Golden Boy, Golden Boy, Golden Boy. Oh boy do I love Golden Boy. It’s so weird to revisit a show so bizarre, so 90s and so utterly cancellable as Golden Boy. I’m gushing a bit early on, but believe me, it’s worth it. The saddest truth about the modern anime industry is that because of a certain “standard” with dubbing and content, you just don’t get infinitely quotable gems like Golden Boy anymore.
The series follows 25 year old Kintaro, a 25 year old, sexually depraved freeter (an unemployed Japanese young person who has forsaken the typical salary man lifestyle) who, despite nearly passing law school, instead dropped out to learn as much as he can from various odd jobs. Kintaro has forsaken the conventional life of the working machine, in favor of knowledge, life and passion, and it really is a beautiful tory to tell.
Now before proceeding, we must admit that Golden Boy is a lewd show by today’s standards. The manga, written by Tatsuya Egawa, was borderline hentai at times, and while Golden Boy the series never quite make it to that level of perversion, it most certainly knows how to push its envelope. Episode one has Kintaro getting it on with a toilet for goodness sake! It’s beautiful and the willingness for the creators to allow their characters to try something so ludicrous is greatly appreciated.
If you are a semi decent weeb, you have more than likely seen the infamous swimming scene online, even if you weren’t sure where the scene came from. If you are worried that’s the peak of the show’s humor, then you are luckily mistaken. Literally, every line of the show is gold. And I’m not being hyperbolic. This is one of the best examples of a “good bad” dub. You know, I don’t want to call it bad, because it’s amazing. The voices are goofy, occasionally off tone and Kintaro’s voice actor, Doug Smith, delivers his lines with an over ecstatic goofiness that oozes entertainment. The best way to describe his performance is your one friend who can’t sing for anything, but still gets up on that stage, drunk off his ass and sings In the End with everything he’s got. You go Kyle. Sing it! So please watch it dubbed.
Golden Boy is a delightful, six episode OVA series. Filled with the humor and occasional heart (a heart over saturated with the young male wish fulfillment omnipresent in most Shonen manga). And in a way, it’s a relic of a forgotten era. Now adays, the dubbing industry is too professional to allow such a masterpiece through its doors. The willingness to have something clean and “professional” overrides any sense of fun there may be (Panty and Stocking however does match this energy and of course, Ghost Stories). And a majority of the characters are adults! I know this is a low bar, but something that has became increasingly alienating for me as an anime fan is that a majority of the shows out there star teenagers. I simply can’t relate anymore.
I know, shocking to grow out of…trying to get the class president to notice you? Huh. Anyway, the adult characters of Golden Boy are an enjoyable presence that I hope the industry gets back to. Golden Boy, more like, Golden…Boy. Whatever. Tired. Just watch the show!