Re: Scamp’s rant on Gintama, or Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun 01Posted: July 8, 2014 | |
Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun is a shounen shoujo-manga parody. The titular character Nozaki-kun is the love interest of heroine Sakura, and holds a secret double life as a shoujo manga artist. This one aspect provides the material for all of the show’s gags, and I could see this show getting pretty old pretty quickly. (But then again, there have been dozens of successful anime about four girls doing absolutely nothing.)
Regardless, I want to respond to a post by Scamp in which he goes off on a rant about how Nozaki-kun shouldn’t turn into Gintama, which in his words, “spends 20 episodes parodying goofy shounen logic and then goes and pulls a 3-4 episode arc of goofy shounen logic with a straight face. They are always the worst parts of Gintama.” Scamp then makes a blatant attempt to troll people into arguing for Gintama, but I’ll bite at the line.
While some of the people in the comments section make good points (especially Taka and Ahelo), I feel like they’re missing the point. What’s at question here is: how does the parody differ from the source material? And is it better to emulate the source material, or to simply make fun of it? Let’s take a look at both Nozaki-kun and Gintama…
This series is a humorous look at the shoujo genre intended for a male audience. The female author has extensive experience with shoujo manga, but for the most part the audience is familiar with only shitty stereotypes like sparkles and deepness of feelings. Therefore from this point forth, there may be hints of shoujo anime in Nozaki-kun, but it will never really deal with these elements seriously simply because the audience won’t accept them. So Scamp’s rant is completely irrelevant when applied to Nozaki-kun.
2. Gintama (and less so, Ouran)
Gintama is one of the most popular shounen manga of the decade. Before being a parody, it is a true shounen manga with all the tropes of shounen manga stuffed inside it. What differs between Gintama and something like One Piece or Naruto?
Some might point to the wacky gags, setting, and characters of Gintama and claim that those mark it as a parody. But to me, that’s irrelevant. One Piece also has stupid gags and wacky characters, but it just doesn’t put that big an emphasis on the jokes. Is it, then, the frequency of the gags that matters? Still, I’d say no. Instead, it’s because Gintama resets after each story arc. Between arcs, Gintoki isn’t powering up and gaining new abilities to fight more powerful foes. Instead, he’s always back to lounging around at the Yorozuya and making stupid remarks with Shinpachi and Kagura. Gintama has the spirit of a shounen series with the pace of a gag series.
But as Ahelo says in the comments:
Because hell Scamp things do not always have to be so clear cut. Personally, I see anime like Ouran High School Host Club as an attempt to poke holes at a beaten up genre while still acknowledging that it still a genre that works. Why the hell does everything have to be black and white for it to work?
Scamp’s rant shows a desire to separate Gintama the comedy/parody and Gintama the shounen series… but why? Like Ouran, Gintama is both comedy and shounen – it just has more comedy than things like Naruto. So in the case of Gintama, I feel like the question [Is it good to “become the damn thing it’s supposed to be a parody of?”] is also inapplicable. It’s not so clear cut that Gintama is just a parody. Being comedic doesn’t make Gintama any less of a shounen series, so faulting it for including elements of its own genre is, I think, off the mark.
Nitpicking done, I think that a mix of shounen and comedy suits Gintama well. Without the “bad shounen arcs that completely clash with the tone of the entire rest of the show and undermine all the jokes it made up until then,” Gintama’s characters would simply be reduced down to one or two jokes at a time. Shinpachi isn’t just his glasses, nor is Hasegawa just his sunglasses. Those may be recurring gags throughout the show, but the shounen arcs flesh out the main characters enough to make them more than Nozaki-kun or Sakura. As such, the cast of characters in Gintama have become more memorable to me than those from any other anime, and I think that’s the secret to Gintama’s popularity.
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