Golden Time ep12: on a first name, first time, first step basis
WOW! This is the episode I’ve been wanting for so long. The episode I came into this series expecting. It seems like all this silliness with Banri getting sick and later needing a job lead to some good character moments in a show that needs them.
With the creepy party still under way, we see that Mitsuo is amazingly right in his element. He’s recruited to go on stage with all the oiled up and faux tanned (I’m guessing) bodybuilders, and he’s killing it! In the meantime, Linda is getting a little self concious about her exposed jubblies, and Banri is getting recruited by desperate horny women. The party is pretty much kicking up into a full frenzy when some of the partyers see Linda in her hot bod, and Banri in his… hot maid outfit? I don’t really get the attraction of Banri honestly. But anyway, they start asking them to pose for pics that progressively get more and more provocative. This continues until the two of them are locking legs and are sharing a glow stick in their mouths. And who shows up right when this happens? Kouko of course!
Poor Kouko just couldn’t help herself and leave Banri alone for one night. As the night has gone on, she’s gotten more and more worried. And she’s built herself up into a worried frenzy, texting and calling him over and over and over again. She’s even gone to his apartment, checked with the police and called the local hospital to check on him. And now she walks in and sees Banri cross-dressing at a job she told him not to have, virtually locking lips with the very woman she fears most. She wastes no time splashing water in Banri’s face and slapping him. Linda tries to apologize, but Koko won’t let Banri off the hook. All Banri can do is apologize, give Koko the key to his apartment and ask her to wait for him there. He still has to finish his work.
Once Banri’s done and gets his check (which may now have lost all meaning), he immediately dashes back to his apartment in hopes that Koko’s there. On the way, he checks his phone and sees the 60+ messages she’s left for him. SIXTY! Once at his apartment, the real tension builds up as he has to now explain himself to Koko. A visibly distraught Koko. She apologizes for tossing a drink in his face, and for slapping him. Banri knowing how deep in it he is, takes the most submissive position possible a apologizes profusely. Once he’s done, Koko throws him the pic she found of him and Linda, and expresses her disappointment at his inability to be honest with her about his relationship with Linda. Banri tries to explain how the relationship between him and Linda really works, but he really does say too much in the process. He admits to Koko that at times, his old feelings, though not his memories, for Linda return. They’re strong and honest feelings that tell him to go back to Linda.
All that Banri admits to Koko angers and hurts her, but instead of turning on him she freaks out on herself. There’s an incredibly strong display of frustration, disappointment and anger from her, for her. She tells Banri about it, she tells him how she doesn’t want to go back to the selfish, crazed unstable b*tch that she used to be. She expresses her fear of becoming so scary to Banri that he doesn’t want to be with her, let alone tell her things. She really doesn’t want to go back to being the person she used to be, the person that Mitsuo so strongly rejected. She grabs and hugs Banri, and begs him to forget his past. To move on from it so they can have a healthy relationship. She asks him if he’ll call her by her first name from now on, he agrees and she asks if she can call him Banri from now, and he agrees. They kiss and make up.
Koko does admit that she’s still worried. She says she’s afraid of the fragility of the relationship, and the lack of history it has. Banri says that they can start remedying that soon, and that the first thing they’ll do is get a picture together.
I was kinda tired from that, but we’re not done. There’s still one more powerful scene to go.
The next day, Banri meets with Linda over by her place. Linda apologizes for the night before, and Banri tells her not to worry about it, as his relationship with Koko is now fine. The two of them go sit by a river and then talk. Banri wants to confirm the details of their past relationship, and Linda admits to him that while he loved her, the feelings were not romantically reciprocated. Though her body language throws some doubt into her words. Banri then takes out his picture of them and tells his past self to let go and accept the fact that he’s with Koko now, but the ghost of his past refuses to move on as vehemently as ever. Banri can’t seem to bring himself to rip up the photo and it ends up falling out of his hand onto the grass. Banri then turns his attention to Linda, asking her to forget her their past together. He wants to treat Koko right and have a healthy relationship. The words seem to visibly hurt Linda, but again she refuses to say anything, and Banri of course doesn’t notice. What Linda then does though is something neither of them will forget. She agrees with Banri and then picks up the picture he dropped. She rips it up into tiny pieces and throws it into the wind, telling Banri that this is the right decision for both of them.
The episode ends as we see Banri taking photos of Koko as they happily play together in the apartment.
I was left shivering a little by this episode. I had every right to feel that this set of events could have gone a number of ways. But what’s really important is how and what these characters did, not the “ifs” or “what ifs”. Banri chose Koko and went out of his way to crush the connection he had with Linda. He may have failed with Linda, but it was a damn good try. He did everything he could, but he just could not crush that ghost. That damned ghost that is the source of most of the problems in this show. This, along with Linda lying about her feelings towards Banri will lead directly to this becoming a problem again. But in the meantime, at least Banri is making positive steps towards defending himself from the next onslaught.
I’m quite impressed with Koko’s ability to cope and communicate in the end. These were not her strong points before. A blind and violent outburst was always something you could expect with Koko before. Here we see her outburst, and an admirable recovery. While Banri is the one doing the most apologizing, Koko is the one who initiates the healing when he expected punishment. I can’t imagine a better result from that confrontation than a kiss, a hug, some clear words of understanding and then clear words of hope. And what is really important here is that these two finally have a history of consequence. Before they were just a couple that enjoyed each other’s company. They seemed very shallow and weak as a couple. A confrontation like this bears out some real feelings, and adds passion to the relationship. There’s more depth here, more feelings good and bad between them. In short, this relationship feels more real!
When it comes to the relationship between Linda and Banri, their relationship has been sadly and pitifully stagnant for so very long. It’s a relationship filled with care, emotion and passion. It’s also a relationship tainted with lies and inauthentic communication. The amnesia also robs this relationship of much of a past. And Linda’s inability to admit her feelings for years doesn’t help recover anything from the amnesia. It’s clear that Linda had some sort of romantic interest in Banri, at least in the past. But she has always, and appears to will always deny it. It’s frustrating because her inauthentic nature stagnates everything. It’s bad enough I have to deal with that annoying and stubborn ghost, who can’t seem to let go of a chick that didn’t have the balls to say she found him attractive. She put up a convincing facade by tearing up that picture, though I wonder if she did that out of spite, but this problem is not solved in the least.
I can’t be completely harsh to the situation though. It was a good scene. The ghost over did its role a bit (you can tell I hate it, can’t you?). But it can’t be easy to go through something like that. Banri showed a lot of courage in being completely honest with Koko, and in facing the situation with Linda head on. Having a d*ckbag ghost that can’t seem to understand the concept of “she’s just not that into you” has to be taxing on his nerves and emotions. As for Linda, there are probably no words to explain the sheer dump of an emotion she felt when Banri said he didn’t ever want to acknowledge their past again. Even if they were never romantic, they were still close friends. It’s dumping out a lot more than failed promise, it’s dumping out even the acknowledgement of good memories.
Overall, an excellent episode that breathed life into this show. The relationships are becoming much more personal. The show is displaying ever more layers and intensity. I need more of this in my anime watching life.