Golden Time – 19

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Is Tada Banri really The Worst? Nah, but he’s certainly quite fallible. This week he keeps his friendship with Linda a secret from Mitsuo, doesn’t tell Linda that Mitsuo would be at festival club filming, doesn’t even know what Linda is mad about, and later disgusts Chinami, who happens to catch him being all too friendly with the girl Yana-san likes. He even jokes that he doesn’t know who Koko is when she rushes to his arms upon his return to town, and…all right, we’ll admit that was pretty funny. But it wasn’t very nice.

So yeah, Banri messed up here and there this week, but one can’t place the blame entirely on him. After all, when you’ve decided not to run form your past anymore, difficulties and missteps come with the territory. Doing what he’s decided to do was never going to be easy, especially he isn’t even sure he can coexist with his past self; it could come back and take over at any time. It’s all to easy to shrink in the midst of existential fears, and thus it’s understandable he’d overlook the affairs and feelings of others now and again.

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That being said, his actions have consequences. Mitsuo is really into Linda and wants to make a go of it, while Linda is unsure of how to react to his interest in her. She’s a lot of fun to watch this week, as we get many a hilariously angry-face and scary voice out of her. It’s a little goofy, but her tangled emotions are strongly felt.

As for Chinami, we’ve never seen her so pissed off, and while it’s true she was being a bit nosy and doesn’t have the whole picture, she’s not wrong that Koko would not have liked the scene of Banri and Linda she witnessed. Linda and Chinami form a tag-team of punishment on Banri, and it’s oddly satisfying to behold.

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Speaking of Koko—she’s decided it’s time for her and Banru to become one. Her gift of the Eiffel Tower sculpture (which beyond its obvious phallusy bears a resemblance to many an ancient fertility statue), and its subsequent role in the failure of her mission (along with her full stomach) are all brilliantly dorky, cute, and very Koko. It’s also notable that she presents him with the tower as he’s debating whether to give her his mother’s ring.

He tells himself and Koko they have plenty of time, but what’s so agonizing is that we simply don’t know if that’s really the case. When we saw that ring, we immediately considered the possibility that it may never see Koko’s finger. We hope we’re wrong. In any case, Banri can’t be careless with his secrets, his omissions, or his time. This is his golden time.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

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Golden Time – 18

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Koko may have sent Banri off to his hometown with her full trust and blessing, and it’s good to see her obsessional tendencies haven’t vanished with the flip of a switch, as he visits her apartment to smell his bed. But here’s the thing—and we say this having had nothing but love for Nana thus far—that whole scene kinda felt like padding, and both the Exorcist pose and Yakuza guy were really random. We did, however, enjoy how easily and quickly Koko got Nana to TAP OUT. Girl doesn’t know her own strength!

Once we got to Shizuoka, things got more encouraging. We really felt Banri’s increasing anxiety as they near the reunion: this was a big deal. But the dodgeball game, in which everyone wore a name tag for Banri’s benefit, was a classy gesture. We also totally believe that Linda would use Banri’s new-found interest in the past as an excuse to settle a long-standing dodgeball score. We also liked the subtle details like Linda telling Banri to drop the “-senpai”, since they’re at the reunion as classmates of the same year, or how a lot of the classmates’ reminiscing revolved around Past Banri’s devotion to Linda—though they only refer to her as “some girl.”

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With Banri and Linda walking around their hometown alone at night, it’s easy to get carried away by all the dramatic and romantic potential scrounged up by such a scenario. The episode decided to play it relatively safe and sedate, with Banri acknowledging that he wants to live and be himself: the past and present, the good and bad. Linda says she’s happy with the way things are too, but here, as throughout the episode, we got the feeling she’s still holding back; that a part of her still can’t accept the way things are. She even seems to hint at it, but then Banri runs to the bridge.

There, he has a flashback to the fall, envisioning his past self stopping him from saving him. In the process he drops and shatters the mirror Koko gave him, which is so overt an omen we’re tempted to believe it’s a red herring. But if returning to the place where he was split in two has a restorative effect on his memories, it’s not unrealistic (though not particularly scientific either) to imagine his present self becoming compromised or overpowered, even to the point he loses his feelings for Koko. Meanwhile, all this time Linda’s been concealing her feelings for Banri, but the time may come when he figures it out on his own.

7_very_goodRating:7 (Very Good)

Golden Time – 17

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When they got in the car accident, Banri and Kaga felt like kids. This week, after their heated argument and reconciliation, they prove they’re really adults. Tense as their row was, and as tenuous as their relationship seemed to be in the darkest moments of said row when they couldn’t get through to one another, it ultimately strengthened their relationship. The fact that Banri seemed content with burying his past mad Kaga constantly fearful he’d do the same to her.

At the same time, she felt jealous and vulnerable for not knowing that past Banri who others like Linda knew. Now Banri has resolved to stop running from his past, and Kaga is 100% supportive, because it means she gets to see the “whole” Banri. She’s resolved to not obsess over what parts of Banri she never knew or doesn’t like, since they’re all a part of him, even his struggle with his lost past. She’s vowed to let Banri explore his whole self, and she’s vowed to love him for it.

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They decide to put their resolutions into immediate practice the first time they cross paths with Linda, who is understandably taken aback not only when Banri asks about the past he had asked her not to bring up again, but when Kaga is totally fine with her getting into it. For a moment we were worried this was all too much for Linda, but she handles it admirably, while showing just how well she knew Banri by showing him the bottle rocket scar on his leg he didn’t even know he had.

That intimate knowledge might’ve upset Kaga before, but she’s no longer as threatend by Linda as she was. Part of that is because she trusts Banri (and has no reason not to in light of their new understanding), but we wouldn’t be surprised if it’s also because Linda is with someone else now, namely Mitsuo. We finally get to see the gorgeous new couple alone together, but their meeting turns unexpectedly sour when Mitsuo learns she and Banri are both from Shizuoka.

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Mind you, it isn’t Mitsuo that starts the sourness: he’s there because he likes hanging out with Linda and probably would rather she leave for home. It’s Linda who gets upset, when she realizes how ignorant Mitsuo is to her past with Banri. It’s not so much she’s been caught in a lie, but caught in a omission—one that’s not so bad if you’re just friends but rather a big deal if you have designs on dating someone. In a way, Linda’s in the boat Banri and Kaga very overtly jumped out of before her eyes: suddenly she’s the one hiding her past.

And Linda does end up lying to Mitsuo about not seeing Banri in Shizuoka, something we’re sure she felt bad about doing and thus left in haste, feigning annoyance at Mitsuo snatching her ticket. But the ticket didn’t cause this mess: not bringing up Banri to Mitsuo did that, which she’d had no cause to do, since Banri told her to forget about the past. Now Banri’s gone back on that, and she’s on the spot.

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Understandably suspicious, Mitsuo gets far more info out of 2D-kun (who brings up the cult escape when he learned what he learned: excellent continuity!) which irks him even more: why would Banri and Linda keep him in the dark about this? We should note, it’s good to see Kaga hanging out first with Oka (helping her move in and spending the night) and treating 2D and Mitsuo to ice cream as an apology. She probably misses Banri, but is no longer obsessing over him and keen to maintain her other friendships.

But when Mitsuo confronts her about Banri’s head injury, she feigns ignorance; though if Mitsuo saw the momentary look in her eyes, he’d know instantly she’s hiding something. That makes two girls he made look like that in the episode. Like Linda, Kaga’s unready/unwilling to let him in on the truth. Now all of a sudden Mitsuo, who had endured/ignored Kaga’s advances and stalking for so long, is the one beseeching Kaga, but all she has to offer—for now, at least—is a spoon.

9_superiorRating: 9 (Superior)