Probably the last character I’d expect to be a charming and endearing protagonist in any show is a perverted deviant, usually they make me want to roll my eyes in disgust or cringe in absolute disdain. But lo and behold, that is exactly what I got in this anime. For today’s Inkling Anime Review, I’ll be talking about Golden Boy.
The premise of this anime centers around a 25 year-old freeter named Kintaro Oe. On the outside, he looks like a dimwitted oaf, but he is actually more like a swiss army knife when it comes to overall acumen and intellectual capacity in a wide array of tasks. In fact, Kintaro completed all of his required credits for the degree he was pursuing, but decided to drop out of college instead of electing to graduate in order to learn more about the world and himself. Throughout each episode of the series, we see our main character being involved in a different part-time job. In each job, Kintaro’s perverse antics always seems to land him in a dicey situation with people, (especially the hot girls) but he’s always able to win their trust and admiration by the end of each episode in an effortless manner.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Golden Boy initially since it had the Ecchi tag on Myanimelist. Usually I find shows like this high in shock value, but low in narrative significance. While the fanservice in this anime is definitely brazen and teeters on the edge of hentai territory, it never felt like I was watching something completely shallow or devoid of substance. I found Kintaro to be a surprisingly compelling character since he does have good intentions deep down inside (even when it is hard to see it at times). I think the phrase “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” is a great mindset to have when watching this anime. While Golden Boy can be crude and morally repugnant on the surface like most other Echii shows, it has a good heartwarming message since it makes the audience aware that acts of brilliance and kindness can come from the people you least expect.
On a visual standpoint, this anime looks quite good considering that it came out in 1995. I loved how the facial emotions and contortions were drawn out since it really made the comical and slapstick moments stand out, it’s like Great Teacher Onizuka but ratchetted up to 11 in terms of zaniness. It was nice to see that the animation budget wasn’t just allocated towards the fanservice scenes. The writing in the English Dub sounds a bit meme-ish in my opinion, but the vocal performances (especially Kintaro) was great. It sort of reminded me of the Dub of Ghost Stories since they both gave me the impression that the delivered lines were mainly improvised on the fly, but I think it added to the charm of the show since it made the personalities more pronounced and idiosyncratic.
All in all, I had a blast watching Golden Boy, but I was a bit bummed that the OVA series only consisted of 6 episodes. Since their is quite a bit of both subtle and in-your-face sexual references, I honestly would have a hard time introducing friends to this anime. But if this doesn’t scare you away, I’d highly recommend this anime.