Review of Golden Time (Collection Two)

goldentime2

Sometimes persevering with a show pays off. Although I can’t say that I had a “golden time” watching Collection One of this Animatsu licenced series, the concluding twelve episodes were much more to my taste. Episodes 13-24 continue to chronicle the tumultuous relationship between Koko Kaga (an affluent stalker with robotic dance moves) and her new boyfriend Banri Tada (an amnesiac who is literally haunted by long term memory loss.) Refreshingly the script avoids using a potential love triangle to stir up drama. The onus instead falls on the young couple dealing with the strains caused by Banri’s mental illness and the small matter of a phantom who wishes for them to break up. Quick someone call the Ghostbusters… the original ones (no one wants to see the new team.)

OVERVIEW

Watching this second instalment of Golden Time reminded me a little of Clannad. Both shows have sweet romance, wacky comedy and supernatural elements. Clannad’s paranormal ventures are however superior to the annoying spook found in Golden Time. Said gloomy poltergeist is a representation of Banri’s lost memories. Unable to let go of old flame Linda Hayashida, the apparition does its level best to sink the Banri x Koko ship – be it by tampering with the weather or momentarily possessing Mr Tada. The spectral cock blocking thankfully ceases for a while, during a story arc were Koko gets involved in a traffic accident. Wracked by guilt, after dozing off behind the wheel of a car, she retreats to the sanctuary of her bedroom and refuses to interact with anyone. Can Banri cheer up his temperamental partner? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Golden Time’s final act deals with the return of Banri’s missing memories, which come in the wake of a trip back to his old stomping grounds. Meeting up with his folks and attending a high school reunion causes Banri to gradually remember his lost past, although the recovery comes at a price. As more memories return Banri begins to forget events that occurred after the accident responsible for his amnesia. In effect the past is erasing the present day version of Banri and his dreams of a future with Koko. The scenes that follow can be hard to watch. Banri struggles to recognise the friends we have seen him make over the course of the series and the pain of it all is too much for Koko to bear. Worst of all he attended two years of law school for nothing. I don’t fancy his chances of passing exams after a term’s worth of lessons disappear from his scrambled mind.

VERDICT

My rating for Golden Time (Collection Two) is four stars. As mentioned above I found the second half of Yuyuko Takemiya’s light novel adaptation to be stronger than the first, hence the slightly better score. Koko is less of a brat in these episodes, which immediately makes this DVD set more watchable in my eyes. Another plus in its favour are the funnier gags, which serve as a nice counterbalance to the script’s moodier moments. The supporting cast’s knack for pouting and Banri’s frenzied reactions would have been intolerable without the levity provided by irritable neighbour Nana, Koko’s backbreaking exorcist routine and one of the most hilarious (yet cringe worthy) sex scenes I have ever witnessed. Kudos to the Japanese voice cast for delivering both japes and emotional dialogue with aplomb.

Despite my lukewarm reaction to collection one, Golden Time eventually won me over. I was impressed by how it avoided the tropes one usually associates with rom-coms. A show about a couple in a steady relationship is different, as was the lack of a full-blown love triangle. I kept expecting Linda to use the turmoil in Banri’s life to rekindle his lost passion for her, but instead she remained nothing more than a trustworthy confidant. Not all of Golden Time’s unique ideas worked though. The narrative would have been better without the ghostly sub-plot. At one point I predicted the series would conclude with Banri fist fighting his ethereal doppelganger for ownership of his body. Thankfully things didn’t quite pan out like that. Leave the ghost eradication to Peter, Ray, Winston and Egon… not the new team (like I said before, no one wants to see them.)

14 thoughts on “Review of Golden Time (Collection Two)

  1. From reading the synopsis, I was kinda expecting a full blown love triangle to appear by the end of the series. It’s interesting, and a little refreshing, knowing that it doesn’t take that route.

  2. Wow, I’d heard of this before and dismissed it. However, after reading your review I found my interest increasing. This is a great review and I might have to pick up this series after all

  3. As an anime fan, perseverance really is a must. Sometimes it lays off and others not so much. I still need to give Golden Time a watch. Glad you dug the latter half more than the first.

  4. Too bad the show isn’t as golden as the name suggests. I think I had season one on my watch list. Guess I’ll be giving both seasons a pass then.

  5. Most anime, you have to be watching for a while to figure out if it’s actually good or not. Plenty of them go beyond just the first arc before they get to quality. I really appreciate the long-form story-telling, but it does make them pretty hard to get into.

  6. So, do you think thatghost ofhis past is the real deal? a supernatural entity ? Does he really exist, or it’s just all on his mind, and just used him as rationale to go back to Linda ?

    • I wasn’t a fan of the ghost so I chose to believe that it was just a representation of his old memories and used to help viewers understand what was going on inside Banri’s head. That said there was a scene were the ghosts says he will curse Banri and moments later it starts to drizzle. Maybe a coincidence or perhaps proof that it is a real spirit with supernatural powers.

      • I do believe the ghost that represents his memories is just all on his mind. His memories are actually starting to come back, and that includes his old feelings for Linda. Although you say there’s actually no triangle, that Linda does not make any move to reintroduce herself to Banri, I believe she wants to but there’s Koko, and there’s the fact that she believes she caused the accident. She takes care of banri herself when he gets sick, when she knows she should inform Koko . She gets uncomfortably close to Banri, even in Koko’s presence, so much so that even Koko notices. And that scene at the club…….. she even comes home with Banri , I’m sure to renew the relationship. If she’s sincere and not being sly, she should have told Banri the truth about Koko’s existence. No, Linda wants him for herself, and she’s being sly all this time……

        I do believe the ghost is just Banri trying to rationalize his inevitable break-up with Koko. I really have to suspend my disbelief that his present memories can disappear just like that. It isn’t fake, but he’s in great denial.

  7. Yay! I knew you’d come round in the end! πŸ˜› Tell the truth was the extra star for the Koko bikini scenes or for the Exorcist? πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

  8. Aside from the romance, Golden Time is an anime I would really like because of the theme of “memories and identities”, and would have prefer if it solely focuses on the psychological aspect of it. The supernatural elements kinda ruins it imo.

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