Samurai Heart is the perfect ending song, with all the rain and the characters looking melancholic. The end of this episode leads in perfectly to the ending song--really, the anime staff made it on purpose with the black background without the 'to be continued' text.
And that piano piece playing during the graveyard scene? Wow, so beautiful and fit the mood.
The fight is superb and totally worth the wait. (Some sequences seem to be extended, and there is at least one part I don't remember seeing before.) Love the background music, too. Though I have to say Gin-san's lost-it face would have made more impact if I had seen him like that for the first time. I mean, I gasped when I first saw that face of his in the manga. And while we have seen the hint of Gin-san being Otose's 'nasty guard dog' before (episode 206 - Catherine episode), it's nothing on this level.
(Don't believe me? Here is more
I got the following from part of the title of chapter 299 of the manga: オダギリジョーの髪型 (Joe Odagiri's hairstyle). Not exactly sure if Odagiri is actually referenced in the manga itself (though I'm inclined to believe not), but I was pretty sure I heard his name in this episode, when the 70:30 (or the other way around?) guy was saying something about his hair. So I checked the episode, and yes, at 3:30 mark, he totally does say his hair is styled like Joe Odagiri:
(Seems like the dialogs there have been changed from the manga, but I'm not very sure. For instance, the 70:30 guy calls Gin-san 'Yorozuya-han' in the manga, but I don't think I hear that in the anime at all.) And in the Catherine episode, Tama says something about how Gin-san could never be Hiro Mizushima and has to settle for someone I don't remember (seems like it's in regard to Hiro's wavy hair, though I don't even know if Hiro's hair was still wavy at the time this manga chapter was drawn (early 2010)). I would take a screencap, but I don't have this episode on my computer anymore. (And besides, you probably thought I put up my own caption for the previous screencap, didn't you? So, here, check the clip of that particular scene out yourself. Unless I can find someone who can sound exactly like the 70:30 guy to dub over his lines, I don't think I can lie about this...) Oh well, not that I have any real hope of understanding these random references or making myself understood or anything. In fact, I suspect these two are mentioned because they are mainstream
Yes, I'm loving this arc. I'm a sucker over relationship bonds, so... (Yeah, I love the Catherine episode, too, but it seems like I would be cheating with what I already know if I post about it now.) And I know that the anime would make this arc even better. Though I did have one little nitpick with this episode. In the manga, Otose clearly says Gin-san's name to Jirocho, but in the anime she just calls Gin-san 'that idiot'. So how did Jirocho know to call Gin-san 'Gintoki'?
Okay, so I checked the raw of that manga chapter (#300), since translations are sometimes not very literal, and found something interesting that, as far as I know, only the Japanese can do. Otose says 'ano baka', all right, but the kanji characters for 'Gintoki' (銀時) are used for baka instead of its usual ones (and it seems to me that usually you don't use any kanji for 'baka'). ^^;; So the manga translation I read in fact is not wrong, but you can't show that kind of intent in the anime. I'm happy to get this cleared up, that it's not manga and anime doing different things.
And related to the ending song above, I found one more thing I'd overlooked in the manga (and, apparently, the anime) after glancing through the same manga raw. At the very last shot we see of Gin-san's face, there was a sound effect on the ground. I admit I didn't realize what that meant at the first glance. (I can be very unobservant.) But then... omg, he was crying for his 'baa-san'! (It actually made me feel somewhat foolish to never notice, especially since I claimed to (somewhat) understand Gin-san. The only excuse I can offer is the manga volume I read before doesn't have that sound effect there.) So I checked the anime, and yes, this time I clearly saw the tear drop. (Around 21:52 mark if anyone wants to check.) With that in mind, I hope it is not too much of a stretch to believe that the single drop of water (which I always assumed to be just a start of the rain) we've been seeing at the beginning of the ED is meant to represent his tear.
Seriously, the whole scene at the end of the episode was already heart-breaking before I noticed his crying, but now it is at least ten times more heart-breaking for me to realize that Gin-san, who is loud and in-your-face in expressing almost any other emotion, grieves so quietly, almost as if he feels like he is not fit to express more intense grief (since he has failed to protect Otose. As someone else says, maybe he just "doesn't realize that being her family is enough"*). (And man, now I am crying.) Of course, it could be that manly samurai just don't cry openly, but please don't destroy my illusion by pointing that out.
And I'll answer my own question. Jirocho could ask around the way his kid did about Gin-san. Or there was no need for him to even ask around, actually. It is more than likely that Jirocho could not let go of his tie with Otose and in fact had been keeping an eye on her, so of course he knew of whichever stray(s) she had picked up along the way. That kid of his might be misleading, but I'd decided since I first read this part in the manga to trust her on this one (that her father is in Kabuki-cho because Otose is) at least.
*The person whose quote I swiped without permission (and kind of out of context) might or might not be seeing this, but let me thank you for giving me something to bounce off from. And perhaps it's better if you are not here because I'm picking it apart (yay me for writing about people
::sighs:: I am hopelessly behind on toku and everything else since Gintama has taken over my life. Can't really decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing...