Golden Time eps 7 & 8: even if you don’t remember… care
Well this show starts off on quite the buzz-kill. As last episode’s confession is quickly turned into a “civil” situation as the kid who had his bike stolen by Koko catches up to the new lovers with police officer in tow. Fortunately enough, she gets off with paper work and a … a call to her parents? Honestly. The way this show is structured, I have trouble figuring out the differences between this college setting and high school. You would think a little more independence and responsibility would be in order here. While there, she takes the opportunity to introduce Banri as her boyfriend! I guess this really is a relationship now. To add to my surprise, Koko’s dad takes the exact opposite stance you’d expect from someone with a beautiful daughter born into a rich family. He wants Koko to stay away from Banri because he’s afraid SHE might ruin his life! Damn! How bad of a girlfriend is this chick?! What proceeds after this is one of the most sickeningly lovey-dovey relationships I’ve ever seen. As the super clingy Koko seems to be the perfect complement for Banri, who has craved just that kind of unending attention and contact.
Eventually, their love makes it to campus where Mr. 2D sees them. Ugh! The love is too much for me to take, and I usually love seeing this crap in an anime. They also run into a newly blonde Mitsuo on the yard as well. I have to say, the blonde looks good on him. Though I’m not terribly happy with the circumstances that brought about the change. It seems that in his shock and depression at being rejected by his crush (or having his confession), he had the thought of having all his hair shaved off. The hairdresser got his permission to experiment with the hair, since it was already coming off, and the result was so good that Mitsuo kept it. It doesn’t change the fact though that he can’t bear to face little Chinami though, and when she shows up he bolts like lightning to another area. And that’s a sad thing, because when his friends sit down and talk with her, she makes it quite clear that she rejected his poor confession, not him. To be clear, she says that she didn’t even consider what he did to be a confession. And I have to agree with her. What he did was more like acting on a dare. It’s a shame that he can’t stick around to learn that. Then again, he’s not the only guilty party, as Banri has been avoiding Linda’s text messages for quite some time. And he too runs the hell away whenever Linda pops up. It’s something that Koko has continually noticed. And the text messages he receives just continue throughout the day, too. And he just keeps ignoring them.
Everything between Banri and Linda is forced to come to a head when Nana (the punk rock girl that lives in his apartment) tricks him into coming back to the building, so that Linda can confront him. It turns out the friendship circles in this show really are small. Once Nana forces Linda out of her apartment and locks her out, Banri invites her to his apartment where they talk – and cry. Linda apologizing for the halfhearted way she has treated her old friend, and Banri crying and apologizing for ignoring and running away from her. And this is where things between them in their past begin to clear up a bit. She explains that they had a very close relationship in high school, but they weren’t going out. Banri had confessed his feelings to her the night of the graduation, and Linda had said she’d give him an answer the next day on the bridge. To this day, she says she regrets not showing up on time sooner, thinking she could have prevented him from falling off the bridge. Though I will say, that that’s not exactly how it appeared to happen in the flashback we were shown previously. Their conversation is interrupted though with a phone call from Koko. She tells Banri that there’s a problem, and that Mitsuo might be in trouble.
End of episode.
How nice it is to see characters actually be in a relationship, as opposed to just fiddling around with getting to one. And even if Koko and Banri is disgustingly cutesy with each other, I still find it a welcome change of pace from most of the stale, distant relationships I see character in anime usually in. I do have my fears though. I have a worry that Koko is going to become that blind, selfish, dependent monster she had been with Mitsuo, with Banri. All the warning signs are there, and her personality hasn’t really changed. Only time will tell if what they have is real love, or just convenient infatuation. Linda is still a “complication”, though at this point I won’t say she’s a love interest. And since we’re talking about relationships, and since that’s all this show is really about, we’ll talk about Mistuo and Chinami’s potential relationship. I really, really like the potential for this pairing. As Chinami seems to genuinely care for Mitsuo, but she’s smart enough and has enough self-respect to not put up with any of his silly shenanigans. As far as the female leads in this show go, I think Chinami is my favorite personality. She’s not the airhead first impression gave off. I think there’s a good head on those tiny shoulders, and that Mitsuo will actually the be the loose cannon in this relationship. And as for Linda and Banri, those two have some catching up to do. But I do wonder how much deeper their relationship will actually go. For now, it looks like they’re firmly on the friendship route. But things could change, and as I said before, I’m not sure how deep and true this relationship between Koko and Banri really is. They ooze the sweet honey of a shallow summer fling fueled by hormones and the high of a new infatuation.
The weaving of relationships is becoming quite complicated already. We’re seeing relationships of all types being built up. Now I wonder if all that is to push the relationships forward from that point, or to break them down?
Well I’m quickly learning to regret my words last episode about Banri and Linda. It seems we’ve still got a lot more to learn about their relationship aside from what was briefly covered in the previous episode.
Here we see in a flashback how Banri’s feelings were hurt in high school, when he overheard Linda talking with friends as they teased her about liking him. He heard all the worst parts, and all the worst things were said. She called him just a friend, said that she didn’t even think of him as a guy, and also said she was just trying to support him because he was unreliable. It’s no wonder that he gives her the cold shoulder after that. Though I really do wish I’d see less scenes of him running away crying because his feelings were hurt. I’m starting to wonder about Banri’s testosterone levels, because he’s just shown himself to be really sensitive this entire show.
Back in the present, Banri is commissioned to save Mitsuo. Looks like the eligible bachelor has found himself in a tough situation with a bimbo who’s trying to wiggle her way into his apartment. Mitsuo is obviously not interested in the woman, but can’t manage to get rid of her. That’s when Banri shows up and hits everyone with the mother of all wingman saves! He basically mimics Koko’s super lovey dovey routine to convince the girl that he’s Mitsuo’s boyfriend and that they’re SUPER GAY together, and Mitsuo actually plays along splendidly! It definitely works, and the look of gay sassy feminine smugness on Banri’s face is priceless. You have to say that he’s quite the admirable guy, as it seems like he’ll do anything to help a friend. And with the bimbo gone, Banri finally has a chance to see what Mitsuo has been up to, and it isn’t good. The apartment is a sty, and you can really tell that he’s been in a rut. The reason? Well, he never recovered from Chinami’s rejection. Apparently people in college don’t have the busy lives I assumed they did because word has gotten out all over campus about how Mitsuo got rejected at the Film Club’s party. It’s haunting him now, and he just can’t cope with the stares and how self-conscious he’s become. Banri has had enough, and he enlists Mr. 2D’s aid in helping Mitsuo come out of his funk.
Their idea? To take Mitsuo on a fun trip and party to get him to “buck up”. Though once there, the intermingling of friends and old grudges cause some problems. For one, Banri’s not going anywhere without Koko. So when Mitsuo meets his old stalker, the fireworks appear without hesitation. Also, Chinami gets invited despite her being the root of all Mitsuo’s anxiety and him telling her not to talk to him anymore because of the stress of his rejection. When Koko learns that Chinami is the reason for her childhood friend’s grief, she verbally digs into poor Chinami as hard as ever. To my surprise though, Chinami begins to snap back! But she stops short of really telling Koko off, and instead confides in her that she’s really hurt by Mitsuo’s decision not to talk to her anymore – ever. The tension is broken however when she puts on a silly display and gets Koko to laugh at her.
We’re then treated to a montage of everyone having fun at the park, and then partying at Banri’s apartment until they pass out. Banri wakes up in the middle of this alcohol induced bedtime and contacts Linda, who happened to still be in her friend’s apartment next door. What follows is a very interesting nighttime conversation between old friends, as they’re both seemingly very honest with each other. Banri even asks her what her answer would have been on that night that he lost his memories. And she plainly tells him that it would have been “no”. She continues to tell him that she could not think of him as a romantic interest. That’s when something weird happens, as Banri seemingly out of know where asks if she would like to go back to the relationship they once had. He then says quite clearly that he wants to go back to that place, but then acts like he’s completely confused about what he said, as if it wasn’t him talking. Linda clearly hears him, but brushes it off and tells him to go get some rest. We’re then treated to that annoying ghost of Banri’s again. Boy that ghost likes to point out the obvious. I sure wish he’d just go away though.
End of episode.
My favorite part of this episode was definitely Banri’s “gay save”. My second favorite part was Chinami’s small moment of rebuttal against Koko’s bullying. And let’s be clear, what Koko is doing is pure, textbook bullying. The reason I love these scenes is because they’re entertaining and they give good views into their character’s personalities. The fact that Banri is willing to go to such outlandish lengths to help his friend out with what is honestly a very minor problem shows how much he values the few new friendships he has. Chinami’s little shows that she has some bite to her, but also that she’s very hurt by Koko and Mitsuo’s words. It shows she has a limit, she has feelings and that she cares about the people that are rejecting her. And its really quite sad because she tells Banri early in the show that she admires both Mitsuo and Koko. And yet, Mitsuo hurts her not only by confessing callously and publicly on a dare, and then again when he tells her not to take to him anymore to save face. Now that I say this stuff out loud to myself, he really is coming off as a giant a-hole! And then there’s Koko, who she wants nothing more than to be friends with, and almost every time they meet, Koko’s misplaced jealousy and frustration is dumped on the poor girl. So despite her loving almost always cheerful demeanor, she is taking a beating. By comparision, Mitsuo is only embarrassed and needs to get over his mistake. And Koko is just threatened and jealous of Chinami, as she sees the pint sized student as a threat to the things around her. It’s like she thinks of Chinami as some sort of magnetic, capable of pulling away the people and attention she wants, based on mere forces of nature.
Banri himself had a bit of an outburst, too. But I dont’ really know what to make of it just yet. Was he blurting out his feelings based on liquid courage? Did his “ghost” suddenly take control for a few seconds? Because this show flirts with the supernatural, I’m not so sure. I just hate how Banri’s ghost just hangs out, looking bland and pointing out the obvious. Where’s a Ghostbuster when you need him?
For now, my opinion of the show hasn’t changed at all. I’m just gaining appreciation for its attempts to weave a story around these characters and their ever more complicated and intimate relationships. There are some interesting situations being played with here. There’s a relationship between two people who demand a lot of time from their partners, an ideal relation indeed; a relationship between two old friends who hardly have any memories to bond over, due to one participant’s amnesia. And there are a couple of broken relationships as well. And I’m assuming that this show will have us taste the drama of each and everyone of these relationships, before attempting to neatly tie everything up by the end of the series. So we have a lot of ground to cover coming up. This is only the beginning. I have a feeling the real problems have yet to begin.