Tag Archives: Golden Time

Romance Anime, “Golden Time,” and Amazing Drama

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


Hey everyone, so quick backstory on this post. I watched the anime series Golden Time earlier this year and I liked it… a lot. I liked it so much in fact that it ended up on my favorites list that I posted back in August. It also inspired me to make a video which, not uncommonly around here, I never actually ended up doing. So, since I ran out of time for today and could not think of anything else, here is the script for that video. Enjoy!

Hot take: most romance anime are not particularly good.

Yeah, I said it. What are you gonna do about it? In all seriousness though, I hope that at this point in the progression of anime as an art form that we can at least recognize the abundance of mediocre romance in anime. You know the ones I’m talking about: the generic Japanese high school main characters have never interacted with a member of the opposite sex will they won’t they until they maybe hold hands at the end of season two if they even get that far bs that feels like it dominated for most of the 2000s and 2010s. 

Thankfully, it seems as though that is slowly beginning to change. While I did not necessarily enjoy it as much as others, I can at least appreciate what a show like Gamers! was trying to do, playing off the traditional popular girl loser main character dynamic and flipping it on its head. Shows like Horimiya have shown that romance anime can come to satisfying conclusions, while also displaying a fair amount of emotional and character development among the whole cast. Granted, Tsuresure Children was doing this back in 2017 to a slightly worse effect, but still good to see regardless. 

Now, this is not to say that this push and pull dynamic can’t work in certain shows. Oftentimes, such as with a series like Kimi no Todoke, this revolves around the idea that the main characters are afraid of what the other one is thinking, which is definitely relatable. In fact, I would say most romances of this persuasion invoke this notion of relatability. However, that by itself is not a payoff or a mark of good storytelling, but merely a part of it. 

This brings me to Golden Time, a 2013 romance and drama produced by J.C. Staff. The story centers around a college-age amnesiac who remembers nothing about his identity due to having been knocked off a bridge. Tada Banri, thus, decides to move to Tokyo and attend law school in order to start his life over. From there, he meets Yana, and the rich girl who’s obsessed with him, Koko. The group begins to grow close while Banri slowly but surely regains his identity.

Funnily enough, I actually ended up hearing about this series at first from an old episode of the Podtaku podcast, which featured some familiar faces of the anime YouTube community, namely Gigguk. He was incredibly enthusiastic about the series at the time, and for whatever reason, his high praise of the show stuck in my mind. Never have I been more thankful for my oddly specific long-term memory, because while I went into Golden Time with relatively few expectations, it delivered a storytelling experience that I can only describe as emotionally cathartic and incredibly well executed.


A lot of what Golden Time does right comes in the form of the character’s relationships as well as its use of Tada Banri’s Amnesia as a plot device. For starters, it helps that these characters feel like real people. Like I said before, relatability only matters in so much as it allows the viewer to form a connection with the series and the characters. However, forming a direct relationship between viewer and audience is not the only way to do this. 

Instead, the series ops to let the characters’ relationships progress naturally. The fact that Banri and Koko start dating in the first place is a product of both Banri’s longing to build a new identity due to his amnesia, as well as Yana’s refusal to date her. Similarly, Yana’s budding relationship with Linda follows logically from being rejected by Chinami and then hanging out with her in a purely platonic context. None of the relationships that emerge throughout the series feel forced, which allows for more of a genuine experience.

Of course, all of these relationships are centered around Banri, whose journey through college and battle with his amnesia is the focus of the series. Banri, while definitely having the character design of a generic anime protagonist, certainly does not act it. Even as a literal shell of a human being, his progression throughout this 24 episode series is a combination of heartbreaking and victorious that feels like the best roller coaster I have ever ridden. Through the highs and lows of his journey, he remains a moving presence on screen, and the looming worry about the potential consequences of his returning memory makes it all the more engaging.

A theme that emerges early on in the series is one of identity, specifically dealing with the loss of one’s identity and the prospects of beginning life anew. Now, for Banri this is fairly obvious, as his amnesia has forced him to pack up and start fresh in an unfamiliar place. However, the same can also be said of Koko, who built her identity around a version of Mitsuo that only existed in her head. Thus, when he rejected her in the clearest language he could, her identity also falls apart and has to be rebuilt. 

Banri’s amnesia and this theme of identity become foundational for the series and drive a lot of the heavier moments that happen later on. During Golden Time’s latter half, Banri realizes that the re-emergence of his lost memories could also spell the disappearance of his current ones. This becomes more obvious when he begins to have episodes of remembrance, and the previous Tada, Banri reemerges. It is during this time he realizes just how fragile the current version of himself really is.

However, that fragility is not just his own. Just as much as she had built her previous identity around Mitsuo, Koko has similarly become inseparable from Banri. Thus, when it becomes apparent that the boyfriend she knows might not be around for much longer, she breaks up with him in order to save herself the pain of watching their identities collapse simultaneously. 

So much of what makes good drama and romance are the stakes. After all, romance itself can only be so interesting. What matters is what is happening around that romance. For Golden Time, those stakes are the relationships themselves. Banri doesn’t want to lose his entire identity again, and neither does Koko. To live a normal life in the face of the almost supernatural: that is the dream of these two star-crossed lovers. Sure, it turns out ok in the end, but it didn’t have to, and that fear of loss is powerful…

How do you all feel about Golden Time, and about romance anime in general? Let me know in the comments below.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

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If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!


My Top 10 Favorite Anime (As of August 2021)

Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations


Well, It certainly has been a while since I made this list, about three years to be exact. Sometimes it can feel a bit pointless to try and nail down favorites because tastes are constantly changing, but I have watched a few series lately that I feel strongly about, and thus I thought it would be fun time to remake this list and share it with all of you. With that being said, let us get started.

10. Terror in Resonance

Honestly, I thought out of all the shows on my previous list, “Terror in Resonance” would have not made it on still, and yet, through hours of internal debate, it still managed to find a spot. I would say that its one thing in particular that keeps me thinking about it, but that would lie. From the gorgeous animation produced by then up and coming studio MAPPA to the gorgeous Icelandic vocal filled soundtrack, this show has so much. As time has gone on, my sympathies for the series’ political messages have also gone up significantly. While “Terror in Resonance” might have just barely made the list, do not take that to mean I think it is bad, because that is far from the truth.

9. Fire Force

Speaking of shows that I did not think would be on this list. Although, what can I say, it grew on me. “Fire Force” may have some serious problems when it comes to its female characters, which I will definitely continue to talk about, but it also just has a really cool premise that it executes on fairly well. Couple that with the fact that the series was created by the original author of “Soul Eater,” and thus has some fairly similar character designs, and yeah I am on board. It may have taken me a bit more time to fully get into it, but it has certainly earned its place on this list.


8. Robotics;Notes

Oh, look, its the anime that got me somewhat interested in mecha. Not sure how Scott will feel about that, but it is true. Without “Robotics;Notes,” “Gurren Lagann” probably would have ended up as the extent of my mecha experience. However, this show is also just good on its own merits. The character-driven, sci-fi mystery plotline has twists and turns at virtually every stage of its progression, as well as boasting one of the most interesting fictionally diseases in the form of Cat and Mouse Syndrome. I have wanted to revisit this series for a while now, and since I now own the “Robotics;Notes” visual novel, I may just do so…

(This is totally a hint that you should follow me on twitch ;))

7. No Game No Life

Look, I get it, the show is a bit problematic in its depiction of Sora and Shiro’s relationship. Ngl, kinda cringe. However, for those who are willing to look past this, there is a lot to like about “No Game No Life.” Not only did Madhouse do a great job animating the entire series, from the games to conversations between characters, the color palate for this show looks gorgeous, though I am incredibly biased because purple. On top of that, there are some intriguing ideas when it comes to the series’ message and philosophy. For those who are fans of Isekai stories and have somehow not come across “No Game No Life,” this is a much watch.

6. A Place Further Than the Universe

Oh boy. I can count of two hands the number of series that have made me cry, and “A Place Further Than the Universe” happens to be one of them. What is even crazier is that, it does not use any incredibly sappy set up to try and pull at your heart strings immediately. Rather, it just tells the story of a girl who really wants to follow in her mother’s foot steps, and three others who are along for the ride. They share the adventure of a lifetime going to Antarctica and…well, not to spoil too much, but it is certainly an experience.


5. Log Horizon

Alright, so I have a confession to make. I have yet to watch the third seasons for both of the next two series. I know, I know, it feels a bit weird to still have them on here without having technically watched all of them. In my defense though, the first two season of “Log Horizon” are just good enough on their own. Drama, politics, worldbuilding: “Log Horizon” has it all, and then some. It may not be the best looking show ever, but when its got one of the best hype anthems ever written by Man on a Mission fronting every episode, it does not have to be. I said before that Isekai fans should have “No Game No Life” on their to watch list, and that goes more-so for this series.

4. Oregairu

Truth be told, the only reason I did not end up watching the third season for “Oregairu” is because me and my friend got a little too intoxicated while we were re-watching the first two and, well, let us just say it got messy. Regardless, like with “Log Horizon,” “Oregairu” could be carried by its first two seasons. I am still a little bit salty about the change in art style after season one, but honestly, given how good the show is, that is a minor complaint. There really is not too much else to say for this one other than it is a fantastic slice of life comedy that is certainly worth anyone’s time.

3. Golden Time

What can be said about “Golden Time” that is not already buried in my 1000 word video script on the series (I meant to put out the video a long ass time ago I just kept forgetting to record and edit.) Romance in anime has felt one note for a pretty long time, outside of some recent exceptions like “Horimiya.” However, the romance in “Golden Time” is dynamic and feels real. While it may have a fantastical element as it core premise, it is believable because all of its characters, including the main character, develop relationships that mean something. In show’s best moments, there is a deep sense of investment in the lives of the people on screen, and to think, it all started with a dude getting slapped with a rose bouquet.


2. Princess Jellyfish

The hardest part about making this list was not writing these blurbs, but rather deciding who would get second and third between the last two entries. In fact, it probably took me at least an hour going back and forth in my head to make a decision. While “Golden Time” is without a doubt great, I only really felt its impact all at once, at the end, when I could barely contain my tears. “Princess Jellyfish,” on the other hand, was different. It hit in waves, as if at the end I was not able to fully process what I had even just watched. After sitting with the series for a few days, I can be assured in the assessment that “Princess Jellyfish” is a remarkable series.

1. March Comes in Like a Lion

As remarkable as “Princess Jellyfish,” It was unlikely that the series that helped me in one of the darkest periods of my life was ever going to get dethroned. “March Comes in Like a Lion” lacks in no category, and while the subject matter may seem a bit inaccessible, shogi is simply a means to a storytelling-end. Rei, and later on Hina, are two of the most complex characters in all of anime, and their arcs are some of the best storytelling I have ever seen. Couple that with studio shaft’s unique, occasionally minimalist art style and you get a series frankly deserves a lot more recognition than it currently gets.

What are some of your favorite series? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading more from me, check under blog to read my most recent stuff, or look below for some related posts. Also, if you would like to support Animated Observations, consider donating on Ko-fi or through paypal, or pledging on Patreon. You can even support by just liking and sharing this post.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

If you can’t, or just don’t feel like it, no worries. Thank you all for reading, and goodbye, for now, friends!