Golden Time – 13

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Time heals all wounds, so the old saying goes.  I only wish that were true.

OP2: “The♡World’s♡End” by Yui Horie

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Two weeks ago I said that the long winter’s break with Golden Time was indeed a golden time for me – I needed a chance to refresh myself with this show, which was really starting to get on my nerves in a big way.  Unfortunately, though, my take based on this episode is that neither of us has changed, and the problems are no less apparent now than they were before (and now I don’t even have “Sweet and Sweet Cherry” at the end as a reward).  That’s usually what happens when relationships go on a break, I suppose.

I just can’t get over the feeling that GT is trolling me in a big way, but that may, in fact, be giving it too much credit.  Take the new OP and ED – literally not a shot of Linda anywhere in either one.  Likewise the episode preview.  For all intents and purposes this series seems to pretend Linda doesn’t exist – so why the hell does it keep making her the far more likeable character with much better chemistry with the main lead?  Is GT just so inept at narrative that it thinks it’s doing a masterful job selling Banri and Kouko as a couple and Linda as a roadblock?  Or is that a massive and masterful fake-out that will leave me stunned if I manage to stick it out till the end?

The fundamental problem for me remains unchanged, but this episode better than any reveals why it’s such a huge problem.  This is like two different shows – the one with Linda is heartfelt, sincere and dignified.  The one with Kouko is a mess of bad comedy and a worse relationship.  It isn’t an issue of liking Linda better than Kouko, though I don’t deny that I do – it’s a matter of the show simply not being very good when it revolves around Kouko.  I’ve said from the beginning – even in the heady early days of endless possibility – that when it came to comedy Golden Time was hit-and-miss at best.  But when the series is structured around Banri and Kouko being the destined pair and they’re one of the most ill-suited and unpleasant couples in anime, that’s an even bigger problem.

As if all that weren’t a problem enough, you can add in the dubious narrative device of Ghost Banri, who now seems to be back as a factor in his own right.  And not just that, but he’s apparently decided to curse Banri for not following his lead and may have the ability to control the weather.  I’ve tried to give GT the benefit if the doubt and see GB as a metaphor for Banri’s pre and post-amnesia identities, but the growing sense is that he’s intended to be taken as real.  Of course the heart of the matter is Ghost Banri is actually right, it’s obvious that Banri and Linda have a thousand times the chemistry and compatibility he and Kouko do – but again, it seems as if we’re supposed to take Ghost Banri as a roadblock to the obvious path of true happiness with Kouko.

Add it all up, and the only part of the episode that really worked was the three minutes with Linda in it, which was powerful and genuine (and removed all doubt as to what her answer that night was going to be, not that I ever had any).  None of the rest of it worked for me at all – not the comic dance number, not the “air yakisoba” bit, not GB’s playing at a hungry ghost.  I find it hard to believe that a clearly competent author like Takemiya-sensei could be so disconnected as to not realize how off-kilter the seeming narrative tilt of Golden Time is, but just as hard to believe that this could all be an elaborate hoax leading us towards the ending that actually seems to make sense – I’m not sure even Andy Kaufman could pull that off.  Something has to give either way – but I’m not sure I’m going to be strong enough to stick around long enough to find out what it is.

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ED2: “Haneikyuu-teki ni Aishite yo♡ (半永久的に愛してよ♡;Love Me Semipermanently♡)” by Yui Horie

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  1. f

    I always enjoy reading your little one-liner intros (not the actual post) before I watch an episode. Just to get a feel for what to expect. Right after I read this one, i immediately went, "oh no".

    kinda dreading watching this now.

  2. I think those sound bytes are deceptively important in blogging, actually…

    I've had worse experiences than watching this episode. It's just really frustrating, where this series seems to be headed.

  3. R

    yeah, Ghost Banri also is a bit of a problem with me, especially with the whole "i curse you" thing. it's as if he now has a personality of his own and ends up as a bad guy for forcing banri to fall for linda again.

    i do have a different interpretation with the whole kouko vs. linda debate. it might be that linda's likability is a metaphor for the comfortable and secured past that banri no longer recalls while kouko's wacky and chaotic behaviour represents the uncertain future he has with her. this also serves a purpose for kouko's part. she herself admitted several times that linda is someone she can only look up to but will never be able to match. so, linda is probably going to be someone who helps both banri and kouko grow and come to terms with where they want to lead their relationship. as for the audience, linda may serve as a measure for them to witness how kouko grows as a person .

  4. That may be what they're going for, but for me the execution is so bad if it is that I find it not remotely believable.

  5. E

    A bit problem, huh?
    A BIG problem, I say.

    Do we really need a ghost in this kinda show? Not only he can control the weather, he can also deliver all sort of misfortunes to Tada Banri? What a total bullshit. He's not a mere split personality? He's potent evil spirit? hah.

  6. S

    I can't help but agree.

    I'm wondering if the anime, and seiyuu and direction are perhaps the cause of making Linda stand out more? Perhaps things are different in the actual light novel, where words carry more weight than everything else?

    I don't know, but what I can say is that I really do wonder what this show is trying to do. These last few episodes have felt exceedingly… boring and lackluster. I'm waiting for that hook or event that gets me excited for the series again, but it hasn't appeared yet.

    And God… I cannot stand another instant of the Koko x Banri moments. This coming from someone who loves finding romantic coupling and such moments in even shows that don't even have it as a focus.

  7. B

    lately i just suffer while watching this. really it is just as you said the author doesn't seem too realize what it's doing. But maybe they are just trolling us. Maybe while Kouko and Linda fight for Banri, Nana 'll ensure victory! :). That would be kinda awesome.

  8. G

    There are really only 2 paths to go here. Either he ends up with Linda or Kouko has to make major changes in personality before the series ends. I thought NarutoxHinataxSakura was fustrating but it has nothing next to this series.

  9. M

    It seems I'm in the minority here but I love the new OP. Think of it as a glimpse into Kouko's mind and it starts making sense. Her frustration, her obsessions, accompanied by an unsettling and frenetic song and framed in cute backgrounds. Love the contrast and I think it portrays her personality quite well.

    Speaking of obsession, note how the second OP doesn't even feature Banri (except for the faceless Banri at the end). She's chasing hearts: maybe because she's more obsessed with being in love and being the perfect girlfriend than with Banri himself?

    Eh, I hope I'm not giving it too much credit because I'm on the Linda ship.

  10. m

    I think GB it's portraying our feelings about KoukoxBanri relationship, but they are making him look like the bad guy with the wrong feelings. Right now, I feel that in the end he's going to give up and accept Banri's new feelings or whatever. Writers are really conscious about this story's ambiguity and they are just playing to keep us watching it, because there are people who still have a little bit of hope about having an unexpected ending, I'm one of them, but my will to keep watching this is running out.

  11. Z

    Time to call the Ghostbusters.

  12. M

    I think all of the openings and endings are not trolls,I think they're glimpses into what Koko is thinking. Read the lyrics for the first opening and apply them to the situation – it's totally what Koko would be thinking. It also explains why Banri has no personality in the themes,and why Linda doesn't exist in them -Koko doesn't think about Linda at all

    I always hear both OPs and both EDs as if Koko herself were singing them. (which, thanks to Yui Horie, is actually true) – and all of them do sound like she's chasing love, not Banri, as Murkel said above.

    I also like this show. I'm glad Banri and Linda are not together yet. If they were, there would be no show anymore – they make a good couple, but there would be no interesting story left to tell -I'd find it dull after that.

    I definitely want Linda and Banri to end up together, but in the last episode, or somewhere near the end.

  13. Actually I believe Kouko thinks about Linda a lot. She idolizes her, she envies her, and she fears her because Kouko knows Linda holds the key to Banri's heart.

  14. M

    Even if that were true, (I'm not sure that it is, especially the idolizing part – she makes sure to not act anything like Linda does) I still get the feeling that Koko is not in love with Banri, she's in love with being in love. Banri is just the current warm body, as Mitsuo was. You can tell from the way that she's forgotten all about Mitsuo that she didn't truly love him, either.

    I also get the feeling that Koko was more upset that Banri kept the picture and didn't say anything about it than she was upset at Linda.

    And if you are right, I don't think she'd admit it to herself consciously. Maybe subconsciously, but the OP and ED songs sound like her (twisted) consciousness.

    Koko seems to not care much about Linda, as much as not like things getting in her way, like Chinami

    Koko and Banri both need to be single for a while and work out their problems.Koko and Banri work much better as non-dating friends – and it's Banri's fault for pushing dating onto her.

  15. M

    I think a lot of us are(or were) hoping for GT to be that smart but the chances of that are growing ever slimmer with every new episode…

  16. M

    I don't see why people wouldn't expect it though. Unless the series only has like 2 episodes left. If Linda and Banri were to get together now, there would be zero story to tell, nothing of interest left, no reason to keep watching, so why get them together now? Even in this episode, Banri seemed to be pushing himself too much,the OP and the ED turned ominous, and the bad luck started

    When Koko was having her freak out about dancing, Banri was FAR more detached before (physically and mentally – the others helped her more than he did) and when he joined in, they project friendship vibe. He refused to kiss her, too.The wall seems to be starting to go up, not down, between.

    I thought it was common in romantic stories where there is something keeping the leads apart, for the leads to not get together until the end? It's the climax of the story after all, and I guess a climax could happen at the start of the series, but that seems strange to me.

    Is Banri's main problem not being with Linda? I don't think so, simply being with Linda won't fix things. I think Banri's central problem isn't Koko or Linda, or being without either of them, and that is much bigger than either of them are.

  17. S

    I think the worst thing with the parts with Kouko nowadays is that there's just no character progress. Kouko has insecurities and faults worthy of therapy, but might just make it with a supportive and challenging Banri to create a healthy relationship.
    Instead, we're left with Banri being almost deliberately dishonest to himself and Kouko. That's just weak. And hurtful to all, including the bullshit Ghost Banri persona. (I too wish that Ghost Banri was more of a metaphor than an actual thing, but he's not, so I'll stop whining about it now and just hope something good will come out of it in the end)

    Anyways, let's hope we get some actual character development next episode, and as little indecisiveness as humanly possible. The series needs it.

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