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“True, your luster may not have been as bright as gold…You only shined on occasion. You were always arguing and fighting. You had wavy hair. You were lazy. You were the king of sexual harassment. You never paid the rent. You paid your people late. Still, you were brighter than the fake glint of gold plating. When you were angry, your entire soul was enraged. When you laughed, you laughed with all your heart. Your silver was much more beautiful.”
In a world where things are taken completely at face value, perhaps we need to re-evaluate what is of true value. The beginning of Gintama Season 6 adapted a highly-touted arc from Volume 43 of the manga and highlighted a world where gold captivated it. Despite its amazing allure and beauty, the gold portrayed was tainted and corrupt. The battle between Gintoki Sakata (silver) and Kintoki Sakata (gold) reflects society’s obsessions with perfectionism and how being first place in one area doesn’t always translate well to other aspects of life that are far more important.
The war between gold and silver began when our hero, Gintoki, returned to his home after the 6-month anime hiatus (Mimawarigumi arc in the manga). Upon his arrival, he discovers that his presence was replaced by Kintoki. Kintoki was the complete antithesis of Gin. He wasn’t lazy, was pretty reliable, and had golden straight hair to boot. Almost all of the Gintama characters acknowledged Kintoki and forgot who Gin was. The series literally became Kintama. It is revealed that Kintoki was an android built to be the “perfect leader” of the Yorozuya. However, Kintoki had other ideas in mind and hypnotized the entire town of Kabukicho. He wanted to make the anime/manga into his own liking, even if it meant killing anyone (i.e. Gin) who disapproved. With the help of his friends and their renewed memories of our wavy-haired hero, Gin puts an end to Kintoki’s “Midas touch”.
Here’s some food for thought: what do the Olympic Games have in common with the Kintama storyline? It’s the fact that wanting gold deludes all. There was a study that reported that some silver medalists were not at all happy with their achievements. They felt as if they could have done more and felt as if they were losers to begin with. A key plot device in the Kintama arc was that the ones who pushed for the development of Kintoki were none other than Shinpachi Shimura and Kagura. They basically forgot what made Gin special and let their regret of not having “successful lives” or a “well-liked leader” get to them. Both Yorozuya members later apologized to Gin for creating Kintoki and wanted to accept responsibility for their misguided actions. Just because you’re in a “second-place” atmosphere doesn’t mean that you can’t choose to feel differently about it. What if you have “first-class” support that not many people don’t or wish to have?
Now let’s look at the financial world: silver is becoming more popular than gold. It is the metal to use for the solar power industry. It is also used when making products such as cell phones. Think of Gin as the solar power industry. You can count on him to power you up with his compassionate soul. The best part about Gin is that he’s an independent spirit (solar power doesn’t need a power grid) who fights for those in true need. When you look at Kintoki, he preys on the insecurities of people. Gold is sometimes called the “currency of fear” and Kin was a prime example of this in anime/manga form. The guy almost broke Gin’s will by saying he wasn’t needed anymore, way before his villainous nature was fully revealed. Isn’t silver starting to sound like a good investment for some folks?
The sad reality is that gold will still be considered “number one” ahead of silver. It’s the color of royalty, after all. However, silver is a color that no one should underestimate. The metal continues to provide much industrial uses for society. Has gold ever provided any significant value besides being pretty? Let’s all appreciate what we have even if we don’t fully get to the promised land.
Let’s all be colored in a dirty yet honest silver.