There's A Thin Line Between Strengths And Weaknesses (長所と短所は紙一重, Chōsho to Tansho wa Kamihitoe) is the one-hundred and third episode of the Gintama anime.
Sougo appears to save Kondo from the rebel Shinsengumi led by Itou. The Yorozuya along with Hijikata are also on their way to the scene.
Okita stands in front of Itou, whose men hold Kondou by sword point. Itou concludes that Okita was a spy sent by Hijikata to infiltrate his faction to figure out his plans and that his betraying of the vice commander was an act to get on his good side. Okita refutes this; in reality, he wants the vice commander position and will use anything to get it. The reason he's against Itou now is that he refuses to be his subordinate and he only acknowledges one person as his leader, Kondou. Itou admits that they used each other to get to where they are and will now discard each other. Before two of Itou's men attack Okita from behind, Okita presses a switch, activating a bomb towards the end of the train. During the confusion, Kondou is freed and Okita helps him.
The Yorozuya and Tosshi speed through the highway in their stolen police car. Shinpachi panics as they must try to save Kondou and tries to tell the scared, frightened Tosshi that he must help his force. Gintoki uses the police radio, pretends to be Hijikata, and warns the remaining Shinsengumi about Kondou being in danger. He then declares that Tosshi will be on his own to save everyone. Tosshi begins to protest, but Gintoki grabs him by the collar and angrily berates Hijikata for trying to push his troubles on them and demands that he come out to fight and protect what is important to him. "Tosshi" rams Gintoki into the radio in response. On the train, Itou tells his men to not stop it despite the fire as Kondou and Okita may escape. A few cars ahead, Kondou apologizes to Okita for allowing these events to happen and wonders how he can make it up to his men, especially Hijikata. Suddenly he sees Okita walking out the train car door and locking it. As he calls out to the first captain and struggles to open the door, Okita responds that as long as Kondou is alive, there is still a chance. Kondou's biggest weakness was that he was too nice and trusting for his own good. But even though this trait allowed people like Itou in the Shinsengumi, it also allowed others like Hijikata and Okita to flock to him and fight to protect him. He separates the train cars so that Kondou's side continues on while Okita's (and Itou's) side start to slow down.
Itou mocks Okita for deciding to fight and die alone as he confronts them but states that he will still continue with his plan to kill Kondou despite his escape. Okita looks out the window to see gun-mounted jeeps being lead by Bansai, the Kiheitai. He chuckles and remarks that he is not alone just as one of the jeeps is destroyed by an arriving police car driven by the Yorozuya and Hijikata, all four wearing Shinsengumi uniforms. Itou is stunned that Hijikata has returned... but it turns out that Tosshi was still in control and Gintoki angrily beats him up for being uncool. Itou wonders what Hijikata will do at this desperate time as he will still be killed. Okita answers that they won't succeed and citing a rule about illegally communicating with the enemy, declares he will kill them. Itou laughs at him and leaves on Bansai's motorcycle; Okita then easily slaughters the men.
The Kiheitai jeeps begins shooting at the Yorozuya while they try to dodge. They then see that the Joui procession going after a running train which implies where Kondou is. Gintoki then declares that Tosshi can handle the rest and kicks him out the car; the otaku desperately clings to the car door and Gintoki kicks him to let go. The remaining Shinsengumi arrive and tell their "vice commander" to go after Kondou when they see that their superior is alright (even though he clearly wasn't and overlooking both his and Gintoki's protests). They fight Joui and renegade Shinsengumi while Kondou watches on in despair. He is shocked to see the Yorozuya and especially Hijikata and tearfully wonders why Hijikata was here after everything Kondou had put him through. He is then hit by a cannon fire from Gintoki and berates them for attacking him. Kondou asks why they brought Hijikata and are actively helping him and Gintoki answers that it was his last will and reveals his complete possession by the cursed sword. Kondou then realizes that his strange behavior was because of that sword and asks what that will was. Gintoki responds "to protect the Shinsengumi" but states it became too troublesome so he decided to get him to do it himself so their job is done. Kondou tells them that he will give them all his savings before giving them his will, to take Tosshi and leave.
He blames himself for these current events because he dismissed Hijikata's suspicions on Itou and let himself be manipulated into punishing Hijikata when the rules he broke were trivial in Kondou's eyes. Worse, Kondou was unaware that Hijikata's behavior was because of the curse and that despite it, Hijikata was still trying to protect the Shinsengumi, even to the point of pleading to Gintoki for help. He apologizes to Hijikata and his subordinates for being a fool then tells Gintoki to contact the rest of the Shinsengumi to tell them to leave the battlefield as he had died in battle. Instead Tosshi contacts them and declares that Kondou has been saved and that they should continue fighting to defeat those that betrayed Kondou's kindness. Under everyone's shocked gazes, Tosshi tells Kondou that he must live even if he suffers disgrace and even if he sees his comrades die. He and everyone else follow him and fight for him because they admire him. Hijikata finishes by stating that Kondou is the heart of the Shinsengumi while Hijikata and everyone else are the swords that protect that.
Itou arrives and mocks him for being a failure once before. He concludes that the two must settle their rivalry; Hijikata agrees and gets out of the car onto the trunk. He thanks Gintoki for his lecture that helped him regain control yet he struggles to pull out his sword. Gintoki mockingly wonders if Tosshi returned but Hijikata declares, as he finally unsheathes his sword, that he is the Shinsengumi Vice Commander, Hijikata Toushirou.
- Sakata Gintoki
- Shimura Shinpachi
- Both Yamcha and Vegeta are characters from the manga/anime series Dragon Ball. Yamcha is known as being one of the weakest characters in the series while Vegeta is one of the strongest. Namak is a planet in the Dragon Ball setting.
- Yamato is one of many ancient names of Japan (Originally the name of a Prefecture in Southern Honshuu that will later lend its name to the entire country due to the central government ruling from there). The name is also used for many Japanese battleships including one from WWII and the famous fictional anime/live-action spaceship.
- "Punish in the name of the moon" is a reference to the anime/manga/live-action magical girl series Sailor Moon whose title character usually gives speeches to antagonists that end in this statement.
- The differences of Anime, Mange and Live Action.