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Golden Time is a stand-out among a lot of anime for a couple of reasons. The first is the cast is filled with college-aged characters that even look like college-aged characters. Second, the story isn’t filled with supernatural drama and no moe. The third reason clothing; they change their clothes often. You don’t see the characters in the same clothes every day throughout the year. The story is about Banri Tada who is beginning his first year at a law school in Tokyo. In many respects he’s an average guy. The tragic part is he has no memories from before the year began. He doesn’t remember anything from his childhood through high school due to being the victim of a hit and run.
He is intent on making new memories and friends as he begins his life anew. He makes a new friend the first day, Mitsuo, and since they’ve never meet before they are both starting from a clean slate. He also encounters Mitsuo’s finance, Koko. The main drama in this show has to do with memory and the way it defines us. Are we just a creation of our experiences? If we lose our memories will we lose who we are? If we regain lost memories does that change who we are in the present? These difficult, fundamental questions are asked through the entire series. Please don’t get us wrong, this has some amazing rom-com elements, but it really is so much more. We now look at six anime with similar themes to Golden Time.
Similar Anime to Golden Time
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2006- Mar. 2007
On the surface, Kanon seems to be a harem rom-com. We meet a boy named Aizawa Yuuichi as he moves in with his aunt and cousin on a cold winter day. We meet a whole collection of young ladies in the first episode alone. He gets acquainted with a kudere, dere-dere, a loli, and of course (because this is harem) a twin-tailed tsundere.
The connection this anime has with Golden Time is memory, or the lack thereof, for Azawa Yuuichi. He apparently has lost his memories from the time he lived in that town seven years prior. Azawa Yuuichi is constantly crossing paths with people, including the girls he meets and befriends, who knew him during his previous time in the town. The search for memory is a central part of the plot of Golden Time and Kanon. We watch two characters cope with trying to understand their pasts and reconnect with friends that are now strangers. The story of Kanon leaves you to wonder if, without memory, we still make the same connections with the same people.
2. One Week Friends (Isshuukan Friends)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2014- Jun. 2014
Yuuki Hase has a crush on the beautiful Kaori Fujimiya. Yuuki gathers up the courage to speak to the beautiful girl in his class and asks if she will be friends with him. Yuuki is rejected. Kaori is a quiet and reserved girl who has isolated herself from her classmates and spends most of her time alone. Yuuki doesn’t let the rejection discourage him. He decides that he will eat lunch with her and try and figure out the mystery that is Kaori.
The mystery of Kaori’s isolation, and what makes this anime similar to Golden Time, is due to an accident in middle school she loses her memory at the end of each week. She loses the memories associated with everyone not directly connected with her (i.e. her family) at the end of each week and she starts anew on Monday. One Week Friends is the story of determination. Yuuki decides that each Monday, however long it takes, he will ask her the same question, “Would you like to be friends?” He doesn’t do this because he’s selfish. He does it because he realizes that life is lonely for Kaori and he wants to make her life better if only one week at a time.
One Week Friends PV
3. Red Data Girl (RDG)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2013- Jun. 2013
Red Data Girl is a vague reference to the Red Data Book, which lists endangered plants and animals. The story is that of Izumiko Suzuhara, a sheltered girl raised at a shrine in the mountains. The isolation made her extremely shy and wary of outsiders. She also has a gift (or curse, depending on how you look at it); when she touches electronic devices they tend to short out. The people of the shrine believe she is someone special to be protected. She doesn’t share that opinion and wishes to leave the mountain and go to school. Her guardian forces his son to be her protector for the rest of her life, wherever she may be. The classic story of two people who can’t stand each other being forced together is built from there.
The part that makes this story, despite its supernatural leanings, like Golden Time is Izumiko and her special gift. She is the reincarnation of a goddess. We watch Izumiko struggle with the memories, personality and the power of the goddess inside her. The goddess is supposed to reemerge and bring on a major magical event for the betterment of humanity. Izumiko just wants to be a normal girl and doesn’t want to in effect die as the goddess takes over her mind and body. We see a similar struggle as Banri in Golden Time fights to hold on to the person he is now, in personality and memory, against the resurgence of his old memories and old personality. They both leave us asking: Is our personality the creation of our memory?
Red Data Girl PV
Any Anime Like Golden Time?
4. The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat (Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2013- Jun. 2013
Youto Yokodera is a closet pervert. He finds himself continually lying about his true feelings. Youto feels like he has to constantly lie about who he is. He is even commended for his dedication to the track team and is chosen to be the next captain. He wants with all his might to say, “I’ve only joined so I can stare at girls in their bloomers,” but lies instead. He is convinced that not telling the truth is ruining his life. He decides to go to the Stony Cat, a statue on a hill outside town that grants wishes. The statue apparently will take something you don’t need and give it to someone else in exchange for what you need. He exchanges his belt and hug pillow for the ability to tell the truth… and now he can’t lie -- at all.
We find many problems with memory in this story, the most perplexing being with the characters of Tsukushi Tsutsukakushi and Youto. In Tuskushi’s case she has vivid memories of her life with her mother, a mother she seldom saw because she lived with her grandparents. We can easily assume these memories are exaggerated by her willingness to view the past through a rose-colored filter, but we find out later there’s a far more compelling reason. Youto also has a problem with memory; he comes across many people, mainly girls, and has amazing times with them, but remembers nothing about it. The story may have a little bit of magic involved but it’s pretty grounded otherwise. We look at the importance of our memories in Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat, a theme that’s ever-present in Golden Time.
Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko PV
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2016- Sept 2016
Naho Takamiya is our central heroine in this ensemble cast. She is a normal girl attending high school. She has a small collection of friends and is living a happy life. Then she receives a letter from herself 10 years in the future. The letter describes the events of the day in detail, including the transfer of a new student named Kakeru. The letter goes onto explain that this boy won’t be around in 10 years. The letter pleads with her to save Kakeru from himself.
We see connections between Golden Time and Orange because the mature topics they delve into. Golden Time is story of a person suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) that changed his personality and its associated problems of dealing with family and friends from before the TBI. Orange considers mental illness, namely depression, the stigma associated with it and our reluctance as friends of the sufferers to step in to take on the role of support network and to confront someone if we think they are in trouble. Orange is a story of friendship and regret. A story of friends who regret not stepping up and saving a friend’s life who miraculously get a second chance.
6. Plastic Memories
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2015- Jun. 2015
The future is amazing in the world of Plastic Memories. You can have a highly advanced android called a “Giftias” as your servant, child, or lover created by the Sion Artificial Intelligence Corporation (SAIC). The personalities, the emotions they portray and the look and feel of these Giftias make them very hard to distinguish between artificial and human. We do find a tragic flaw in their near-human creation, a lifespan of only 81,920 hours (a little over 9 years). If they stay online longer than 9 years, Giftas begin to malfunction -- often with violent consequences. A department in SAIC is dedicated to the retrieval of the Giftias as their lifespans end. The story begins as we watch protagonist Tsukasa Mizugaki begin his job at Terminal Service 1; he’s tasked with collecting and decommissioning Giftias.
We find similarities between Plastic Memories and Golden Time again for the way they treat the subject of mental illness mental decline. Plastic Memories is a good analogue for how families cope when dealing with terminally ill loved ones. We watch Tsukasa Mizugaki try to wrap his mind and emotions around the fact that the person he loves is going to, in effect, die far too soon. He is tortured by questions like do we pretend it isn’t happening? Do we forget everything and live just for the moment? Do I feel sad or happy for meeting this person who makes me complete? As the story progresses in Golden Time we the inner turmoil of a man fighting his own mind as he attempts to hold on to his sense of self as well as the way his loved ones past and present do their best help him cope with his mental illness.
Like any anime, Golden Time has its detractors. Some say it’s a romantic comedy with an amnesia trope. Here at Honey’s Anime, we try to look deeper into the stories. We find the story has dimension in its character development and the subplot about mental illness. The stories chosen are not meant to bum you out and make you feel that you can’t watch anime and just enjoy the wacky fun but it’s to remind you to watch them more than once and take a closer look. You might be surprised at what amazing themes about the human condition you find in a simple rom-com. We’d love to hear your opinions on this list and if you’d have any you’d recommend that are similar to Golden Time.
Entering College is one of those rare times in your life when you're able to leave your past behind and reinvent yourself. For Tada Banri however it turns out to be more than a fresh start. The day after his high school graduation he has an accident and loses his memory. His past including all of his preferences, his hobbies, his friends and family are gone forever. Without an identity he has to start his new life at college.
Golden Time is one of those anime that start out as a light-hearted romance comedy but turn out to be more serious than expected. It doesn't simply show the development of a relationship, but how the characters struggle to find the golden mean between love and friendship.
People that were put off by its cute style should definitely give Golden Time another try. For everyone that has already become a fan we have put together a list of six anime that will make you think a little bit more about love, friendship and Co.
Similar Anime to Golden Time
1. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo (The Pet Girl of Sakurasou)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2012 - March 2013
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo revolves around a group of problem students living together in a dormitory. Sorata Kanda is convinced that the household is already crazy enough - then Mashiro Shiina moves in. The cute girl seems innocent at first glance, but turns out to be just the right person to move into this household of crazy students.
What struck me as similar to Golden Time is the hero Kanda. His shyness and his awkward yet honest personality kept reminding me of Tada. The relationship with Shiina is as unpredictable as the one in Golden Time. The anime also has an Ecchi touch to its humor which makes it even more enjoyable in my eyes.
Most importantly, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is just hilarious and deserves a place on your to-watch list no matter what.
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo OP
2. Itazura na Kiss (Naughty Kiss)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 2008 - September 2008
This anime is for everyone that prefer a female lead. Kotoko Aihara is head over heels in love with Naoki Irie and in her final year of high school she finally has the courage to confess to him. As might be expected, he turns her down. To make matters worse, Kotoko's house gets destroyed and her family moves in with the Irie household. While trying to move on with her life, Kotoko has to realize that she is still in love with Irie-kun.
College Life is a key point of this anime. While romance is definitely in the foreground here, Kotoko also struggles with finding her place in University. She has to reflect on her emotions as well as on her dreams for the future. The feelings she has for Irie are truly honest and you cannot help but to cheer her on.
If you watched the live action version you will enjoy the anime as well!
Itazura na Kiss OP
3. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (My little Monster)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: October 2012 - December 2012
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun brings two characters together that couldn't be more different: top student Shizuku and delinquent Haru.
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is a romance comedy just like Golden Time. The bigger similarity however is the unpredictability of Shizuku's and Haru's relationship. Every step forward is followed by two steps backwards and vice versa. Yet, the story does not try to force a lovey-dovey relationship, but rather shows the genuine feelings the two have for each other.
What I really like about this anime are the characters. They are unique in their own way and will certainly put a smile on your face. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun is perfect for evenings when you want to enjoy a cheerful anime to brighten your mood.
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun Fan Video
Any Animes Like Golden Time ?
4. Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai (Haganai)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2011 - December 2011
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai focuses on the social part of school life. Transfer student Hasegawa Kodaka has no friends due to his delinquent-like appearance. He meets Yozora, a girl that is as lonely as he is, and together they have a plan: They form the "Neighbors Club" - a club for people without friends.
It might sound like a pretty lonely and depressing anime at this point, but trust me, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai won't fail to make you laugh. The characters are sympathetic and beautifully drawn and the story has a refreshing vibe to it.
I added it to this list mainly because it depicts the interaction between different characters and, like Golden Time, romance is not necessarily the main focus. Friends of Ecchi and Harem anime will definitely enjoy this one.
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Official Trailer
5. Ao Haru Ride
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 - September 2014
Ao Haru Ride is the most recent anime of this compilation and was just adapted into a live action drama. It shows the struggles of Yoshioka Futaba who changed her personality in order to fit in with the girls at her high school. Everything seems to go well until Mabuchi Kou suddenly appears. Not only does he know Futaba's real personality but he was also her first love.
This one is for all of you that enjoy watching relationships gradually unfold. You can never be sure of what the main characters feel for each other and just like Golden Time it shows the pain of unrequited love.
And even though none of the characters suffer from memory loss, part of Futaba's and Kou's past seems to be lost. Both decided to make a fresh start in their lives through changing their images. The question still remains though whether they can let go of their past memories as well as the feelings they had for each other.
Ao Haru Ride Official Trailer
6. Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey and Clover)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2005 - September 2005
Last on our list is Honey and Clover, a Slice of Life anime about a group of students at a Japanese Art College. It is a feel-good anime that will make you appreciate the small things in life. It might be a little bit old, but its themes are still relevant today.
If you enjoyed Golden Time for its dynamic relationships then you should watch Honey and Clover next. It realistically shows the ups and downs of love and how different people experience it each in their own way. There's also the theme of poor college students and how they struggle in their day-to-day life - I'm sure that many of you out there can relate.
Honey and Clover is one of those anime that I recommend no matter what genres you prefer. I can guarantee you that the characters and the story will touch you emotionally. A must-watch!
Hachimitsu to Clover Fan Video
What makes Golden Time so special in my eyes is its combination of funny and serious scenes mixed with lovely characters. It was hard to find anime that are as versatile as this one, but I am sure that the ones mentioned above will entertain you.
Let us know what you thought of Golden Time and which anime you will watch next in the comment section below!