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"Goldenboy": Raunchy Romp Is Essential Part of Any Anime Collection

by on June 29, 2004

After completing all the requisite courses for a law degree from Tokyo University, Kintaro Oe, 25, set off to study the world. With his trusty bike, a handy notebook, and a knack for cleaning toilets, is Kintaro Oe destined to save the world, or is he destined to get killed lusting after women?

Kintaro Oe is a freeter—someone traveling while doing odd jobs and studying life—and Goldenboy chronicles his adventures in hilarious detail. In each episode, Kintaro finds a new job, a new woman to pine after, a new toilet to scrub, and some worldly lessons. I had always wanted to pick up this series (sue me—the cover art does its job), but two individual releases for twenty bucks each? I passed until I saw that ADV had re-released the two Goldenboy discs in one package as part of its “Essential Animé Collection.” With Best Buy selling it for roughly thriteen dollars, there was no way I was going to pass it up. And it is definitely worth it.

Kintaro would just seem sleazy (he gets intimate with the toilets that the Girl of the Episode just used, tries on the bra of one of them, and does generally pervy things) if not for the fact he’s a genuinely likable person. He defends one girl against a man wanting to marry her for all the wrong reasons. He inspires a cel painter, reminding her that all jobs in animation are important. He stands up against the Yakuza (well, sort of; it’s got to be seen). Plus, he’s always fighting his temptations, asking himself, “Why am I about to hug this toilet?” or such. He’s actually an insightful character, seeing through some shams, but at other time he can be kind of dense, as when he reasons that, if A-Base is kissing, and B-Base is petting, he reasons, he C-Base (a programming language) must be sex. Actually, Kintaro can be more than likable; heck, some of the guys watching this series might take him for a personal hero. The situations he gets involved in are all disturbing, but they’re also funny: In a swim race, he ends up getting too close behind the Olympian. As he spies on a sleaze ball, he ends up getting tongued. Many of his misadventures will have you laughing your butt off.

There’s also a girl for every fan, whether it is a quiet noodle shop girl, a speed demon on a motorcycle, or the aforementioned Olympic swimme . All are the target of Kintaro’s heart, though they treat him with different levels of tolerance, with some wanting to kill him, some only seeing him as a boy toy, and others remaining totally oblivious to his advances.

Despite its being a mid-’90s title, Goldenboy‘s animation is smooth. Sure, the image looks a little weak when measured against contemporary animation, which relies on computer work to smooth it out, but it is fluid enough for when it counts. (Ironically, a character refers to how Disney uses computers. Given its age, we can assume they meant that Disney uses computers to aid hand-drawn animation.) Designs are good as well. The girls exhibit various levels of fan service, and Kintaro himself can change from a regular anime look to super-deformed goofball to dramatic, fighting animé for something important (like getting an autograph). These moments are hilariously befitting of the series.

Voice acting, on the other hand, is sadly dated. Kintaro ends up sounding like a certain Martin Short SNL character at times, and one girl gets excruciatingly lispy/giggly, but it’s not bad enough to force you to turn to the Japanese audio track. The disc case notes that it’s digitally remastered in 5.1, but I can’t tell.

Extras are minimal, featuring previews, clean opening (the intro without credits), and clean ending (the ending, without credits, leaving a black screen with music). The packaging is a clear Amaray with a reversible cover. (One side shows two of the girls, nearly undressed, toying Kintaro like a puppet. The other listing the episode along with shots of the girls.). The package also includes is a coupon for a free copy of Aura Battler Dunbine (buy one, send the coupon in and get a free one).

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ll make it clear: This disc is rated 17+, and the episodes include some nudity, raunchy language, and the general makings of an American Pie-like romp. In fact, if you liked American Pie or any other of America’s recemt teen-romp comedies, you’ll like Goldenboy. The same is true if you like funny-as-hell comedy or fan service-filled anime. But it’s not only a guy thing—a female friend of mine found it funny, so there you go.

While ADV has just put it under this particular banner for marketing reasons, they’ve actually nailed it pretty well: Goldenboy is Essential in any Animé Collection. Given a good price, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be watching this set now. Just make sure you heed the 17+ rating. I’m certainly wishing there were more episodes; the set up and comedy definitely lend itself for an ongoing series.

Episodes included (the complete series)
Episode 1 “Computer Lesson”
Episode 2 “Temptation of the Maiden”
Episode 3 “Danger! The Virgin’s First Love”
Episode 4 “Swimming in the Sea of Love”
Episode 5 “B@!!$ to the Wall”
Episode 6 “Animation is Fun!”

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