Where does one begin with one of the funniest anime in recent memory? No, I’m not talking about One-Punch Man (even though it’s well-deserved); I’m talking about Gintama. With story arcs that sound borderline insane, random situations and encounters that leave so many people amused yet scratching their head at the same time, and a wide variety of jokes spread throughout the series, Gintama has certainly earned its reputation as a series where anything can and will happen and will leave you breathless with laughter. Despite all the randomness that happens to make this series funny, there is one consistency throughout Gintama that is the biggest contribution to its humor: the characters themselves.
Whether they instigate certain situations, find everything amusing, have weird quirks, constantly get themselves into trouble, or are actually normal and are try to comprehend what happened just as much as we are, each character brings their own style of humor to the series. However, because of how subjective humor can be, some Gintama characters are considered by a lot of people to be funny as opposed to just some. Bearing in mind the number of characters in Gintama, the type of humor represented, and their overall popularity, here are the top 10 funniest Gintama characters.
10. Toshiro Hijikata
The vice-chief of the Shinsengumi and also known as the “Demon Vice-Chief”, Hijikata has earned a reputation for having a ruthless and serious attitude both on the battlefield and in his everyday life. Hijikata may be rivals with Gintoki, but he also regards as Gintoki as a close friend, as he too loyally protects those that are close to him. Hijikata’s humor comes across best in the form of multiple running gags, such as his sword being possessed by an otaku and his obsession with mayonnaise. Despite trying and failing to be cool with whatever it is that he’s going through, Hijikata is the closest thing to a recurring rival in the series for Gintoki, marking his skills as a fighter. If you like the kind of humor involving a character going to the extremes on each end of the personality scale, then Hijikata would be a good character to start with.
Despite the appearance of being an innocent girl without a care in the world, Kagura is actually a member of the Yato Clan, one of the strongest alien races in the series. Because of this immense strength that she possesses, Kagura is easily the strongest amongst the trio of herself, Gintoki, and Shinpachi. Kagura’s humor mainly relies on performing the unexpected. Even though she is only 14 and appears to be delicate, Kagura is anything but. She often has the mouth of a sailor, shows unexpected displays of her strength (such as accidentally killing most of her pets when she hugs them in her sleep), and usually devours an incredible amount of food no normal person of her size can eat. Kagura looks up to Gin as a father figure, and shares Gin’s view of fiercely protecting those close to her. If you’re a fan of unexpected humor, Kagura would be a character to keep an eye on.
8. Kotaro Katsura
A former comrade of Gintoki’s during the Joi War, Katsura is introduced to the series as a fugitive who is wanted by the authorities because of his desire to destroy the entire country. Due to the new people he has met in Edo, however, Katsura has since changed his mind, instead focusing on seeking a way to bringing about a change without causing pointless bloodshed. Katsura’s humor is similar to Gintoki’s in the sense that he tends to make decisions no one really understands. Some examples that happen repeatedly would be Katsura’s completely ineffectual disguises to avoid being captured by the Shinsengumi or his refusal to kill the Shogun whenever he’s naked. Katsura also tends to have dramatic flashbacks about subjects that are pointless, voice inanimate objects due to his imagination, and has a thing for unfaithful housewives. If you’re a fan of Gintoki’s type of humor, odds are Katsura will be right up your alley.
The right hand “partner” of Katsura, Elizabeth is either a giant duck, a giant penguin, or the director in some kind of weird bird costume…whichever makes the most sense to you. Elizabeth is fiercely loyal to Katsura to the point where it has saved Katsura’s life multiple times. Elizabeth almost never talks at all throughout the series, preferring to communicate via signboards, which also serve as its weapons. A lot of Elizabeth’s humor comes with its interactions via the signboards, the use of its bazooka at random times, the outfits it wears, or the rivalry antics Elizabeth engages in with Saito Shimaru, whose gimmick also involves using signboards to talk. It’s even revealed later that there is more than 1 Elizabeth that accompanies Katsura! If you enjoy random bouts of humor involving the character that even most other characters aren’t sure what to make of, Elizabeth is the duck…penguin…thing for you.
The leader of Yoshiwara’s women-only law enforcement squad known as the Hundred Blooms, Tsukuyo is a no-nonsense type of woman. Scarring her face to display her refusal of accepting the classic female norms, the “Courtesan of Death” stands as one of the most accomplished female fighters in the series. Tsukuyo’s humor is similar to Shinpachi’s in terms of being the straight character in the current situation, but unlike Shinpachi, Tsukuyo has more of a cold and reserved seriousness who fails to see any humor at all. That is, until she meets up with Gintoki and his friends, where she starts to open up more. Tsukuyo’s most humorous scenes revolve around drinking any amount of alcohol, resulting in her going on a completely drunken rampage. She may also have feelings for Gintoki, although she (like the rest of Gintoki’s female friends) tends to beat the crap out of him whenever he purposefully (or accidentally) gropes her. If you’re a fan of the overly serious character that eventually acts as stupid as everyone else from time to time, Tsukuyo’s the character for you.
5. Shimura Shinpachi
A 16 year old samurai who Gintoki helps in order to save his older sister at the beginning of the series, Shinpachi joins up with Gintoki in the hope that he can study the way of the samurai under him. Shinpachi’s humor comes from the fact that he acts as “the straight man” throughout the shenanigans Gintoki and his friends get into, establishing himself as a connection to the audience watching the insanity going on around him. Because of how often this happens, the rest of the characters begin to joke about how Shinpachi’s only character trait is his glasses, resulting in many characters talking to any pair of glasses as if they’re Shinpachi himself. If it weren’t any worse for Shinpachi, his voice becomes high pitched as he overreacts to the situation at hand. Shinpachi does become more skilled and even somewhat of a badass as the series progresses, providing humor unexpectedly when he is able to show some serious skill. That being said, Shinpachi’s straight man role, while sometimes taken advantage of by his friends, provides some funny relatable moments for the audience.
4. Shigeshige Tokugawa
Referred to as the Great General, Shigeshige is the ruling Shogun of Edo, and is legitimately competent despite being so young. He never loses his cool and has the best intentions for his people. He also tends to end up naked every time he’s introduced. Shigeshige’s humor usually involves the running gag of either accidentally losing his clothes or stripping them off himself, yet somehow always maintaining a stoic presence. There’s just no holding back the laughter when you see Shigeshige with a serious expression on his face despite his tighty-whities being stretched to extreme lengths, such as when he’s drinking a soda or standing on an inflatable raft. Despite these constant setbacks, Shigeshige continues to do his best to experience a normal citizen’s life and make friends, and with Gintoki being one of the few people to recognize him, this tends to lead to some unique circumstances. If you enjoy running gags, Shigeshige’s running gag never fails to disappoint.
3. Isao Kondo
The commander of the Shinsengumi, an anti-terrorist unit, Kondo serves as a good and honorable leader who has earned his subordinates’ respect. He is also goofy, tends to voluntarily end up naked, has earned the nickname “Gorilla” due to his appearance (especially his arse), and is constantly stalking Shinpachi’s sister Tae, resulting in her beating him senseless every time he’s caught. Kondo’s humor definitely has a perverted sense to it as well as the unexpectedness of someone in his positon engaging in certain antics. However, even though he constantly comes across as incompetent, Kondo does take his job seriously, earning the respect of his men to the point of rebellion when he was imprisoned and showing his fighting skills numerous times, such as knocking out his opponents in one hit. If you like visual gags, Kondo is definitely a go to character.
2. Taizou "Madao" Hasegawa
Once a high-working official in the government, Hasegawa was living a normal life until an unfortunate incident with Prince Hata forced him to flee, costing him his job. As a result, Hasegawa is homeless, becomes a heavy drinker, and survives in a similar manner that Gin and his friends do. Hasegawa’s humor is mainly of the self-deprecating variety, stemming from having unfortunate things happen to him over and over repeatedly, such as failing multiple suicide attempts, having his epiphanies ignored by everyone, and taking living with the cardboard to the extreme. Even when something good does happen to him, Hasegawa’s bad luck and the friendships he keeps prevent him from further improving his circumstances, such as giving away 10,000,000 yen he won to a family that needs it. If you’re a fan of dark humor, Madao is the character for you.
1. Sakata Gintoki
A lazy samurai trying to survive during a time when samurai aren’t needed anymore, Gintoki is forced to take up odd jobs in order to pay his rent. Combined with his need to go to great lengths to protect his friends as well as complete strangers, Gintoki finds himself in some pretty strange situations to say the least. Gintoki’s style of humor is very much in line with that of most of the other characters in the sense that he overreacts to many different kinds of situations, such has drinking booze as fast as possible to forget sleeping with Hasegawa Taizou while wasted. Gintoki also intentionally and unintentionally makes sexual innuendos (especially when interacting physically with his female friends) and breaks the 4th wall repeatedly, such as getting worried that certain actions he did wile drinking will get the show canceled. Even though Gintoki can come across as a jerk, often loses when gambling, drinks too much, and is obsessed with reading the Weekly Shounen Jump (as well as strawberry milk), there’s more to Gintoki than meets the eye. Despite the humorous take on the flashbacks we see of how Gintoki became the man he is today, Gintoki has definitely gone through a lot of hardship in his life, and refuses to allow failure as an option whenever he has to protect his friends or strangers from somebody. The final result: a character who definitely has some development to him in addition to connecting all of the other comedic characters together.
There are so many characters in Gintama to choose from in terms of humor, and everybody has their own particular character or characters they look forward to seeing. The fact that Gintama is as popular as it is just goes to show how despite everybody’s humor preferences, there are some approaches to humor that most people will find funny. These are the top 10 funniest characters in Gintama that represent most if not all the kinds of humor the show brings. If you think there’s someone missing and should be recognized, let us know in the comments!