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When you look at a long-running title and its popularity, you might wonder if there were any snag points along the way. After all, it takes time to achieve the success you want. For series like Hideaki Sorachi’s Gintama, you may not have that much time. Off-the-wall series like Gintama don’t always hit it off with fans. Anything unusual and different in a mainstream manga magazine like Shonen Jump gets readers angry, no?
But as Sorachi once mentioned, he thanks one chapter/episode that set the tone for a decade-long run and and provided momentum to continue alongside other long-running and popular Shonen Jump series. It was a simple story in Volume 2 of the manga about an old man and his final wish to see Gintama’s resident landlady and Deva of Kabukicho, Otose, once more. This story provides psychological context about how abnormality is still normality, but with a dirtier shell made from unfortunate circumstances.
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"Gintama is probably the hotpot of seriousness and comedy. I don’t really think about it. I’m just a punk who does anything he wants." - Hideaki Sorachi from an interview with Quick Japan in 2009.
It’s arguably the most unique hotpot in manga, right?
Although not as big as the holy trinity of Shonen Jump, Hideaki Sorachi’s Gintama recently hit the 50th volume milestone. This is a big deal considering the fact that the series is generally very episodic and a gag manga at heart. Yet with the help of the anime adaptation, Gintama has spawned a wide variety of fans from all over the world to talk dirty, make fun of people’s glasses, pick noses and believe in the power of sugar. Sorachi once mentioned that he wanted to end the series at Volume 30, but has pressed on to create even more insane moments over the past 20 volumes. Yet you have to think about Gintama’s appeal and why some folks still find it hard to appreciate a series such as this one.
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If there’s one mantra that’s always told to everyone, it’s that money can’t buy happiness. There is some truth to all of this. An interesting article I read at World of Psychology focused on garbage pickers who are very optimistic about life despite their living standards. Folks who go around collecting trash don’t seem to worry too much about food or money. They have good relationships and believe that the future will be bright for them.
Reading this article made me think about poor characters like Tohru Honda (Fruits Basket), Hayate Ayasaki (Hayate the Combat Butler, before he was taken in by Nagi Sanzenin), Jin Kanzaki (ZETMAN), the Yorozuya (Gintama) and many others. All of them have gone through situations where they struggle to get by, yet still enjoy the nuances of life.
Yes, being poor isn’t the greatest thing in the life. But neither is being rich. When you have people being pressured to act like complete big shots just to stay ahead, you wonder if it really is worth it to make a lot of money.
For anyone who’s poor, you’re more motivated to take on your dreams. Do you really have anything to lose? Not much, given you have nothing to begin with. You also get the best thing money can’t buy: emotional support. Almost every poor anime/manga character out there has a wonderful supporting cast of characters that push them for the better. Of course, there are exceptions, but those characters develop and gain a better understanding of what truly matters when everything is all said and done. One great example is Gintama’s “cell phone” story and its critique on how the joy of technology that may not be affordable to many can affect relationships to a huge degree.
Isn’t it time to get some dirt on your hands and grow an inner garden for your soul?
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Amazing words, Akagi-senpai. You go, girl!
My brain feels fried and I need some pretty men to get me going again. So I’m taking a break this week.
Some upcoming entries will be about Kuroko no Basket, Pandora Hearts, Blue Exorcist, Kuroshitsuji, and Gintama (Yes, I want to discuss that “Rule 63”/Dokobekko arc going on in the manga).
Now if you excuse me, I’m off to play otome games for further inspiration.
What? I…it’s not like I’m enjoying fujoshi material because I want to, ok!? I just find it a fascinating study for research purposes, ok!? You should be thankful……..
IDIOT ONEE-CHAN!!!! *runs away in tears*
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