Gin Tama Volume 22: Always Keep A Driver In Your Heart

Gin Tama Volume 22: Always Keep A Driver In Your Heart
Story and Art: Hideaki Sorachi
Release Date: 4th February 2008
Covers Chapters 185-193
Shonen Jump Advanced /Viz Media

Unfortunately for English-speaking Gin Tama fans, we are close to the end. The second to the last of our Viz releases has been and gone and the finale hit stores in August. I’ll save the weeping for the final volume, so for now let us look at what treats Volume 22 contains. Yakuza betrayals, sushi making, toilet refurbishing, online video gaming and prison breaking make up what could possibly be the most bizarre set of stories yet. Some things are better left unsaid.

The collection of stories range from emotional to plain gross and it holds no punches when dishing out the gags. We start with the tale of a Yakuza who hides the truth of the Yakuza bosses son’s death, before moving into the weird and wonderful world of Sorachi’s comedy. My favourite character Hasegawa has to look after a sushi restaurant for the night, but only knows how to make cucumber rolls. With the help of Gintoki and pals, things take a turn for the worst. Seeing a robot puke up fresh meals is surely scarring.This image is quickly replaced by an incredibly gross story about toilet hygiene in the Shinsengumi. Hijikata works with the clean freak Seizo to bring cleanliness to their headquarters, but the jokes are some of the most risqué and vile yet. Seeing someone take a dump in the urinal due to an image of Hijikata completely replaces the puking robot woman in the mind. Many a time in that chapter would I stop and gawp at what I was reading only to burst into fits of laughter. Toilet humour is fine now and then!

Moving on we get the volumes main story, the screwdriver alien arc. Two aliens are after repairs for their PSP so they can play a game called Mon Hun, and for some reason they start abducting people and turning them into screwdrivers. Of course our main cast are the ones who undergo these abductions and Gintoki has had his most crucial body part replace with a driver. I will leave that one for you to guess.

This arc turns into an insight on online gaming as the gang create avatars and go monkey hunting in hopes of finding the two aliens. While incredibly geeky and relying on people to understand a little on how RPG games work, it is incredibly funny with rule breaking, online based jokes relating to girls and the amazing revelation on who the games best player is. Remember that video game success is inversely related to real world success, and you might be able to guess.  The arc is silly but wonderfully so, Gin Tama can change from drama to surreal at the flick of a page, and it still manages to provide thought-provoking life lessons amongst the madness. Plus a bulky warrior flirting with two aliens online. Another image to remember.

Volume 22 is weird and sick, but also a hoot and a holler to read. Keeping a straight face will be an incredible task, and after it ends the depressing though that there is only one more to go creeps in. Make it last!


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