The situation between Gintoki and Kintoki intensifies as the latter brands anyone who sides with the former to be an enemy alongside him, taking Tsukuyo, Kyuubei, and Sacchan’s pleas to trust them as his friends as such.
In doing this however, Kintoki has turned Katsura and Hasegawa against him, Katsura affirming the promise they made to cut each other down if either of them changed and Hasegawa their friendship, and from this they finally believe that Gintoki is who he says he is. But Kintoki refuses to back down and hits them with another hypnotic wave that brainwashes all but Gintoki’s closest friends, who hold off the others while Gintoki and Kintoki finally clash. Despite Gintoki being able to easily overpower Kintoki though, Kintoki unveils that if two conditions are fulfilled that a program will activated that will wipe everyone’s memories clean, these conditions being the destruction of his core and the restoration of Kagura, Shinpachi, and Otae’s memories.
Alongside this Kintoki also reveals that he never intended to take over his position as the protagonist but completely destroy Gintama and start anew, as such this episode could be considered Gintoki’s tombstone. Even so however, Gintoki strikes him down with no regrets, tears out his core, and runs off to an isolated rooftop to attempt sacrifice himself. Declaring that like him, he too has copies in Kagura, Shinpachi, and every last character in the series. As he attempts to do this though, he finds himself surrounded by Kagura, Shinpachi, and Otae all willing to help him and sure that they’ll be able to meet again someday.
With Gintama now at an end, a new series known as Mantama begins revolving around the last man on Earth seeking the scabbard to his sword, with Kintoki as the protagonist. But only in the first episode do things start going downhill for Kintoki as his manhood, the thing that qualifies him as the protagonist in Mantama, is turned into ship in a bottle in a stroke of bad luck, and if this wasn’t enough when the heroine of the story steps forth as the transfer student she has a rather shocking secret. Being revealed to be none other than Gintoki here to hijack his series as a lesson to him with other characters removing their disguises.
Tama and Gengai arriving in the real world to explain this to him and why his hypnotic explosion failed, that the bonds people share go beyond memories. While Gintoki is prepared to just leave it be though, Kagura and Shinpachi attempt to apologise for Kintoki’s actions, Kintoki admitting that while perfect he was ultimately flawed and Gintoki responding that all the characters together help make up for each other’s flaws.
A fitting end to a great arc, honestly I expected this arc to be fun but never quite as good as it ended up being. While the tensions between Sugita and Nakamura reached a fever pitch, the arc also offered an interesting deconstruction of Gintoki’s character and would have served as a fitting end to the series if it needed to.
Really, if the series were to end it could have done so quite nicely after an ending like that. As Gintoki’s antithesis Kintoki couldn’t have been any more perfect of a villain and in the resulting conflict there was a more than ample conclusion as Gintoki even accepted that even if he wasn’t around Shinpachi and Kagura would carry his will. Managing to nicely tie in everything that had happened over the course of these 250 or so episode into one nice and sweet overarching ending, Gintoki may have given up a little too easily but his reasons relating to the other characters made up for it and more.
Before that though I liked how Gintoki was able to bring his friends back to his side better than what had happened in the last episode, playing into the promise that he had made with Katsura almost two hundred episodes ago, Kintoki was placed into a position where he had to either back down or shatter his illusion. Opposing this however Shinpachi and Kagura regaining their memories really came out of nowhere and almost felt like an afterthought, with Kintoki taking on the role of the villain it made sense and at some point had to happen, but still the execution wasn’t that good.
With all of that said and done the Mantama hijack was simply amazing as well, with Gintama at an end Kintoki finally got his own series in the form of a parody of the harem genre which in truth was just the Yorozuya screwing with him. Orchestrating it all before bringing it crashing back to Earth as Gintoki revealed it to be yet another elaborate ploy to get back at him. Either way the best thing about it probably had to be how unexpected it all was, after an ending like that part of me almost believed that Gintama had ended and that Sorachi had gone onto another series, especially when you consider how long he’s been writing Gintama, but it turned out to be anything but that.
Lastly the changes in the opening and ending to reflect Gintoki’s return, no matter how minor, were also great. And given that Kintoki has been forgiven and is still around it’s going to be interesting to see what will happen to his character.