And now for a piece of alternative history. In the nineteenth century, Tokyo has been invaded by the amanto (sky people). All of a sudden, samurai (you know: those valiant warriors we like to see on the silver screen) have become second-class citizens. The white-haired Gintoki has traded his steel sword for a wooden one and now runs a detective agency. His assistants are a bespectacled nerd and a hot-tempered red-haired beauty with a soft spot for rhinoceros beetles. One day they get a strange new assignment: go and look for the super-sword Benizakura, which has fallen into the wrong hands. They pick up the trail of the rebel group Kiheitai. Out of the blue, one of them, a blind man with Bono-style sunglasses, attacks Gintoki… Still following? The immensely popular manga Gintama has already been turned into animation twice, but this is the first live-action adaptation. The whacky plot, a postmodern mix of period swashbuckler and science fiction, was entrusted to director Yuichi Fukuda (Hentai Kamen 2). He keeps up a punishing pace and also plays off the absurdist humor and psychedelic atmosphere. The protagonist is none other than Shun Oguri, known for his work with Takashi Miike (Sukiyaki Western Django, Crows Zero 1 & 2).

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