Golden Time – 02

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It’s nice when a series turns out to be everything you expected – at least when you expected it to be as good as I did with Golden Time.

Please don’t mistake my one-day delay in posting as an indication of any lack of regard for Golden Time – the fact is, Thursdays are just silly this season (not the first time that’s happened).  There are six late-night shows I’m either blogging or considering, so in any given week a few of them will get late posts, unless I drop a few of them (which seems unlikely as of now).  In any event I like this series to the point where it’s pretty close to love, so it’s as safe as can be.

For whatever reason this episode leave in a train-of-consciousness frame of mind, so I’ll diverge from my usual posting method and give voice to as many fragments as I can:

  • Why don’t we have more anime about the college experience?  Surely it’s something a great deal of anime fans can relate to, and it’s a goldmine (no pun intended) or possibilities for both comedy and drama.
  • No one in the business does the transition to the ED better than J.C. Staff.
  • Speaking of which, the OP here is forgettable but I absolutely love the ED – Hochan at her best, and the piano intro an earworm of the first order.
  • Speaking of Hochan, Golden Time is a great demonstration of why she’s one of the best seiyuu in anime history.  That she’s immensely likeable is a given, but she can played messed up and conflicted girls (and guys) beautifully too.
  • Banri is an example of the “everyman” main character used correctly.  He’s an audience avatar, but this is an appropriate place to have one, because Golden Time is very much about opening your eyes to a new world as you enter adulthood.  He’s also someone who takes the common sense approach most of the time and has genuine empathy for other people.
  • The area where I live is isn’t full of famous landmarks, so it’s rare to see it used as the setting for an anime.  It’s weird but very cool to see the same streets I walk every week with Tada, Mitsuo and Kaga walking them.
  • Hayashida Nana (Linda) is making more impact per second of screen-time than any character this season.  She has some kind of magnetism that’s weirdly powerful for me – I can’t believe Banri isn’t falling for her, because I know I am.
  • Did anyone else here ominous string music in the background when Mitsuo said “There’s no point in us fighting over Kouko”?
  • Mitsuo and Banri’s conversation about feeling sorry for Kouko was spot-on.  Mitsuo was right about the impact appearance has on how people are perceived, and Banri was right that he was perfectly entitled to feel sorry for her anyway if he wanted.
  • Kouko is a complicated and difficult character.  I see her problems as largely self-inflicted – she makes herself seem unapproachable because of her obsession with Mitsuo.  It’s the same core concept as Hikari from Nagi no Asukara – flawed characters are more interesting than perfect ones.  She has a chance to have a real character arc in this series, but that doesn’t mean we have to like her now.
  • When Kouko showed Banri the pics on her phone, it was impossible not to notice that by the last few, Mitsuo had completely stopped smiling.  The fact is, Kouko is obviously dead-wrong in forcing herself on him above and beyond the fact that it’s terrible for her – he has every right to be left alone and no reason to apologize for trying to escape her clutches.
  • Another reason to love that this is a college setting: the series can have fun with the fact that most college clubs are simply an excuse to get drunk as much as possible.
  • Note that Kouko remembered Banri’s name when they parted after the “cafe au lait bowl” cafe on Sotobori-dori.  Not insignificant.

While Golden Time isn’t a perfect show by any means, I love the fact that it’s taking such a universal theme as the college experience and putting in on center stage when it’s been so ignored by anime over the last few years.  People are assuming the OP gives away everything, but I wouldn’t be so sure – this is a two-cour series and I think it has a number if surprises in-store.  Banri’s dreams at the end of the last episode and the beginning of this one raise some interesting questions.  I’m also assuming that the Tea Club blowout’s  “2-D-kun” Satou Takaya (Hikami Takahiro) is going to play a major role going forward, and that would give GT an almost perfect balance of gender among the main cast.  A college series with an gender-balanced cast of interesting characters?  I really never had a chance…

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  1. i

    I like Golden Time but I think your love really is due to the longing you may still have for college whereas since I'm still stuck fighting through a huge amount of work I long for idyllic days of high school like in Toradora. That said for me, Linda-san aside (I agree she makes waves), no one really stands out as character to me. No one's annoying or too cookie-cutter but they don't come off as a H&C level character. I still hold out that the OP spoiled the story and there will be no fireworks but if there are well I don't mind being proved wrong. It's at least a bit more amusing than Sakurasou at this point.

    I think my general lukewarmness to GT is that it doesn't have that zing and bang I get whenever I watch Toradora. But too each his own.

  2. i

    Shizuka Ito being a drunk (again) never tires though. I can just see her walking in to the studio at midday with an empty barrel of beer in tow.

  3. t

    I love golden time. now even more.
    you right – it's not perfect. but it so much enjoyable and conveys very good feeling. when it's needed the atmosphere is serious or funny-bizarre(party time!).
    story, characters, romance,'s all just fits together to a one-unit fabric.
    there is so much similarity between Tada Banri and Naoe Riki (LB) not just in terms of character design, but look at the behavior when he keeps himself friend between Koga and Mitsuo.
    2D-kun is funny, I wonder how exactly he'll enter this circle of friendship.

    those dreams..there's also the past between koga and's not gonna be just funny ride in the college, that's one of the reasons I like it even more. it contributes the seriousness and maturity of college life.

  4. S

    I enjoy Golden Time immensely as well, and hope that you continue blogging it.

    Though, I feel that the OP, rather than giving the plot away, sets up a sense of mystery. Its really curious to me how far the initial premise (Kouko being crazy over Mitsuo) strays from the teased (from the OP) conclusion (Banri and Kouko) being the OTP. Not only that it assures me that this show would be a harem show, which could be easily misconstruded because of the introduction of a multitude of female characters early in the show.

    Closest to my heart is how it inverts the osananamiji trope by making Kouko Mitsuo's childhood friend rather than Banri's.

    Finally, I'd like to echo Enzo's plea for more collage anime. There is so much fertile ground for great stories here that are not even being attempted.

  5. M

    We can already assume that Banri & Kouko will help each other with their problems & grow as individuals,thus eventually becoming a couple but knowing that wouldn't make it any less entertaining if you ask me.

    Seeing that they're already gonna be spending some time together on a trip I'm really excited for the next ep!

  6. K

    I really enjoy the fact that both Linda and Koko extremely likable. They are both very charming and easy to like, while still having an air of mystery around them. The contrast between the two of them is quite interesting, all they way down to their choices in clothing. There are very few series that makes want to ship both female leads with the MC, and in only 2 episodes too. This is fast becoming my favourite show of the season.

    Another good thing about animes in a college setting; the characters actually wear different clothes. It's boring to see the exact same uniform for a whole season (or two), so this is a refreshing change as well. On that note, both Linda and Koko look amazing in the hoodie and dress respectively, and it speaks volumes about the kind of character they are.

  7. T

    I am finding this show to be one of the best of the season. I am really liking what the author and JC Staff are doing with this show. I am sure the author did it intentionally but I really like how Kouko's character arc seems to be set around fact that some people really are not able to handle the pressure or college or moving away from their comfort zone. I really think she is the perfect metaphor for this dilemma. I believe the way she acts upon her obsession with Mitsuo in college is very representative of someone who is trying their hardest to not loose that final string that ties them to their life before college. Kouko shows that she is uncomfortable in trying to do new things and meet new people and is frantically stalking Mitsuo due to her inability to function away from home. Obviously there are some parts that do not fit that perfectly for plot and character reasons but I am very interested in seeing this type of character arc for her.
    And how can there be a comment without bringing up Linda. I really don't understand how a character with so little screen time can be so utterly captivating. I am loving her and can not wait for her to get more screen time. Also in Banri's dream I would say that the person he saw looked a lot more like Linda than Kouko so I am very excited to see where this goes.

  8. k

    I love the source material, but JC is butchering it to me. As much as I like Hocchan, she's an aberration as Kouko, and the artistry is far below what they can do when they feel like it (see Sakurasou). Anyone who has a chance of reading the light novel or even the manga should jump at it and not judge it based only on the mediocre anime adaptation.

  9. F

    Hochan rules.

    Nuff said. ^^

  10. S

    Without spoiling anything for anime-only viewers; the source material (LN/manga) is gold for romance lovers. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a faithful adaptation…

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