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Gin Tama Volume 1

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating


Gin Tama by Hideaki Sorachi, shonen manga series published by Shonen Jump Advanced / VIZ Media

Gin Tama Volume 1

© Hideaki Sorachi

The Bottom Line

A wacky mix of samurai action, irreverent comedy and anything goes sci-fi plot twists, Gin Tama serves up an entertaining story that mercilessly skewers every shonen manga cliché in the book.

As Sorachi's first venture into a long-form manga series, the art is rough around the edges and the storytelling is a little sloppy too. But its audacious, acidic pop culture-laced humor makes even these sins forgivable as Gin Tama is just too clever and just too much fun to write off as amateur hour. It's a fun ride that will have you laughing out loud and wanting more.

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  • Hilarious mix of sci-fi, samurai action and pop culture wackiness in one package
  • Makes a lot of sly pop culture references and mercilessly makes fun of shonen manga clichés
  • Introduces us to a fun mix of characters with lots of future comic possibilities


  • The art and character drawings are a little rough around the edges
  • Alien strong girl Kagura's constant "nope, yessir and uh-huh's" gets a little annoying


  • Original Title: Gintama (Japan)
  • Author & Artist: Hideaki Sorachi
  • Publishers:
  • ISBN: 978-1-4215-1358-4
  • Cover Price: $7.99 US / $9.99 CANADA
  • Age Rating: OT – Older Teens, Age 16+ for suggestive humor, violence, some drug references
    More about content ratings
  • Manga Genres:
  • US Publication Date: July 2007
    Japan Publication Date: April 2004
  • Book Description: 192 pages, black and white illustrations
  • More Manga by Hideaki Sorachi:
    • Dandelion (Featured in Gin Tama Vol. 1)
    • Shirokuro (Featured in Gin Tama Vol. 2)

Guide Review - Gin Tama Volume 1

Gin Tama asks an outrageously entertaining question: What if space aliens landed in Tokugawa-era Japan instead of Admiral Perry? In Gin Tama Volume 1, we learn that the samurai-led resistance has been out-gunned, out-numbered and defeated by the aliens (a.k.a. Amanto). In Gin Tama's Japan, once-elite samurai are second-class citizens who are forbidden to carry swords and forced to make their living doing ordinary Joe jobs.

Unemployed swordsman Gintoki Sakata is barely making a living as an "odd jobs" specialist, but he's not stressed out about it. Silver-haired Gin is laid-back, except when this hypoglycemic warrior is having one of his frequent low-blood sugar moments that makes him a little cranky.

In the tradition of other shonen anti-heroes like GTO's Great Teacher Onizuka, Gin is a carefree rebel who acts like he's too cool for school, but when the chips are down, he'll tap into his inner strength and superhuman abilities to do the right thing to help the helpless or protect the weak.

Rebellious and irreverent, Gin Tama is a series that cheerfully makes fun of shonen manga clichés at every turn. When Gin battles the aliens to buy time for straight man Shinpachi and his sister to escape, then rejoins the siblings after only one page away from the chase, Shinpachi scolds him, "Hey, you only protected us for one page!" Gin replies, "Shut up! One page is a long time for a manga artist!"

Sorachi has the balls to serve up this audacious mix of sci-fi, samurai action and sarcastic humor with a self-deprecating "it's just manga, lighten up" attitude. When even Sorachi admits that his manga is rough around the edges, it's hard to hold his off-kilter artwork against him – but I will anyway, because it's the only thing that distracts from the otherwise considerable pleasures of this loveable, goofy manga.

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