The Top Ten Series: Shounen (Part III)
Can’t believe I’ve managed to keep this rate up – clearly have acquired some organisational skills from somewhere (Although saying that, shall be late next week since I’ll be in Rome…..hopefully, goddamned volcano!). Anyway onto numbers 5 & 6!
I have a weird relationship with Naruto – its like the cousin you constantly bitched about being a fecking idiot growing up, but wouldn’t actually change anything about them when push comes to shove. Yeah, I kind of feel that way about Naruto. I may constantly bitch about the series (and even have ‘Stupid Sakura’ and ‘WFT Kishi!?’ tags) but I really don’t hate it. Naruto was one of the shows that brought me back into the anime fold after the wilderness years of Uni; where I more or less abandoned anime in favour of socialising, alcohol, pub crawling, shopping and studying (in that order :P). I have quite mainstream tastes, and shounen series have always been my weakness – Naruto seems to contain everything that’s great about shounen (as well as a hefty dose of whats bad!) and there is no way I could ever abandon the series.
The thing that keeps me coming back to Naruto is that I love the setting and the characters (despite their innate stupidity and shallowness) are really likeable. I enjoy reading about what idiotic scheme Naruto & Co have hatched now to ‘get Sasuke back!’ or what the villains ridiculous grand plan entails – its stupid, OTT and makes no sense on any level – but damn if I’m not entertained by something every week (be it unintentional or intentional on Kishimoto’s part). I also really like the art – its simple, bright and quite plain, but consistently well drawn and the characters are easily identifiable and well designed for the most part.
There is no point taking Naruto seriously – that would just be needlessly frustrating and many poor brain cells would die in the resulting aneurysm when Kishi pulls yet another plot-no-jutsu that makes absolutely no sense. It’s much better to sit back and just let the show entertain you – it’s never going to be an intellectual series, it’s just a bit of fun involving ninjas in a world were they have fridges and radio mics, but not guns or cars.
The Naruto anime is probably the best example in existence of how you don’t do filler. Holy crap – I remember slowly dying inside every week I sat through those endless inane filler arcs…bad times. Shippuuden appears to have learned from its predecessors mistakes and taken a leaf out of Bleach’s book, by creating longer coherent filler arcs out of like a single panel of the manga or something – not perfect, but much, much better than the utter shite that was ‘Food Ninjas’, ‘The Curry of Life’ and ‘Laughing Shino‘ filler episodes of the original Naruto anime.
So yeah, a fundamentally flawed series that’s the focus of much ridicule – but hey, its entertaining and at the end of the day that’s the important thing!
For years I deprived myself of the brilliance of Gintama – it always went under my radar since I never really heard anyone talking about it. However that all changed when Crunchyroll got the series and started posting up its back catalogue. Since I paid my CR subscription I decided to make use of it, and the promo pic for Gintama caught my eye. The rest, as they say is history – I ended up watching the four episodes CR posted weekly back to back every week and consistently half killed myself laughing! Once I caught up to broadcast, having only one episode of genius to look forward to a week was so hard to deal with and now that the anime has finished I’m suffering from withdrawal!
Gintama is, in my eyes, a perfect comedy series. Its got plenty of toilet humour and parodies as well as cleverly scripted dialogue, intense action scenes and touching drama that succeed in making me cry more than once. A series that can have me falling off the chair in fits of laughter one moment and bawling my eyes out the next is rare indeed – but that’s exactly what Gintama delivered. I really can’t sing its praises enough. Of course some episodes were better than others, and there are a few absolute duds – but hey, a gag series than can be consistently funny for 201 episode must be doing something right!
A massive factor in my love of Gintama is the cast – the talent on board for this series is boggling; Tomokazu Sugita, Akira Ishida, Rei Kugimiya, Daisuke Sakaguchi, Kazuya Nakai, Norio Wakamoto…….the list just goes on and on! The music is also superb – Sunrise have got some pretty impressive artists to provide OPs and EDs for the series too. It’s for this reason I’ve been a bit reluctant to start the manga (although I do plan to invest in it once I have some spare cash…..maybe I’ll sell my Bleach collection :P) since without the audio element I’m frightened the full experience will be lacking.
The characters of Gintama have wormed their way into my affections, taking up many coveted slots in my all time favorites list and refusing to move. Its hard not to love Gin-chan, he’s such a lazy slob, but can really pull though in a pinch. I even like the Rei Kugimiya character – in my eyes Kagura is her best role outside of Alphonse Elric!
If you’ve yet to have the pleasure of this series, I’d highly recommend it – so long as you aren’t above giggling at jokes about bodily functions or extremely thinly veiled parodies 😀 And now I feel like rewatching some classic episodes – so if you’ll excuse me, until next time!