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Two Souls, One Body: Thoughts on Golden Time

(Via MyAnimeList)

Golden Time (ゴールデンタイム)

(Anime 2013-2014)

Studio: J.C.Staff

This has been on my list for a while, but I decided to push it up on the “must-watch” list after reading a fellow blogger’s review on it. I can’t fully recall the review or the discussion I had, but I do know that she wasn’t a fan of Tada Banri. So this post will mainly focus on the characterization of Tada Banri.

After a sudden accident, Tada Banri has no recollection of who he is. He refuses to learn about his past and instead, decides to start fresh as a first-year university law student. While there, he makes new friends and even gets a girlfriend, Kaga Kouko. Yet things get complicated when he finds out that a girl from his past, Linda, goes to the same university as him.

An Identity Crisis

Golden Time 2
© J.C.Staff

As viewers, we question, “Who is Tada Banri?” There are two different souls living in the body of Tada Banri: his “past self” (the high school student) and his present self (the university student). Throughout the anime, Banri is having an internal struggle within himself—both souls are trying to take control of his body and be the “real” him. His former self is this passive, scaredy-cat wimp who is in love with his former best friend, Linda. While his current self is a university student who is optimistic and open to new experiences and making new friends. By having both souls fighting for control, each soul denies the other as the true identity of Tada Banri. In fact, in the early episodes, the current Banri had no interest in learning about his past, trying to gain back all his memories and reconnecting with the people he left. However, the truth is that both souls make up Tada Banri’s overall identity and he should accept both of them. Now, individuals may use different personas when interacting with a variety of social groups, but all those personas make up that person’s identity. Banri’s two souls function the same way.

The Symbol of the Vengeful Soul

Golden Time ep 5
© J.C.Staff

Eventually, Banri’s past self “dies” at the bridge where the accident took place by drowning into the river. His past self transforms into a vengeful ghost and wishes misfortune onto Banri and his friends. For example, when Banri and his group of friends planned to go to the beach, his past self made sure that they weren’t on-time and that it was raining. Yet, his spirit’s wishes of misfortune towards Banri goes too far when Banri and his friends almost got into a car accident. The reason why I’m bringing this up is because the vengeful spirit is a concept that has been embedded in Japanese literature and film for quite some time. One of the well-known vengeful spirits is Lady Rokujo from The Tale of Genji. She loved Genji deeply but would get jealous and kill women that were close to him. So seeing such a spirit in Golden Time was a treat in my opinion. With these type of characters, I enjoy trying to figure out why they are angry and whether they deserve my sympathy or not.

Rewriting Golden Time

Which brings me to my next topic, “Should Banri have told his friends about his situation in the first place?” Well, the easy answer is that if he did, we wouldn’t have a plot and this anime wouldn’t have been made. However, he didn’t and I think he has every right to not express his personal business to others. The reason why I think it was alright that he didn’t mention his condition is because this is a medical issue that makes him uncomfortable, and it affects his daily life and interactions with people. Although he loves Kouko, he didn’t want her to worry about him despite his mental state not being completely there. He thought it was best that they go on like a “normal” couple so that he feels “normal;” hence as to why they act so lovey-dovey.

Golden Time ep 17
© J.C.Staff
golden time ep 15
© J.C.Staff

There’s also the trust issue when confiding with others. He trusts people to a certain extent. For example, he permits Oka Chinami to video tape him talking about his feelings for Kouko. However, his trust issues come mainly from within himself, where he struggles to figure out which soul is the real him. He wants to live his current life normally, but his past self keeps haunting him; as a result, it is difficult for him to make friendships. He fears that his former self will take over and he will disappear and be forgotten by his new friends. Banri maintains a wall between him and his friends because he doesn’t trust that he will always be there for them.

These are just some of my thoughts on Golden Time. If you haven’t watched Golden Time, it’s a good one to check out when you’re bored.


22 thoughts on “Two Souls, One Body: Thoughts on Golden Time Leave a comment

  1. I believe you’re referring to my review. * wink *

    I’m a bit confused though…… do you actually think there’s a real vengeful spirit, and therefore, whatever is going on with him , is something that he cannot control ?

    If that is so, then the story is just a supernatural phenomena, and anything that happens is just a consequence of this supernatural event, and therefore it’s no one’s fault. I believe though that the ghost, which is himself is actually just his past persona or past self that is struggling to make him go back to his past life…. that is…. to get together with his past love, Linda. He is struggling because he has a girlfriend now , and to go back to Linda ( whom he still loves, is a betrayal of the trust that Kuoko has given him.

    This ghost of himself is just in his mind, in my opinion. He’s using it to rationalize what he will inevitably do…. break up with Kuoko and get together with Linda. This internal struggle between him and that ghost” is just in his mind. That’s my take on this guy. It happened when he started to regain his memory. I cannot imagine that he has really forgotten the present, and Kuoko. It’s a ruse. I cannot believe that he suddenly remembers Kuoko , just like that. It’s a ruse. Tada to me is a fraud…. that’s why I feel strongly that Kuoko shouldn’t have gone back to him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First off, do you think you can send me a link to your review again so I can hyperlink it to mine?

      The vengeful spirit is himself, but I use the term in a broader sense. And I think his other self is coming out is something he can’t control and it is just his self-consciousness —no supernatural forces at hand. I do think though that his former self needed closure because, at the time, he didn’t hear Linda’s answer so he has this hope that they will get together and the fact that the present Banri doesn’t know that and dates someone else angers him.

      LOL. The ghost is his self-conscious and it is all in his mind, but I do think it is part of his mental sickness that he got from his accident. Also, at the end of the anime, the ghost got his closure so he was able to go back to Kouko.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I kind of think a lot of stories would cease to exist if the protagonist didn’t hide things for the sake of it. Like the entirety of Sabrina the Teenage Witch television series would just have vanished if she’d just told Harvey, hey, I’m a witch, deal with it. And then the world would have been spared.
    Great write up on Golden Time. I love this anime and found Tada Banri are really interesting character.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah, I think it’s naturally as a person to hide things from people because of insecurity, trust issues, and etc. Golden Time is a fun anime. I’m glad you like the show and my post.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oooh, you actually made me interested in watching this. I haven’t really heard much about it, but it sounds interesting when you write about it ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh cool. Yeah it’s a pretty underrated show and not many people seem to enjoy it. I did for the most part, and I think it’s a good anime to watch to chill and relax with.


  4. Interesting that you say positive things, as the majority of people I’ve heard from said it was, meh, good enough. I, however, become enticed to watch it more and more when looking at the visuals and, of course, catching the small bits of praise it gets. Perhaps you’ve convinced another blogger to add it to his list. Well done, Lyn!
    BTW, nothing on this earth could convince me that Tada Banri is a college student.

    Liked by 1 person

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