Foreign Friday: Gin Tama

This week’s Foreign Friday title is Gin Tama by Hideaki Sorachi.

The Story

Following an alien invasion of Japan, ex-samurai Sakata “Gin” Gintoki does whatever necessary to make ends meet. Sleazy alien moneylenders, monsters on the rampage, and a ticking time bomb may be all in a day’s work for him.

The Characters

Gin is a man who’s motivation only seems to be enough cash to buy sweets. He comes off as a very monotone character, which allows his humor to stand in the foreground. Shinpachi, his friend/employee, is the man of average intelligence, average looks, and an average expectation out of life, while Kagura, Gin’s friend/employee/roommate, is a strong Amanto (alien) who really only cares about food.

What I Thought

Gin Tama is a comedy, the premise of which is the question: if aliens had invaded Edo period Japan, what would life be like? Throughout the series, Hideaki Sorachi shows his opinion that life…is still life. The world is an interesting mixture of futuristic  space-stuff and the fading remnants of traditional Japanese culture. There are many characters based loosely on real historic people (including whole groups, such as the Shisengumi). That said, the plot is very episodic, although it has a lot of returning characters, and the humor often slips into “crude humor,” which really isn’t my style. If you want something light, entertaining, and (if you don’t mind that sort of humor) funny, then this is a good title. There are 20 volumes currently available in English in the U.S.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: