A school life anime (just recently licensed by Sentai Filmworks) that focuses on the ups and downs of college life, can Golden Time keep you invested long enough to watch the events unfold? Spoilers Ahead!
A beautiful girl, hair as golden as the sun, walks towards you holding a bouquet of roses just how would you react? What would you say? This is just one of the dilemmas Banri Tanda faces as he enters law school. Fresh out of high school, Banri is late to his college orientation resulting in him not knowing where his college is. Getting lost along the way he meets Mitsuo Yanagisawa and the two become fast friends. However on their way to the law school the two encounter Koko Kaga, Mitsuo’s self-proclaimed fiancee and possibly the key to Banri’s future.
Golden Time from the first episode seems like your typical school life anime, the somewhat dull witted protagonist, his best friend, and the to type cast of female characters give the show a formula seen many times before, which is almost a huge failing. Banri is an ok lead, nothing horrible about him, but nothing really exciting either; the show seems more about the people around him than he himself like in the case of Mitsuo. Mitsuo is pretty, much like a big brother to Banri if this episode is any indication and certainly seems to have more character to him, but that doesnt really come into the light until Koko is introduced.
From the opening it seems like Koko and Banri will get together but she is introduced as Mitsuos stalker childhood friend, following him to college based on a promise they made as kids, even though Mitsuo originally went to law school to get away from her. While a bit abrasive, there is nothing really wrong with Koko as a character. Now while things in the opening haven’t been developed yet it does seem that Banri does at least feel something for her early on.
We meet two other female characters in the episode but they are not going to be developed until later in the series. There is the cute and bubbly Chinami who wants to become friends with the three main characters, and there is Linda, the older second year student and member of the schools festival club. She leaves more of an impression than Chinami as she saves Banri from the madness that is club recruitment (the boy was basically held hostage by the schools latin dance club).
One positive thing I can say in relation to Banri is the ending scene. There is a flashback before his high school graduation where he is standing on a bridge and ran into by a person on a scooter. This does give an air of mystery about him, as it was already established in the show summary that he has amnesia.
The animation isn’t amazing but it isn’t too bad either. One thing against it is that it manages to make the bustling city of Tokyo seem small and a bit bland, which hinders the show a bit. “Spring Time” is a decent episode but it fails at making Golden Time stand out among other school life shows. Banri as a lead isn’t really interesting at this point and almost every character save Koko (somewhat) fits typical school life show archetypes. Although the show does have room to grow if developed the right way. Return next week as Banri’s life in college officially begins.