OP: 「Golden Time」 by 堀江 由衣 (Horie Yui)
「スプリングタイム」 (Supuringu Taimu)
The Perseverance Effect holds that once the seed of first impressions takes root, shaking off that initial judgment is extremely hard. Lawyers use this knowledge often to support their case and it often will shape a viewer’s opinion of a show even before they see it.
I wish to use this effect for the benefit of us all, by giving a good first impression for this show. J.C. Staff has returned to deliver the romantic comedy we’ve been waiting for, and it surely hasn’t disappointed me yet. In fact, I haven’t been this excited for a show since Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun aired exactly a year ago. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for romantic comedies of this type, but I am unafraid to share my enthusiasm with all of you.
The excited blogger is back. Let me tell you why.
The clearest thing that Golden Time has going for it is the power of the various relationships it’ll portray. As Kairi pointed out to me, these aren’t just romantic relationships that scream naivete, but relationships between people, where meaningful mature connections are made. Deep friendships, jealousy, rivalry–all of it I expect to play out in this mature university setting, where people have definitely grown up, but not all the way. But of course, as a romance, people will get together, with the story unafraid to explore beyond the flirting and the naive surface issues.
For instance, if one pays attention really close to the OP, you’ll notice something charming about Tada Banri (Furukawa Makoto) and Kaga Kouko (Horie Yui) right off the bat–it’s a pull and accept relationship, rather than a push and pull. That smile, that acceptance from Banri. Such wow. There is no comedic pushing back of the character, or any weird faces or convenient stops to their connection. Just two people appreciating the other’s presence with a genuine smile. That is remarkably refreshing to watch, and though the show is already going ahead and shipping these two together, seeing how cute their chemistry is makes it okay. Though their connection hasn’t really been highlighted in episode one thanks to introductions, in episode two they’ll slowly start shaping up Kaga’s shift in attraction from Mitsuo to Banri, and Banri’s own self-realization of his feelings. Of course, all these developments will draw out throughout the show for maximum effect–24 episodes for a romance is no laughing or rushed matter.
As for the other characters, they too will follow the same suit–slowly evolving as characters to adjust to the new challenges that college life throws at them. I’m excited for how Nana Hayashida (Kayano Ai) probably will play an important role in Banri’s romantic maturity, while Oka Chinami (Kido Ibuki) will act as a gluing force between some of the characters with her kindness (and absolute cuteness). It’s exciting to see how Banri and Mitsuo (Ishikawa Kaito) will grow as friends, but also as possible rivals as Kouko undoubtedly switches her affections over. There are countless other dynamics that will probably occur, but the beauty about Golden Time is that we can’t exactly predict what’s going to happen with the characters. Though we do know what main couple will eventually succeed, what every other couple and dynamic will end up as is still a mystery, along with how everyone will get to that destination.
The path to the destination is especially hazy for Golden Time because all the characters are definitely hiding something meaningful behind all of their first impressions. With the knowledge that the original creator, Takemiya Yuyuko, also made Toradora, we can fully expect some radical character developments and shifts all throughout the series. With Kon Chiaki also on-board to direct, we can definitely expect character-driven plot to be on the heavy side. There are hints that something already exists between Nana and Banri (fated encounter is usually a good sign) show something darker, possibly related to the motorcycle crash that Banri was involved in. Exploring Mitsuo’s past relationship with Kouko and his new bearings without her should prove fruitful for his characters. Banri himself may be a “beta” protagonist right now, but what softness he has right now will probably be made up in his genuine attitudes. Finally, Kaga is most definitely hiding something under that cheerful ignorance of hers, despite how funny it is to see her go meta and call someone a tsundere. With such a strong start to the cast, it’ll be a treat documenting how each character progresses through their own internal strife, where their actions will hurt one person for their own happiness and another’s. It’s all cute now, but again, with Yuyuko on-board, let’s expect some powerful drama to surface after the first few episodes.
Glorious. Absolutely glorious. While they can never really reach the glory that KyoAni and P.A. Works is providing this season, J.C. Staff delivers satisfactory results in their presentation. The drawing quality is of acceptable nature–it doesn’t break doors down, but it has a lively and well-crafted feel to it that shows experience. Actions are properly exaggerated for comedic effect, close-ups are pleasant to look at, and surprisingly enough, not many full-lengths are used–a sign of good production quality. The comedy is well-paced and with just enough ridiculousness (it took them that long to get noticed?) to make the point without losing sight of the setting. Though the audio does get muffled a bit by the music and SFX at times–presumably a new technique–the dialogue by the seiyuu is delivered excellently by the A+ cast. The OP and ED are excellent and catchy and will most likely be landing on my phone soon enough. Overall, presentation is not just passing, but rather augmentative of the story. J.C. Staff’s romantic comedy division has proven its skill and worth time and time again, and their continued commitment to producing good works still holds.
Perhaps I’ve become too excited, but from my perspective, things are off to a wonderful start. I look forward to blogging this every week and seeing what new facet we can see in the many characters in college. I hope you guys all feel the same way, but of course, welcome critique is entertained here as well. Here’s to a good romance in the making though, and here’s to two seasons of what will definitely be a Golden Time.
ED: 「Sweet & Sweet CHERRY」 by 堀江 由衣 (Horie Yui)