It Fell Off The Bridge Somewhere…
It’s been twenty-six weeks since I wrote my first review on an episode of Golden Time which quickly became one of my favourite shows of its season. Now that all twenty-four episodes are out and I’ve watched them all, it’s time to sum up my feeling on this show once and for all. Did Golden Time stay as shiny and rewarding as its name suggests, or did it crash just before the finish line?
It crashed, burned and not a single person came to its rescue.
Golden Time tells the story of Banri Tada, a college student at a law school in Tokyo. There he meets Koko Kaga, a girl from a wealthy family who is pursuing a boy named Mitsuo that goes to the same school as Banri. The events that unfold deal with Banri falling in love with Koko as she is rejected by Mitsuo.
Throughout the first few episodes (I won’t detail anything past the fifth episode and what’s basically in the Crunchyroll description) we find out that Banri suffers from having lost his memory and has just started adapting to normal life again after having been in the hospital. Soon memories and ghosts from his past start shaking up his new life as he begins his relationship with Koko.
The story is fairly straightforward and may not bring many ideas to the table. But it’s written in a very mature and slow pace that I found very intriguing. The relationships between the characters in the show feels natural even if the characters themselves are very over-the-top and colourful. Unfortunately, this slow pace ends up being one of the shows problems as it reaches the final stretch. At about the halfway-point of the show you can basically predict every single event that will happen in the show, though you might be fooled at first.
Because the show basically holds off all the obvious cards until the last five episodes and just sort of does nothing from the halfway-point, making it seem as if it won’t go down the unfortunate clichéd routes and tropes until it’s basically too late to introduce even one of the multiple threads it suddenly pulls. The ending is rushed, sloppy, directed with utter stupidity and written with a total disregard for the viewers intelligence. I will stand by my word on feeling insulting watching episode twenty-four, I almost wish the show would have ended at twelve even if it would have been a painful incomplete ending. At least it was far better than what we got.
Still, as much as I hate what the show eventually degenerated into, I enjoyed most of the series’ writing. It’s just sad to see it take a dive for the worse after soaring high among 10s and 9s for so long. A lot of the problems could have probably been avoided too, but I’m guessing source material and/or wrapping up the series was too important to try any interesting tricks. Whatever the case, the anime suffered from it.
Such a shame for a otherwise splendid show in terms of writing.
What’s less splendid even in the good episodes was the art however. Golden Time is not always a very good looking show as characters will often go off-model in their animation, terrifyingly creepy CGI people will fill crowds, sequences will be reused and just a general sense of sloppiness can be applied to a bit too much of the series visuals. It’s a shame too as the actual art-direction is quite nice and the characters all have memorable designs.
As for the voice acting, Makoto Furukawa (Gaist Crusher) does a good job as Banri and Yui Horie (Monogatari-series) is just as good as Koko. But the most memorable performance is by far Ibuki Kido (Aikatsu, GJ Club) as Chinami Oka. Other good performances come from Kaito Ishikawa, Ai Kayano and Satami Satou.
The show has two great opening songs and two great ending songs, my favourite of them all being the second opening song “The♡World’s♡End” performed by Yui Horie. It has a very striking and different sound, something I know a lot of other people have disliked, but I found truly special and memorable in a good way. It deserves mention.
I watched Golden Time on Crunchyroll and it’ll be released on home media by Sentai Filmworks by the end of 2014/early 2015.
The localization has done a fine job on translation from what I could tell and nothing seemed out of place from a first watch. Though it should be noted that the audio mixing on certain episodes have been known to be problematic in various ways, something that hopefully will be sorted out by home media release.
I really loved where Golden Time was just over a month ago, it was a show I found very special and enjoyable. But it’s hard to recommend something that tears itself apart so much by the end. I very much recommend giving it a try, if you like it then watch the first half at least, as for the second half… Enter at your own risk. This is one of the biggest and quickest declines in overall quality I’ve seen in a while.
It makes me quite sad.
Series Rating: 5/10
Golden Time is licensed by Sentai Filmworks for localized distribution.
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