Comics / Manga

Gin Tama: Volume 1

By Leroy Douresseaux
June 21, 2007 - 22:43


In the manga, Gin Tama, Vol. 1 (part of VIZ Media's "Shonen Jump Advanced" line), the Japan that was is no more.  Now, the land of the samurai is the land of alien visitors.  There came a day when beings from other planets (called "Amanto") arrived in Japan, and the ruling government, the Bakufu, acquiesced to the needs of the Amanto.  Flexing their muscle, the Amanto helped to banish the one group in Japan that resisted them - the samurai.

However, some samurai have held on.  Take the young, handsome, and brash Sakata "Gin" Gintoki.  Blessed with naturally wavy hair, Gin is an independent samurai who may no longer defend the bushido code - "The Way of the Samurai," but he chooses what he's gong to defend, and does that through his one-man business, "Odd Jobs."  Gin takes as a partner Shinpachi, the destitute son of a now-dead samurai, and together the duo tries to make a living doing odd jobs.  They live in a meager apartment above the Otose Snack House, and take grief (and sometimes beatings) from the assertive Mrs. Otose.

But trouble comes into Gin and Shinpachi's life when they find themselves reluctant partners and roommates with wild girl Kagura, a combative teen Amanto who belongs to a mercenary race of aliens.  Soon, the three are fighting for their lives when the ghosts of Gin's past come calling with an explosive package of trouble.

THE LOWDOWN:  Although Gin Tama has the trappings of sci-fi, it's actually an high-octane action comedy.  Between the car chases, constant fight scenes, and eclectic cast, it's as if the Rush Hour movie franchise met Bruce Willis' underrated comic caper, Hudson Hawk.  As enjoyable as this kooky concept is, the art of manga-ka Hideaki Sorachi is the star here.  He's a bedrock solid draftsman, and his ability to build environments and sets, his figure drawing, and his precision inking are the callings cards of a master cartoonist.  Visually, Sorachi's style is a blend of Steve Ditko, John Romita, and Wally Wood, when they were drawing their prettiest pictures.

FOR READERS OF:  Comics of any nationality rarely do action comedy this good, especially from the art end - perhaps, J. Scott Campbell's Danger Girl back when Campbell believed that in order to be a great comic book artist, he actually had to draw comic books.  Well, Hideaki Sorachi works at, and he's good.




Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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