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Hi there! This guide is for those of you who are wondering “When does Gintama get good?” It is meant to pick out the best and most relevant episodes of the series. First of all, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND everyone reading this to try and watch every episode first before you refer to this guide because this show is a comedy first, and an action series later. This guide will help you skip through a lot of it if you’re having trouble getting through the slower parts of the show so you can get to the “good” parts or as us Gintama fans call, the “Serious Arcs” where most of the action and drama takes place. These arcs are only as good as they are because they put the fun carefree characters we know and love that spend their days doing stupid things in very real dramatic situations and shifts the tone of the show completely. Also, you should be aware that the first 50 episodes of this anime are by far the weakest episodes in the series, so you should be good after you get through these episodes. Remember, Gintama is not supposed to be approached with a “binge” mindset, but more of a weekly sitcom mindset. As much as I love this series, even I can’t binge through a large amount of comedy episodes, but the serious arcs are very worth binging. Slow and steady is a good pace to watch this anime at and it rewards you for it greatly. Some episodes that I may title as “not necessary”,are just personal favorites of mine, which I still would recommend to watch.
Also, please try and refrain from using this guide past episode 61 because I really want people to truly appreciate this show, but if you must use this guide then so be it 🙁
World-Building, Understanding inside jokes, getting to know major side characters:
These episodes set up the world we know and are necessary to get the full experience of the later serious and semi serious arcs. REMEMBER DON’T WATCH EPISODES 1 AND 2 THEY ARE JUST BAD. THEY ARE NOT PLOT RELEVANT AT ALL AND ARE JUST CELEBRATORY FILLER FOR THE MANGA RECEIVING AN ANIME. THEY’RE NOT EVEN FUNNY.
3-10, 12-15, 17, 22-24, 27-28, 31-32(Memory Loss Arc), 36, 39-45, 47, 50-52
57 episodes reduced to 32 episodes until Benizakura Arc.
Yes, it does take awhile to set up this world, but all this setup pays off when the first serious arc hits. Don’t worry about rushing through these episodes. It took me half a year to get through them (without skipping) but I regret nothing.
(Benizakura Arc) 58-61, The first serious arc of the series and the arc that hook many people into the show. Complete tone shift and where first major conflicts happen. This arc was remastered into a movie with added scenes and amazing animation which you can watch instead of the episodes. https://myanimelist.net/anime/7472/Gintama_Movie__Shinyaku_Benizakura-hen
At this point you SHOULD start watching every episode because the comedy is much better than the start of the series. This is because at this point, you should know the characters now and their jokes and running gags will start to make more sense to you. However, if you still don’t want to, then the guide continues. Remember at any time you want, you may start to watch every episode.
62 (Aftermath of benizakura)
(Fuyo Arc) 69-71 (A semi serious arc that introduces a new character)
(Yagyuu Arc) 76-81 (Another semi serious arc that introduces a new character)
83 (First episode with the Shogun, and every episode with the Shogun is hilarious)
84-85 (Hardboiled Detective Arc. I honestly didn’t like this arc very much. Had a LOT of trouble getting through episode 84, but 85 is funny. Introduces a side character that will reappear in episode 310)
86-87 (Important mini-arc and good)
91 (Honestly, you need a few comedy episodes sprinkled throughout)
94-95 (Not necessary but generally episodes revolving around Hasegawa are pretty good)
97 (Focuses on Catherine’s past)
98-99 (Not necessary but lots and lots of Nintendo parodies are here)
Around 40 episodes reduced to 21 from Benizakura to Shinsengumi Crisis.
(Shinsengumi in Crisis Arc) 101-105 Good job you made it! The 2nd serious arc is here. Don’t be fooled it may start off weird but it gets real good real fast. Focuses on the Shinsengumi and some of their backstory.
Now you should be watching every episode…but if not, then here we go again.
107-108 (This arc is not necessary, but it’s pretty deep.)
109 (Not necessary but Jackie Chan and Samo Hung are in this episode so you may watch if you want)
112 (Not necessary but Tama is in it and we haven’t seen Tama since episode 71)
119 (The first Dragon Ball parody of the series for you Dragon Ball fans)
121-123 (Monster Hunter Parody, funny, but not necessary)
126-128 (hilarious arc, HIGHLY recommend watching)
131-134 Ghost Ryokkan Arc (Semi serious arc that parodies JoJo)
35 episodes reduced to 15 from Shinsengumi Crisis to Yoshiwara in Flames
(Yoshiwara In Flames Arc) 139-146 Holy hell here we go. The third serious arc. Introduces many new characters including best girl in the series. Although Benizakura is known as the arc that hooks you into Gintama, this arc is known not just for shifting the tone of the show, but for elevating the scale of things to a whole new level. Fantastic arc, please enjoy.
So uhh, why are you still here? After Yoshiwara in Flames you still don’t want to watch every episode from here on? Well, guess the guide continues.
148-149 (Saw parody, not necessary, but funny)
151-152 (The Shogun is back! Hilarious episodes. Highly recommend watching)
154 (Just realized Kyubei hasn’t appeared much throughout this guide since she was introduced in episodes 76-81 so here’s a Kyubei episode)
156 (Not necessary, but for Otae and Gin shippers out there this episode is for you)
(Otsu Arc) 157-163 This arc is almost as long as Yoshiwara In Flames, but it’s pure comedy, and necessary in my opinion. Character development about Hijikata’s alter ego that was introduced in Shinsengumi In Crisis is made. If you REALLY REALLY want, it’s skippable though, just not recommended.
166 (Funny episode that shows the relationship between Gin and Hijikata, skippable)
167-170 (Semi-serious arc but important)
31 episodes reduced to 18 from Yoshiwara In Flames to Red Spider.
(Red Spider Arc) 177-181 Well done you’ve made it far. Here we go with the 4th major serious arc of Gintama. New villain, and slight revelations about Gin’s past. For Tsukuyo and Gin shippers this arc is amazing.
Ok seriously, if you’re still on this guide, damn you really are missing out on a lot of the comedy episodes.
181-184 (Character popularity poll arc. This arc is literally about breaking the 4th wall and very funny. Highly recommend watching.)
186-187 (Pretty deep mini arc. Focuses on Sougo)
188 (Another good episode about Hasegawa)
190-192 (So the main characters all turned into cats, but this mini arc was surprisingly good and funny. Skippable, but good.)
194 (This episode is funny. Really funny.)
195-199 Diviner Arc (Semi-serious arc. New characters introduced. Hilarious)
200-201 (Santa Arc. This was where Gintama first stopped airing, so these were the final episodes of the series for the time being. Pretty funny episodes, but skippable. A temporary goodbye from the cast)
You’re here. Season 2 of Gintama. But you’re still on this guide. I’m disappointed. This season is 51 episodes but only contains 2 serious arcs. Regardless you should be watching every episode by now but this guide continues for you people who can’t sit through the comedy for some reason.
202-204 (These episodes are straight up funny. Dragon Ball/ Bleach parodies here as well. Highly recommend NOT skipping)
205 ( New inside joke is revealed, funny episode.)
207-208 (More Sarutobi screentime because she doesn’t get enough in the series and also fist of the north star parody)
29 episodes to 23 from Red Spider to Four Devas. Not much reduction because at this point the series is pretty good.
(Four Devas Arc) 210-214 DAMN 5th serious arc of Gintama. This arc is great as well. Focuses a lot on Otose’s past and the place where our characters live as a whole. There’s two characters who appear in episode 213 you might not know because this guide said to skip the episodes they were introduced but they’re not too relevant. If you’re interested to know about them then go back and watch episodes 53-55.
215 (Four Devas Aftermath)
217 (SHOGUN IS BACK AND THAT MEANS COMEDY)
221-222 (Focuses on Kyubei and her pet monkey. Funny mini-arc)
228-229 (Another funny mini-arc)
232-236 (Renho Arc. A star wars parody arc. Comedy arc. Focuses on Elizabeth’s backstory.)
237-238 (SHOGUN YET AGAIN)
239-240 (Scandal Arc. One of the best comedy mini-arcs in the series, centered on all the main heroines and Gin)
241-242 (Another comedy arc, Lots of Dragonball references in 242)
30 episodes to 17 from Four Devas to Baragaki Arc.
244-247 (Baragaki Arc. Serious arc that helps to set up for future arcs. Introduces new characters, but not as big of a scale in plot as previous major serious arcs.Still good though. )
248 (Another good Hasegawa episode)
249-252 (Gintama was ending its airing yet again in Japan, so these episodes are all hilarious but skippable. 252 is about how the anime is ending yet again and the main cast apologizing to the audience)
Season 3 of Gintama. Here is where stuff gets real. Within the next 13 episodes there are 3 serious arcs. For those of you who have come this far congratulations, you’re about to witness greatness on a whole new level, because one of the best arcs this show has to offer is here.
(Kintama Arc) 252-256. A golden haired Gin has taken over the show, and no one remembers our main character. What’s going to happen now?
(Ikkoku Keisei, or Courtesan Of A Nation Arc) 257-261. THIS. ARC. THIS. ARC. The biggest arc in terms of scale in the entire first 265 episodes of Gintama that remains of the best arcs to this day. All I can say is, be prepared to feel amazed. New villains, revelations, plotlines, and so much more will be revealed. One of my personal favorite arcs of all time.
262-264 (Beam Saber Arc) Another star wars parody arc with a serious tone.
265 (An episode focusing on Sadaharu and the final episode of the series for years to come)
This is where you should watch the 2nd Gintama Movie, “Be Forever Yorozuya” one of the greatest films ever. If you’re planning on getting someone into Gintama, showing them this film could work.
And here we are, at Gintama (2015). New series, way better animation, same characters, same fun, same tone shifts, same greatness. If Courtesan Of A Nation did not properly motivate you to watch every episode from then on, then there’s honestly nothing I can do and I kind of hate you for still being here on the guide.
266-267 (Hilarious episodes celebrating the return of the show. Dragon Ball parodies here as well)
268 (Yamazaki and Tama ship)
270 (Naruto Parody and Sachan is back!)
271-272 (Kuroko No Basket parody and more about Gin’s past)
275-277 (Genderbend Arc. All characters we know get their genders swapped. Why would you want to skip these episodes?)
279-281 Reaper Arc (Very important mini arc that sets up for the endgame plot)
283-284 (Confessional Arc. Shogun is back YET AGAIN)
285 (For Kondo and Otae shippers. Hilarious festival episode)
287-289 (Soul Switch Arc. Gin and Hijikata switch bodies. Again, why would you want to skip?)
290-291 (Sakamoto and Mutsu, despite being in almost all the openings don’t get too much screen time, until now. Mini arc that focuses on their past)
294-295 (Introduces another new character. Comedy episodes)
296-297 (Feigned Illness Arc. One of the best comedy mini arcs)
You’ll notice that not a lot of episodes were skipped in the 2015 show. Most of this season is actually amazing and is the best season of Gintama in my opinion. 51 episodes reduced to 42 before all the seriousness hits.
300-316 (SA Arc, FS Arc) From episode 300 to 316, I will call it the “point of no return”. Little to no comedy exists in the series anymore (besides 300) and there is purely plot from here on out. Multiple serious arcs in a row and it doesn’t slow down. The scale of the plot soars to even greater heights than before and the Gintama world as we know it changes completely. At this point, I recommend you watch everything you can before you see this, including specials and OVA’s. This is where everything goes down and these episodes will change everything. These arcs lead all the way up to the end of the series as a whole, which is still being written as of right now.
Gintama (2017): Here we are at the start of a new Gintama season. This season is just a direct continuation of the previous arc.
317-328 (Rakuyo Decisive Battle Arc) Like I said, direct sequel to the previous season, expect more plot and development, great fights, and a massive feels trip.
Gintama: Season 6
329-341 (Slip Arc) This arc could be confusing for some because it adapts chapters of the manga that were skipped that take place BEFORE the SA Arc and FS Arc. Because the final arc of Gintama is so long and still being written as of now, the producers decided to adapt the skipped chapters instead and just produce it as a season 6 of the show. Chronologically, these chapters take place before all the seriousness happens, so it’s still lighthearted and comedic. There’s no plot development at all in this season since this isn’t really a direct sequel to the Rakuyo Decisive Battle Arc. You can consider this a filler arc and it’s entirely optional to watch, however, I would still recommend to watch anyways because it’s Gintama and it’s still grade A comedy.
Gintama: Season 7
342-???? (Silver Soul Arc)
THE FINAL GINTAMA ARC. IT’S GOING TO BE LONG. IT’S GOING TO BE EMOTIONAL. IT’S GOING TO BE GOOD. *When you just wanna watch some comedy then all of sudden the main characters enter a universal war to decide the fate of the planet*
I hope you have found this guide useful enough to get you into the series and hopefully to help to get through the series with ease. Remember Gintama is a comedy-based episodic anime, and this guide is meant for those who don’t have the patience to sit through it, but is highly recommended to go through all of it. Sure it may not shine all the time and it may not have an overarching plot, but it’s pretty damn good when it needs to be and is far from a typical shounen. Gintama’s ability to tell a story so well in less than 7 episodes in many of its arcs amazes me to this day. I’m not going to say it’s the greatest anime of all time, because that would offend people, but I’m definitely going to say it’s my favorite and I made this guide to help others experience what I’ve experienced watching this show. Please don’t hate on it until you have fully seen what it has to show for you. It took me almost a year to get hooked on it because I was repeatedly watching it on and off but I have no regrets whatsoever. Enjoy!