Our two featured anime are Hoozuki no Reitetsu and Osomatsu-san, which are both in their second season. Since neither deal with samurai or sci-fi, it might seem like they do not share all that much in common with Sorachi’s hilarious series. The former might be true, but we are here to prove that Hoozuki no Reitetsu and Osomatsu-san are not only worth watching, but share quite a few similarities with Gintama. Strap in for an unpredictable trip through space, Hell, and the Matsuno household.
- Episodes: 340
- Aired: Apr 4, 2006 – Dec 18, 2017
Based on Soarachi’s long-running manga, Gintama follows the adventures of a ragtag group of misfits known as Odd Jobs. The series is set in the fictional city of Edo, after aliens invaded Earth and took over Feudal Japan, resulting in a prohibition on swords and the banishment of all samurai. Formerly known as the “White Demon,” due to his blood-soaked time as a resistance fighter, Gintoki Sakata established Odd Jobs to try and make some money to fuel his pachinko and alcohol addiction. He is accompanied by the violent Kagura and Shinpachi Shimura, who exists mostly to point out the absurdness of a situation. Edo is stacked with colorful and hilarious characters, from the authoritative Shinsengumi to the resistance fighters led by Katsura and his human-sized duck pet.
Liked Gintama? Then watch Hoozuki no Reitetsu (Hozuki's Coolheadedness) Second Season
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct 8, 2017 – Present
This demon has his work cut out for him. Hell is a bureaucratic nightmare, although things are running smooth thanks to the efficient Hoozuki, who serves as the chief deputy to the King of Hell. Despite the setting, life can get boring rather quickly, as the demonic employees deal with an avalanche of paperwork and the never-ending stream of unwilling customers who fall their way. When Hoozuki is not using his flawless micromanagement skills to keep Japan’s hell functioning to a respectable degree, he is serving as a diplomatic representative for their meetings with Satan and other figures from the Judeo-Christian Hell.
Three Major Similarities Gintama and Hoozuki no Reitetsu
1. Blending the Extraordinary With the Mundane
Gintama’s fantastical setting is primarily used as a backdrop to allow the cast to strut their stuff. Despite the overabundance of alien species and the steampunk aesthetic, the humor arises from the mundane nature of their lives. Gintoki rarely ever picks up a sword, because the series prefers to show him stuck on a toilet without a square of paper. Hoozuki no Reitetsu is the same way, with Hell being treated as a dull office space that is filled with lazy employees. The unrecognizable setting quickly gives way to relatable emotions and conflicts that most people have experienced.
2. Huge Cast
Odd Jobs is the heart of Gintama, but the beloved trio is surrounded by an extensive roster of memorable characters, with most getting a few episodes dedicated to them. Despite Hoozuki no Reitetsu being considerably shorter than Sorachi’s anime, a surprisingly huge roster of recurring characters are introduced. Hoozuki is present in nearly every segment, but he is not always the star of the show. Hakutaku, a womanizing Celestial Beast, and the absent-minded Nasubi also receive a fair amount of development; while a variety of minor characters pop up for multiple episodes across the two seasons. For the most part, the cast is likeable and work well together, turning Hoozuki no Reitetsu into an ensemble comedy. Everyone is likely to find at least one character they absolutely adore.
Comedy is about timing, a fact both series clearly understand. While this is not always consistent, most of Gintama's episodes feature two separate segments. The humor arrives at a lightning pace, with the stories rarely ever overstaying their welcome. Hoozuki no Reitetsu follows a similar formula, with two or three sketches making up any given episode. As the stories rarely last longer than ten minutes, the pacing is extremely fast, with a multitude of gags stuffed into the short runtime. The stories tend to be rather similar as well, with Gintoki and Hoozuki needing to use their wits to deal with a problem, although the latter does have a cooler head than the former. In both cases, the major annoyances arise from the stupidity of the rest of the cast, as the heroes try to keep things together.
Liked Gintama? Then watch Osomatsu-san (Mr. Osomatsu) Second Season
- Episodes: Ongoing
- Aired: Oct 6, 2015 – Present
The Matsuno household consists of six identical siblings known as the sextuplets. Fueled by a desire to never work an honest day in their lives, the brothers have chosen to live as NEETs, a decision that causes nothing but trouble for their unfortunate parents. From the cynical Ichimatsu to the energetic Juushimatsu, each brother personifies a rather terrible personality trait, although they are at their worst when scheming as a group. The anime follows their everyday lives as the sextuplets struggle to find a girlfriend or a high-paying job that requires barely any effort. The brothers also go out of their way to ensure that none of them break out of their shells and become anything other than failures.
Three Major Similarities Gintama and Osomatsu-san Second Season
1. Meta Humor
Gintama is known for dishing out some unexpected jokes. There are entire arcs that break the fourth wall, and the cast regularly speaks directly to the audience. Osomatsu-san takes the same approach, dedicating entire episodes to the brothers trying to figure out the best way to revamp the series for a modern audience. Like Gintama, Osomatsu-san is aware that it is an anime and takes full advantage of that knowledge. Clichés associated with the industry are introduced and circumvented, primarily due to the borderline sadistic personalities of the lead characters. Meta humor adds a level of suspense to the stories, as anything can happen during an episode of Osomatsu-san.
Pop-culture is there to be made fun of, and few tear it a new one like Gintama and Osomatsu-san. Popular shounen anime tend to serve as targets for a decent chunk of the humor, as both comedies love to try (and fail) to emulate classics like Dragon Ball or Naruto. The Osomatsu brothers incorporate the worst traits associated with NEETs, and pretty much none of the characters show a shred of humanity. While the sextuplets are probably the worst of the bunch, the rest of the cast consists of despicable people who are out for themselves. They do not care about their fellow man, and would rather see them burn than succeed. Other mediums like video games and idols are constantly referenced, as Osomatsu-san takes on many different industries.
3. Not For Children
Osomatsu-san was created to celebrate the 80th birthday of Fujio Akatsuka, the mangaka who created Osomatsu-kun in the early 60s. Two anime adaptations were developed for the original manga, and they were primarily designed for a younger audience. That is not the case with Osomatsu-san, as adult humor is prevalent throughout the series. Like Gintama, the comedy can get rather disgusting, with bodily fluids often acting as a punchline to a joke. The brothers are rather promiscuous and tend to need little provocation to strip off their clothes. Both anime can be rather juvenile, a trait that is slightly more prevalent in Osomatsu-san. The characters are quite vicious, resulting in many embarrassing situations that might leave a substantial section of the audience blushing. Osomatsu-san is hilarious, just do not watch it around children.