Produced by Genco and J.C.Staff, Golden Time is a slice of life/romance anime with a slight supernatural twist.
The story centers around Tada Banri, a college freshman studying law. Banri is recovering from an accident that caused him to lose his memories. Because of this, the person he is when the series starts is different from the person he was when he was in high school. Regardless of this, he lives his life in college. Early on he makes several friends:
- Mitsuou Yanagisawa (Yana), a fellow law student.
- Kaga Koko, Yana’s self-proclaimed girl friend. A girl who is strikingly beautiful and dresses with a distinctly European style.
- Takaya Satou (2D), a classmate who prefers 2-dimensional girls to real ones.
- Chinami Oka (Oka), a small girl who’s a member of the Film Society and 5th member of this merry band of characters.
Early on the series is mostly dealing with Koko pursuing Yana because of some childhood crush and him trying his hardest to get her to realize that he’s not that into her. Eventually, Yana is able to get through to Koko which leads to her and Banri ending up together. Along the way they, also meet Linda and Nana. Nana is a 3rd year who plays in a rock band also happens to be Banri’s neighboor. Linda is a member of the Festival Club with Banri and Koko. It turns out that Linda is also connected to Banri’s past. Banri lost his memories when he was standing on a bridge. He was hit and fell of the bridge. The reason he was on the bridge was because he confessed his love to Linda and he was waiting for a response. This, coupled with the fact that Banri’s memories are still floating around in the form of a “Spirit Tada Banri”, leads to most of the turmoil in the series. Banri must deal with managing his current life while his past one threatens to overtake it.
Despite my initial reservations, Golden Time is one of the most “feels” inducing shows I’ve seen in a while (animated or otherwise). Golden Time is about relationships, mostly romantic ones. The show follows Koko and Banri as they work their way through a fledgling relationship into becoming very important to each other. The memory loss adds an unusual element of drama to everything as we see not only Banri but Koko deal with the prospect of being in a relationship where there’s a chance that your significant other could completely forget you at any time. It forces the character and the viewer to confront certain issues:
- Is it worth staying in a relationship when it’s pretty much guaranteed you will get hurt?
- How do you live your life without knowing your past?
- How important is it to reveal your past relationships to your friends and can you really be close if you don’t?
- How can you best support someone you were close to when they’ve forgotten you?
It’s just hard to not get drawn in by some aspect of what’s going on. The show is very good at developing the plot and characters so that some of these issues, which are realistically far-fetched, actually seemed grounded. As over the top as a character like Kaga Koko can be, there’s parts of her that are very much identifiable in a lot of real people, especially one’s that the viewer has probably been in a relationship with. The same could be said for the other characters as well. It’s very likely that the viewer will be able to identify with the relationship status of one or more of the characters. Whether you identify as a lover, a friend, someone who’s nervous about relationships or a step of a relationship, or someone who’s dealing with unrequited or impossible to grasp emotions. Even though it can feel like characters that aren’t Koko or Banri get ignored at times, the other characters do seem to be there to accent or highlight their story. Even Linda, who’s a really big part of that story, is really just that: a part.
I am not, by any means, a fan of this genre but when something’s done right it’s hard to deny it. While suffering from a few plot hiccups that are the result of anime tropes more than anything, the story of this show never makes me feel like the show isn’t worth watching. There’s enough originality and plot twists to make things really feel unique. The animation and music are very good, with one exception: I absolutely detest the 2nd opening theme. Otherwise I can’t think of anything bad to say about the production of the show. If you’re a person who thinks, “I will never watch a slice-of-life / romance anime”, this is probably a good show to try out to see if you’re going to give the genre a try. For a show this well done, I would normally recommend it as very re-watchable, but the emotional nature of the show and my own prejudice leaves me to leave my recommendation as: