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Golden Time ep9: I’ll always be there

This episode, oh this episode.  I should expect that as the show gets more adult, it gets more complicated.  But do I have to accept clash of past and present as one of the complications?  Is it really so hard to keep the supernatural stuff to a minimum.  It’s bad enough I have to deal with the contest of past and present lovers without dual personalities and possible schizophrenia popping up.

I was hoping there wouldn’t be a break in communication this early in the show. But then again, bad communication is the fuel that runs this show. So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that drama pops up in this show at the slightest provocation. Banri’s confession from the last episode was surely heard by Koko. And it’s not because we’re shown in anyway that she was awake and listening. It’s because that very next morning, Koko comes down with a cold that keeps her out of class for the rest of the week. To make things even clearer, their relationship has cooled off noticeably since that night as well. And the third bit of evidence are the sad looks she gives Banri and Linda when they’re together and they’re not looking.  Oh Banri, you poor idiot.  You can’t figure out what you want to do, and it’s only going to get more and more people hurt, including and especially yourself.

That bit of extended drama aside, life still has to be lived.  And Koko does eventually come back to school, just in time for the Festival Club’s next big practice.  It’s a pretty big day, as everyone’s costumes come in.  After practice, Banri tries to compliment Koko on how beautiful she looks in traditional Japanese clothing (which she does), but Koko is far from responsive.  Banri asks her why she’s so pensive, and he certainly gets an answer.  Koko begins crying, as she asks if Banri loves her.  She doesn’t tell him that she overheard his and Linda’s conversation from the previous week, but she does tell him that she feels anxious and nervous.  Banri actually holds her and kisses her, telling her that their relationship is fine.  This is actually something I don’t get to see a ton of, so I’m very very happy to see something realistic like this play out.  I don’t see too often a pair of characters who are romantically involved actually hold and console each other like this.  It’s a hell of a lot more comforting than the usual talk to each other from a foot away approach.  Unfortunately, that damned ghost is back, lamenting how he used to kiss Linda the same way back in the day and how the current Banri doesn’t remember such a thing.  He then tosses us into a flashback without any warning or even asking us!  WHAT A DOUCHE!


In this flashback we’re shown that Linda has an older brother who teaches and coaches the high school soccer team.  He’s a big, burly, nice guy.  And he seems to really like Banri.  But when he leaves to start his practice, Linda pulls Banri off to the side to tell him a secret.  She’s seen her brother’s fiance out and about with another man, kissing him as she left his apartment.  No doubt, she was just leaving from a vigorous session of “snoo-snoo” (see Futurama for the reference).  Linda is furious  and is set on ruining their marriage and the woman’s life.  And Banri actually is OK with the idea and says he’ll support her.

So later, they go to the guy’s apartment and wait outside in the bushes to snap incriminating (or damning) photos of the two illicit lovers.  They seem to get everything they want, though Banri think they should actually go in the apartment to get definitive proof (perhaps catching them in the act of snoo-snoo).  But Linda actually has a change of heart – a strong change of heart.  She decides that instead of going the dirty Cheaters/Maury Povich route, she’ll be an adult about the situation.  She erases the photos from both of their phones and instead confronts her brother’s fiancee directly.  Saying that she’ll forget about this, but should never do this again if she wants to marry her brother.  The fiance is visibly distraught.  While they talk in the car, Banri sits on the hood waiting for them to finish.  He does notice the creepy sight of the fiance’s lover staring at them from the apartment window, and makes sure to hold Linda closely and warn her about him as they leave.

Afterwards, Linda explains herself as they sit and rest outside a convenience mart.  She really did not want to hurt her brother, and has decided to let her off with a warning and act like nothing ever happened.  Banri questions the choice, as do I.  Keeping the photos as insurance would at least have been a wise decision should she go back on her word.  Regardless, it’s far too late now to do anything about it.  And this realization frustrates Linda to no end.  Banri’s words and doubts all ring true.  She’s now living  a with a lie.  And her brother’s future may also be a lie.  To console Linda, Banri tells her that he was there too as a witness, and that he’ll help her live with it.  He’ll be there for her from now on, no matter what.  We learn that this is the moment that Banri’s feelings for Linda really blossomed, and that it’s also when he had to start carrying that heavy promise with him.

In the present time, we see Banri alone at one of the cafeteria tables when Linda comes by.  Linda like anybody would, wonders where Koko is.  And Banri tells her that Koko’s out sick again.  This is when Linda brings the episode full circle, and repeats to Banri the same promise that he repeated to her years ago.  It’s her way to tell him to watch after Koko, now that they’re going out now.  But it may have also been the key to something else as well.

Later that night, as Banri sleeps his ghost goes laments the decision to not tell Linda that he loved her at the moment his love actually blossomed, and wondered if he’d be with her right now.  At that moment, something strange happens – and Banri’s ghost finds himself back in his body!  It seems that all his memories have come back.

End of episode.

RAAAAARGH!  Where do I start?!  Is it with the disappointment in Linda’s decision to be mature, yet not be honest with her brother?  Or is it with this damned plot twist of having Banri’s ghost inhabit his body again?  The supernatural has just taken over this show.

When it comes to Linda, and the flashback involving her brother’s engagement; I can commend their courage in trying to do something about the situation.  And I really can’t complain too much about them making bad decisions, since they’re teenagers, and this situation is way over their heads.  But I can’t help but express disappointment over the decision regardless.  If that was my little sister, I’d want her to be honest with me about such a thing.  When it comes to a situation like this, it’s not just about feelings, it’s about health, too.  There’s not just a destruction of the emotional relationship, but he could get a disease.  He has no idea that she’s sleeping around on him.  We have no idea if they’re using condoms.  And at this point, how could you be sure she even really cares about Linda’s brother enough to get married.  When you’re engaged, you treat it like a marriage even if you aren’t in one.  Fidelity and honesty is expected and demanded of the parties involved unless otherwise stated.  And I’m under no impression that that’s a thing they agreed upon.  It’s a huge disservice to her brother, and I feel like her attempt to be “mature” was actually a naive decision.  It’s not always about “forgive and forget”. honesty has to be displayed before any of that other stuff can take place.  I do wonder how much deeper these flashbacks and Banri’s relationship with Linda goes.  I wasn’t expecting that much since the show focused on such a pivotal moment in their high school relationship so early in the series.  They really did come off as just a pair of friends that waited too long to take that next intimate step.  But the love is looking more legit with every bit of information we’ve been given.  It seems that Koko’s fears are much more founded than initially thought.

As for the present situation, this really sucks for Koko.  She’s already dove into her relationship with Banri with her full heart, and just this early in their relationship, she feels she’s lost his heart.  And now that Banri’s ghost has taken over his body/Banri’s gotten his memories back, it looks like she’ll be pushed even farther away.  What was once an awkward situation has turned into a competitive one, with her at a disadvantage.  It really does look like we’ll spend less time in this show in a happy relationship than I was hoping.

And speaking of hope, I really hope Banri’s ghost f*cks off soon.  He’s just throwing more and more complications into the mix.  And he’s pining for a relationship that has long since failed, in hopes of getting a second chance.  It’s really pitiful stuff that seems to be the definition of living in the past.

Overall, even though I said I hate the developments in this show, I can’t say that it wasn’t a good episode, nor that I wasn’t entertained.  I’m just frustrated at this point.  I don’t care for the supernatural elements of this show at all.  Though if I had to pull something positive from them, it does tell a sort of romantic reincarnation story, without the same level of complication that could come with such a thing.  I’m sure that my opinion isn’t the correct, or even popular one on this show.  And maybe you thought Linda’s decision this episode was the correct and sage one.  That’s fine.  I like that this show isn’t pretending that there’s a right answer to anything right now.  It’s much less a fairy tale, and much more realistic and relatable that way.  The different relationships in this show could all be destined to occur, or doomed to fail.  We may think that certain characters are destined to be together, but nothing’s in stone, yet.  It will be interesting to see how things play out with this new complication.  It’s a battle between a fated lover and a destined one now.  The question won’t just be a question of which girl wins, but of which girl is fated and which girl is destined.

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