So, back to the topic at hand. From what I can gather, the JUMP Festa OVA seems to be the first time Gintama appears in animated form. (JUMP Festa is where they drum up the interest for JUMP manga series, it seems, and to persuade fans to buy toys.) I kinda wish I'd seen this before starting the anime season, though, since it's much more awesome than the first episode (but then again, I think most other episodes easily surpass that episode). Besides, unlike the 2008 JUMP Festa OVA, it doesn't seem to assume any prior knowledge of the series...
Anyhow, I went looking for the OVA because 1) the manga creator mentioned it (well, more like spazzed over it) in one of the manga volumes, and 2) there was a manga chapter on flower watching with the Shinsengumi and I was like not remembering seeing an anime episode of it (and I'm sure I couldn't possibly forget it yet), so I thought perhaps it might have been in the OVA.
...Actually, forget the second reason. It's actually episode 125 that made me want to see the full OVA...
First, I loved that Gin-san notes that his voice is probably not what the viewers were expecting (though he is unsympathetic about it and basically says too bad, can't always get everything in life the way you want--which would have made me love him if I haven't already). I had that reaction when I first watched the anime (I was like, 'I'm not sure what your voice is supposed to sound like, but probably not that deep'). But of course, that totally changes now. At this point, I just can't imagine anyone other than Tomokazu Sugita as Gin-san.
Second, lol, poor Gin-san. His first appearance in anime is totally so far from being a cool hero. So basically they throw in some of the scenes (from the first manga chapter) that would later be used in the third anime episode to make Gin-san look somewhat like a cool hero.
Third, I thought I was missing the part in the anime when the rivalry between Kagura and Okita (a.k.a. the sadists) first started. True, already saw this part in the manga, but it was ten times more hilarious when I could see them move at warp speed. :)
Fourth, Mobile Suit Katsura-san (trust Sunrise to put what they have to good use). ^^ I have no words at how, while laughing maniacally, he just turns a park full of pretty flowers into flame (his target is the Shinsengumi, but...). But wow, Katsura-san totally takes the modified rock paper scissor game seriously and looks for the helmet when he loses to Gin-san. And I have to wonder again just how strong that mail order wooden sword is...
Fifth, I rather love Gin-san x Hijikata pairing and this episode only gives me more material (yeah, that is almost the same as the manga, but I enjoy it more animated). I actually had no idea before reading the manga chapter that they already do the drinking together and bragging about their "kids" (though Shinpachi says they are more like kids bragging about their cool parents), because in later episodes their bonding over alcohol seems to have been all but forgotten (perhaps Gin-san did find that time machine, after all)... (No 'Gintoki' for Hijikata any more, but that part seems like anime add-on anyway...)
Sixth, love is blind, it seems. I think I should abandon the hope that Kondo would ever acknowledge that Otae has no romantic interest in him. (Okay, that's way too general. Specifically, he doesn't sense any danger when he put on his helmet, assuming he is safe.)
Seven, flower watching is totally serious business, though most of the Shinsengumi don't care where they sit, as long as they can drink. ^^
Eight, in the note of the subs I watched, it says that Katsura-san is always correcting people when they call him Zura because "zura" is the slang for "wig". The note goes on further to say that so is "katsura"
I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but I can't think of anything else at this moment. In the meantime, I'll leave the file here. (No, nope, not for you at all. I just happened to upload it already (within 9 seconds. Hey, that look totally says, 'you're just piggybanking on other people's hard work.' Deal with it. I can't always be the first person to upload, you know). Hey, hey, I said it's really nothing for you. What? Already downloaded it? Don't watch it, then. Delete it, use it to make frisbee or whatever. Oh, fine, I give up! But whatever happens, just don't demand 32 minutes of your life back because I don't have a time machine. I'm totally serious about that last part! Ah, just please, please don't watch if you want your life to be free of Gintama's rude humor.) Please enjoy if you take it. :) (What? This person is totally ignoring what she just wrote in the previous parentheses! Hey, listen up, random internet person. I don't care what you do or don't do with that JUMP Festa file, but give me a time machine if you have one.) And please. pretend. to unsee. the nonsense. in this paragraph's parentheses. (What, what nonsense?! And you are too uptight, woman. You skip reading about series you don't know, right? It's the same thing in this case. Only people already familiar with Gintama would have made it here. That is, if they didn't think
(Oh, fine! I added two cuts, happy now?)