Japanese Title: Golden Boy
Similar: Great Teacher Onizuka
Watched in: Japanese & English
Length: 6 episodes
- Succeeds despite being in one of the worst anime genres.
- The goofy voice acting enhances the comedy.
- A couple of episodes aren’t as good as the others.
- If you can’t stand ecchi, you will hate this.
I’ll be honest, I am no fan of ecchi and I see harem as the worst genre in anime. I never expect anything other than perv over substance. The lewd nature isn’t what bothers me; South Park is one of the greatest shows ever made, yet has dirty jokes that would make any ecchi fountain from the nose. See, unlike most ecchi, South Park is actually funny without compromise on substance. So it came as a surprise when Golden Boy made me laugh, not once or twice, but for nearly the entire series. With great comedy, well-timed ecchi that adds to the scene rather than get in the way like a Twitch TV cam-girl, and a likeable protagonist, Golden Boy is one amusing anime.
We follow Kintaro, a wandering student who rides his bike around the country, and does any job – swimming instructor, production assistant, ramen cook, etc. – to broaden his horizons and meet beautiful ladies. His focus is “research” for “educational” purposes. He’s incompetent at most jobs, but is a fast learner and hard worker willing to do what it takes to help the ladies. Though he is clueless half the time, he knows of his attraction and arousal, unlike other harem protagonists that come across as complete idiots. His goofiness makes him endearing to women, eventually pulling them into love with him. However, a wandering student can never settle down, so he’s always gone by the time they see his good heart.
Golden Boy is steeped in sexual innuendo, slapstick, a strange obsession with toilets graced by gorgeous behinds, and lustful comedy – “Oh sweet plunging valley!” Kintaro meets a new woman with a different occupation in each episode and the comedy incorporates that into the core of the jokes, such as programming innuendo when he works for a bombshell in a software company – “C-based? Is that like third base?”
Furthermore, the ecchi humour is different for each woman. Rather than have an endless series of panty shots, breast grabs, compromising positions, and so on, each episode picks one to use for a few great jokes. This prevents overuse, as seen in Rosario + Vampire with panty shots. It’s why in Monty Python, they don’t do a silly walk in every skit; it’s why they don’t dress as women all the time; it’s why the Spanish Inquisition doesn’t burst into every gag. Each is hilarious, but the moment a joke overstays its welcome, the charm fades. The programmer’s breast physics – they just keep going…and bouncing…and boinging… – are hilarious, but if applied to all characters, it would feel repetitive. Golden Boy knows that less is more (except when it pertains to the programmer’s breast physics) and yet is still far lewder than most ecchi.
Some episodes are better than others. When he works as a tutor for a spoilt university girl, the jokes stray too close to generic ecchi territory. The aristocratic mechanophiliac (fetish for motorcycles) on the other hand, is both painfully funny and seriously not safe for work (worst time for someone to walk in as you watch). The episode pushes the lewdness and innuendo so far that it had me in stitches. Ever seen a woman use a motorbike like a hot stud?
Golden Boy isn’t a deep, philosophical look at the human character, nor is it a complex narrative filled with twists. It’s an ecchi that, and I can’t believe I am going to say this, is hilarious and succeeds where others fail. As Kintaro would say, this has been very educational. Study! Study! Study!
Art – Medium
Though Golden Boy is aged, the animation level is above average for its time and boasts a surprising amount of detail. Several ladies overflow with sexiness.
Sound – Medium
The voice work presents an interesting conundrum. Technically, the Japanese is better; however, the English track is more amusing. Kintaro’s English actor is rather janky, yet that suits the character better – the Japanese is too restrained, too strict. Similarly, with the women, their English actors sound sexier and seem to have more fun with their characters.
Story – Medium
Kintaro the travelling student’s adventures working odd jobs for a variety of beautiful women isn’t a deep story, but it is certainly a hilarious one. Golden Boy had me laughing for much of its screen time.
Overall Quality – High
Recommendation: If ecchi doesn’t bother you, Golden Boy is easy to recommend. This anime is better than the sum of its parts, delivering high enjoyment despite its aged art and sound – they enhanced the humour for me. I never thought ecchi could make a series funnier.
Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)