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Hijikata, now fully possessed by the otaku blade, begs Gintoki for help to save the Shinsengumi as Itou reveals his true colors.
In a program that talks about the rise of the Otaku youths, one hundred are on stage to talk about their obsessions, one of them being Shinpachi. Gintoki and Kagura watch on television as Shinpachi chastises the public on their misconceptions of Otaku and dismisses the fans of 2D girls of denying reality. The 2D fans, lead by a sunglasses wearing man named Tosshi mocks the idol lovers for being just as bad if not worse then them. Their arguments devolve into a brawl and Gintoki notices that Tosshi looks familiar.
In the Shinsengumi headquarters, days had passed since Hijikata was placed on indefinite suspension. Itou had wanted the former vice commander killed but Kondou was able to get him on leave instead. The whispering officers also knew that Itou will make sure that Hijikata will be unable to return to his duties thanks to their rivalry. And with Okita by his side, this may be the start of Itou's era. Okita visits Itou, who is surprised that he had betrayed Hijikata despite being his "friend" long before the Shinsengumi's founding. The bespectacled man asks for the first captain's wish, which is the vice commander's position. Okita leaves as Itou answers that he will get it as long as he follows him. One of his subordinates, Shinohara, asks why he want to give Okita that title when Itou had gotten rid of Hijikata to try to obtain it himself. Itou responds that he was never interested in the position from the start. He tell Shinohara that a samurai's greatest tragedy is being misunderstood and reminds him of how many talented warriors faded from the limelight because of following weak leaders. Despite being a prodigy and joining the Joui, he couldn't find his equal. He ended up finding his equal in Hijikata when he joined the Shinsengumi; Hijikata sensed Itou's ambitions on wanting to lead the Shinsengumi and not be under Kondou. He is saddened that Hijikata was his enemy but now with him out of the way, Itou can finally kill Kondou. Yamazaki eavesdrops outside his room and decides to go find Hijikata with this new found information; but his is quickly spotted by Itou. The injured Yamazaki flees, shocked that Itou had teamed up with someone before being stabbed by this person, Kawakami Bansai of the Kiheitai. Itou arrives and tells Yamazaki that there is no way to get rid of terrorists but without them, the police won't exist. It is better to work together to reach a balance and with him leading the Shinsengumi, they with evolve an grow stronger. Yamazaki weakly crawls away and tells Itou that although few people will understand him, no one will follow someone who doesn't follow the samurai way or any principles; Yamazaki will much rather follow Kondou and Hijikata. Itou admires that Yamazaki still wishes to tell his bosses but he leaves Bansai to finish the kill, while he "reports" Yamazaki's death to his bosses.
At the same time in the Yorozuya apartment, Shinpachi apologizes to Tosshi, really Hijikata, for fighting him. Hijikata forgives him as his figurine was unharmed in the scuffle. Gintoki, Shinpachi and Kagura watch as he acts completely different from normal, including using polite speech and taking pictures of Kagura due to a resemblance of another magical girl. He tells the stunned trio that he was fired from his job and now must find a way to get money without working, then asks if they want to draw manga with him. He then thinks about selling his sword but tells them that he is unable to part with it and that it is cursed. The four visits Tetsuko's blacksmith shop to look into it and she reveals that Hijikata's sword was a Muramasha, known for absorbing human souls. This particular sword houses the soul of an otaku, who was killed by his enraged mother after being tired of her son constantly staying in the house watching anime. Whoever wields the blade will become obsessed with anime and other 2D media while refusing to work or fight. She warns the Yorozuya that the sword has most likely consumed Hijikata completely with nothing left by a loser otaku. The three hear someone smoking and turn to see Hijikata, who had resurfaced for the last time for his last smoke and is surprised to see the Yorozuya in front of him. He takes the chance and with his last ounce of strength, pleads to the Yorozuya his first and last request, to protect the Shinsengumi.
During the night, the Yorozuya and Tosshi wander the Edo streets. Shinpachi grows concerned that something is happening to the Shinsengumi and Hijikata's firing may be because of it. Gintoki tries to ignore being involved, but Shinpachi admits that this something was enough for the prideful vice commander to ask for their help. They are interrupted by Tosshi asking them to help him buy three of the newest figurine that will be on sale tomorrow, one for collecting, one for viewing, and the last for "personal reasons"; they beat him up due to that last reason. A couple of police cars arrive and some Shinsengumi officers asks Hijikata to return to the force. They state that Yamazaki was killed outside the headquarters but the culprit hasn't been found. They grab him to take him back to the car, surround him then suddenly pull out their swords to kill him. The suspecting Gintoki grabs Tosshi and they, Kagura and Shinpachi run into an ally. They wonder why the Shinsengumi were attacking Tosshi and are forced to stop as a police car drives into their ally. Kagura stops the car, Gintoki throws out its occupants and the four drive out of the ally with the stolen car. Gintoki makes contact with someone from Itou's faction, who unknowingly reveals Itou's plans on assassinating Kondou and Hijikata to take over the Shinsengumi and their alliance with the Joui. He also reveals that at this moment Kondou and Itou are in a train on a recruiting trip with Kondou completely surrounded by Itou's faction with the remaining Shinsengumi unaware of what's happening.
On the train, Kondou tells Itou about his life in Bushu as they will be going there for recruitment, a rough place he, Hijikata and Okita grew up in. He admits that nothing much changed with them then and now and wonders if they have moved forward. Itou answers that Kondou was an interesting samurai, someone who is very accepting and attracted lots of people to the Shinsengumi, like a white cloth that can become any color. Itou in turn compares himself to a black cloth, that can't change color but can infect anyone else with its color. He then apologizes to Kondou as Itou's men point their swords at Kondou, telling him that he has already corrupted his white banner. Kondou calmly laughs at him and admits that he was never a white banner from the start, he was actually dirt with stains that can never wash out. Despite the annoyance of these stains, they accumulate into a banner that he can be proud off. He tells Itou that Kondou's faction is unpredictable, can't be controlled and won't be defeated by the likes of Itou. Okita walks into their train car and after killing an officer, demands to know what Itou was doing with Kondou.
- Sakata Gintoki
- Shimura Shinpachi
- Murata Tetsuko
- Kawakami Bansai
- The show on which Shinpachi and Toushirou participated in was called 'Otaku Summit' hosted on the 朝まで生討論! asa made nama touron 'Live discussion until morning' show - this is a reference to popular 朝まで生テレビ! asa made nama terebi 'Live TV telecast until morning!' started in 1987 that frequently discusses social-sciences issues until the wee hours. For more details, refer to Wikipedia Japanese Link
- Hijikata's figurine 'Tomoe 5000'
- Figurine resembles the character Sailor Moon, Hijikata's seiyuu 中井 和哉 Takai Kazuya is seiyuu for 浅沼一等 Asanuma Ittou in 美少女戦士セーラームーンＳＳ 'Pretty Girl Warrior Sailor Moon SS'
- Following from the above, Hijikata made an ironic reference that he wants to be an anime seiyuu as first choice career instead of working in the Shinsengumi.
- The name 'Tomoe' is a possible reference to historical female samurai Tomoe Gozen, which would then explain the samurai sword being held by 'Tomoe5000'. '5,000' is pronounced gosen in Japanese. For more details, refer to Wikipedia Link
- Hijikata asked whether Kagura's outfit is a cosplay of 'Magical Chinese Girl Papaya ' - this is a possible reference to the protagonist Sendou Momoka of 'Saint Dragon Girl' Manga series. ANN Link
- The use of 'shi' 氏 as a form of address is very formal, and possibly punning on the possessed Toushirou's otaku name 'Tosshi'. For more details on the use of this honorific, refer to Wikipedia Link
- Gintoki expressed surprise at Hijikata's use of ござる gozaru. This is an olden and very polite form, whose modern equivalent is ございます gozaimasu, and therefore very unlike the usual Hijikata mannerism. The only other characters to use it so far are Kawakami Bansai and Itou Kamotarou. (to verify?)
- Hijikata mentioned that he is doing a doujinshi based on 'ToLoveRu', which is another manga cum anime series. The cover he drew is a 'replica' of the original manga's volume 1 cover.
- The cursed sword - the name 村正 Muramasa is the name of the swordsmith who forged this range of swords. It gained notoriety for being 'cursed' due to many unfortunate deaths related to it. For more details, refer to Wikipedia Link.
- Famous historical Chinese Generals mentioned by Itou:
- 李牧 Li Mu (Japanese 'Ri Bouku') of 赵国 Zhao Kingdom, eventually killed by his own king. He is 1 of the 4 Great Generals of the Warring States Period. For more details, refer to Wikipedia Link
- 岳飛 Yue Fei (Japanese 'Gaku Bi') of 南宋 Nan Song Dynasty, was ordered by his king to kill himself, which he did. He is acknowledged as 1 of the foremost patriots then and now. For more details, refer to Wikipedia Link
- The irony of Itou comparing himself to the above references is that the 2 great generals were well-known for their loyalty to their kings and their country.
- While escaping from Itou's men, Hijikata said he felt like his arms are being ripped off like Guts of 'Berserk'. Guts lost his left arm in the series. For more details, refer to Wikipedia Link