Golden Time ep6: this is all happening so fast!
The difference between real feelings and forced feelings couldn’t be starker in this episode. Also, I couldn’t be happier to witness the death of the “friendzone” in this episode. Take note guys, the “friendzone” isn’t a wall you climb over – it’s something you bust through! And you do it with the guts of a man! A real man!
Well that’s a weird start to an episode. I always hate it when episodes start with flashbacks, it can really be off-putting for me. But I should be grateful for the exposition, as it gives us insight into the old Banri. Here we see his graduating class celebrating the arrival of their commemorative class T-shirts. Everyone is super excited about it, everyone except for Banri, who notices that his name is missing from the shirt – and starts crying! What is up with all these wimpy Japanese men in my anime?! He cries over a shirt, that can be replaced! Good grief! A few seconds in, and already I’m getting an unfavorable impression of the old Banri. I’m already starting to regret my bold words of being a “real man” in this episode.
Linda is in his class and tries to cheer him up, the shirts can be replaced easily enough. And she states that she’s worried about him, and that she won’t be around for long. After a night of celebrating and tearful goodbyes by the class, Linda and Banri are walking home together when Banri asks for an answer to his question. A simple yes or no answer regarding whether these will be the last days they spend together or not. It looks like his choice of schooling will be determined by whether she wants to be with him. Linda says that she needs time to think about it, and Banri says he’ll be waiting the next night at the usual bridge.
Things flash back to present time where we see Banri trying on new shoes that someone in the Festival Club is selling. To his glee, it fits him perfectly. And the shoes turn out to be Linda’s, who decides to give them to him for free. The alumni from the club then come in and give the club a special gift that they’re none to happy about. A bunch of fans with the words “yes” or “no” on them. It’s a convenient way for the club to tell their alumni buddies that they do not approve of the lame gift. It’s starting to seem like Banri’s ghost may be getting through to him through his dreams, because it seems he’s picking up on the old connection between him and Linda more and more. And Koko is starting to notice the awkwardness. Banri says that she’s mistaken, but Koko is definitely not a quitter. This will come up again.
Their encounter is broken up though by Chinami of all people. She invites the two of them to a little party she’s putting together. And Koko of course turns it down as profusely as possible, storming off. Banri wonders to Chinami why she would do something like that after all the drama between them just recently. And Chinami being the adorable magical loli that she is, just says that she has not ulterior motives. She just sees something irresistible about Koko and would like to get to know her better. So for now, we’ll just have to believe that she’s not malicious. Banri tells her a that he’ll try to get Koko to come anyway.
At the actual party, Banri is successful at getting Koko to come along, but it leads to predictably disastrous results when she and Mitsuo run into each other. The fighting is ugly and vicious, and Koko even accuses Mitsuo of being with Chinami just to spite her, she claims that Mitsuo doesn’t even have the guts to confess his feelings to her. Mitsuo accepts that challenge and wastes no time confessing to her. To which Chinami replies,
“Don’t be stupid.”
Mitsuo freaks out, writhing in embarrassment as his confession has been quickly and publicly shot down. Koko too is freaking out at the sight of Mitsuo actually confessing to another woman. Banri has had enough, and wastes no time taking care of the problem, sacrificing the two of them to the drunk as ever, and beligerent as ever tea club, partying in the room next to them (again). Their fate is assured, as by the end of the night both of them are a complete wreck.
Banri is now wondering through friendzone hell, as he’s left escorting the drunk Koko to her apartment on his own. Koko wants to go out and party more, and at least go to his place and talk about how crappy Mitsuo is. She has no idea how malicious Banri’s actions were when he threw both her and Mitsuo to the Tea Club. Banri tells Koko he’s had enough, and can no longer be her friend, citing how hard it is to be attracted to her while all she thinks and talks about Mitsuo. He gives her her friendship mirror back, calls a cab and ends the relationship there.
Things only get more emotional the next day. After Festival Club practice, Linda notices that Banri has been a little down the whole day, and asks if he and his girlfriend, Koko had gotten in a fight. I guess the combination of being ignored by a girl he likes, and his former girlfriend finally set him off, as he blows up at Linda, too. It’s quite clear their relationship has come back to him. The thing is, Linda seems to have been too worried about losing him to do anything this whole time. And she wonders if his amnesia is her fault. Both of them leaving the building with hurt feelings, but we learn that Banri finally did get the answer to his question from way back then. It was too little, too late perhaps. And we don’t get to hear it.
Koko waits outside for Banri during all this, but when she tries to talk to him he won’t acknowledge her, and when she presses he runs away. Koko doesn’t give up and steals a bike to give chase. As Banri runs, he freaks out over the decisions he’s made in his life, even ones he can’t recall making, wondering if he had made the right ones, would it have lead to being with Linda? He makes it to a bridge, where he wonders if he jumped off, could he start over again? Though in this case, I wonder if it would be less a question of amnesia, and maybe more a question of whether he lives or dies. Even if he’s jumping into a river, it’s kinda high up, and it could be surprisingly shadow. It’s a good thing then that Koko rams into him with her stolen bike, clutching him desperately. She tells him she’s glad that she’s found him, and… that she loves him and wants to be with him.
End of episode.
I had to watch parts of this episode twice just to believe what I was watching. The mystery behind Banri’s amnesia is all but solved now, as it seems the memories he has and Linda’s own conversations with him have cleared up what happened on that night. The only questions regarding that now are what was her answer, and why would she hit him with a scooter?
When it comes to Koko and Banri, I’m not sure exactly what’s happening. I mean it appears clear, but the progress to get there seems lightening fast for an anime. I expected like twelve more episodes of coyness and misunderstandings before some miracle brought us to this point. Though this does use a popular theory for getting out of the dreaded “friendzone”, you fight your way out of that b*tch! If there’s anything a woman doesn’t want, it’s a clingy guy that needs them all the time. Ironically, if there’s anything they want when they’re in a relationship, it’s very close to that same kind of guy. Perhaps it took Banri’s feelings and stern, clear words (especially for Japanese) to force her to face her predicament and choices. She perhaps finally realized how serious Banri was about her. It’s very much in stark contrast to the situation where Mitsuo confessed to Chinami in this very same episode. It was clear as day that Mitsuo didn’t mean it, or at least he didn’t handle it the right way. Though I do worry (because I’ve been fooled by her before) whether Koko has altenative uses for this confession. Is this also to keep her one and only true friend close? Is this just to avoid loneliness? Is she doing this so she can finally be in a relationship and feel loved, rather than bathing in the delusions of her past? For now, I’ll just believe it was a hell of a confession, and that we may actually get an anime focused around a couple actively in a relationship together, as opposed to mere courtships. There are still at least a dozen questions raising through my head regarding Linda, Mitsuo and Chinami, but there’s still plenty of time for all that.