Golden Time – 09

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Kouko says she has a cold, and when she returns after several days, she still doesn’t seem right. She confides to Banri that she’s scared and anxious about whether he really loves her. Banri comforts her and assures her he loves her and everything is fine. The “Ghost Banri” remembers comforting Linda in a similar fashion when they were third-years. She found out her brother’s fiancee was cheating on him, and planned to expose her with pictures.

Linda changed her mind and instead confronted the fiancee directly, agreeing not to tell anyone if she stops. Linda is scared and anxious of the choices she’s made, but Banri promises to stand by her no matter what, though stops short of confessing his love. In the present, when Banri tells Linda Kouko is still out sick, she repeats the words he told her. That night, Ghost Banri regains Banri’s body, along with his memories of the past.

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Golden Time shows it’s not content to sit on its hands for a single episode; developments have been coming with great alacrity belying the fact this is a two-cour series. This liberal distribution of meaty plot is most welcome. Going in, part of us feared this might be the episode where Banri and Kouko break up. And while Banri reaffirmed his love to Kouko and set things straight (in a sweet, beautifully-directed scene), the fact is the episode ended with a totally different Banri; the one only we can see and hear.

Serious kudos to the flashback, which enriches Banri and Linda’s relationship, going back to before he confessed to her, to what Ghost Banri believes to have been a missed opportunity, while also showing that Banri promised something to Linda that his amnesia wiped out, leaving Linda not only without her best friend, but also without someone to share the knowledge of what she did. After her discovery, she was basically trapped, with no way to resolve the situation without hurting her brother in some way, either with truth or lies.

In his interactions with Kouko in the present, New Banri shows that like his past self, he’s a guy who will rise above his unreliability and weakness to shoulder the burdens of the woman he loves. Linda may not know it, but by re-reciting Past Banri’s ornate non-confession back to him, it’s as if she said the magic words that break the spell. Fate has been cruel to Linda for a long time, but now it seems it’s turned on New Banri—in many respects a different person—and on Kouko. Meanwhile, Ghost Banri may have gotten his wish: for things to return to the way they were.

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Rating: 9 (Superior)

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