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?
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.
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.
[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.)
There were a number of melancholic character dramas in the January 2018 season, but for min Koi wa Ameagari was the winner at the end. I spent all this season worrying about this anime. His premise was clearly a thematic minefield, and only one step in the wrong direction could have completely derailed the show. But in the end I was surprised by the honesty and sensitivity of the show, which proved genuinely impressive.
From the beginning, the interpretation of the series about the human being and the average age of the Kondo was incisive, sympathetic and profoundly relatable, and the show was richer in old
age than the passion of Akira to explore the roots of each unhappiness. The visual tricks that the Studio have revealed are the same as the backgrounds that show Akira's little and big costumes, and are still very beautiful even at the end.
Akira Tachibana is a naive young high school student, so with his decades of experience over her, Masami Kondo would be an improper romantic partner even if he weren't also her boss. But fortunately, After the Rain is not at all about validating a potential romance between these two; it is entirely about the feelings that lead both parties to feel adrift in the first place and the ways that unexpected friendships can change our lives.
As After the Rain opens, we are introduced to Akira's headspace through sight and sound and color, as the bustle of her classmates filters through to her own classroom. Other students are playing soccer, rehearsing music, laughing with friends; Akira sits at her desk, head down, the sounds of their youth muffled by her headphones. Motes of light hang in the air, reflecting the stillness of the moment. As Akira's phone buzzes with a work reminder, we turn to the window, witnessing a vast blue sky that only emphasizes Akira's own imprisonment. Through every possible aesthetic choice, After the Rain's first moments make Akira emotionally real; her sadness, her isolation, and even her resignation, all made clear through framing and music and gorgeous lighting.
This style of characterization carries through After the Rain's early episodes, making Akira's sense of displacement in her current life tangibly felt without betraying her inherently uncommunicative nature. We don't need Akira to tell us she longs to return to her friends on the track team; it's made clear in visual contrasts like her own divergent path after school, or the way everything lights up and the world seems to hold its breath whenever she dares to run. And when those moments end, the gray squallor of the world returns, and we see why she might see something special in her clumsy boss Kondo. When she was lost, he was kind to her. Sometimes that's enough.
Of course, Kondo is no simple object to instigate Akira's personal growth. While Akira's thoughts and feelings are generally conveyed through After the Rain's terrific visual storytelling, Kondo's weary reflections are more often relayed through direct monologue. It's a narrative choice that naturally reflects the emotional distance between these two characters, and what each of them sees in the other. As a divorcee and failed novelist who now manages a diner, Kondo sees his life as essentially over, and can find no color in his daily existence. To him, Akira's sadness actually demonstrates her vibrancy, her ongoing attachment to the rigors of life. In contrast, from her own directionless spin, Akira sees Kondo's common decency and general calm as a kind of maturity and stability that could potentially bring certainty and happiness back to her life. Neither of them can truly fix the other's problems, but each of them senses something missing in their own lives that seems so natural to the other.
As After the Rain's episodes spool out, any potentially romantic framing is discarded in favor of focusing on this common unhappiness, this sense that life is passing each of our heroes by. Kondo essentially never sees Akira as any sort of true romantic partner; her infatuation is entirely one-sided, whereas Kondo's feelings for Akira slot firmly into a combination of friendship, occasional fear, and natural jealousy at her youth. Through conversations that shift from stiffly awkward to charmingly still-awkward, Akira learns about Kondo's son and old writing passion, while Kondo learns about Akira's track injury. Episode after episode, After the Rain beautifully conveys a story of the failures and self-doubt that can chasten any of us to stillness, and of the unlikely ways we find the strength to stand up again.
After the Rain's storytelling is thoughtful, compassionate, and professionally articulated throughout. You could perhaps accuse it of being a bit slow-paced or laboring over some specific emotional turn a bit too much, but the show overall feels consistently purposeful, and its reflections on both youth and middle age feel uncommonly sharp. The show's respect for Kondo's passion is likely its secret weapon; we only learn he ever wanted to be a novelist around the halfway point, but by the end, After the Rain's thoughts on the seduction and self-destruction of life as an artist are some of its most well-observed. And all the while, the show balances its welcome interrogation of adult anxieties with equally thoughtful illustrations of Akira's emotions, using all of its formidable aesthetic resources to bring her feelings to life.
And ultimately, the show's focus on the danger of chasing your dream, and the ways its unlikely middle-aged hero Kondo grapples with those dangers, give it an almost unique perspective within anime, a rare and frank look at adult disappointment that you only occasionally get in shows like Planetes or Shirobako.
All in all, After the Rain was easily the highlight of this season for me, and it could be one of the strong candidates to fight for the best of the year. After the Rain was beautiful, emotionally rich, and thematically poignant. An intense and subtle emotional experience, After the Rain overcame my initial reservations about its premise to become a moving drama that I can recommend to anyone. If you were initially put off by its ostensible premise, I'd urge you to give it a second look.
I frequently found that I didn't want to watch anything else after finishing an episode of koi wa ameagari, as there was something special about the vague feeling of melancholy that lingered after the ending credits. That's an impressive effect for a series to have, especially one that could have easily been the biggest train wreck of the season.