SHOGUN'S NOTE: We're taking a quick break from our usual slate of reviews to cover as many new pilots as we can for the Fall season. Sit tight - - we'll be back to regular series soon!
When Banri Tada starts his very first day of law school by missing orientation, he happens to meet the handsome Mitsuo Yanagisawa in the same situation. The two bro it up all the way to campus where Mitsuo's old flame, the stunning redhead Koko Kaga, appears out of nowhere and assaults him with roses. Koko has essentially claimed ownership over Mitsuo's entire existence to satisfy her perfect "life plan," and he's gone so far as to abandon his parents' university of choice to try to avoid her (to no avail).
Banri then meets several women who he's intrigued by, because--surprise!--it's a harem show. What's strange about this, though, is that the show's intro and Banri's reactions make it pretty clear that Koko is going to be the one who ends up meaning the most to him, so that initial "which one will he woo?" speculation never really starts percolating. And what's the fun of a harem show if you already have a solid idea of who the protagonist is going to pick?
There's still a fair amount to like in GOLDEN TIME. It's a nice change of pace, for instance, to see a show set in Japan's college system instead of high school. When Koko is introduced, she comes across as the product of a hideous union between Bill Murray in WHAT ABOUT BOB? and Kathy Bates in MISERY, yet still manages to be charming because she's nice to people who aren't Mitsuo. While an amnesia plot will be thrown into the mix shortly, how the two male leads deal with the nigh-omnipresent Koko will be key to this one's watchability down the line.
Watch this episode, “Springtime” here and decide for yourself, then read our comments on other anime pilots from the Fall 2013 season below...
Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd who has contributed to many nerd websites. You can reach him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter @Murphix.