Welcome to AniMonday, our weekly anime review!
It’s not often I devote my time to a drama, but this time around I’m glad I did. Golden Time has been an emotional roller coaster of an anime that leaves you wanting more every time an episode ends.
The story is about Tada Banri (Banri Tada when Americanized), a young man entering law school in Tokyo. After meeting his first friend there, Yanagisawa Mitsuo, he soon meets Mitsuo’s “girlfriend”, Kaga Koko, who proceeds to show her “love” for Mistuo by beating him with a bouquet of flowers. This was love, and confusion, at first sight for Banri, as his new best friend, Mitsuo, continually rejects Koko’s advances explaining that she’s more childhood friend turned stalker than a girlfriend, giving Banri a chance. As time goes on, Banri and Koko eventually begin dating and falling love, and that’s only the beginning of the show.
When the End Really Isn’t the End
When it comes to most shows out there today, whether they are anime or live action, the two main characters finally profess their love for each other at the end of the series, signifying the end of a long road of build-up to that point. However, as all of us know, when it comes to relationships, telling someone “I love you” is only just the beginning of an even bigger journey. Golden Time shows us that there is more to a television romance than just confessing to your beloved.
A realistic style of relationships encompasses this series, showing the constant everyday behaviors of a couple in love as well as the pains of breaking up and rejection. With the appearance of Hayashida Nana, aka “Linda”, a girl from Banri’s past who knows of Banri’s secret (we’ll touch on that later), creating a love triangle with Banri in the center. Through the good, steady pace of this show, we come to find out what each of the girls means to Banri, causing the viewer to anxiously wonder how things will play out at the end of each episode.
“The World Ain’t All Sunshine and Rainbows”
When a new anime starts, I’m reluctant to jump in because of the overuse of stock, cliché characters with mannerisms that turn into running gags in every episode, and while there may be a little of this in Golden Time, it is rarely seen and kept in the basement where it belongs. What’s left are main characters that actually behave like normal people, like you and I, getting though life day after day. As the show progresses, these characters grow to care about each other as real friends.
Much like real people, these kind, good-natured characters have flaws. Whether it being Banri’s condition caused by his accident, or Koko’s obsessive and overbearing nature with a tendency to overreact vastly, each one of these characters feel like a real person. Maybe we see some of ourselves or someone we know in these characters. This makes them all the more real to us.
“Like Sands Through an Hourglass…”
[To avoid spoilers, skip to “Reflection”]
Not long into the series you start to find out Banri’s big secret. Right before his high school graduation, our protagonist, ends up on the wrong side of a hit-and-run, sending him tumbling off a bridge and into a shallow river and rocks below. After he regains consciousness in the hospital, he finds that he has no memories of his life up to this point.
This leaves his character with a sense of mystery and questions, like how an amnesia patient makes it through law school, but this staple of modern drama writing isn’t as cliché as the rest. With the appearance of “Ghost Banri” to act as a framing device, setting up flashbacks, we get a look at his old life, and revealing that Linda was a part of it.
While the existence of Ghost Banri distracts from the realism the rest of the series employs, it tells the story of Banri’s old life. Even more so, you can really understand that pre-accident Banri and post-accident Banri are two different people.
As I watched this series, at the end of every episode I always had the feeling that I wanted more. This show will leave you on the edge of your seat, craving the next minute of plot and story amongst its realistic characters, good humor, and feel-good romance.
I highly suggest this gem of a drama be watched, even if you’re not a huge fan of dramas, this series is like no other; definitely worth it.
Golden Time originally aired on Tokyo MX in Japan. The entire series can be streamed on Crunchyroll and Hulu for free with English subtitles.