#1 A roadtrip of self-improvement
Kintaro Oe is a hyper-intelligent young man who loves learning more than anything in the world, so when he cleared all his required work to graduate from a top law school, he promptly dropped out to travel Japan instead. With his trusty bicycle, he journeys from place to place, picking up part-time jobs to sustain himself and master new skills.
That may make him seem dignified and wise, but Kintaro is actually a total idiot. He’s dim, careless, and lacks common sense, causing his employers much pain & suffering. Still, he is eager to learn and keeps detailed notes on just about anything he’s told or observes. He even keeps track of people and relationships between them, allowing him to help out both professionally and personally. He learns quickly and works hard to compensate for any trouble he caused. But when he’s finally considered a valued member of the team, if not invaluable, Kintaro suddenly vanishes to seek new challenges.
He’s annoying in a lot of regards, but his studious nature and constant drive to improve was so admirable that I came around to actually liking his character. I looked forward to seeing where each new episode would take him and Golden Boy does a good job at making sure its story arcs never get repetitive despite all following a familiar pattern.
#2 Sexual mishaps
Kintaro’s greatest eccentricity is his shameless and unhinged perversion. He’s obsessed with women of all types and abandons all reason while speaking with them. He becomes fixated and will do whatever he can to get their attention, which can both drive him to deliver some of his best work… or distract him and cause massive trouble.
While the series is mostly comedy and character-development, ecchi does play a big role throughout Golden Boy and you do need to be able to appreciate that if you want to get into the series. One episode, for example, sees Kintaro become a tutor to a girl who tries to tempt him into making a move so he’ll get into trouble with her influential father. She flashes him, changes clothes while he’s in the room, comments on his manhood, all while Kintaro desperately tries to stay focused on her math equations.
Its fan-service is also just really well done, owing to the beautiful character-designs and the show becoming more brazen as time goes on. Episodes 4 & 5 even feature full nudity and some remarkably intense action, all while (again) never straying too far from being mostly a comedy series.
#3 Episode 6
The final episode of Golden Boy is so good that I don’t want to just toss in my usual award at the end without properly acknowledging it. The episode takes Kintaro to an animation studio where he begins work as an animation runner. The studio is busy animating a feature film adapting the work of world-renowned authorTatsuya Egawa, best known for creating Magical Taruruto and… Golden Boy.
It’s adorably meta and I really enjoy these kind of behind-the-scenes anime, see also Animation Runner Kuromi and Shirobako. It’s an idea that works especially well with Kintaro’s studious and dorky nature, as it gives the creators many reasons to explain the processes of making an anime, as well as poke fun at the work culture of animation studios.
The episode also works well as a conclusion to the entire series, featuring many callbacks to the storylines that preceded it and ending the show at its peak, despite implying that Kintaro would go on to have future adventures. It makes me interested in reading the manga, while also making the anime feel like a complete and fantastic product on its own.