Akira Tachibana is a soft-spoken high school student who used to be a part of the track and field club but, due to an injury, she is no longer able to run as fast as she once could. Working part-time at a family restaurant as a recourse, she finds herself inexplicably falling in love with her manager, a divorced 45-year-old man with a young son.
Despite the age gap, Akira wholeheartedly embraces his mannerisms and kind nature, which is seen as spinelessness by the other employees, and little by little, the two begin to understand each other. Although unable to explain why exactly she is attracted to him, Akira believes that a concrete reason is not needed to truly love someone. On a rainy day, she decides to finally tell her manager about how she feels... but just how will he react?
After the rain: The title alone should tell you what to expect. Moody, melancholic, and sensual story that unfolds. The first episode tells you what to expect insofar as direction. Beautiful still shots, great backgrounds, and subtle visuals to cue you in on the underlying melancholy. This is a visual show in every sense of the word. The main appeal may not necessarily the stories or the characters but rather the mood and how things are portrayed. Due to that it should come as no surprise that the manga this is adapted from is absolutley gorgeous. The full page spreads and detailed close ups on
characters are detailed and inspired. I love it.
The devil lies in the details with this show. The main character, Akira, looks like she came out straight out of a shoujo manga. Her whole schtick being that she is not like other girls. I'm not making this up, this common phrase which in real life seems trite and ill conceived is the tenet of her character. She is shown to be standoffish as a result of a career ending injury. This characterization although kind of compelling, just slightly misses the mark for me personally. The characterization in After the Rain is particularly shallow. I will get into this later after I address the core tenet of this show.
The biggest aspect of this show is the fact that the main character has a full on crush on her boss, Mr Kondo. The premise could possbily be off-putting for some people. Especially because the of the incredibly young age of the main character. For those people, it is important to acknowledge that this is the point of the narrative and I have faith that the mangaka would handle this issue with delicately.
My huge gripe with the show is two fold. The characterization is absolutely abysmal. Akira is portrayed to be mature. How do they demonstrate this. In the first episode she teaches Mr. Kondo's child how to play the flute better. How do they demonstrate that Mr. Kondo is kind of carefree and not a creep for being attracted to someone who has not graduated from high school? He is overly apologetic to customers that yell at him.
Now it may seem premature, but I have to add that this does not seem like a show that is headed torwards an overt romance. I have not read the manga so I don't know for sure. It seems that this show is going to further develop the malaise and emotional melancholy of the main character, while further developing her relationship with this older gentleman, while trying to build some thematic relevance. Which I am uninterested in. As it stands right now more elements needed to be added in to make this a little more entertaining.
This slow burn of a slice-of-life is going to cater to those who are looking for a show of this type. From my perspective however, it needs to be a little more ambitious.