I believe when I left Golden Time last, I wondered if Tada Banri was being honest with himself being in a relationship with rich girl Koko Kaga and whether or not Koko was truly in love with Banri. Well, in this batch of episodes, you’ll get the answers to this. You’ll also be twisted like hot metal by the ups and downs and ups our two lovers go through before the final episode.
Tada Banri is coming apart at the seams just when things are coming together for him and Koko. He’s making sense of his feelings for her and they are going through the nervousness that every young couple does: where each other’s personal freedom start and stop, why do they love each other, physical intimacy and so on. It’s refreshing to see two young characters physically in tune with each other without the usual trope of jumping ten feet when one person’s finger touches the other’s finger. On top of that, he and Koko form an effective team helping Koko’s ex-boyfriend and Banri’s friend, Yana, with his feelings for Linda, Banri’s childhood friend from before he was injured and lost his memories. They know that Yana needs to find an opening and tell her how he feels and they work hard to help the two bridge the gap. But.
Banri’s been fighting against the personality of his older version which appears in the parka jacket and jeans he was wearing when he became injured on the bridge in his hometown and it’s winning against him. I have to say that the older Tada’s reasons for wanting out and back in control of his old body are entirely selfish. He just wants to go back and be with Linda, despite the fact that she turned him down when he confessed his feelings to her and she was probably going to give her final answer as no when they were supposed to meet. He does everything to ruin the newer Tada’s life. He makes sure none of his dates with Koko go well, he delays him for every happy date with his new friends. I have to say that in shows like this, I never take sides against what is essentially the same person as the main hero but this Tada, I intensely disliked. Tada does too and just when he finally escapes him, the newer Tada’s emotional state pushes him over the edge and into a state of flux where he constantly goes back to the way he was before the accident, not knowing where he is and who the people around him are. It’s genuinely distressing to see him upset and crying. He doesn’t deserve this, he’s a decent guy and his relationships that he’s formed in Tokyo don’t deserve to be sacrificed on the altar of convenience for the older version of Tada.
The fallout of this instability for Tada is that his relationship with Koko is strained, is repaired and finally fractures under the weight of his pain in not wanting to lose his memories of Koko and the others. For Koko, she has a crisis of faith in herself when she nearly has an accident driving everyone back from the beach, including Tada. This causes her to want to break up with him and shut herself off from the world. The drama that happens after the accident culminating in her father delivered the mother of all slaps in Koko’s face when she meets him after the accident is palpable. After reconciling with Tada, we think things are looking up.
But the onslaught of Tada’s old personality coming back is too much for Koko and she breaks up with him in a stunning sequence that leaves you on a cliffhanger for the next episode. I must say that I was heartbroken when all this happens and yes, bad things happen to people we like all the time, but this is like watching someone kicking a puppy. In the process, the flaws in both young people are revealed and it’s not pretty. Koko is terrified that in becoming an adult, she’ll lose Tada and her own sense of identity will not translate into the adult world. For Tada, he’s been running from himself since the accident whether it’s subconscious or not. Both of these problems are feeding into each other and the result captures Oka-chan, Yana, Linda, the dance festival committee members, Koko’s family and Tada’s family. Truly, it’s a bad situation.
On the production side of things, the voice actors give a great performance and I loved the animation. It’s the standard stuff but it does it with a bit of flare and while there’s a bit of fan service, it’s quickly discarded as the drama and interplay are more important to the show’s makers. On top of things, the show moves super quick, never dwelling on things when it doesn’t serve the plot. A minor point about Animatsu’s release, and I know this something that probably was inherited from Sentai’s original disc, sometimes the QC wasn’t done correctly and some grammar errors happen throughout the discs.
I would like to think that the point of the show is that in letting go of the past is the only way to live. That to live in the present is the best defence against the fear of the future. Tada’s realisation of this in the final moments before his current “self” is wonderfully portrayed and executed. For him, he lives up to Capt. Picard from Star Trek’s point about time: “reminds us to cherish every moment, because it’ll never come again.” But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t on my fingertips wanting to see how the story would resolve itself. Without spoiling much, things are resolved and I punched the air sitting on the floor of my sitting room at the end of the show. I completely recommend this to every anime viewer to at least give it five minutes. It might surprise you.