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Gintama

Episode 101

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Introduction

Hijikata receives a cursed sword that is slowly changing his personality, while Shinsengumi adviser Itou returns with a secret plan.

Plot

Two Shinsengumi members talk about the return of one of their own along with the acquisition of high grade swords. Another officer, Yamazaki, overhears them and shows off his brand named sword. Then Okita arrives and shows off his superior brand named sword and dismisses Yamazki's. Finally, Kondou appears by his door and shows off his superior brand named sword and dismisses Okita's. A jealous Okita breaks Kondou's sword and Hijikata, who overheard everything, becomes annoyed at their antics.

Later, Hijikata walks along the streets of a poor neighborhood. He neither believed that a sword was a warrior's soul nor a status symbol; to him, they were just weapons. But he admits that this was why they were important to him, that he needs a sword strong enough to destroy his enemies. He visits a blacksmith who chastises him on his chipped sword due to his reckless fighting style and warns him that he will break as well thanks to it. Hijikata notices a sword in a red sheath sitting on a mount and declares that he will temporarily use the sword while his original is being repaired. The blacksmith refuses and tells the vice commander that the sword was cursed. Hijikata doesn't believe it and takes the sword anyway, thinking that he doesn't care about the sword's history. He is then confronted by a group of Joui swordsman and he decides to test out his new sword on them. He instead finds himself on his hands and knees, head bowed, begging and pleading for his life under their flabbergasted gaze. He tries to regain control of his body just to again plead for his life. The terrorists mock him for his disgraceful behavior and beat him up before deciding to kill him. Another Shinsengumi arrives and kills the men, saving Hijikata.

Later in a Shinsengumi gathering, Kondou proposes a toast to their returned member (and Hijikata's savior) Itou Kamotarou. He thanks Itou for the swords but tells him his surprise that the government had decided to increase their spending to the Shinsengumi. Itou answers that he simply appealed to their stubbornness; his eloquence goes over Kondou's head. He tells his boss that these politicians will eventually destroy the country so he declares that the Shinsengumi must move forward to become the country's protectors and saviors. Two talking officers reveal that Itou had joined the Shinsengumi a year ago with the recently created position of "staff officer" and yet within that year has gained great influence. Itou was a great orator, highly intelligent and competent and a master of a strong sword style. Although Hijikata was just as intelligent, his focus was more on battle strategies, thus Kondou usually defers to Itou when it comes to governance. They note that Itou's return will reignite the rivalry between him and Hijikata. Later that night, Itou and Hijikata walk past each other then paused to tell the other their hatred to and the promise to kill the other.

The next day, Kondou talks to Hijikata in Kondou's room about his injuries after learning about what happened from Itou. He reminds Hijikata of the Shinsengumi's origins, country swordsmen who were able to become samurai thanks to the Kyokuchuu Hatto, the 45 strict rules created by Hijikata that the force follows; if someone breaks a rule, they must commit seppuku. He tells his friend that the rules were based on Hijikata's ideal of a samurai, so Hijikata is the model in which the others look up to. As such, he must make sure that he doesn't betray this ideal. Hijikata, in turn, tells Kondou about his reservations on Itou and about how the commander's constant deference to him has spread confusion among the ranks as they are unsure who is leading them. He adds that Itou has added allies into the police and that many of his present actions heavily imply that he want to overthrow Kondou. Kondou dismisses Hijikata's concerns and tells him that Itou's knowledge was useful for the Shinsengumi and refuses to treat his subordinates as such but instead, as equals. Hijikata starts to rant about Kondou's obliviousness until he abruptly leaves the room to his own. He despairs when he forgot to set up recording a magical girl cartoon that is on now. He is shocked that his body is reacting on its own again and worse... Okita saw everything.

Sometime later during training, a group of officers hides in a dojo equipment room. One tells the others about a rumor that Itou saved Hijikata but Hijikata himself was acting strange, bowing and pleading to the enemies. Yamazaki dismisses these rumors but a second confirms that he heard about it too. A third tells the others to be quiet or they'll get in trouble due to the reason they were hiding. They were reading Jump magazine, which is forbidden by the rules that states that only Magazine should be read in the premises (due to Hijikata being a Magazine fan). Yamazaki unknowingly gives his Jump to Hijikata then desperately tries to play off the comic when he realizes it. Instead they are stunned when Hijikata declares his interest in the TuLoveRu series and decides to buy its manga. During a meeting, an officer's phone goes off, which is also against the rules. But then Hijikata's cell rings (playing an anime ringtone) and he answers it in front of his stunned subordinates. Later, three cops interrogate and torture a Joui for information on his comrade's whereabouts but he refuses to answer. They ask an overseeing Hijikata to be rougher to him and are surprisingly told to leave. After, one states that with Hijikata doing the interrogation and with his fearsome reputation, they will be quickly able to gain a confession. After a long moment of silence the three officers open the door to see both Hijikata and the terrorist playing a camping trip.

Hijikata is forced to tell Okita about the cursed sword and his strange behavior in a restaurant booth but Okita seems to not believe him. He states that before he realized it, he had switched personalities with someone else, or rather the sword amplified his "loser" traits into a split personality. Okita asks why he didn't get rid of the sword but Hijikata answers that he had tried but was compelled to keep it with him. Okita wonders what Hijikata will do now since Itou might take his position thanks to his weakened state. Hijikata adds that he has also violated the Kyokuchuu Hatto at least ten times and Itou might call for his ritual suicide. He leaves the booth and warns Okita about Itou potentially going after him. Okita looks at him before following and stops him... to order that he buys Okita yakisoba bread and a Jump magazine. Hours later, Hijikata is late for a mandatory meeting, and Itou decides to use this and his recent rule breaking as a means to demand that the worried Kondou be decisive and discipline Hijikata. It is further cemented when Hijikata rushes into the conference room, thanks to getting Okita's orders as if he is Okita's subordinate. Hijikata then realizes that not only has Okita tricked him, but also that he and Itou had teamed up to undermine him.

Characters

Trivia

  • Yamazaki's sword 'Osafune Mark II'
    • This is possibly a reference to 備前長船 Bizen county's Osafune, who is a well-known swordsmith.
    • The 'Mark-II' is possibly a pot-shot at Gundam's RX-178 Gundam Mark-II prototype mobile suit.
  • Sougo's sword
    • Okita Sougo's historical precedent 沖田総司 Okita Soji was erroneously believed to carry the 菊一文字 Kiku-ichimonji range of swords due to the popularity of Shiba Ryoutarou's (司馬 遼太郎) historical novels.
  • Kondou's sword
    • The Kotetsu (虎徹) is possibly a reference to the range of swords made by swordsmith 長曾禰虎徹 Nagasone Kotetsu. Kondou's historical precedent Kondou Isami's (近藤 勇) Kotetsu was reputedly a forgery, which would explain why when Okita swung it against a rock in the anime episode, it broke, implying that it is not the real Kotetsu.
  • The Hokuto Ittou (北斗一刀) style that Itou learned - this is a reference to the (北辰一刀流 Hokushin Ittou Ryuu) style of sword-fighting, which Itou's historical precedent 伊東 甲子太郎 Itou Kashitarou learn. Sakamoto Tatsuma's historical precedent 坂本龍馬 Sakamoto Ryouma had apparently been taught this style as well.
  • The JUMP cover that Yamazaki is holding inside the storeroom -
    • Cover page is a 'ToLoveRu' manga cover, an ongoing JUMP manga
    • Yamazaki mentioned 'Boys Be', which is a Magazine manga from the 1990s
  • Yamazaki mentioned that Hijikata stipulated Regulation 17 'No manga other than Magazine are allowed to be read within the confines of the station' -
    • This refers to Weekly Shounen Magazine published by Kodansha, which tends to have more mature content for older readers, as opposed to Weekly Shounen Jump published by Shueisha, which was launched later.
  • Hijikata's handphone rang while he was briefing the troops on their duties -

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