Episode 8 – Reset
Another week, another sensational episode of my favourite romance of the year, Golden Time. This week’s episode served mainly as a fascinating insight into our main character, Tada Banri and the first thing that I noticed that I had never paid much attention to before is his weird habit of running away whenever he doesn’t want to confront something. Not just mentally running away, but literally running away. Last episode he ran from Linda when she wanted to talk to him and in the intro of this episode we saw him do the exact same thing in a flashback. We have yet to see any straightforward signs of affection from Linda towards the current Banri, but through flashbacks we are seeing more and more suggesting that even if she doesn’t love him now, she definitely loved him in the past. One thing is for certain though – that even as a ghost the old Tada Banri hasn’t forgotten his feelings for Linda, but as he says, “that has nothing to do with the current Banri.” For now at least.
Another thing that surprised me was the revelation that Banri had such a funny, on-the-spot sense of humour. When he pretended to be Mitsuo’s boyfriend I lost it. His impression of Kouko was spot-on and it was a nice touch pointing out that he is entirely conscious of Kouko’s flamboyant nature despite loving her. He showed another side to himself as well when he went out of his way to help Mitsuo when we’ve really only seen him help Kouko in the past. Linda’s advice must have really cheered him up and lifted a considerable weight. How dramatically it affected his behaviour though clearly showed how important Linda is to him, even if the reason is not entirely apparent to him yet.
On a side note, I am happy that Mitsuo, 2D-kun, and Chinami aren’t being reduced to simple background characters. Some of the best romance series remain vividly engraved in my mind because of the sub-plots as much as the bulk of the anime. For example, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun has a brilliant main arc and the relationship is really sweet, but the sub-plots involving the love rival, Kenji, and the suggested love between Asako and Mitsuyoshi keep the plot from becoming stale and make the whole series feel more dynamic.
In a world where most of an anime’s plot can be guessed from the outset, something that I treasure is unpredictability. When writers have the guts to stand at a crossroad and head down the path less travelled it inspires me personally as a writer and that is something that Golden Time does masterfully and surprisingly frequently. When Banri asked Linda what she was going to reply to his confession before the accident I was muttering, “Oh, don’t say yes! what are you doing Banri?” I fully expected her to say yes and the resulting feeling of guilt would be enough to tear Banri apart at the seams. Instead, she said no and it actually took Banri ‘falling asleep for a second’ and saying something unexpected to give a lesser sense of guilt without making you hate Linda which I fear would have happened had she said yes. However, I don’t believe that it was simply Banri’s brain lapsing for a second. The spirit of Tada Banri was standing right beside him and although we haven’t seen himactively do anything yet, off camera I think he might have exerted his influence on his current self, forcing him to ask Linda if she wanted to go back. He is forced to walk in Banri’s shadow forever; it makes sense that he wants answers… comfort.
My overall feelings on Banri still remain fairly jumbled and unresolved at this point which I put down to extremely intricate narrative. In a story where a character has amnesia it makes sense that you would find it hard to confirm their emotions because who knows if they even understand them themselves? One second I am surprised by his kindness towards his friends and then the next he is going behind his adoring girlfriend’s back and speaking to Linda which Kouko defined as cheating a little earlier in the episode. Originally, I thought that Kouko was the emotionally unstable one that would tear apart their relationship, but while that still holds to an extent, Banri is the one actively going out of his way to ‘cheat’ on her and in all honesty I am beginning to get the impression that underneath his front of kindness there is a confused and selfish person that doesn’t really know what to do.
Next episode’s preview looked foreboding and left me with a million questions. The episode’s title, “With You Again,” could mean so many things! Is Banri going to get back with Linda? Or is the glimpse of Banri wearing a bandage on his head a hint that he is going to have another accident and the ghost of Tada Banri will become one with him again? Is this small run of love-filled, happy episodes like last week finally coming to an end in a tragic way? I don’t think my heart can take this kind of abuse! I guess we’ll just have to wait anxiously until next week to have our questions answered.
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