This review will be slightly different from the usual Ani-TAY. What's new? Dexomega and I, are testing new ground with a discussion type review. We've left most of the content as is, so the grammar isn't perfect but the typos have been fix.
Also, major props to Dexomega for creating the assets and helping out in making this review possible. I'm serious, Dexomega has done an amazing job at building up Ani-TAY.
Disclaimer: There are slight spoilers since it's a discussion type format. But major spoilers have been noted, and we've try to keep discussion within respective categories.
And feel free to leave feedback at how we can improve the format. If you're wondering, changing the font colors does not work, the changes won't save. Without further ado, the review.
UI 2.0: I'm not sure if I'm satisfied with the story. In the beginning, there seems to be a lot of potential but as the story went on, the story just seem to be very predictable and logical which love shouldn't be so especially since it's a love story.
Dexomega: There's something to be said for that. The love story started out pretty strong because of Koko's... interesting characteristics. It was a very different kind of story than I was used to. That said, things did take a turn for the weirder around the start of the second cour.
UI 2.0: I'm trying to pinpoint the reason, but I found the story as it goes on, very dissatisfying. I'm not sure if you feel that way, there is something about Banri as character that really bugged me.
Dexomega: Funny you should mention Banri, as we talked at length in the Ani-TAY podcast about the many faces of Banri. One of the biggest detractions from the show was ghost Banri. That entire plot device was just weird.
UI 2.0: I feel the opposite, I actually like Ghost Banri.
Dexomega: An interesting perspective. To use Richard's words, he was "What? A walking plot device?". He seemingly existed to satisfy a requirement to have an antagonist, albeit a poor one.
UI 2.0: I've always felt that Ghost Banri has always been more of his subconscious reaching out to him. But since the present day Banri has this fear about losing himself, he ignores Ghost Banri and only ends up cowering from his feelings.
Ghost Banri is there to remind him, not so much to hurt him. And part of the reason why Ghost Banri was made to seem like the antagonist is only because Banri is creating this self fulfilling prophecy of bad luck since he has a negative view of himself.
Dexomega: Maybe this is a reason the plot is difficult to pin as good or bad. There's a lot of conflicting elements that are making you and me run circles around each other. I'll say that Ghost Banri felt like a strange element to add to the series. The drama of the show revolving around both Banri characters "fighting" over the body was what eventually sent me over the edge.
UI 2.0: If anything, I think Linda saw through Banri's struggle, especially when she was happy to hear Banri saying he wants to live. She knew him long enough that even though he's missing his memories, he's still Banri who lacks resolve and self confidence.
UI 2.0: In all fairness, for a long time, I've had this fear of forgetting everything and thus meaning I lose everything that makes me, me. So I can relate to present Banri having that fear of Ghost Banri erasing his existent. Though, I don't know why it never occur to him that maybe they can merge.
Dexomega: Generally speaking though, Golden Time had some real problems coming up with a solid dramatic plot, particularly when it came to the conflict within Banri. As a result of that, the romantic plot was having to shoulder the shortfall, which was problematic because the romance was scaled back a lot in the second cour.
UI 2.0: It did, and ultimately I think it's because Banri is an immature character surrounded by characters who are maturing faster than him.
UI 2.0: This doesn't leave a very likable main character and one who's full of shortcoming. Ultimately, his immaturity forces his romance to suffer which is logical.
Dexomega: I would agree with that assessment for the most part, though I'd argue that most of the main cast (except 2D-kun ironically) held the idiot ball a lot more than they should have.
UI 2.0: Haha, I think he was a plot device. He almost served as a tiebreaker, just to move the plot along.
Dexomega: He very well might have been, but it still made him more decisive and insightful than everyone on the cast.
UI 2.0: Let's talk about the animation. I thought it was very generic, there wasn't anything too outstanding about any of them aside from Koko and Linda, everyone else were pretty much cookie cut and would have fit in almost any other anime.
Dexomega: It was pretty generic by most standards, but it did generic very well. Golden Time is quite literally a giant show off by J.C. Staff. It has crisp animation quality and a vivid color palette.
UI 2.0: Yes, the colors were great, and definitely easy on the eyes. But overall, I give animation a not bad since I can't really say it's great nor terrible. Haha, the very definition of not bad.
Dexomega: I suppose so. I'll concede that point. Good to watch, but it doesn't do anything particularly impressive like J.C. Staff's winter anime Witch Craft Works' fire animation.
UI 2.0: So what did you think of the soundtrack?
Dexomega: I'll be honest, the first opening was pretty good and I thoroughly enjoyed the second ending, but I can't remember anything else that was particularly impressive besides them.
UI 2.0: Same here. I found it quite enjoyable to listen to but the ending songs were okay. And I honestly can't remember anything else besides the opening.
Dexomega: I think we're in agreement here then. Generally forgettable with a couple of interesting exceptions.
UI 2.0: Before we reach a conclusion, are there any points we're forgetting about or worth mention?
Dexomega: Let me think for a second. We should mention the comedy of the series.
I think that was a strong point, am I wrong?
UI 2.0: I felt a lot of the comedy part was greatly overshadow by the drama. And many of the comedy isn't the laugh out loud funny but it certainly did give me a warm fuzzy feeling that they are like genuine people.
Dexomega: Almost certainly. Because the drama could lack, the comedy had to fill in quite a bit sometimes. Luckily, it did quite a bit to give Golden Time the heart that it needed to be a good, maybe great, show of the winter season. I enjoyed most of the comedy, especially the bits with Koko's dad.
UI 2.0: Haha, yeah, for the strangest reason, I was under this impression that the dad is far more strict and serious based on how Koko talks about her dad. But he ultimately turned out to be a total softie and gentle.
Dexomega: It was a case of trope subversion played for laughs and it worked extremely well. That and many other instances of playing with tropes gave the show a fun feeling.
UI 2.0: Yup, and the embarrassing moments, I felt embarrassed on their behalf only because they are believable.
Dexomega: That's about all I have to say about that. I would like to talk about the ending too, it appears to be polarizing.
UI 2.0: The ending, yes. I think the ending make sense and I'm a little upset they paired off Linda with Mitsuo. I don't think they needed to do that.
And it almost feels like Linda would date Mitsuo as a rebound knowing that she lost Banri because she was late, and he moved on to be with Koko.
Dexomega: Personally, I found the ending to be a really strange episode all around. There was a whole lot going on in that episode and it had problems sorting everything out. The biggest problem with it was the rapid escalation to a Deus Ex Machina when Koko leaves. Not only that, but the whole thing quickly seemed to go surreal at the bridge. Things literally stopped making sense for most of the episode.
UI 2.0: Haha, the way I see it is that all of that was in his mind as he was running
Dexomega: And that was the problem. Being surrealist like that is not how I was hoping it would go. We can't be sure how much of the episode we should take at face value. I believe it was Richard Eisenbeis that quipped, "Maybe he passed out at the parade and he's having a dream in a hospital".
UI 2.0: He could be, and we may never know. I like to believe he's simply just reflecting and having a monologue with himself in his head to finally accept who he is and move on.
As for the part where Ghost Banri gave Banri the ring, the way I think it play out is that Linda found the ring, and tells him yes, gave him the ring and ran off. But in Banri's mind, Ghost Banri gave him the ring.
Dexomega: One thing this series did need was closure, so I feel like I was robbed a bit. It was surreal and noncommittal, two of my biggest red flags. Couple this with the mixed closure the other main cast got and I have to peg the ending as a negative for the show. I really do.
UI 2.0: I do agree with that, and I think the problem is that the author (I've read through forums, the LN is even more open ended) tries to give it a positive ending. And ultimately, the chemistry between Banri and Koko, or even Banri and Linda, just isn't there. The whole series, they work on the relationship but it never really felt like there was a spark rather the characters are looking comfort in each other.
And if the story was to continue, I think it will only end in heartbreak. But that's just how I think things will play out pass the ending.
Dexomega: That's as much as I can say on that as well. Are missing anything now?
UI 2.0: I think we've cover the meat of the show and the bones.
Dexomega: When it comes down to it, I consider Golden Time a strong entry in the Fall season of 2013. It had good comedy and it had heart, though it could get dragged down by the lacking elements when the conditions were right. I may rag on it a lot, but I did enjoy it quite a bit.
UI 2.0: Overall, I think the series is very grounded to real life with anime tropes to lighten up the mood. Independently, many of the elements in the show are well done and show a lot of potential. However when mixed together, not everything falls into place which will evoke polarizing responses. It certainly was enjoyable but it's one of the feel shows that actually leaves me saying "I really think this should have happen" and at times, I tell myself calm down, it's just a show. So, it's best to "Proceed with Caution" as it may not leave everyone feeling warm and fuzzy at the end.
Dexomega: I agree. Just from the responses from you, and from a few people on TAY, I think many elements in this series will polarize, even the ones that seem safe. That said, I stand behind it as a good romantic comedy of the season. I've got to peg it as a "Go For It", take it as you will.