Episode 15 – Accident Beach
Oh snap! Remember what I said about beach episodes being fun last week? Well, it appears I may have been misguided. Beach episodes are fun, but only if you’re not being haunted by the bitter ghost of your past, determined to destroy everything that you love by any means necessary.
From the very beginning, it looked like the whole world was conspiring against Banri and his friends. Mitsuo was being picked up from miles away, Chinami’s phone lost reception, there was traffic everywhere, and it looked like it would take an eternity to get to the beach. As 2-D kun’s road rage boiled to the surface, Kouko and Banri tried to appease him with snacks, but by the time everyone had finally been assembled, the heavens had opened and they all nearly turned around and went home. Luckily, Banri tried to make the best of a bad situation and revealed his skimpy speedos which brought a shocked smile to everyone’s face as he ran out into the rain with Kouko in what was a very satisfying, heartwarming moment. As if lit up by their smiles, the clouds eventually parted and the sun burned through, sending the newly invigorated band of friends on their way to the beach once more.
The rest of their day was spent making summer memories that would last a lifetime, but as the last firework was lost as sparks to the wind they found themselves exhausted and miles away from home. Kouko volunteered to take over the driving for 2-D kun and Banri decided to ride in the passenger seat to keep her awake, that was when everything went wrong. The ghost of Banri made a sudden resurgence and, using his godly powers, put Banri to sleep. Without Banri to keep her awake, Kouko’s eyes slowly drifted shut and the car began to speed up as she leaned forward on the accelerator…
What happened next was a pivotal plot point that left the audience utterly bewildered and me with my tongue caught in my throat. After sending him to sleep in the first place, the ghost of Banri was distraught with his own stupidity and could be seen sprinting through a sequence of abstract doors, unlocking more and more of Banri’s memory in a desparate attempt to jolt him awake. Only when he finally reached the final door and the words, “Just press on,” echoed from Linda’ s lips did Banri’s eyes jump open and he stomped on the brake, sending the car skidding as the screen cut to the ending credits.
Drama, thy name is Golden Time! That final scene absolutely blew me away. After 2 episodes of filler, I was not prepared for such an enormous turn of events. What had the most impact was that the sheer amount of unexpected emotion that was racing through the ghost of Banri. I knew that he was trying to break up Kouko and Banri, but I did not expect him to try and kill them, let alone regret his own actions! The adrenaline that was sent racing through my veins as he crashed through door after door in his checkerboard world, slowly unlocking more of the memory that had been eluding Banri for so long was unbelievable and it all came to a peak when Linda finally uttered, “just press on.” The fact that this was the last thing Banri had yet to remember about Linda could mean a number of things – either the ghost of Banri wanted to keep it from him and was forced to let him see to wake him up, or it is simply the final piece of the puzzle. Regardless, her inspirational words were enough to wake him up, but will that be enough? They were still going extremely fast! I feel sorry for Kouko who will undoubtedly shoulder the blame on herself, but more importantly, will anyone be injured? For all we know, Banri could hit his head and lose all of his memories again, or worse! Cliffhanger, why do you mock me so?
From a more critical standpoint, I thought that the animation of the final scene could have been a little better, but animation has never been Golden Time’s strong point. I also felt that the voice acting left a little to be desired and gave the impression that the ghost of Banri was crying rather than desperately trying to reach out for help. I would be lying if I said that this is the best series that JC Staff have ever made from an aesthetic standpoint, but from a story standpoint, it is definitely up there with the greats. What was otherwise a lovely trip to the beach was plunged into chaos and next episode how will everyone cope with the fallout? Tune in next week to find out.
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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