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Dated 19 June 2013: Already looking forward to Golden Time

Kaga
The Golden Time anime starts autumn 2013.

While perusing a list of upcoming anime planned for summer and autumn 2013, I took the time to make note of sequels to shows I enjoyed, original content, and adaptations their with source material readily available. Golden Time fits in this last category; several chapters of the original light novels and the manga adaptations have already been translated. Based on what I've read so far, Golden Time seems very promising. If the anime adaptation is at least competent, this should be a layup. The biggest single draw is that it's a romantic comedy set in college, so it's free from all the high school and middle school bullshit that plagues nearly all anime romantic comedies. The original work is by the author of Toradora! and appears written at least as well (again, with the additional benefit of being free from high school rules of engagement). Golden Time is medium wacky, so your receptiveness to its antics will depend on how you feel about that sort of thing. However, if the anime balances the comedic elements with adequate emotional resonance, Golden Time stands a good chance of being closer to Honey and Clover than Toradora! with regard to how it navigates the minefield of anime romance.

Dated 23 October 2013: KILL la KILL leads the six shows that I'm watching so far

Mikisugi and Ryuuko
Relax, it's cool. He's her teacher.

I'm watching fewer shows autumn 2013 than I usually do. I suppose on average it's still about one episode each night, but with less time watching anime and less attention devoted to The Twitter, I do have noticeably more time to pursue other interests—to include updating an anime blog that's nearly in its 13th year.

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Dated 28 October 2013: I'm disappointed with the Golden Time anime adaptation

Kaga
When they point the finger, it means you're a rival.

I was looking forward to Golden Time because I felt both the manga and the original light novels successfully combined the two components I claim critical to a romantic comedy's success: Medium-Wackiness and Emotional Resonance. The Golden Time anime does not deviate from the source material, but the way it covers some significant events is haphazard and rushed.

Nana
In case you blinked during her appearance, this is Nana.

From a narrative standpoint, watching Golden Time is sort of like hearing a synopsis from a reader who only skimmed the books. All the key points are there, but getting them from this type of storytelling isn't conducive to understanding how they relate. The viewer is less likely to appreciate the moments themselves.

Kaga
It's not the same without a hangover.

The biggest problem so far is episode four was clearly rushed. A lot of important events occur shortly after Banri's and Kouko's night in the woods, but episode four of the anime runs through them all without conveying their gravity. Specifically, the confrontation with Chinami, the subsequent encounter with Nana, Kouko taking the stage, and the departure from the club are all important events that the anime basically glosses over, skipping to the morning after. (Significantly, the anime also entirely omits the binge drinking that occurs throughout those events.) I was also dissatisfied with how the anime covered Kouko's struggle at Banri's club and with how it handled Banri's unexpected journey.

Linda, Kouko, Banri, and other dancers
To be fair, this probably would have been painful to watch.

Before the Golden Time anime started, quite a few people expressed their reservations after learning Kon Chiaki is at the helm. (She's the director perhaps best known for "ruining" the Nodame Cantabile sequels.) Through four episodes, I have to grudgingly admit that these pessimists were right.

Kouko and Chinami
Chinami does kinda suck.

Despite all the criticism J.C. Staff attracts these days, I still consider it a very capable studio when it plays to its strengths. Emotional resonance is its bread and butter. Unfortunately, compared to its deft execution in other adaptations such as Toradora! and Honey & Clover, Golden Time is an underachiever. Maybe episode four was just a aberrant one-off, but it was ham-fisted even compared to the Nodame Cantabile sequels Kon Chiaki herself directed, let alone compared to the brilliant first season. One-off or not, it's troubling that such important parts of Golden Time didn't get better treatment.

Banri's mom
Nice smock.

Nevertheless, despite the flaws in how Golden Time is presented, I do still like the show. I think this is a testament to the strength of the original source material. It's a real shame the anime isn't taking a bit more care with how it covers the events, because it has the potential to be very good. It seems merely slowing down a bit would suffice, Kon Chiaki notwithstanding. I suspect it's likely the rush is inspired by desires to hit a milestone by the end of the season, but this makes it more difficult to simply enjoy the ride.

Dated 18 November 2013: I'm starting to think the Sony Vaio Z line is kinda delicate

The best part about having a $2400 laptop suffer a hardware failure while you're away from home is relying on dubious bittorrent clients on your phone to stay up to date with currently airing anime. Turns out Golden Time was worth it this week, though.

Dated 1 December 2013: Needs more Golden Time Paris-Hen

Banri
I like how Banri wears his FUCK YEAH shirt all the time.

If you've been following me on the Twitter, then you've probably figured out that I like Golden Time more than my last entry about it might suggest. Potentially, this is attributable to the fact that the anime has now advanced beyond what I've read of the manga and original light novel.

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Dated 2 January 2014: Autumn 2013 season summary

Regina and Cure Ace
Go on, Ace. Slap the shit out of her.

I only watched five shows from the autumn 2013 anime season. It really should have been six, but subs for Detective Conan lagged again.

Autumn 2013: KILL la KILL (1-12) > Golden Time (1-12) > DokiDoki! Precure (35-46) > Kakumeiki Valvave [13-24] > IS Infinite Stratos 2 [1-12, OVA2]. Dropped: None.

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Dated 8 February 2014: Surprising no one, KILL la KILL, Golden Time, and Gin no Saji are still good

Ryuuko and Senketsu
True love.

KILL la KILL and Golden Time continued without interruption from the previous cour. Both remain about as good as they were previously, and for pretty much the same reasons as before. Thus, if you liked the shows the first time around, you'll probably still like them now. Gin no Saji (Silver Spoon) took a short break after its first cour, but also proves to be as good as it was now that it has resumed for winter 2014.

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Dated 15 February 2014: It's the Golden Time, Charlie Brown

Koko
You're a blockhead, Ghost Banri!

I just wanted to point out how pleased I was to see this tribute to Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts comic strips. A single shot isn't quite as dedicated as the Evangelion parody strip drawn in the Peanuts style, but it's something. Incidentally, I'm pretty sure the last man standing at Studio ADTRW translated that manga to English before the site fell off the World Wide Web.