I initially intended to start this blog during the Fall 2013 season. I started collecting a back log of reviews at the suggestion of TWWK from Beneath the Tangles so that I could have reviews to fall back on in order to make daily postings. I never got around to starting the blog during that season, though, and honestly I don’t think most of them were that good. There were times where I completely neglected to write the review, because I kept putting it off to the point that I pretty much forgot what happened in the episode, at least to the point that I couldn’t do an adequate review (minus the content guides, which I do as I’m watching the show). All of these reviews will probably make their way onto the blog at some point, though. This was also before I started doing the Christian Perspective section of my reviews, so that’s why those are absent.
Tada Banri is a brand new college student, and on his first day of college everything that can go wrong does go wrong. He basically misses the opening ceremony due to a subway mishap (he arrives just in time for dismissal), gets lost on his way to law school (after losing the group of girls he was totally not stalking in an attempt to find his way there), and gets mixed up with a guy (Yanagisawa Mitsuo) who has, at first glance, a completely insane girlfriend. How do I define completely insane? Well, our first encounter with said girlfriend (named Kaga Koko) involves her beating Mitsuo in the face with a bushel of roses (oh, don’t worry, she removed the thorns first). Technically, no harm is done to Banri in that third scenario, so I guess it doesn’t particularly add to his first-day mishaps, although he ends up being the one to start playing off the situation. As you can probably figure at this point, the majority of the episode is fairly light-hearted.
What’s most interesting about the series is that it breaks from the traditional high school setting found in most anime. On the other hand… there’s not much of a difference. Sure, we no longer have students in school uniforms, but a lot of the same elements seem to be there, including club recruitment insanity. Actually, the club recruitment insanity may be ramped up from any high school anime I’ve ever seen. Whether Japanese colleges are actually like this (I doubt it) or not, I don’t know, but Banri is completely overwhelmed, and this particular scene is probably my biggest gripe about the episode.
At one point, Banri is surrounded by the “Latin Music Club”, which is represented by a bunch of girls dressed in what are more-or-less bikinis. Now you may be saying, “Wait a minute Rob, if you’re going to gripe about that, then how do you go to the beach?” Okay, I’ll give you that much, but the bigger gripe is when more girls from the club surround Banri from the other side, so that they’re backs are to us. It’s at this point that we are shown the backs of the costumes, and when we are also shown that the backs of their bottoms don’t exactly entirely cover their butts. While this scene doesn’t take up a major portion of the episode, it was a damper in what was otherwise a rather refreshingly clean episode of anime.
Well, costume gripes aside, this episode does set up some potential plot points. Banri is clearly smitten with Koko, though she only has eyes for Mitsuo. Banri also encounters a couple other female students (one of whom rescues him from the Latin Music Club), which sets the stage for potential love rivals (though hopefully not a harem setting). In all of the light-heartedness of the episode, we do get one small spot of darkness near the end, where Banri appears to have a flashback.
Content wise, I’ve already touched on my biggest gripe: the Latin Music Club’s costumes. Beyond that, there is also a big in the ending credits where Koko is shown in some sort of night clothing (see the content guide below for more details). There is the scene where Koko beats Mitsuo in the face with the roses, and Chinami comments that she likes looking at beautiful people, whether men or women. While her comment doesn’t seem to allude to anything sexual, I figured it would be safer to mention it, just in case.
Overall, will Golden Time measure up to Toradora in terms of quality? Only time will tell–the first episode certainly isn’t enough to compare to an entire series. For now, what we appear to have is a fairly light-hearted series that I can say I honestly enjoyed, annoying fanservice aside. I will keep my eye on this one for now.
Nudity/Sex/Fanservice: Banri is confronted by the Latin Music Club–girls wearing very revealing outfits (at best, they’re equivalent to bikinis, though at one point several girls have their backs to the screen, showing that the bottoms at least partially show their butts)–this occurs once during Banri’s actual confrontation with the club and also in his flashback about the club craziness. Near the beginning of the closing credits, Koko is shown in some kind of night clothes. While she isn’t necessarily shown in a fan-servicey situation, the clothing itself isn’t the most appropriate, but at the same time nothing particularly inappropriate is shown.
Violence: Koko repeatedly beats Mitsuo in face with flowers… she was nice enough to remove the thorns
Other: Chinami mentions that she likes looking at beautiful people, whether men or women. There was nothing suggesting a sexual connotation, but I’m mentioning it here just in case.