The “White Demon” and his friends are back for a brand-new adventure in this hilarious sequel to the 2017 hit live-action adaptation of the manga and anime.
After saving Edo from his former friend turned nemesis Takasugi, Gintoki Sakata is in a crisis as he has been unable to pay his rent. Constantly drawing the ire of his landlord, Gintoki, along with his friend Shinpachi and Kagura, are desperate to find work. When they learn that there is an urgent job at the local hostess club, they take the chance. However, the trio must dress up as “hostesses” to be guests of the Shogun himself while the Shinsengumi, the police, stand watch.
The Shinsengumi, led by Kondo, are excited to learn that a respected officer, Kamotaro Ito, is intending to be the new in-charge of the group. Kondo is excited but Ito feels that Deputy Chief Hijikita is no longer capable of keeping his duties due to his change in attitude and love for otaku. When Hijikita is fired from the group, Ito’s true nature is revealed. He intends to take over Edo and will go through any means necessary to ensure his rule. When Kondo finds himself kidnapped by Ito and his men, Gintoki and his friends will make a decision that forces the two rival factions to do something they never have done before: join forces!
The live-action adaptation of Hideaki Sorachi’s hit manga Gintama was a hit upon its release in 2017. The combination of samurai style action and comic hysterics made for a wild and hilarious ride in an alternate universe where samurai and aliens co-exist. The lead trio of Shun Oguri, Masaki Susa, and Kanna Hashimoto performed so excellently in the original that it was only natural that they would return to their roles with many core cast members from the original plus some new cast members who prove to be both funny and at times, pure evil.
What’s great about the film is that it starts with a funny dialogue between the trio of core characters discussing Suda’s Japan Academy Award win while Oguri got nominated but failed to win, followed by a PSA on piracy courtesy of Masaki Okada’s Katsura and his pet Elizabeth before we get to the actual movie. There are two interconnecting stories, one involving an assassination plot against the Shogun with the arrival of a new member of the Shinsengumi who has an evil agenda on his mind.
The late Haruma Miura, best known for his role as Eren in the two-part live-action adaptation of Attack on Titan in 2015, plays Kamotaro Ito. Ito plans to be the in-charge of the Shinsengumi but has an even darker agenda behind it. What’s great in the film is that instead of a three-act film, it’s more like watching feature length episodes, the first being a set-up and the second being an all-out action war as Gintoki and his comrades join forces with their archnemeses to face off against Ito and his band of corrupt members of the Shinsengumi and of course, we have the returning Takasugi, played by Tsuyoshi Domoto, who has bigger plans to get revenge for his defeat in the last film.
Aside from the exhilarating action, there are hilarious moments that even outdoes the original. There is also the famous “hostess scene” which once again shows why Masaki Suda is one of the best actors when it comes to live-action anime and manga adaptations. In one epic laugh out loud scene, Gintoki and his two cohorts, disguised as barbers, are in charge of fixing the Shogunate’s tophair and a mishap forces Gintoki to do the impossible with Shimpachi’s reactions alongside Gintoki’s attempt to fix it was so funny. So funny that this reviewer had to literally pause the movie because it reached a level of hysteria that resulted in literally laughing so loud that it led to hyperventilating. Now that is comedy gold! One action sequence in which Ryo Yoshizawa’s Sougo Okita is forced to team Kagura against the corrupt Kiheitai/Shinsungumi has a few beats of comedy mixed in as well.
Gintama 2: Rules Are Made to be Broken does what only Rurouni Kenshin has done to date: become a sequel that’s even better than the original. The hostess and barbershop scenes are epic in terms of comedy gold with Masaki Suda and Shun Oguri taking center stage. The action is exhilarating. This ranks as an essential viewing when it comes to live-action anime/manga adaptations.
WFG RATING: A+
Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Gintama 2/Plus D production. Director: Yuichi Fukuda. Producers: Susumu Hieda and Shinzo Matsuhashi. Writer: Yuichi Fukuda; based on the manga created by Hideaki Sorachi. Cinematography: Tetsuya Kudo. Editing: Faruk Yusuf Akayran and Jun Kuriyagawa.
Cast: Shun Oguri, Masaki Suda, Kanna Hashimoto, Yuya Yagira, Haruma Miura, Masataka Kubota, Ryo Yoshizawa, Ryo Katsuji, Masami Nagasawa, Masaki Okada, Natsuna, Junki Tozuka, Tsuyoshi Muro, Jiro Sato.