Obsessive stalkers included.
|It’s Golden Time! Or perhaps more appropriately Romance Time, if our lead, Banri, has anything to say about it. I’ve made it no secret that I’ve been highly anticipating this show, so now that the premiere is all said and done, let’s discuss how Golden Time’s opening shot turned out.|
|It’s JC Staff Time, too. They’ve been the studio behind two of my favorite romances: Toradora! and Sakurasou no Pet no Kanojo. And while Sakurasou and Toradora shared Okada Mari for Composition, Golden Time and Toradora share Takemiya Yuyuko as Original Creator. Sakurasou was a success, so can Golden Time be another and fill out the trifecta?|
A Bright Future
Sorry, there’s this girl obstructing a great view of the rose petals.
Honestly speaking, I’m not a connoisseur of the romance genre. But apparently romance makes up the vast majority of all shows I’ve ever watched by far. So maybe that counts for something. Anyway, long story very short, I wasn’t particularly wow’d by this premiere. Basically, the episode was formulated as a very tame introduction. Which is fine; it just doesn’t make the show stand out much, especially when you’re competing with other romances with more exciting concepts like sea-people. That said, it’s not as if Golden Time is doomed for blandness because it lacks fantastic elements. Being arguably the centerpiece of the show, Kouko is definitely a treat (I’m so gonna get it from feminists for “objectifying” her). Takemiya-sensei has a track record of creating very strong and complex female leads, and our fabulous stalker here is no exception. Here’s a young lady who knows what she wants; she’s got her entire life planned out, and she absolutely has to have her way. And it just so happens that it includes an “unfortunate” Mitsuo as her unwilling spouse.
It helps to have situation awareness.
Seriously speaking, I can understand his displeasure with the overbearing annoyance that has plagued his entire life so far. But as it stands, I don’t think it would be so bad for him to give in and let Kouko (further) into his life. Aside from her alarming obsession with him, I see nothing else concerning about her character. It might even be a good thing to have a partner who cares so much about you and is exceptional at planning ahead. Then again, it’s possible (and highly likely) that we haven’t seen all of Kouko yet, and there might just be other darker things hidden behind her pretty face. But I digress. The other character of interest is, of course, Banri. At first glance he looks like your generic main character, but I think it’s a nice distinction that he’s decided to actively seek a wholesome relationship. Quite the romantic, wouldn’t you say? And a nice change of pace from the typical dense or perverted idiot that we get. For the moment, it’s intentionally unclear whom he might end up with, as he’s almost comically wagged his tail at all the important girls he’s come across. But this should make for some good material moving forward.
Surprise hit and run!
Then there’s that final bit with the hospital in the call log and the random bike-on-the-bridge scene (who was he waiting for?). I’m not sure where the show intends to go with that, but given that apparently Banri got hit, odds are we’ll get some amnesia cliche. Add in the fact that Kouko’s father runs a hospital and I think you can see that we might be in for some juicy drama.
If You Just Did What I Told You To…
Certainly not threatening.
The contradictions in Kouko are something I find very interesting. A beautiful, even ‘exotic’ girl, with long blond hair and a beautiful body, you almost want her to have a horrible personality. And according to Mitsuo she does. But she certainly doesn’t do anything *overt* in this first episode to warrant his horrible opinion of her. Yes, she followed him to Tokyo, yes, she smacked him with a bouquet of roses, and yes, she pops up right behind Mitsuo and Banri when they don’t expect it. Is she a stalker? I guess so. But if the protagonist of the show is the one who chases the girl he loves, we like him. Why do we feel that Kouko is worse?
Beware the Latin Dance Club!
But also interesting is the blooming of Banri’s life. He’s realizing that as hectic and strange as Tokyo is, it’s also cool and new and full of things to experience. The fish-out-of-water scene with the freshmen accosted by all the school clubs was glorious chaos (“Help, I’ve been trapped by the Latin Dance Club!”), and meeting Linda certainly left an impression on him (warning: be careful of clicking on spoiler tags!). As did meeting Chinami, who’s got the genki girl slot wrapped up, it seems. And being set in college is a definite change, hopefully for the better. I find that romances among somewhat older folks tend to be more authentic and believable, even if slower and less whirlwind. Last season we actually saw quite a few: Servant x Service and Genshiken Nidaime both tackling adult relationships. There seem to be so many possibilities in this show, it will be fun to see where it goes.
So yeah, there’s definitely a lot of potential for Golden Time. In spite of the uninspiringly standard premiere, I believe it can and will turn out to be something to look out for in the near future. WIth 24 episodes, there’s plenty of room to work with a slower pace. And we all know that a rushed romance is a recipe for disaster, so this is a good thing. But more importantly, I’m already hooked on the characters, which is a sure sign of a character-driven show doing its job well. From Kouko’s heavy-handed approach to catching Mitsuo to Banri’s prospective romantic future, there’s certainly a lot more to come.
A lot of people are talking about the ‘slow’ start to this show, but perhaps this is the tortoise, where slow and steady over a long 2-cour series will win out. I definitely think there’s a lot of possibilities, and even if you think the OP sequence is spoilery, it’s possible it’s either a misdirection or just early season happenings. It’s almost certain that a 2-cour series is going to have a different OP by the end. Will it still be with Banri and Kouko holding hands? Or maybe Mitsuo will realize what he’s giving up.