Golden Time ep3: the difference between being lonely and alone
So this is the episode where Banri and Koko go on their club trip together. Man, what is up with these college clubs? Why the hell do they all seem so desperate and aggressive? As soon as they show up to pick everyone up, they’re shoved into vans and sent on their way. At least with 2D-kun (from the Tea Club’s crazy party) also there, the two of them have someone else to talk to. Though I’m sure this will just be one of those episodes where they have fun, see a bear and talk about their pasts. Nothing too bad right?
Fast forward about a two hour car trip in the show, and a few seconds for us, and we see that the group Banri, Koko and 2D-kun are hanging out with is actually a religious cult. I should’ve known when they all showed up in the same track suits! After having all their luggage confiscated and locked in a room, they were then shown movies and lectured for FIVE HOURS. Once the festivities get to dinner, everyone has figured out the terrible situation they’ve gotten themselves into, and when 2d-kun and other start demanding to leave, things start to get out of hand. In the meantime, Banri is left feeling incredibly guilty for bringing Koko along on this trip, and is desperately trying to figure out how to safely allow her to escape.
Banri’s a smart fellow, but also a bit of a fool. He decides to take the bullet for everyone by saying that he’ll stay and be a believer. While doing this, he tells a story of how he was hit by a vehicle in high school and lost all memories before that point, telling everyone of how insecure and lonely it made him feel. It did the trick and the cult members there decided to let everyone else go, seeing as how they’d met their quota. It was so sad to see everyone leave without him, as he readied himself to be indoctrinated. But all that energy was sapped from the room the moment Koko came back through that door!
Stuck in the same situation all over again, the two of them really do look like fools. But it is noble of Koko to stick things out, knowing that Banri went through all this for her. The two do come up with another plan, and end up escaping the compound and eventually losing the their cult pursuers. Once clear, they rest and start talking. It’s an interesting, though ill-timed dialogue, as I can’t imagine their loud voices are a good way to hide. Regardless, we see that Koko really was putting on an act last episode, as she admits to only talking to Banri to get closer to Mitsuo. And that she doesn’t care that no tries to recruit her to clubs since she doesn’t care about them, and that she doesn’t care if she’s ignored because she only cares for Mitsuo. This is rather scary, because I can’t imagine any shallower existence, than one that’s lived solely for one person, and not even a person that likes you either. Though if there is an upside, it’s that she admits a little that she doesn’t really know much about herself outside of being in love with Mitsuo. It at least shows she’s a bit more self aware than she initially lets on. Though still realizing that she is totally devoted to Mitsuo to this degree with no sign of reciprocation or remorse on her own part is still incredibly sad.
On the other end, we find out that the story Mitsuo told everyone at dinner is true, and that he really does suffer from amnesia. DAMN YOU AMNESIA! Always rearing your ugly overly used and convenient head in most every story possible! He really did lose all memories he had since he graduated high school, which of course kills relationships with people he’s known like friends and family. In essence, he got the freshest, but loneliest of starts to his life after high school. Koko asks him if her would want to be his old self, but Banri somewhat denies that. He says that he’d love to add onto the memories and the self he has now, but the old Banri is gone forever. As their conversation ends, they notice lights in the distance. It’s time to start running again, but what they notice isn’t the cult. It’s Linda who finds them instead! Could Banri have been saved by the Festival Club a third time?
End of episode.
While this isn’t my favorite episode so far, I appreciate where it’s going and the questions it brings up. I’m starting to believe that Golden Time is a show about loneliness. Or perhaps one about identity, since both problems seem to plague our main characters. It’s scary stuff, and they’re questions that tend to haunt any college kid who hasn’t already been accepted into some group or another by the time they’ve started their college career. It’s the kinda stuff groups who are recruiting new members prey on when on the hunt. Clubs, fraternities and other groups can be incredibly enticing for anyone who wants friends fast. And it’s not a bad thing necessarily. It’s just not always the best thing. And in the case of this cult, it’s the worst thing. Take it from me personally, you don’t want to jump into anything religious just out of loneliness or curiosity. It has to be a personal decision based on what you want out of life. And in the case of these two, it certainly shouldn’t be based on short-term personal gain.
When I hear Banri’s story, I think of two people. The person he is now, and the person that may be looking down on him living his life. It’s a ridiculous hypothetical, I know, but it’s how this show seems to play out the situation. The Banri who lived out his life until high school died that day, killed by an unknown assailant. But somehow, at that moment a new person with no past was placed in his body and walks around in it now. It’s why I understand Banri’s hesitation at thinking his old self was his guardian angel. If I found out someone had taken over my body and was attempting to live my life, I’d do anything I could to get my body back or kill them. Yeah, if it were up to me, Banri would be a dead man. But that’s not going to happen, Banri’s just a guy robbed of his old memories, but given the gift many of us have wished so long for when we started high school or moved any place new, a fresh start.
When I hear Koko’s story, I’m more detached, but also more saddened by it. Here she is with a treasure trove of memories, friends and experiences, but it’s all boiled down to this one guy who can’t stand her, and for good reason, too. Looking at things from Mitsuo’s standpoint, how could you love someone who never takes into account your own feelings and personal space. A person that ignores what you say, and replaces your own words with words she finds more “fitting”. It’s a horrible relationship that no man worth his salt would want. I’m pretty sure that Mitsuo just wants to be respected, and until Koko listens that will never happen. Also, there’s the disturbing thought of this woman have no identity outside of Mitsuo. It’s one thing to say that a person “completes” you, in the aspect of them bringing you happiness. It’s another, more obsessive and unhealthy thing to see yourself as not an actual whole person without the acknowledgement of someone else, an acknowledgement she’s just not getting. And on the path that she’s on, I don’t see how she doesn’t avoid a stream of tears eventually. Nothing good can come from having so little in the way of identity and personal knowledge of yourself at this point in your life. So while Banri is clearly lonely with all lost memories, alienating him from those who used to be closest to him, Koko is actually alone with no one to talk or relate to on even the most basic levels. It’s really, really sad.
All in all, a solid episode if merely for the thoughts and conversation it can conjure up. I look forward to seeing how things progress in this show from many aspects, including the relationship between Banri and Koko; any further developments in Banri’s past, and whether Koko and Mitsuo will ever get to sit down for an honest talk. But for now, I left thinking about how this episode so well illustrated the difference between being lonely and alone.
Note: another show with amnesia in it! UGH! It’s so very over done! I sure hope this doesn’t ruin a good series for me. I guess I’ll just have to hope at this point. I’m already committed.