Episode 14 – Ladies Talk
Within the anime subculture there is a fairly common, slightly jaded view that all girls in anime are clean and pure which is one of the most frequently given reasons why people become very heavily invested in the 2D world. This is partly because in the vast majority of cases, anime that become extremely popular rarely ever feature sex, even those that thrive off of being ecchi. Those that do, only ever mention it in passing, for instance the wildly popular Sword Art Online, one of the few mainstream anime that features characters that are actually old enough to consent. In reality, both men and women spend countless hours fretting over how they can make themselves seem more appealing to the opposite sex and that is barely ever addressed in anime. If it is, it tends to be an excuse to pull out the moral lessons and the old phrase, “they should love you for what’s on the inside.” However, Golden Time is an anime firmly grounded in reality and this week’s episode proved just that, delving into the inner working of the female mind as Kouko tried to pick out a swimsuit to impress Banri.
As the title would suggest, this episode was almost entirely built around Kouko and Chinami talking about boys, clothes, and relationship troubles which was a big step forward for Kouko who is far too proud to admit that she likes Miss Ultrasonic. Although, a big step might be a bit of an exaggeration considering she still turned up at her front door in ‘disguise’ to avoid drawing attention while probably garnering even more than if she’d just come dressed normally! What she was wearing was about as conspicuous as her ‘spy gear’ from earlier in the episode which consisted of a snow white umbrella and a pair of opera glasses. Needless to say, Golden Time will not be turning into Detective Conan any time soon.
Straightforward, as ever, Kouko barged straight into Chinami’s room and immediately stripped down to her swimsuit which is where the fanservice and, surprisingly enough, most of the introspective dialogue began. Now, I’m not a man who will chastise a series for including a splash of fanservice here and there, unless it becomes too common or downright ridiculous. For the purposes of this episode, I think the fact that Kouko spent most of the episode in a bikini was reasonably tasteful considering that the main talking point was Kouko discussing her insecurities with her relationship and how she thinks that Banri doesn’t see her as ‘sexy’. Her bikini top falling down may have been a step too far, but nothing was shown (until the blu-ray release maybe?) so I can let it slide.
Love is a prominent theme in a lot of anime and some of my favourite series and visual novels play with the idea of two people slowly building up a relationship, but one thing that is only common to visual novels in my experience is addressing what happens after a couple is in love. Most anime cut off at that point and round up with an ‘And they all lived happily ever after’ ending, which is perfectly adequate for most series, assuming they even get the chance to reach that stage within their limited airing time. Visual novels don’t face this problem because they are a complete package, culminating the entire story into one game and thus eliminating any need to rush through the story or cut out key developments, extra routes, etc. That is why Golden Time is such a great series thus far. In this episode, Kouko was very vocal about how despite Banri loving her, she never felt like he wanted to go to the next stage which is why she was so worried about wearing the perfect swimsuit. Her concern was perfectly justified as well considering the difference between her and Chinami picking out swimsuits and Banri and Mitsuo picking them out. It was a typical guy choice: speedos or shorts. No fuss, just A or B.
Refusing to let an episode go by without at least one reason for concern, further questions were raised when everybody went to spy on Mitsuo and they ended up seeing him walking into a restaurant with Linda! A shocking development that left a stunned look on everyone’s faces for differing reasons. Banri only just let go of Linda, Kouko was still worried about Banri’s feelings for her, Chinami still has some lingering feelings for Mitsuo, and 2D-kun was just mad because he is the only one without a girl! Certainly, if Mitsuo were to get with Linda it would clear up the problem between her and Banri potentially, but somehow it felt a little wrong. Something we will have to watch carefully as the weeks go on.
Next episode looks like they will finally be heading off to the beach which could be a lot of fun assuming the ghost of Banri doesn’t try to sabotage their trip like he did the last one. Stick around, I’m sure it’ll be a good one.
Golden Time is currently simulcasting on Crunchyroll where new episodes can be found each week and watched on mobile devices, consoles, smart TVs and of course on PC.
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