Volume 18 was all fun and games with little stories but volume 19 begins another serious arc as the Shinsengumi is on the verge of collapse! Shinsengumi member Ito returns and is up to no good, factions are formed and Hijikata has been cursed by a sword! Not to forget a member of Takasugi’s group is lurking around…
Volume 19 is an arc much like the Benizakura arc from 11. It offers a story which gives hints on what the future may hold and the plot progression to the ending moves a little, just a little. The arc is sorely about the Shinsengumi and how a possible takeover from clever officer Ito could affect things. With Hijikata and Okita being part of the group it would be hard for anyone to stand a chance of mixing anything up within so Hijikata gets a nerfing for the arc. It seems to be a trait to weaken a strong character in a story so the bad guys stand a chance and for this arc Hijikata is cursed by a sword. It all sounds very serious and as a whole the arc is despite it starting with some hilarious swords which are so expensive they have built-in MP3 players and carpet rollers. The other fun though comes from this curse, the cursed sword Hijikata receives turns him into a loser otaku. Think about that for a minute.
And breath. Loser otaku Hijikata is one of the funniest things in the whole of Gin Tama, seeing the demon vice chief collecting anime figures and arguing at anime conventions is a sight to see indeed. Thanks to his curse he is thrown out of the Shinsengumi and needs help from Odd Jobs Gin which helps bring the main character into the storyline. the comedy is littered all the way through and it compliments the drama well. One minute you have betrayal, the next you have Sailor Moon references, a perfect world.
The action is intense if a little confusing at points and I feel the emotional moment at the end of the volume falls a little flat as the plot line is so tired and cliché, loneliness. When playing with clichéd ideas I think you have to be careful to prevent it coming across as boring and here it is a little hit and miss. The flashback is the main issue I have with it here and the present day reflection is decent, so Gin Tama covers it in an average way. Not terrible, not great, a plus point is this isn’t the end of the arc and the big final event is still yet to come.
Volume 19 has a very exciting set of events going on through the course of it, the new characters are interesting, the plot has a good mix and humour and drama and the story is a real page turner. It may have a boring back story hiding amongst the pages and pages of amazing content but it fixes itself up before it falls flat and the cliffhanger as usual leaves me wanting more. Volume 18 was good with its short funny stories and volume 19 is good with its more serious story. Gin Tama has the perfect mix and a 43,000 word interview with Sorachi himself is a great bonus to the action packed volume. Through all those words between him and his editor, a lot of insightful things are learned and he comes across as a really nice down to earth guy. But I got that impression already, like a jerk could write something this good!