|Some real dramatic moments, a strong start, a solid main couple||Doesn't reach its potential, very strange story decisions, somewhat inefficient use of time|
This is a series that really requires a person to look at the whole picture before reviewing. I often called this series a roller coaster and it was. There were often times when things were incredibly tense and heavy and other time where the series just kind of went along without much happening. For a 24 episode series it feels like we went through quite a trip. So much happened between the dramatic opening episode to the overall positive ending. I think one thing you could call this series is unfulfilled potential. It turned out to be a solid series overall, but it really had the ability to be much more than that. But in the end I’m still glad I watched and covered this series since it’d have been a shame not to.
Anyone who watched the first OP knew exactly what this show was going to center on. The core of the series was the relationship between Banri and Kouko. What these two went through from their first meeting until the end was what would carry the show. And they left nothing but a good first impression right out of the gate. Banri seemed like a reasonable and good guy. Someone who was taken in by Kouko’s personality and was quickly interested in her. Kouko was a pretty extreme personality from the very beginning. An incredibly determined person who could easily loose herself in her obsession.
Between the two of them I’d say Kouko had the better overall development. She did gain a lot from this series and everything she went through. Became much more rational of a person though of course still passionate from start to finish. Just a lot more likable by the end after you got the whole picture. Banri….had an interesting time. In some ways he didn’t vary very far, but that’s because of his inherent situation. A lot of drama near the end surrounded Banri himself and not all it was done the best way possible. Banri was still a good person and a decent character, it’s just he was one of those people who lived at the mercy of the plot and if the story wanted him to do something he did it.
The two of them together were as a whole pretty entertaining. Of course that can vary from person to person. Personally I enjoyed when things got a bit silly since sometimes people are just silly. But I can see how some might prefer the other storylines and characters to these two. But in the end it was their series and they were the stars of the show pretty much all the way through.
The rest of the cast was pretty decent even if some of them didn’t get the attention they might have deserved. Linda was by far the biggest of the characters outside the main two. She was usually right there and often was connected to some of the drama that surrounded Banri. As a whole Linda was a pretty likable character. She was the nice friend type of person, who had the potential to cross the line all the time. Linda was also a character that sometimes you just wished would get more forward and just take some sort of action. Holding herself back and dragging some things out because of that.
Mitsuo, Chinami, and 2D-kun really all just kind of fell into the tier of characters right behind Linda. All three were involved in the story and tied to the main pair. It’s just that at times they did kind of vanish when the story didn’t need to focus on them. The troubles Mitsuo and Chinami had did get some prominence at times, but wasn’t a consistent amount of character development. In the end they were kind of developed to a point and then kind of left while the story focused its attention elsewhere. 2D-kun suffered the most since he never really had a character arc. He was just always kind of there, the good friend that wasn’t really connected to anything specific. But he was still a likable and good person.
The story itself really was a mixed bag. Early on I thought it was great. There was a lot of drama and you did get invested in the romantic side of the storyline. Some episodes ended on notes that really pulled me in and certain moments of episodes just outright surprised me. The middle of the series honestly did sag a little. It felt like the materials they were based on were on the thin side. The series was adopted from light novels and in the middle portion it felt like the story was just getting stretched out without any specific goal in mind. There was some good points in those middle arcs, but some of them were less interesting than others.
The ending of the series really was something I’m still mixed on. How they created the drama at the end felt really forced. At the same time it was still had its compelling moments. Serious stuff was happening here and characters you cared about were affected by it. Once I got into the last arc I was overall interested in how it’d turn out. And that’s kind of where the mixed feelings really get mixed. How they got to the ending felt really…weird. Some of it was just plain random. At the same time the ending itself was still nice. The characters got to a point I was satisfied with. And really when it comes down to it I’ll take an ending that at least didn’t annoy me, but got there in a strange manner.
This series really had some unusual influences. At times it felt like some of the issues were purely psychological and thus more of a mental thing. But other moments felt completely fantasy and supernatural. And honestly even after it’s all over I’m not really sure which one was supposed to be more prominent. One of those supernatural elements being the one existence in this series that really annoyed the heck out of me. But in the end it was just element in a larger series that as a whole was ok.
Music wise the series was ok. It definitely played the right music during the dramatic moments in order to elevate the scenes. Also it had a really nice combination of OP/ED to start the series off which helped with that great first impression. What is odd is that it went from that to an OP/ED combination that I really just skipped every week. The second OP really wasn’t good.
The animation kept up a pretty good quality throughout. I don’t remember many dips in quality that stood out. They did get to have fun with the imagination of Banri and Kouko in creating certain scenes. As a whole they were mostly taking place in a normal enough looking Tokyo and University. It really didn’t need to do anything too special and was fine in portraying the cast in a nice light.
As a whole Golden Time wasn’t a bad series. It was pretty average when it comes down to it. But in this case average almost feels like a bad thing to say. Because the series really could have been a lot better than that. It had a strong start and seemed to be set for a great emotional ride. It did have good moments and as a whole I enjoyed it. But it also struggled at times in the middle to find itself and at the end it took a very strange path towards its resolution. But it did start well and as a whole it ended well. It’s not a series that will define a genre or anything, just a solid series that you can enjoy. So that’s why I’m going to give Golden Time a “B” here.
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