Akira Tachibana, a reserved high school student and former track runner, has not been able to race the same as she used to since she experienced a severe foot injury. And although she is regarded as attractive by her classmates, she is not interested in the boys around school.
While working part-time at the Garden Cafe, Akira begins to develop feelings for the manager—a 45-year-old man named Masami Kondou—despite the large age gap. Kondou shows genuine concern and kindness toward the customers of his restaurant, which, while viewed by others as soft or weak, draws Akira to him. Spending time together at the restaurant, they grow closer, which only strengthens her feelings. Weighed down by these uncertain emotions, Akira finally resolves to confess, but what will be the result?
Anyone who has not already given After the Rain a go will more than likely have some serious reservations about watching an anime apparently centered upon some middle-aged dude getting with a high school girl. A glance at the premise and a quick 'no thank you', most people's experience with this anime will be a few seconds at best.
True, even when one puts aside the moral implications of such a romance, these sorts of encounters are often left to erotic fiction (the sort people would do their best to enjoy in complete and utter secrecy) and rarely depicted or even acknowledged in any serious
context. The man is a manipulator, a pervert, and the girl merely a confused soul. There is no happy ending to be sought, for the situation itself is a crisis without salvation.
If I told you After the Rain is one of the more innocent and heart-warming anime I've seen, would you believe me?
After the Rain is something unique in the entertainment industry. It takes a profoundly controversial topic and focuses not on its moral content, but depicts instead a story of ordinary, decent people merely put into a difficult situation. A young girl develops an innocent crush on someone older than she who she admires and looks up to, and the man, recognizing the obvious issues with such a difference in age, does his best to dissuade her and lead her back to an ordinary teenage life. There is no sexual tension, no outright physical romance; the two often describe their relationship as something more akin to friendship, even if it may not necessarily be platonic. Perhaps things will stay that way, or perhaps the girl will reach adulthood and find her feelings to stay true. I didn't find the outcome so important. After the Rain exists to capture a moment in time, a slice-of-life anime truer to its genre than nearly all surrounding it.
A significant portion of the anime depicts the daily lives of the two protagonists (Tachibana and Kondou) and their co-workers at 'Garden', a family restaurant modeled after the real-world Japanese restaurant 'Gusto'. While most events at Garden are linked in some way to Tachibana's and Kondou's relationship, so too do we see the relationships between the other workers, and get a glimpse at what it is like to work at a Japanese family restaurant. Though these co-workers are hardly developed beyond their one-dimensional comedy relief or jerkass-dude-who-should-be-kicked-and-then-punched-in-the-nutsack roles, their presence serves as a simple reminder that Tachibana and Kondou are just two ordinary souls in a big, bustling city.
Anime has taught us that confessions are meant to be the peak, the conclusion of a romance—that telling someone you like them may as well be asking for their hand in marriage—but for After the Rain, “I like you” is merely the start of their story. Those expecting a long, protracted build-up to the confession may find themselves disappointed, but if you are a bit more like me and prefer to see characters behaving naturally as humans actually do, the pacing in this case is far more appropriate. How could it end with a quick "yes" or "no", anyway, when the question is such a difficult one to answer?
Though the first few episodes create the impression that the story's primary focus is upon this complicated relationship, Tachibana and Kondou are carefully characterised and developed in other, more multi-dimensional ways. Tachibana is confronted throughout the anime with the consequences of her withdrawal from the track and field club and the strained, awkward relationship with her closest friend, worsening with each day she has left the club. Kondou isn't just some happy-go-lucky 40-something-year-old, but a complicated individual who struggles with reconciling his dreams with reality and of his clinging to the past. Though it is rarely mentioned—likely as he does not want to mention it himself—it is strongly implied that Kondou is still hurt by his separation from his ex-wife and the difficulties of raising his son in this environment. These are issues shared by many real, living and breathing people of their age groups, and the result is that you can identify with the two and give more than a damn about their problems.
It is also worth noting how accurate the anime's depiction of its setting, Yokohama, truly is. Famous landmarks of the city such as the Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris wheel and Akarenga Warehouses (though, by God, did I ever hate visiting that place with its floods of tourists) are shown regularly throughout the anime, as well as the actual train lines (the Tokyu Meguro) and individual stations (Takadanobaba) of the Tokyo region. The cheap, boisterous nature of the pub Kondou and his old friend visit, along with the drink bars and parfaits on the family restaurant's menu brought a smile to me and made me feel right at home. Though I doubt people who have not lived in the Tokyo area would notice or care much about these details, they do well in making the story feel more real than imaginary.
After the Rain has a few minor issues—major, depending on your preferences. The ending is abrupt and does not resolve anything, resembling more the ending of any ordinary episode of the show rather than for the story in its entirety. Kondou's and Tachibana's personal struggles remain ongoing, their relationship still undecided, as though we only got about a third of the way through the story before the book was suddenly slammed shut. The reason why Tachibane loves Kondou is never really made clear—although I suppose you could argue that you don’t need a reason to love someone—and her behaviour regarding him, while cute, can occasionally be a bit creepy and uncomfortable to watch, what with her squealing and squirming in bed like some five-year-old who just got new dollies from mommy. One of her co-workers, the one I so described as a jerkass, detracts from the cute, innocent nature of the anime and briefly turns it instead into some borderline netorare thing. Everything surrounding that situation was frustrating—though I reckon that being frustrated only once by an anime isn't such a bad thing, maybe.
I can't convince everyone to look beyond the anime's premise, especially with how heated these sorts of topics have become in today’s political climate. But for anime fans willing to go a teeny bit outside of their comfort zone, or even for those who are just fans of slice-of-life anime, After the Rain is a thoroughly enjoyable and heart-warming little adventure. There's nothing so special about it to deserve high praise, but odds are, it will brighten up a rainy day.
Human feelings are complicated. It’s hard to fully understand anyone except yourself. That might not even be a case if you find yourself attracted to someone. Yes, I’m talking about the type of person that you can’t get off of your mind. I’m talking about the type of person that makes your heart pound the moment you see him or her. When I began watching Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (After the Rain), it felt like taking a test that challenges human feelings. It accomplished that with such impact that by the time I finished watching this series, I was in awe.
on the manga of the same name, this series came like a storm of rain, like a roller-coaster of emotions. As someone who have read the manga, my expectations were high. The first few episodes establishes the general premise as we meet high school student Akira Tachibana. As a former track runner, she isn’t someone easy to get close to especially for her male classmates. That doesn’t mean she’s a cold person as we see a different side of her. This side is shown through her interactions with Masami Kondou, a restaurant manager at the place she works at. The series chronicles her life and relationship dynamics with him and what viewers will discover along the way.
Now, getting straight into this show at first may set off some red flags. The idea of a high school student being interested in someone over 40 years old can rub someone in the wrong way. It feels as if the show commits the sin of an unhealthy relationship or daydream fantasy. However, that is not how you should experience the series’ intentions. The idea of the show isn’t just a story about two lovebirds. It’s more about how a series tests human feelings. There’s realism as a lot of the circumstances we witness in this show can happen in real life. The main point is to establish how complicated human feelings can be when tested under heavy waters. Right off the bat, we can see that Akira has feelings towards Kondou. The first episode shows that any dialogue directly related to her manager causes her to react. For instance, some of the dialogues about Kondou’s marital status immediately causes Akira to behave in ways that show her emotions. While this is first seen as cheesy delivery, I see it more as a realistic reaction of how characters should behave. Akira is still young and she doesn’t fully understand what love is. Yet, she feels connected to Kondou because of how kind he is. Similarly, Kondou responds to some of Akira’s feelings such as going on a date and telling how he feels. The way these two connect is incredibly appealing to watch as it’s easy to want to root for them. The charm between their chemistry shines best when they understand more about each other. While it’s easily possible that it won’t be one of those ‘they live happily ever after' tales, the series still capitalizes on bringing out human feelings at its fullest.
As a good portion of the show puts emphasis on characterization, expect a lot of background stories and character focus. It doesn’t just fall in the case of Akira but other characters too such as Haruka Kyan. Through effective storytelling, we learn more about Haruka and her connection with Akira. I think an important part to note about the characters is that a good majority of them are worth investing time into. Examples such as Chihiro and Yuuta gives us a better insight of Kondou’s personal life outside of his workplace. Even a character such as Kase can be interesting to watch despite my personal dislike of his interactions with Akira. In essence, the main characters easily carry this series while others play valuable roles to influence their choices. The series remains faithful to their personalities too based on the manga.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni takes the approach of bringing mostly drama so if you’re a viewer interested in such genre, then this will be a wonderful treat for you. The title translates to “After the Rain” and literally, there’s plenty that falls. In literature and storytelling, this symbolizes for depression as it’s what see from Akira’s perspective in the beginning of the show. Still, there’s light comedy with some hilarious moments too for those who think this may be just a drama fest.
The main selling point of the series is undeniably the character chemistry between Akira and Kondou. It’s hard to ever forget about these two even when episodes doesn’t fully concentrate on them. That brings in the question if you think they do or don’t get together. As a 1 cour adaptation (12 episodes), the show can feel more like a titanic ship tease with how the series delivers its storytelling. It’s obvious the show won’t have a concrete conclusion as the anime couldn’t cover every chapter. However, from a fictional storytelling viewpoint, this series is what I view as drama done right. The emotional moments looks impactful and holds special meaning for the characters. I can’t remember how many times I replayed certain scenes to get a better look at how the characters behave and why they do so in such ways. Plus, I think this show really delivers the promise of its premise without ever being distracting. The only time I do find a character distracting is perhaps Takashi as he’s there for more as comic relief.
As a studio that produced mostly fantasy themed series, Wit Studio was definitely not a choice that I was expecting. However, I’m highly pleased to say that they aced this with flying colors in terms of production quality. The scenery in this show looks incredibly well-polished and show their effort through the realistic setting with rich details. These scenes also delivers a melancholic tone that you’d fully expect out of this show such as the smiling and crying. The key animation and choreography makes this show sometimes look like a moving painting. Every emotional segment looks impactful through its tone and captures the importance of human feelings. Scenes such as Akira running under the rain or the bittersweet moments when she feels heavy emotions is bought out through the talents of this show’s creative team. The theme songs contain great usage of sequences to show creativity while the visual style of the character designs bring the cast to life. A beautiful girl like Akira deserved such treatment.
I wasn’t too convinced into the character behaviors in this show until I heard the voices of the cast. Sayumi Watabe may not have an impressive resume but she is able to step into the shoes of Akira perfectly. The way her character speaks brings truth to her personality while showcasing a more delicate side when she’s with the manager. I also felt how real the character cast were whenever they interacted under different circumstances. As a show with heavy drama, Aimer’s performance is nothing short than a spectacle. “Ref:rain” felt like one of the most memorable ED theme songs of this year so far with how melancholic it’s performed. The choreography and mood of the sequences captures the series’ themes at its fullest. Besides that, I think the overall usage of the OST in this series also brings in memorable moments. Between quiet moments of melancholy to more dramatic segments, it’s easily acceptable.
In conclusion, I think this show did just about everything it was set up to do and that’s to deliver a drama story with realistic human feelings. What started off as two seemingly lovebirds connecting from a workplace turned into complicated storyteller. I’m more than pleased that this got an anime adaptation in the first place. It felt more like a series suited to air on live action TV as a drama. However, Koi wa Ameagari no You ni lives up to its promise and made a show that’s as real as it can be.
[Indirectly spoils the ending, and possibly other elements of the show. This is the sort of thing that's hard to avoid in reviews, and which I don't think should necessarily be avoided. Consider yourself forewarned.]
Today, I want to write about love. It's no coincidence that this show is about love and writing, and the love of writing, among other things, because I don't often write in the first place. From time to time, I find that there are some shows which evoke certain feelings, or thoughts, that I have to write about them. This is one of those shows.
many kinds of love. The advertising for this show, and its OP/ED, focus largely on the romantic kind. It's almost a shame, because the show focuses mostly on the love of hobbies or work. Akira and Masami are the kind of people who have lost sight of their passions for one reason or another. Akira gave up on running due to an injury. Masami gave up on writing because of a lack of success and the hardship it brought on his family.
It's frequently difficult to pursue these passions. It's also not easy giving up on a thing you feel so strongly about, or dealing with the regret of having done so. That said, wouldn't you be happier doing the former, given that it's a thing you enjoy anyway? It's a hard question for a lot of people, and like most real-world problems, there isn't one right answer for everyone. There's a catch to this dilemma, though. A person who doesn't really want to give up and walk away from his dream simply shouldn't. He might still do it, though, for one reason or another. In this case, wouldn't someone who encouraged him to follow his dreams be making his life demonstrably better? In that case, isn't it better to be with that person?
This is the essence of human relationships, in the end. "Romantic love" is something that mostly exists only in fiction, and this show isn't interested in perpetuating the fantasy. However, love itself is real enough, and this show sets out to explore it. In this case, it starts out in what's basically the most straightforward way. Akira is physically attracted to Masami. I consider this much to be clear, though many things in the show are presented nonverbally, and thus up to interpretation. It's less clear how Masami feels about Akira, especially at first. I got a similar impression from him that I got from Kyon. Namely, that he's prone to self-deception. That's why it's so refreshing that Akira is so honest about how she feels about most things. This is why it tears at my heart to see her lie to herself, and to others, about the most important one.
You see, this was a very emotional show for me. I cried at the finale, which is already rare enough, but it was a different kind of cry. These were tears of joy; the joy of experiencing something truly beautiful. I don't consider this to be an accident. Where many shows would generally be content to tell you what their characters are feeling, or use some kind of established visual shorthand, this show tries to make those emotions visually apparent, and to impart certain feelings onto the viewer. Nonverbal communication is inherently risky, and I've always admired shows that rely on it and succeed. This show likes its metaphors, visual and otherwise. I've long known that Wit Studio has some talented animators, and has a passion for making visually beautiful shows. It's wonderful to see them take that energy and talent, and use it for a clear purpose. I'd also like to credit the background artists, because their work is stellar, but I know almost nothing about this element of anime production. It's also no coincidence that the music is very good; I've often considered this to be the most emotional part of the experience of watching anime. Even what I thought might be a flaw, that the music is somewhat repetitive, may in fact be a motif, which again serves a purpose.
I love this show. It really speaks to me. It fits my ideals for what an anime should be, and its theme and some of its trappings appeal to me personally. Its ending exceeded whatever hopes I might have had for it. It's not very interesting to talk about its personal appeal to me, since the reader's life experience and situation will certainly be different than mine, but it's there. That said, I feel confident that this show's more objective merits are strong enough that I could recommend it to anyone. I hope you love it as much as I do, because in the end, we're better off being happy. (Sorry, Chihiro! No poison today.)
After the Rain, an anime full of imagery, symbolism, a mildly controversial plot, and hot track anime girls... I mean, two characters at the crossroads of their lives.
After the Rain could have stood to be more ambitious. It plays it so safe and measured that for long stretches of time I was asking myself why I was watching this, or why anyone was watching it.
The premise can be a little dicey and most of the fan dialogue around this show will mostly be concerning "the implications of dating someone old enough to be your parent", The protagonist/MC: Akira Tachibana, is in a bit of a
slump. Her Achilles injury has caused her to quit track-and-field and she fills the void by working a part-time job where she continually grows infatuated with her boss(Mr. Kondo).
Now let me be clear. I am analyzing this show on its artistic merits, the controversy surrounding its premise does not really bother me. In fact - I liked it. What I had problems with was the execution. A younger woman attracted to an older man is probably more common than people would like to admit. With that being said, I wish the subject matter was handled... better. After the Rain is cautious and measured; the characters don't get too physically intimate, they never even inched upon the possibility of having a relationship. The mangaka knew exactly what she is going for, and so does the audience. This is never going to end in a declaration of love, but rather it will be a story about both characters working through their emotional baggage.
After the rain displayed small windows of great narrative potential. There are great moments of this shows and things that I could enjoy. There is symbolism through imagery and explicit dialogue(i.e. Rashomon, the bookmark). This series also contains parallelism, insofar as Kondo and Tachibana are going through very similar ordeals in their life.
My problem arises insofar as this shows feels like a bait-and-switch. The episodes seem like it will be an emotionally explorative piece with the focal point being a relationship with this oblivious middle-aged man and Akira; y'know what? I was onboard with that. However, those elements of the show were constantly undercut by the more slice-of-life elements that feel meandering in nature.
The two leads grow closer together with Akira pretty aggressively pursuing Kondo. This consist of walking his kid home, nursing him back to health, and chance coincidences. The thing about this, is the setup relied on chance encounters and circumstances. The way the relationship progresses in the story, while seeming natural gives off this unnatural caution that disrupts the tone of this show, and is an example of the mangaka keeping the cards too close to her chest. It never felt like there were any stakes in their friendship/relationship with each other. In fact, it never really felt like this was anything besides a one-sided relationship. Akira has feelings for Kondo and he kind of entertains her. There never was any substantive connection, which was the huge nail in the coffin for me because you are clearly supposed to be rooting for these two.
This is not helped by the fact that Tachibana may be one of the worst MC's I have seen in awhile. She is not even one note, but rather a complete, wholesale lack of a personality. She usually just stares, maybe says one or two words(exaggeration), and walks in the rain when she is sad.
Akira is oftentimes the center of attention, and the show goes out of the way to make it clear that she is attractive, the star/former star of the track team, and is too good for all those other girls. This series feels more like a shoujo then a seinen insofar as it is framed in the female psyche and female emotions. In some sense, I don't want to talk about it because that level of wish fulfillment is in every show these days. However, I have not seen many people broach the topic, so why not start here?
It is not necessarily a huge problem, but there were so many unbelievable scenarios regarding their taboo relationship. After the Rain has a hard time selling the audience on basic suppositions that you have to accept in order for this series to work, it also has a poor time portraying male characters in a completely believable way. An example of the latter point being a scene in episode 1, Kondo apologizes to a bratty customer and an older co-worker of Tachibana snarkily remarks "he is such a pushover, he has no spine", mind you Kondo is a manager. A manager in the service industry...
I felt early on that there was something "off " about the way Kondo is characterized. Kondo needs to be a pushover for the foundation of his "I have to entertain this girl" mentality to be believable. It just did not add up to me. Kondo is a full grown adult, he has been in college, he manages a successful restaurant, he has had a marriage that ended in divorce, he has a son, he has a full set of responsibilities. A full plate if you will. None of that aligns with a friendship with a younger co-worker of the opposite sex. This show speaks to that notion that "age is just a number", but scenes with Kondo walking in on her sniffing his shirt, them going to restaurants together, and continually meeting up just seems so out of line with everything we know about him.
One of the best moments of this was in episode 3 when Kondo flat out told her "you should reconsider all this", it is how these types of situations would unravel, and to keep it brief; I don't see a man of Kondo's temperament, personality, and sensibilities not just telling Tachibana to leave him alone.
This show was entertaining and I usually can find something every season that is watchable. That is this show for me, and the mediocrity of this is only accentuated by the fact that so many shows come out every season that I can recount that was worth more time and attention than this.