Golden Time

Golden Time

img_4395.jpgBanri Tada is a newly admitted student at a private law school in Tokyo. However, due to an accident, he lost all of his memories. During his freshman orientation, he encounters another freshman from the same school, Mitsuo Yanagisawa, and they hit it off at once. Without any memory of each other, their lives become more and more intertwined as if set by the hands of fate. But what is their fate, and will it lead to happiness or another memory to forget…

img_4398.jpgGolden Time is anime that has been on my to-watch list for some time. When I finally got around to watching it, I wondered what took me so long. At it’s core, it’s a romantic comedy with a supernatural edge, but it’s ultimate hook isn’t anything like the usual cliches or the endless question of ‘are they going to get together or not’. After the accident that caused him to lose all his memories, Banri tries for a fresh start in Tokyo and make new friends. There he meets Koko Kaga and they begin to date one another. However, Banri can’t help but wonder what his previous life was like, and if there was someone special to him in his past that he has completely forgotten about.

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There are a fair few aspects in Golden Time that make it an anime worth watching. I’m not really one for too many romantic anime, but every so often one comes along that completely grabs my attention and demands that I watch it. Golden Time‘s plot was realistic with a splash of melodrama to keep things interesting and the plot and narrative had an almost natural progression to it that kept me engaged. The fact that we were seeing most things from Banri’s perspective meant that we had the added benefit of his thoughts as he tried to make sense of the feelings of his past and present self and tried to understand who he was. The fact that this was a romantic anime from the perception of the male lead was also a fresh perspective.

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Every episode seems to contain a puzzle piece that helps both the viewer and Banri take another step towards making sense of his identity. The more he experienced, the more questions were raised. At the same time, these were experiences that the new Banri was having and not the old, which makes our protagonist question if he really should be looking into the past so much, instead of leaving it behind and pressing on into the future. Through his thoughts and flashbacks, we also see how his amnesia is affecting his friends and Koko.

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The realistic side of this anime is drawn from the fact that despite the two ‘Banris’ working against one another, in current time what we see is two people working through a relationship and realising that this might be the long-lasting one they have been looking for. Banri and Koko see each others flaws and pasts and help each other to work around them and come out the other side stronger for it. One of the drawbacks with this anime sometimes is that it’s so character-driven that there sometimes seems a lack of motion – usually when Banri runs from his problems (sometimes literally) when talking to his friends would be the most simple solution.

img_4399.jpgHowever, when it comes to his relationship with Koko, they always end up talking it out, and these are often some of the best to watch. The audience can forgive Koko her melodrama and Banri’s irrational fears because they always explain themselves and learn from the experiences. You can actually see Banri becoming more confident and Koko becoming a more secure character, and it’s wonderful that they grow together. The cast of this anime feel real and human to me, with multiple facets and glaring contradictions that we would expect to see from people in real life.

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The humour we see usually comes from the interactions between the core main characters and the supporting ones. It’s mainly from situations that we would see happen in real life, like falling for pranks by our friends or situational comedy that we would see at universities – like forward seniors, getting into amusing situations with friends and silly miscommunications. Golden Time realistically represents these moments in ways that I haven’t seen another anime do in a fair while.

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I don’t want to go into too much detail and avoid spoiling it for those that haven’t watched, but though Golden Time uses vehicles such as ghosts and amnesia to keep the momentum to its story, it really represents what I would consider a truly good romantic anime to be: comedy, drama, realistic situations, compelling characters that you want to cheer for and a splash of something original that stops the rest of the ingredients from feeling too samey. If this is something you’re looking to watch, I would wholeheartedly recommend you do so. You won’t be disappointed.