Golden Time ep19: weak sauce
On the plus side, I learned I was horribly mistaken about one of my previous misconceptions about this show. On the other end, this show still feels compelled to disguise high school drama in the cloak of a university setting. Or perhaps this is just another in a long line of cases of me having too high a bar for a series in terms of its maturity.
Despite my negative tone, it wasn’t as if I didn’t enjoy this episode. Progress is being made, there was no sign of Ghost Banri, and there was even some nice romance. My problem, and I’ll cover that in a moment, is with the form of drama that’s popping up. It is striking a hammer to one of my pet peeves!
With last episode’s events still weighing heavily on Banri’s mind, he heads back to Tokyo with fear and uncertainty weighing on his mind. He’s completely unsure of what the events of his dream/hallucination mean. Does the event mean that Ghost Banri is forever gone, or does he still have to live in fear of his past coming back to take back its body and experiences? In any case, he comes back more secure in his place amongst his family and friends from the past, while being warmly greeted by his new friends and lover. My favorite part of this scene, and the one after in Banri’s apartment was Kouko. I just love it when she’s goofy and foolish, but not to the point where she’s abusive or just sad. I was about to complain about the crappy cliche of awkward scenes in anime revolving around sex. More often than not, in anime sex is portrayed as something “beyond the scope” of the series. The characters may know of the act, may want to engage in it, and may have positioned themselves (literally) perfectly for the act. Yet despite all that, they just can’t resist going through the same song and dance that has gone on for years with anime characters involving sex. They all get really stupid and awkward, and end up ruining the mood in some way to make the act impossible to even begin. In a way, that happens here but at least Banri and Kouko seemed ready to engage. The goofiness actually seemed natural coming from Kouko. And it’s a nice change of pace from the guy ruining it as he usually does. It’s one of the few things in this show that has seemed more mature than I was expecting.
The atmosphere of the show quickly turns awkward though when Mitsuo pops into the scene and starts talking about filming the Festival Club for his Film Club. The kicker is that he’s really doing this to try to get closer to Linda. This helps clear up the awkward relationship between the him and Linda that we got a peek at during the summer. It turns out that they’re not actually in a relationship, and instead Mitsuo has only taken a shine to her and has been wooing her during the summer. Unfortunately, Mitsuo has done something to irk Linda and they’ve been on shaky ground ever since.
This is painfully evident when Mitsuo actually goes to the Festival Club for filming and is completely snubbed by Linda. To make matters even more awkward, Linda is strangely hostile towards Banri. Now this is a vexing peeve of mine: characters that REFUSE to communicate clearly! After the meeting, Linda literally summons him to b*tch him out vaguely and call him a moron. Thankfully, Banri doesn’t just take it and calls her out for not being clear. And eventually, they’re able to sit down and talk through things; with Linda explaning how to him about how she’s insecure about the validity of their relationship and Mitsuo’s motives. But Banri is able to put her head in a clear and positive spot before moving on. And just as you think things are nice and clear, Chinami shows up and berates Banri for being so secretive and intimate with Linda while still being in a relationship with Kouko. She doesn’t even give him a chance to explain! Good grief! This is some annoying cheap drama right here! And I hope this gets cleared up soon, because I’m pretty damned sick of this stuff. Before, things were just complicated and weird because of Banri’s amnesia and Kouko’s obsessive, stalker nature. Now things are still complicated, but it has almost nothing to do with his condition, or Kouko’s hangups. In a way, that’s a sign of real progression and change in the story. But getting into the details, the drama we’re left with is the kind that’s easily cleared up with even the slightest amount of common sense. My true hope is that these characters actually start talking to each other, instead of just coming to a conclusion and silently judging each other.