Home > Episode by Episode > Golden Time ep14: don’t forget, this is Japan

Golden Time ep14: don’t forget, this is Japan

I’ve punished Golden Time quite a bit critically, because I’ve failed to accept one thing. This show is average, average at best. And I can’t very well soak up another dozen or so episodes and not face that truth. It seems at this point that it’s very unlikely this show will shoot up in my tier list of anime from 2013. There just isn’t enough pop or emotional connection for this show to genuinely impress on the level that I foolishly expected. That said, it doesn’t mean I can’t accept this show as it is and enjoy it. As this episode shows, while it’s not spectacular, it does have its moments and charm.

I don’t know how long summer is in this show, but it seems we’re going to get a fair bit of drama during it before the series moves on.  After last episode, I was wondering how Banri and Kouko would handle the awkwardness of the snubbed kiss.  It seems they’ve moved on quite a bit, on the outside anyway.  These two still have a ton of stuff bubbling under the surface.  And the view I’m getting of this couple is one of a pair of phonies.  There’s so much baggage that’s latched onto this couple that it’s starting to become something that other people will obviously notice.

Kouko is still up to her usual shenanigans, and she really has no reason to change or drop those habits with the way Banri has been fighting with his past and his lingering crush on Linda.  The reason this is brought up is because of a conversation Banri started over the phone with Mr. 2D.

All summer Banri’s been trying to get a hold of Mitsuo, but he’s been habitually unavailable to him or Mr. 2D.  It’s getting to the point where it’s suspicious.  At first I just suspected that he was probably pseudo-whoring himself out again at parties in more of those Speedo-like under-knickers.  But Mr. 2D suspects a secret girlfriend, and rightfully so.  Unfortunately, Kouko overhears their conversation and everyone is quickly whisked away to Chinami’s place.  Having already had Mitsuo confess to her, everyone suspects that she’s his secret girlfriend.  While the trip does expose us to Kouko’s stalker habits, it’s a waste of time since Chinami finds them anyway and Mitsuo is no where around.  And he hasn’t been to see her all summer.  So with that theory out the window, everyone is invited into Chinami’s place to talk it over out of the heat.

Upon entering Chinami’s abode, everyone notices how near empty her apartment is.  Given the fact that she was believed to have been living with her family, it’s a bit strange.  She explains to everyone that her father has accepted a job back at their home town (Fukuoka) and he and Chinami’s mother will be moving back there, leaving Chinami to find an apartment on her own.  It’s a tough posistion for her to be put in, not only is this on somewhat short notice, she can’t move with them because she’s in the middle of school, and she also had plans that involved saving money and traveling.  All that is pretty much shot right now.

In order to cheer Chinami up, everyone decides to go to the beach with Mr. 2D actually having a car and making everything easier.  They still plan on inviting the habitually absent Mitsuo along, too.  For now, they just all decide to go out to eat.

This is when things get gnarly.  Not the good gnarly either.  That bad gnarly where you open up a tupperwear container of leftovers and it makes you reel back in disgust.

As they turn a corner to go to a restaurant, they see Mitsuo and LINDA going in there together!

It’s clear to see that Chinami is hurt, but disguises it behind not wanting to invade their privacy.  Everyone is shocked, but what is most telling is the short moment Banri and Kouko share when Kouko looks directly into Banri’s eyes to see how he feels about it.  She clearly knows that he still has lingering feelings, but wants proof.

The next day, things get more weird.  With the beach trip right around the corner, Kouko pops up at Chinami’s place to go over swimwear – and a little girl to girl advice.  Despite Kouko stating that she doesn’t want to be seen as Chinami’s friend, she’s clearly accepted the role.  While they try one different outfits, you see this friendship developing – along with a pretty decent comedic duo.  I found it funny how Kouko was so extroverted and daring with her swimwear, while Chinami dressed almost like a tomboy despite being pretty girly herself.  They both take shots at each other, but they’re both right about the other wearing something inappropriate for the setting.  As they said, this is Japan.  Though things get much more dour when Kouko starts confessing her problems with Banri to her new friend.  While Chinami kinda takes Banri’s side, and has a point about Kouko being too desperate and worried, she’s unaware of the strange events unfolding around him.  Kouko doesn’t tell her the whole story, which includes her worries about him specifically being in love with Linda still.  Subject that has just recently become much more complicated and intimate for both parties.  The most awkward thing about this scene though, is that somehow they both end up wearing school swimsuits.

Damn it!  All those hot swimsuits and they pick THOSE?!  UGH!  I hate that Japanese fetish so much!

The episode surprisingly ends with Banri and Mitsuo going over swimsuits themselves in an apartment.  Oh!  And that a-hole ghost is there watching them again.  I hate that guy more than I hate Japanese school swimsuits.  And that’s saying a lot.

End of episode.

There is a lot going on in this show right now.  It’s just unfortunate that none of it seems to be getting addressed.  And it also helps me understand where a lot of the complaints I hear come from about the show.  It’s very true that all of this feels like it could have also been done in an anime about high school kids, and there would be virtually no difference.  The situations are hardly mature, or outside the realm of what could be expected to happen in an anime high school.  It has become another series where the drama and plot is dictated by how poorly characters communicate with each other.

I’m pretty stunned that everyone in this series just runs away from problems and conflict – even Kouko!  She’s willing to b*tch out Chinami, and attack Mitsuo with a bouquet of flowers, but something about Banri doesn’t allow her to confront him about his lingering obsession with Linda.  Maybe she’s reeling too hard from the backlash she received after her “break up” with Mitsuo.  Maybe de-clawing her was a bad idea.  While her stalker tendencies were unattractive, it feels too much like she’s lost the ability to stand up for herself.  This isn’t just a matter of her and Banri communicating poorly either.  She seems to have lost self confidence as a woman.

I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly it is this series needs more of, but this intimate yet closed off atmosphere between friends isn’t it.  Hopefully this beach episode will add more than pretty pictures of Kouko and Chinami in swimsuits (though I’m not complaining).

As much fun as this episode was, it’s sobering to face the reality that this show is only marginally entertaining, and not terribly dramatic.  From here on out, I just have to focus on figuring out just what this show is trying to accomplish with these relationships.  The great romantic comedy I was hoping for isn’t coming, but perhaps I can just enjoy a decent show with decent character moments.

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