Home > Anime, Check-out Station > Check-out Station: Golden Time ep21 – FINAL

Check-out Station: Golden Time ep21 – FINAL

Well here I am.  I’m quite late, but not as late as i expected.  It’s been a long time coming.  I originally said that I had high hopes for this series, and that I was looking forward to something dramatic and exciting.  But as I got through this series it got more weird, a less of everything else.  Less romance, more screaming.  Less comedy, and more goofiness.  So then let’s see if this final stretch of the show can redeem Golden Time, and make it truly a memorable show.

Episode 21

I can’t really say I’m that excited about this episode. Despite all that went on, it was still a lot of set up for more drama later, and I didn’t love how things played out. But there is a larger positive side, which is that I’m understanding how things are playing out a lot more now.

Banri’s freak out in the previous episode seems to have had some dire consequences for the festival club. It now looks like they’ve been ostracized and even blacklisted by the other festival clubs in the region, which sucks because it shows they’re a-holes who aren’t sensitive to mental health issues at all. The club hasn’t completely thrown in the towel though, which is one good thing.

The real problem in this episode is of course Banri and his mental condition. Kouko realizes that even when he’s back to “normal”, he’s terribly unstable. Banri hasn’t been getting nearly any sleep since the incident, terrified that he’ll wake up a different person all together. Kouko and he get the nice idea of getting everyone together for a dinner where he explains his situation, but his condition doesn’t even allow him that much reprieve.

On top of that, a new layer of drama is shown as Chinami reveals the real reason she’s been giving Banri so much sh*t since she found him talking to Linda alone. I was just amazed at that scene, since I wasn’t expecting quite what happened. I knew she still was interested in Mitsuo, but I really thought she just didn’t like the idea of Banri attempting to fool around with another girl while committed. The truth was way more selfish, as we learn that she was just having a really bad reaction to her internal feelings of joy in seeing Mitsuo’s chances with Linda go up in smoke. She was actually happy that Yana’s love life appeared to be falling apart, and when she confronted Linda and was proven utterly wrong, I could understand her freaking out a little bit. She had a moment where she had to come face to face with her failure of personality and character. But I think this development raises her up as a character in my opinion. She’s forced herself to look inside herself and face the ugliest that she didn’t even see until recently. She seems like a more realistic and relatable character to me.

The part that I mainly didn’t like about this episode was the end.  It’s not enough that Banri is falling apart at the seems, but now Kouko does the unbelievably boneheaded move of pretending to not care about Banri and leaving him – IN THE MIDDLE OF A CRISIS!

“Our love was all a lie.  See ya later.”

That’s pretty much what Kouko’s final words to Banri were this episode.  I hate it when shows try to go to these ridiculous measures right near the end.  You don’t have to pretend as though you’re completely going to blow up the show for me to care about seeing it to the end.  For this type of show, I assume that if you stufck around to this point, you know if you like the show or not.

Episode 22

Oh good grief!  This was all way too stupid and overly dramatic for me.  Kouko insists on continuing her stupid little farce of not caring.  All it does is make her look like a devil in front of everyone.  Banri is still a quivering, crying mess.  I was actually proud of some of his angry outbursts this episode because they were long overdue.  If I had been with a woman for awhile like he had and then she just casually discarded me like that and demoted me to friend status, I’d be pissed, too!  And then on top of everything, Linda has the nerve to give Banri sh*t for his lack of assertiveness in getting Kouko back.  That’s sound like someone throwing stones from a glasshouse considering it was her fault he got amnesia and that she never confronted him or accepted his feelings.  While Chinami broke down when she confronted her feelings, she learned to accept them and move on in a very mature way.  And this occurred after she had a long spell of not acting very mature at all, especially towards Banri.

Then when Kouko, Banri and Linda get closer to their true feelings, they implode!  Their personalities seem to sadly be collapsing in upon themselves.  So by the time we get to the end of the episode, most everyone is acting like hysterical children in the middle of a tantrum.  It’s borderline hilarious to me.  I am genuinely wondering with two episodes left, who the void of ration will be in this episode.  It’s likely Chinami since she came across her own flaws and revelations before anyone else.

Two things that did stand out to me amidst all this stupidity were Nana and a certain recurring theme.

I can never tell if I’m going to like or dislike Nana.  My feelings pretty much go where each episode takes me.  At times, she can seem quite wise and straightforward, at other times she can just seem like a very harsh person who doesn’t know anything.  This episode, she really let her hair down (so to speak).  She was the lone person (aside from Mr. 2D) to step up and support Banri.  She was the lone bit of calm for him.  And for that I can say that she was a sage this episode.  The other thing that stood out is how several characters harped on how passive Banri was in trying to get Kouko back.  But I can say from personal experience that I don’t blame his reaction.  For one, he was in shock when Kouko first hit him with that bomb.  For another,  I’m of the mind that if someone doesn’t want to be with me, then I’ll have no part of them.  I won’t try to win them over.  They’re not worth my time or effort, and I’m done with them.  It hurts to be dumped/rejected like that.  I flippant dismal can be just as harmful, or even moreso, than a passionate one.  It leaves you feeling “played”, embarrassed, empty, lonely and bitter.  There’s nothing wrong or abnormal about his response as far as I’m concerned.  Not to mention that the poor guy is somewhat mentally disabled.  He’s confused and scared, but it feels like the show’s way to solve his problems is to yell at and slap him until he cries himself to better health.

Ugh!  I can’t wait until this rough patch of a plot is traversed.

Episode 23

What a sh*tty ending to a penultimate episode.  This was a rather painful watch.  Even as things were getting patched up amongst the cast, Banri was progressively breaking down more and more.  It’s really quite sad.  There’s a scene where he’s waffling between personalities, and it brings home how crazy and twisted his situation is.  He lives in this current world, but his original personality just randomly wakes more and more frequently into these now predictable and very sad antics.  And you can see the pain on Kouko’s face, as she tries to cope with the reality that her former boyfriend will be a complete stranger in a short amount of time.  It’s weirdly poetic and tragic.  And it helped keep me from claiming that this show was getting overly dramatic again.

It was a pleasure to see Banri and Kouko patch things up and come to an understanding.  Just like most of the episode, it was still quite sad, but positive progress nonetheless.  Even the festival club got some good fortune and Mitsuo stopped being a little b*tch and came back to help everyone.  It was his film that ultimately redeemed the festival club.

And by the way, what the hell is up with everyone running away in this series?  I’ve never come across a situation in real life where someone was visibly distraught, and then decided to sprint off in some random direction because of “reasons”.  Stop this BS!  It’s so dumb looking and annoying.

Oh well.  Nothing left to do now but finish this series.  It seems inevitable that the Banri we’ve  watched grow throughout this series is about to disappear, though it would be nice if what actually happens is completely different.  It would be very pleasant to see Banri’s current and past self come together in harmony finally.  That would solve all problems and make Banri a happy well adjusted person, who can get the beautiful Kouko back.

Episode 24

So we’ve finally come to this point.  The end.  And it stays true to this series in many ways.  The tone, quality and characters in this episode all reflect the show pretty well, and how well this group of friends has grown together.  Though the beginning of this episode very much felt more like an epilogue than anything else.

Banri’s back at home on a short term leave of absence from university.  He’s completely returned to “normal” and does have any contact with any of his old college friends aside from Linda who of course hangs out with him all the time.  It appears that the Banri we know, the one that faded away’s attempts to contact his old self in memorial have failed.  The old and now current Banri sees the information, but just doesn’t care.  He’s back to being the same loser that obsesses over Linda that he was before the accident.  The real kicker is that for all the time they’re spending together, they still have the same bland, platonic relationship.

Things are all pretty boring until Kouko actually shows up at the Tada househould, and the magic begins to happen.  And it’s here where the show pretty much squeezes out the last of the magical BS.  It’s not something I terribly enjoyed, nor understood.    First there’s the played out scene where the guy has to chase the girl of his dreams before she disappears forever, or at least he loses the chance to have his magical moment.  What annoyed me was the scene on the bridge, where not only did we get to see Ghost Banri appear again (gag me) where a confrontation takes place as Banri attempts to cross.  And that problem was only solved once Linda caught up with Banri and somehow is able to see, interact with and even confess to Ghost Banri.  I am terribly annoyed at this because it’s so shallow that it kinda breaks me.  For a while, I haven’t cared for Linda.  While at first, she came across as a wise beauty that could help show Banri the ropes, that initial impression has long since faded away.  I still see her as a somewhat mature woman, but also as a flawed, wishy~washy character that is just as much responsible for the problems in this show as anyone, if not more.  And here, she’s used a type of key to help Banri breakthrough his hangups with Ghost Banri.  But it pains me to see this because she could have said all of this so very long ago.  Even if the Banri who loved Kouko wasn’t the clingy loser that obsesses over her, she still could have been more honest in her feelings in any direction and been a huge help to Banri.  By the end of this show, I just didn’t like her at all.  If she loved the Banri of her past, she really did f*ck up.  And I don’t think she did nearly enough to make up for it during the show.  Combining her with Ghost Banri is the type of recipe that makes me sick.  So I just hate the bridge scene.

Placing my anger aside, once Banri made it across and embraced Kouko I was happy.  This was the type of thing I wanted.  Though I told myself while watching that I didn’t care how things went, if Banri and Kouko had not ended up together, I would have been pissed.  Despite what I thought was an inconsistent and often uninteresting narrative, I did have key and endearing points of interest.  While I found Kouko and Banri’s love affair a bit spontaneous and unbelievable, it did have great moments and I really did believe in their love by the end.

I also believed in the friendships in this show as well.  It was easy to see how the different characters in this show interacted with each other, and would often hurt each other just as real friends do.  Chinami and Mr. 2D really were great friends that I think most people would like to have around.  Chinami stood out to me particularly as a strong and dynamic character.  A person that I thought would either be a complete airhead, or an unnaturally wise sage-like character ended up being a very well rounded, honest and flawed person.  I was a little sad that by the end we see that Mitsuo is still eyeing Linda, though she obviously still likes him.  It vexes me because I just don’t like Linda, at least not as a love interest.  She never seems to want that role, yet she never seems to be cable of communicating that.  She perpetually sits their as a disinterested target, and that makes me disinterested in her role in much of this series.  Chinami plays her roles much better.  When pursued, she never dove into the role, but did interact.  Mitsuo did like her, she was just playing coy.  And she paid for that dishonesty.  Though I felt it terribly unfair that she pay so harshly for rumours that she never had anything to do with, or for being honest about not wanting such a terrible love confession, even from a guy she liked.  In short, despite all the praise I may lavish on her, I believe the show shafted her badly.  I’m willing to declare her as my favorite character of the show.

My least favorite character would be Ghost Banri, followed by Linda, followed by actual Banri.  And when thinking of this, I had pretty big annoyances with just about every character through this show’s run.  Ghost Banri was an annoying, boring and yet still vexing nemesis in this series.  Linda annoys me to no end as I’ve already articulated.  Banri Tada is for most of the show a lame, bland character who thrives the most when clinging to a woman or helping friends.  And then there’s Mitsuo, who was often more mouse than man.  If anyone got better than they deserved, it was Mitsuo.  On top of treating Kouko like crap, he has periods where he treats Chinami like crap (unforgivable!), and even shuts out Banri.  And his few moments of genuine honor aren’t enough for being a douch throughout most of the series.

Overall, I found this show to be absolutely average.  And that’s quite the disappointment for me.  Realizing that this show’s roots connected it to Toradora!, one of my favorite anime of all-time, and I was way too hyped.  While it’s been an interesting run at times, I can’t say I’d even recommend this anime to others.  It’s a footnote in the history of romcoms.  If you haven’t seen Toradora! or His & Her Circumstances, then gives those a shot.  If you have, then you’re out of luck.  I seriously don’t think this is the new romcom for you.

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