There’s no other way to put it. This episode turned into a shitfest, and it’s all because of Banri. Talk about some of the ugliest drama I’ve ever seen.
While Sumairii might think this was a ‘shitfest’, I thought it was delicious. These episodes are the second category of the reason I watch shows like this (after the rabu-rabu confessions and acceptances).
Banri and Linda
Crying and Whiny Banri
Sumairii \\ This week Highway and I have decided to each focus on one of the two main heroines. As we’ve been learning more about Banri’s past lately, it’s only appropriate that we begin with Linda. Last time it was revealed that old Banri’s personality was separated from his body due to an accident. Now, we see more of the circumstances surrounding the accident as well as how old Banri used to be. Basically old Banri was an insecure and needy person. I can’t help but be harsh because honestly, he wasn’t exactly the nicest person. First he freaks out about his name not being on the class shirt and makes a scene when he could have calmly brought it to attention without the theatrics. Then he bluntly shoves the question of whether Linda loves him in the girl’s face and impatiently demands an answer. The former felt just plain strange and jarring, while the latter makes the guy out to be a selfish and impatient jerk. No doubt Linda and Banri had the sort of “more than friends” relationship going on, but I don’t believe Linda was just playing with or toying with him. So Banri had no real justification for being so demanding in what was technically his confession. If he were so serious about it, he could have asked her way before graduation and not be rushed about it.
Now Linda knows that Banri knows Linda knows him
New Banri isn’t much better either, as he confronts Linda in present day with misplaced frustration and incomplete facts. If I understand correctly, he’s under the impression that he and Linda used to be a couple from those old pictures he found. Thus, he’s upset at her for pretending not to know him even as he acknowledges he’s guilty of the charge himself. But that’s enough about Banri. Linda herself is a rather fascinating subject. During said confrontation,we finally learn her reason for not bringing up Banri’s past. She already knew he had amnesia from their little midnight encounter at the hospital, and now that the guy is at school with her, she doesn’t want to remind him of the past in fear that he might blame her for the accident if he remembers. This, combined with her telling him to go to school at Tokyo during their rendezvous seems to me a pretty obvious hint as to what her answer would have been had she made it to Banri in time.
Linda can’t stand the idea of it being because of her
Clearly Linda recognized that she has romantic feelings for Banri, and the two would have gone out had it not been for the accident. So while Banri is off in his own little angsty world, Linda is suffering just as much as, if not more than him. Assuming my above intuition is correct, this is a girl who has to deal with the crushing fact that the guy she just realized she likes doesn’t remember who she is. There is no way she’s walked an easier path than new Banri, who has had to deal with the expectations of others for him to act like old Banri. In fact, here we see new Banri’s hypocrisy. He wants to preserve his new identity in the face of friends and family yearning for his old self, yet he himself is calling out Linda for setting aside his old self (no doubt painful for her) and starting anew with him. I know he thinks he’s going through a very hard time, what with Kouko acting the splitting image of Linda back in the day, but in truth he’s being very self-centered and inconsiderate of others’ situations. While Linda could have been more forward about explaining her relationship with old Banri to new Banri, I maintain that she’s as much a victim of the unfortunate scenario as Banri is.
Banri and Kouko
Kouko tries to keep Banri from leaving
Highway \\ Kouko’s manic “good friends” schtick with Banri finally succeeds in ticking him off, especially as he realizes that all her thoughts are still of Mitsuo. So after being embarrassed again with Chinami by Koko, Banri decides it was mistake to try to be friends with Kouko after she rejected him. I really liked their interaction with Kouko using the conveniently plot-aware “Yes/No” fans from the Festival club, first as a joke, but then as a shield, to try to protect her feelings from Banri’s assault, to cling to him as he attempts to jettison his lingering attachment to her, the girl he loves but who won’t look at him.
Banri runs from everything, including Kouko
Which makes the last sequence of the episode even more interesting to me. Kouko was leaving before Banri, and seemed to be with a group. But for some reason, she stayed outside, stayed waiting for Banri, maybe even for hours, given that it went from light to dark. What was she thinking before she walked out of the room? And when did she decide that she couldn’t live without him, because that’s what she wants to tell him: that she loves him. But before she can confess to him, he uses those same words – Yes and No – as shields himself, trying to deal with the turmoil both from Kouko, the feelings he probably still has, and trying to understand what happened with Linda. And when Kouko finally chases him down (making me think that she was going to knock him off a bridge, again), her confession felt like the most sincere thing she’s said in the whole series.
Catch and Confess
I know I’ve been pretty harsh on Banri, but I actually find him more tragic than unbearable. The truth of the matter is that all parties are being selfish to a certain extent in Golden Time. From Kouko using Banri as a friend to Banri wrongfully attacking Linda without knowing the entire truth to Linda manipulating Banri while keeping the truth from him, all three legs of this latest love triangle have their faults. I’m not sure where the show will go from Kouko’s confession, but definitely these three need to sit down and have a nice long chat about things. Yelling, hiding, and running away won’t do them any good.
High School Banri definitely feels like a much more problematic character to me: whiny, clingy, even a problem for Linda. So it’s interesting to think about what she thought when that boy that looked so much like the boy who loved her, but acted so differently, found her in the woods outside the hospital. Looking back at that scene, I wonder if his new positive attitude was instrumental in her encouraging him to go to Tokyo. If he had been the same person, would she have walked away? I certainly wouldn’t have blamed her.
And Kouko seems to be changing as well. How complete is her realization that she loves Banri? Is it just being manipulative, like Mitsuo accused her of multiple times? Or is she sincere that she loves him, and that she wants him to stay with her? And will she make the same mistakes she made with Mitsuo, not listening to his wants, not understanding that it isn’t all about her?
You know, taking the opportunity for a last thought, I realize that Linda’s worry that it was ‘her fault’ Banri was injured might be because she doesn’t know there was an accident or that Banri was run off the bridge by a bike. Does she possibly think that he jumped, because she was late? Imagine her feelings if she arrived to find this boy that she cared about, even if she was going to turn him down, bleeding and broken having fallen off a bridge. What kind of torture must that have been for her?