Golden Time ep17 & 18: sometimes you just need the courage to face your past.
It feels good to be back watching this show again. I think taking a break or a breather from anime for a bit deepens your desire watch it. I think that applies to this show as well. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
What a heartwarming little episode. Though the prospect of an amnesiac going back to their high school reunion does strike me as an awkward situation. It seems like Banri is just setting himself up for a lot of heartache and drama, then again that’s kinda the point of this show. That and romance, a romance that I’m slowly starting to accept more and more.
I thought it was a little funny how the whole Festival Club had gotten the impression that Banri and Kouko had broken up, when it was just another case of one person being awkward towards the other. That faux tragedy was replaced with a real one though, as one of the alumni that had come to their gathering that night had to admit to everyone that he still hadn’t found a job, even as they were gearing up to celebrate for him. That’s some real world pain right there.
What really gets this show finally moving past the near tragedy of the car accident was seeing Linda show up, and talk to Banri about their high school reunion. Understandably, she didn’t feel like it would be a good idea to tell him. For so long he’s openly avoided his past, but he’s changed recently and has seemed more open to accepting it. And even better, Kouko is more than supportive of the endeavor. She tells him that before she had trouble accepting Banri (which I find strange since she’s the one that seemed to jump into the relationship), because there was this side of him that other people knew that she would never see. She hopes that even if he doesn’t remember, he’s able to get in touch with that lost side of him. She’s turning into a very loving and doting lover – and not in the usual creepy way for her.
It’s something that’s noticeable to others, too. Chinami points out how admirable Kouko’s loyalty and adoration is, and how Kouko seems to jump into relationships with her all. It’s an ironic statement coming from Chinami, because Kouko has been trying her hardest NOT to be in a relationship with her, yet the two of them appear to be fast friends. The relationship between them has recently become one of my favorite parts of this show, too.
Meanwhile, things seem to be getting awkward between Mitsuo and Linda. And the knowledge that Linda and Banri are from the same hometown, on top of finding out that Banri never told him about the accident that caused his amnesia seem to have caused Mitsuo some apprehension. It leaves me wondering and hoping this won’t cause a rift between the two. I don’t want Mitsuo to turn out to be a sh*tty friend, but I’m getting worrying signs from him right now.
I wanted to say that my favorite part of this episode was not seeing Ghost Banri, but I was premature with that praise. The mopey jerk is still hanging around, but at least he’s not trying to kill people now. But let’s not linger on that. There are positive things to talk about in this episode.
This show is weird, and does weird good. And that is especially true for Kouko. I don’t know why she does some of the random things she does, but I’m happy she does them. It keeps things interesting, takes us away from the mopiness that can permeate an episode. I just found it nice to see her acting a goof and hang out with the also weird Nana. Kouko makes surprisingly good partners/friends with some of the female cast. I look forward to seeing what nonsense they get up to in Banri’s absence. Despite her lack of interest in being friends with females, she ends up being most fun to be around in their presence. Her boyfriend on the other hand seems to be an awkward match for a lot of people. That amnesia being the main reason, of course.
This episode seemed to be a heavily therapeutic one for Banri. It was touching to see all his classmates come together with Linda to give him a comforting and friendly experience. Banri’s worst fears were to put to rest as they showed him that they just enjoyed his presence, and had no intention on judging him based on his condition. Also, that scene where Linda took a full-powered dodgeball to the face was GOLDEN (pardon the pun)! I can’t get down with their dodgeball rules though. There wasn’t any “face ball” in our dodgeball games in school. Whether you got hit in the face, the balls or the chest , you were out!
Moving on, the episode ends on good and bad notes. For one, Banri has really come a long way in accepting himself and his past. I still get the sense that Linda wishes they had a chance together, but she has accepted their positions in life. The real problem here is that that damned Ghost Banri has returned, fueled by Banri’s visit to the spot that changed his life forever. Somehow, it seems that perhaps Banri’s memories are returning. And Kouko’s now broken compact is probably a bad sign.
I thought this show would be boring without a little more angst, but I’m accepting the friendships and romance more and more as the episodes continue. Kouko’s relationships with Nana and Chinami are nice to watch. One relationship mimicking that of sisters, the other morphing itself into an entertaining odd couple. Strangely, as the show continues I find myself disliking the idea of Banri and Linda being together again more and more. As I learn more and more about Banri, I see him more and more as a big loser. And that seems to justify Linda’s apparent lack of interest in him in high school more and more. The problem is that it seems that she did have true feelings for him, despite him being a clingy crybaby loser, and her apparent change of interest just irks me. It irks me terribly on a personal level. And it’s the exact reason why I’d never ship these two. I’m interested to see how things change once the two of them return to Tokyo. I have a feeling both the return of Ghost Banri, and Mitsuo’s possible insecurities may add some drama to the show soon.
Note: Linda’s big brother reminds me of a giant Ippo Makunouchi. It’s kinda uncanny.
Note 2: the animation at times in the 18th episode got really terrible at points. I mean, it was bad enough to be disturbing to look at at points.