Otae in such a vulnerable state and the last time we did it was in a not so similar but still very conflicting situation with Kyubei. It always adds to the feels when an emotionally strong character starts to crack. Otae and Shinpachi both hold Obi dearly and that love was very clearly clouding their judgment. Gin obviously noticed this too. That’s why he got on his hands and knees to beg for help without them knowing. This leads me into the battle between Obi and Gin which was really good. It was a really well-done impactful fight but my biggest takeaway from it was when Shinpoachi interveined. I’m so happy that Shinpachi got to finish the fight and got his moment. It’s not a gripe but maybe a minor annoyance. I feel like Shinpachi and Kagura have yet to get enough moments to shine in terms of fight scenes. To be fair though, Kagura still has one of if not maybe the best fight scene yet when she went crazy against Abuto. But other than Shinpachis’s moment during the Yaguya arc, I’m having trouble remembering stand-out moments for him in terms of fights. So I’m really glad he got one here no matter how heartbreaking it was. That’s just the word for this arc and this season as a whole. Heartbreaking and bittersweet yet great. As a whole, it surprised me how much I liked it and the tone it took.

I’ve watched a lot of shounen. I’ve seen a lot of beaten and battered characters in my day. It seems like Gintama is among the most brutal and bloody ones. These fights get real tense and real brutal really quick and I’m here for every second of it. From the big well-animated fights to the meh animated little skirmishes it’s all hype and great this season. For me, Gintoki vs Oboro and Gintoki vs Obi were easily the standouts. Gintama vs Oboro when they face off the first time in particular wasn’t like some pillar of animated fight scenes and consisted of a fair share of still shots. But I’d be lying if I if didn’t say every single moment of this fight was tense, impactful, brutal, and hype. I think that’s the biggest thing when it comes to Gintama fights, impact on multiple levels. Not only is their story and emotional impact. But the way they animate it and sounds effects really sell the brutality of the fight. DavidPro does an amazing job with this on JoJos and Fire Force, for example, they’re probably the best at it. But when an anime can clearly articulate the impact of every single hit during a fight. It just completely enhances it. On another note, the music as usual is great. The first opening and ending are my favorites from this season both musically and visually. It’s still funny how the title card said Kintama in gold and the episode after Gin finally breaks through to everyone the title card burst into the og Gintama in silver outlined by gold and he finally replaces Kintoki in the opening. Stuff like that really makes me appreciate the animators and the love they put into this show. Not a lot of new characters were introduced here so the same thing I’ve said for voice acting in the past reviews still stands here. If I were to pick a standout of the new characters this season it’d be Sada Sada. His personality and complex were perfectly captured in his voice.

So yeah Gintama season 3 in the books. I didn’t even touch on the last episode which was a touching Sadaharu focused one. Which also was full of some heartbreaking moments. Sadaharu episodes and moments are great. I think the last one he got was around the 100 episode mark and it was only a half episode. Hilarious nonetheless. Also, It wasn’t really in my train of thought when I was talking about the Courtesan of a Nation arc, but I like how this show doesn’t forget characters like I can. I completely forgot about the episode where Soyo and Kagura become friends. I like her character a lot and she had the funniest moments this season easily. Overall season 3 went 13/13. All the episodes were varying levels of great. I know I say this after every Gintama review but I just can’t help but feel giddy like a kid on Christmas eve for what’s to come next. The foundation is set and events are starting to build quicker and quicker. I can’t wait. As always though through all the seriousness and tense moments, Gintama never fails to find a moment where it can be hilarious too. Even though I didn’t talk much about comedy in this review. But three seasons and a movie later and Gintama hasn’t skipped a beat yet. Dare I say it’s getting better?

Gintama: Enchousen (Season 3): 10/10

Notes – I completely forgot to do one of these in my last review but nothings really changed. Right after I’m done typing this I’m gonna watch the 2nd movie then most likely its right on to season 4. Though I might take a break to watch the final Fruits Basket season. We shall see!

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