Gintama: The Final

(Mitsuhiro Asakura) Audio Highs

" As expected, the incoherence of the film is reflected in the original score, but still there are several cohesive musical elements that are often revisited. "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the regular release

Gintama: The Final is a 2021 Japanese animation film, the conclusion to the storyline of the long-running TV series from 2006 to 2016, based on the manga by the same name. Only a week after the film’s theatrical release on 8th of January, they aired Gintama: The Semi-Final on television, a two episode long special to tie in with the film’s events. While I am slightly familiar with the overall Gintama universe, it’s still difficult to summarize the series and everything else that came from the same universe. It’s set in a mixed world of samurai traditions and science fiction, includes a wealth of anarchism references, focusing much on comedy and action, at times it’s seriously heartfelt, and it plays a lot of with cliches, which are sometimes intolerable, but above all its strength is the fact it’s hugely incoherent. Audio Highs, a composer alias for Mitsuhiro Asakura, was the main contributor to the series and returns for Gintama: The Final.

As expected, the incoherence of the film is reflected in the original score, but still there are several cohesive musical elements that are often revisited. The opening cue Koremadeno Nagaai Arasuji offers one of the remarkably few musical references in the entire score, presumably mocking a very specific well-known westernized samurai film score from 2003. At the same time, the cue makes use of a potent cliché brass fanfare, a tiresome epic repeating bold figure, aided by percussion and driving strings. Normally, I would say it is nothing special, but within the world of Gintama, you can perceive whatever the composer is trying to establish with a great sense of irony. Owarenu Kurushimi combines a deliciously strong church organ performance with the clichéd epic orchestral sound, a series of the same short punctuating statements, even a choir, which makes the cue elevate in between something that is seriously good and seriously, buttongue in cheek bad.

The occasional heartfelt is presented in a wonderfully simple and effective solo piano theme, introduced in Arishihi and revisited in several other cues, sometimes supported by minimal low-key sounds.

For several action moments, the score turns to rock infused instrumentation, an often employed 'trick' in a variety of other Japanese animation projects, while reserving several reprises of low-key orchestral ambience and tension, (atmospheric) guitar plucking, terribly outdated retro electronics (Mirai no Edo), yet ending the score on a frolic note by a jazz band.

Audio Highs’s score to Gintama: The Final is one I find myself on mixed terms concerning the enjoyment of it all, which prevents me from simply calling the score a guilty pleasure as such.

1. Koremadeno Nagaai Arasuji 1:25
2. Arishihi 1:45
3. Eien nankajya tarineeya 1:09
4. Utsuro no Inshi 1:55
5. Setsuna no Kioku electri guitar quite appealing1:19
6. Subete ha Utsuro ga Sadameshikoto 3:00
7. Katsura vs Hitsugi rock track 2:08
8. Dotchi ga sakinikareruka,Shobu tte wakeda 2:14
9. Yomigaeri 1:08
10. Koureigyoji 1:29
11. Bokura no Yaritaikoto 1:30
12. Owarenu Kurushimi 2:31
13. Hanasitaikoto ga Yamahodoarunda 3:28
14. Nihyakuyonjyurokusyou,nihyakuyonjyunanahai 3:02
15. Soko ni Mirai ga Arunara 1:38
16. Ore Koitsura to Yorozuya yattenda 1:55
17. Mirai no Edo 1:11
18. Riyuu nante Iraneedaro sogt 1:36
19. Yoni Kisekinado wa Sonzaisinai 2:05
20. Saigo no Bakasawagi 3:55

Total duration: 40:23

(click to rate this score)  
(total of 15 votes - average 4.73/5)

Released by

Aniplex (regular release 2021)