One heart grasps for love. But where does the other lie?
Wheeeeeeew! Let me see if I can catch my breath from this episode. Got anything to say, Sumairii?
Wow. I thought this was going to be an absolute shitstorm, but all things considered it actually didn’t turn out that badly.
And then the storm hit.
Sumairii \\ Knowing Kouko’s past behavior (though she’s clearly making effort to change) and the setup from last episode, I’m pretty sure all of us were expecting things to go right down the drain this episode. And it sort of did, but nowhere near what we would have imagined. So after seeing how things really turned out, I have to say I’m very impressed with how well Kouko handled the situation. She didn’t whine and complain unreasonably beyond what you might expect from any typical girlfriend who’s just caught her boyfriend red-handed with another girl. In fact, her reaction was very normal and understandable. I can understand people complaining about her insisting Banri tell her the whole truth and then doing a 360 and regretting it immediately. But when you think about it, how was she supposed to know how much pain knowing everything would cause her? Banri revealed it all with good intentions, but at the end of the day, the fact remains that it hurt Kouko and he was the one who should have known better. Still, this was something that ultimately had to be done in order for their relationship to stay strong, so I’ll excuse him for it. Plus, the situation at hand was pretty ridiculous so you can’t quite pin all the blame on him either. Anyway, I maintain that Kouko’s weathered the storm admirably. She could have really exploded at any moment in the episode (beyond just giving Banri a slap), but she held it in with great effort for his sake. Bravo.
Passion and Storm
Everything combined at this moment for impact
Highway \\ I loved this episode. Absolutely loved it. These are the types of emotions that I want to see. I don’t really go that much for people getting sad because people are dying and stuff, but this? This was great. Very authentic, very real. I said last week that Banri’s problem was the lie. Well, he got caught in it, and I think Kouko was completely justified in what she did. My opinion is that this wasn’t stalker behavior. This was “concerned girlfriend” and “girlfriend who has a legitimate worry” and ultimately “girlfriend who finds out she’s been lied to” behavior. Pretty much every reaction was spot on. I’m not quite sure how she ended up at the club (besides the fact that Banri mentioned they’d seen Nana play there), but she did. And I think a drink in the face and a slap is something that Banri deserved. Not out of bounds at all. And what makes it better? That she gave him a chance. She had that reaction, but then went to his apartment and waited for him. I’ll admit, there was that “Will the door open?” tension for just a second, where you wonder if she just walked out of his life with his key. But she didn’t.
An unexpected, but appropriate, time for a first kiss
And what was she doing while she was waiting for him? Tearing herself up. Yes, she was mad at him, and she should have been. But she was also so angry at herself for being the things she was trying not to be, even though I think she was spot on in her reaction. This was Yui Horie being sublime. I had a knot in my chest through that whole scene in Banri’s apartment, it was so raw and forceful for me. The animation of Kouko in profile contributed significantly as well. And when Banri explained about Linda, that he can’t remember her, but has feelings for her that come out of nowhere, another perfect reaction. What girl would want to know about that? Again, I don’t think Kouko’s plea to Banri to not remember anymore is wrong. Her explanation is perfect. How can she compete? They have no memories together, they don’t have that weight of experience together. I was really struck by the sincerity in her voice when she told him she loved him. And the fear that she’d lose him, and lose him to, essentially, a ghost.
Doing the right thing?
Sumairii \\ Another big event is Linda laying it down for Banri that she never once saw him as more than just a friend or a little brother. This comes at the guy’s own request, of course, and I have to give him a hand for attempting to use her answer to lay Old Banri’s feelings to rest at long last. But lo and behold Old Banri refuses to disappear and persists in making things worse than they need to be. It’s no secret that I never liked the guy, but he really needs to learn when to give up. As much as I personally believe that Linda is still lying both to Banri and to herself, Old Banri is just too much of a needy asshole to deserve her. If there’s anyone that we should direct our ire at, it should be him. Everyone else, including New Banri, Kouko, and Linda, are just victims of his selfishness.
Maybe my favorite episode of anime this season. Raw, authentic, passionate. From trembling hands to worried voices, Kouko and Banri’s scene was just great, and I even wonder if that was their first kiss as a couple. But I think it’s indisputable how much Kouko loves Banri, and that he really does love Kouko as well, despite Ghost Banri’s best attempts to screw it up.
But about Linda… This isn’t easy on her. I think she was actually happy to have Banri as a platonic friend. It may have been what she’s wanted for years. There’s probably a whole bunch of BanrixLinda shippers who think she was just lying when they were talking on the bank, just like they say she was lying on the balcony, when she says she didn’t love him, and maybe it’s because I’m a Banri x Kouko shipper that I believe her, but I really haven’t seen that kind of spark from Linda: not in flashbacks, not in the present. She wants to be friends. She wanted to be friends before. And it even seemed in the flashbacks that she was uncomfortable being anything more than friends. Of course she didn’t want to *lose* him as a friend, and that’s why I think this episode ending is so difficult for her. She’s had the Banri she wanted, the friend, and not the guy trying to woo her. And now he’s going away. And what will Kouko’s reaction to Linda be? Will she hold some ill will toward her? I wouldn’t think so, but she might not be as friendly as before.
Golden Time really wow’d me with the strength Kouko showed and New Banri’s resolve. Obviously we’re not yet through this mess, but the fact that the two were able to pull through it indicates to me that their relationship is the real deal, if you’ve still been doubting it. The only question is if Linda will have the good grace to continue to stay out of it as she has been doing so far. Without the influence of Old Banri, this should be a straight shot, but the troublesome guy is here to stay so things still have the potential to get even uglier than they did in this episode.