Sunday, May 13, 2012

Anime Review No. 31, "Golden Boy" Part 1 (Introductions, Episodes 1-3)

Well, Guilty Pleasures Month continues with Golden Boy, a 1995-96 OVA of 6 episodes long. Based on the manga by Tatsuya Egawa, this OVA animates the first volume of that manga series of the same name. It was directed by Hiroyuki Kitakubo and produced by Production IG, so you know that some talent went into this. Also, this OVA is more well-known due to some rather infamous scenes/characters, which I’ll explain later.
The DVD cover  
This is also another anime series I discovered online before purchasing the DVDs for it. I bought the 2 disc DVDs on the ADV Films ‘Essential Anime Collection’ line. I’ll see if it deserves that distinction.

The basic premise lies in the character of Kintaro Oe, who is a freeter or someone who goes around and do part-time jobs. He apparently went to Tokyo U but left before graduating, even if he did all the requirements to do so. He is well, an interesting person. A slacker it seems, at times, but he does seem a bit smarter than he lets on. The OVA chronicles his adventures through Japan in the world of part-time work. But, will things go smoothly or will hijinks ensue? Let’s find out.  
The Madame President (nice office clothes there, lady xDD)
Episode 1 has Kintaro Oe going to work for a computer company, who are developing software for American clients. There, he meets the Madame President (a very attractive blonde) who at first seems disinterested in Kintaro. But when a power failure (caused by Kintaro) sends the office in frenzy due to loss of computer software, he ends up saving the day by giving them his own version. In the process, the Madame President’s heart is taken by Kintaro as she goes off to track him down (he left mysteriously).

I really like this episode, possibly one of the best first episode in an anime.  Egawa gives Kintaro a very good introduction, as a simple everyman wandering through life. He does the best he can, though he isn’t a saint (toilet hugging notwithstanding). His ability to fix a problem that he made himself does seem a bit improbable, but then again it is clear that isn’t meant to be realistic at all. His catch-phrase “Life is Study” is very much in tune with what the series is about: Education is more than the stuff one learns at school. I also like the details given, especially about the yakuza, computer science, etc.
Though, the rest of the characters in this episode are somewhat one-note (mostly being eye-candy), with the exception of Madame President. She comes across as an ‘ice queen’-cold and distant at first, but warms up a bit. It very much tells what to expect: a slacker goes from place to place and meets very attractive girls.
This trend continues in Episode 2, with Kintaro working for the election of yakuza-backed Mayor of another town. Though, that’s not the focus, as that would be interesting. Instead, Kintaro has to contend with the Mayor’s high school daughter Naoko who is a bit of crush on our intrepid hero, even when he is supposed to be tutoring her. He manages to evade her advances, but then gets placed in an awkward situation. Despite that, he still gets away with it by professing his love for Naoko which sets her heart a-fluttered.   It ends with her basically willing to have Kintaro take her virginity when he gets back.

I am a bit put off by this episode, even if it is entertaining. Granted, it does have moments of great hilarity like the first episode, but it just seems a tad unsettling. The plot boils to this: A High school girl is teasing a guy a good 7-9 years her senior. Granted, Egawa turned their tables by making the girl a sexy tease instead of the guy, I’ll give him that. Kintaro, despite his pervert urges, manages to resist Naoko’s sexual advances. Still, it seems the story starts off one way, then verves off to another story. I mean the whole mayoral election elements are dropped mainly through the first third, in favor of developing the actual part. One could take that out as it doesn’t factor into the overall episode at all.
Noriko, who has a thing for flower arranging, apparently
Episode 3 has Kintaro working at a family noodle shop, filling in for the father/owner who got involved in a recent accident. He then gets embroiled with a suave pimp/hustler who’s gunning for the noodle shop’s owner daughter named Noriko. It turns out he has a scheme afoot in marrying Noriko, then selling the noodle shop and then kicking her out afterwards. The plan is foiled and Noriko gains some affection and respect for Kintaro.

This is a far better episode then the second episode. It is a well-adjusted version of that episode 2, without the unnecessary plot elements. Kintaro is at his most likeable here, as I get the feeling he really wants to help Noriko out, even if she doesn’t want him to (which happens at one point by the way). I rooted for him to go so far as beat up the bad guy that when he did, he was pleasantly surprised when he reacts to this by saying “… my Kendo training was put to waste. I have so much more to learn” (paraphrasing). Even he is aware of his shortcomings, and that I can relate to. Also, Noriko is more likeable since she is the ‘naïve maiden’ type, as opposed to the sultry ice queen of the Madame President or the walking sex-tease of Naoko. The pimp-hustler is the first actual villain Kintaro has come across and comes across as a very unlikeable and slightly hammy villain.

So, 2 very good episodes with one not so good episode, I have to say that is very even so far. I’ll see about the other 3 episodes next week. 

1 comment:

Aragon Llorente said...

I own the ADV DVD collection of Golden Boy. It’s a great anime and is very similar to Junk Boy. I think Junk Boy is funnier though. Come check out my review of Golden Boy episodes 1-3 OVA Volume 1
Golden Boy OVA Anime Vol.1 Collection Review