41 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Golden Time episode 1 – Animate like it’s 2003

Golden Time - 01 - Large 10

I may have let slip in my season preview for Golden Time that I wasn’t terribly fond of Toradora, certainly compared to everyone else. That’s not to say I hated it though. It was above average, certainly better than most high school romance anime, and a whole lot better than everything else that’s not Nodame that JC Staff have done in the past 6 years. Golden Time promised to be Toradora without the high school setting or the tsundere, the two blandest things about Toradora. Plus it didn’t have Mari Okada on the script so maybe this wouldn’t have the same awful drama writing. I was willing to break my usual rule of not watching anime by JC Staff and give this a shot. So, did JC Staff actually produce a good anime for a change?



Lordy me, where to start? How about the production quality? Something was terribly wrong about the sound levels in this episode. The background noises, such as the low-level chatter in a crowded room, were louder than the main dialogue. The background music drowned out the main character’s voice on several occasions. It wasn’t like it was wailing violins that we were supposed to be impressed by or anything like that. It was the same irritating bouncy 5-second music loop that all these high school romance anime have. Whoever was in charge of the sound levels for TV broadcast clearly fucked up.

The animation looks like it came out over 10 years ago. Specifically in the early days of the full switch to digital animation in the early 00s. I’ve been watching anime from that era recently and there’s a lot of weird animation quirks that look really bad. The movement looks awkward like they don’t really understand how movement and perspective works, making the characters look like they’re just mimicking walking motions while someone shoves a stick up their arse, kneels below the bottom of the screen and waves them about to give the impression that they’re moving forward. The movement is mirrored in both characters, so they have the same walking animation. A walking loop is a pretty good sign how much thought the animators put into bringing out the character’s personality in their movement. From this I gather that the animators on Golden Time put in zero thought.

I’ll pick the first episodes of a bunch of TV anime from 2003, since I’m going through 2003 anime so have a bunch on hand. Chrono Crusade, Wolf’s Rain, Twin Spica, Kaleido Star, Gunslinger Girl and Last Exile. Of those, Last Exile and Wolf’s Rain were big budget productions back in their day so obviously look better, albeit a little alarmingly so. Gunslinger Girl and Kaleido Star are also much better animated with far more natural looking movement and art design. Chrono Crusade is only marginally better, but has the bonus of actually looking cooler with more unique character designs and background art due to its setting. Only Twin Spica looked not as well animated, and even then it’s not that far off Golden Time. So maybe saying Golden Time looks like it was animated in 2003 is unfair on anime from 2003.

Golden Time - 01 - Large 26

As for the content itself, I find it HILARIOUS that Golden Time tricked us all by pretending it was different by setting the story in college but in fact it’s the exact same fucking high school setting in everything but name. It’s the same opening format. Guy with absolutely zero personality whatsoever goes to his new high school college complaining about how he’s late. Yuji Everylead the bland then meets a new friend with lady problems and has to run away from numerous clubs trying to get him to join. He starts cycling through a series of haremettes, all of whom he develops a minor crush on at first meeting.

He might end up with any of these beguiling ladies, although why they would want to end up with The Blandest Man in the Universe is beyond me. But as the opening credits rather unsubtly hints at, he’s going to get together with a character who is channelling Yuno from Future Diary except without any of the acknowledgement that she is horrifying. She does have an actual personality though, which is better than everyone else in the show. However I had some twitter conversations with people who have read the source material and they say this yandere start to her personality goes away really quickly and she becomes pretty generic. The one thing this show had to call itself different and it plans to disappear soon. Terrible production quality, generic story, bland characters. I should have stuck to my “don’t watch JC Staff anime” rule.

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  1. Pusswookie
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    That was depressing.

  2. Yajirobe
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    This season’s Servant x Service?

    • Scamp
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Servant X Service had characters with personality.

  3. mikejacobs14
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Eh, I liked it, a nice change of pace from the recent animes.

    • Amarrez
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      No, ServantxService actually had some life to it.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink


      There are, like, 10 practically identical anime to this every year.

  4. Riku_Akimoto
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    How can I said it… ouch?

  5. Posted October 4, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Harsh. I almost feel bad for finding it to be a decent episode, but that’s only because I know what’s going to happen next.

    Can’t say much about those production values because they’re objectively terrible and disgusting to witness, but the story isn’t exactly generic (at least to me it isn’t okay fine geez). Banri’s little incident at the end of the episode plays a huge role in his eventual characterization, and that whole haremette thing does not actually exist. Koko’s yandere attitude does eventually transition into something equally unpleasant, but not without a fight.

    I really can’t blame you for having a horrible experience with the first episode, but… that’s just a testament to how bad this adaptation is, and how terrible this first episode really was.

  6. Hanasra
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Ouch, harsh but true, I mean the dated animation part. It already too dated that even friend of mine that just usual moecrap and never cared about those stuffs (directing, animation, etc) began to say how dated the animation is.

  7. marcus
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Though I agree with the shitty animation. I cant get it why you guys telling this looks like it was made in 2003? I mean can you really distinguish an anime made in 2003 and an anime made in 2013? Bigger eyes? More loli?

    Nothing really changed throughout the process of making it aside from the aspect ratio, hd and the massive use of cgi.

    Plus all the anime made by JC staff looks outdated. They should really change their filters…

    • Scamp
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      It’s the movement primarily. Pick a few random mid-tier TV anime from 2000-02 and you’ll see what I mean. The perspective and the movement looks off, like they haven’t gotten the hang of presenting a character walking.

  8. Kiraly
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Welp. And I almost left it out of my FAL line-up because my instincts were screaming at me that this wouldn’t be Toradora.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Might still do all right in FAL. JC Staff tends to perform above average for whatever baffling reason

  9. Posted October 4, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I tried reading the LN a year ago. I didn’t get past the first chapter. Let’s see if I can finish the first episode.

  10. Shikamaru
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why people complain about production values so often. It has never been problem to me. Better production values doesn’t make the story or characters better. Same thing with video games and movies. People are always talking about graphics and 3D effects.

    That being said this was really generic. Toradora had way better first episode. Ryuji and Taiga were much better lead characters. Taiga is really underrated as a character if you ask me. Sure she’s a tsundere but Taiga seems so natural in that role that you often forget that she actually is a tsundere. Her dialogue and actions feel more realistic than your average tsundere.

    Well I’m a sucker for these highschool romantic comedies so at least I should enjoy this series.

    • Posted October 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Actually, better production values can make a story and character better the same way low ones can ruin it. If Gurren Lagann was animated the same way as Panzer Dragoon, nobody would love it. Anime is a “visual medium”. You’re supposed to tell the story through visuals.

    • Popka
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      It’s because there are people who go into work and animate/illustrate/edit sound for a living. If you complain when writers fail to do their job, I don’t see why you wouldn’t complain when other artists fail to do theirs. Or praise them when they succeed.

    • Kiraly
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      That’s because Mari Okada is the best writer in the business when it comes to ‘bringing generic characters to life’, despite what SCAMP says. Toradora had her style all over it.

      (though granted, she should never be allowed to touch tragedy or ‘intelligent’ shows, that’s just not her forte)

      • Posted October 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        For me, I like Okada best when she’s away from the school stuff. Scamp’s not a fan, but I loved Lupin: Fujiko Mine, and liked Blast of Tempest and Book of Bantorra. A lot of people love Simoun as well, but that’s one of those “character study” anime that do nothing for me, but if you’re into that stuff, it’s worth a pop.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      Because animation tells the story. In something as boringly animated as this, it actively detracts because it shows how little personality it has.

  11. Nagisa33
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    “Rotating through the haremettes”

    Hahaha! Your tags never fail to please!

    • Kioku from Laptop
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 1:54 am | Permalink

      I still like Yuji Everylead the Bland. I would still buy that shirt.

      I’m still going to give this at least three episodes, as I quite liked Toradora.

      • Nagisa33
        Posted October 5, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I’m giving it a chance bc I loved Toradora! too.

  12. fathomlessblue
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Urgh, I feel like I’ve just been tricked into watching Amagami SS: Afterstory. Only with worse production values.

    Calling Golden Time a malignant boil, festering on the bum-cheek of Satan, might be a tad harsh, but I like that description so I’m sticking with it. Time for a shower to wash its essence from me. Tattybyes!

  13. Redcrimson
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I kept conjuring up the mental image of old Japanese men sitting around a table discussing how to make college relatable to teenagers, because that’s what this episode felt like. College as depicted by old people who don’t remember college, or being teenagers.

    It confounds me that JC Staff once made Revolutionary Girl Utena. How is it even possible to fall this far?

    • Scamp
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      I think that may be how an awful lot of anime are made

  14. weaboo
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I think I’ll stick with manga on this one.

  15. Shinmaru
    Posted October 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I don’t even know how I feel about this because the sound mixing distracted me from everything else.

  16. Ken
    Posted October 5, 2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Forget the potential romance, the classes and everything else. Sign me up for the Latin Music Club! Sexy gyrating girls in skimpy outfits. That should be the focus of this anime.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Yeah but they all looked the same and had no hips and weird fixed stares and weren’t even any good at dancing.

  17. strukingfourd
    Posted October 5, 2013 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    Toradora is the only romance series so far, apart from Love Hina (my first ‘real’ anime), that i genuinely enjoyed. Its funny but even tough i understand that romance is clearly not my thing, i really REALLY want to find another anime of this genre to replicate the feeling i got while watching those two shows (what the fandom calls shipping). Oh well, maybe next time.

    PD: Motoko and Ami are clearly best-girl you asshole main characters

    • Ken
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 3:50 am | Permalink

      No way man. The best-girls are all in the Latin Music Club.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 5, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      I recommend you watch Nodame Cantabile. Maybe Spice and Wolf and Crest of the Stars too.

      • ken
        Posted October 5, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        I love Spice and Wolf. I’ll have to check out the others.

        PS: Scamp. I miss your witty comments on the Bakacast podcast.

      • strukingfourd
        Posted October 6, 2013 at 2:23 am | Permalink

        I have Crest of the Stars on my to watch list, don’t know a thing of the other two, i will check them out

  18. MeiMei
    Posted October 5, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Golden Time? It felt more like a Golden Shower to be honest.

  19. Someone Else
    Posted October 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of Yuji everylead, I remembered that it was parodied in carnival phantasm. I forgot what it is called but apparently, that’s their “ideal” man. Yes the so called yuji-everylead-mr.nice-to-everyone so expect to see more of them. It’s like mr.perfect to girls that’s why they fall for them

    As for golden time, the show will work if you remove the MC completely. I don’t see the point of him being included with the friend and the girl

  20. Posted October 5, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I find it unbelievably fucking hilarious that you saw Chiaki Kon billed as the writer and thought, “Gee, I’m sure this’ll be better than that Mari Okada!”. I really swear you are the only person in the world who could ever have that thought, and of course its since you’ve got that huge hate-on for Mari Okada. We’re talking about the person who did the scripts for Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi and Junjou Romantica, bro.

  21. GwiLo
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    It’s pretty funny that you mention that Tada Banri has no personality. From what I know of the story, there’s actually a legit reason for it (stick around for a few episodes and you’ll see). Whether you like that reason is up to you, but it actually makes sense for once.

  22. Grey
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    The point of no return for me it was when the protagonist was horrified and trapped by a a bunch of shaking asses. Literally.

    Also, I predict a new(?) trend in anime aimed to submissive japanese male. Thinking of this with gender reversed it’s actually pretty creepy.

  23. leokiko
    Posted October 9, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Loved this anime, actually. Right up my alley.

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