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.)
It all started with a broken ankle and faithful encounter over coffee.
Simple, sweet, makes my heart flutter. Like pumpkin custard pudding or black and white cats with white socks or chocolate banana crepes.
This blissful story follows our main protagonist, Akira Tachibana, through her life as a 17 year old high school student. Though she used to be the top athlete in track and field at her school unfortunately after an injury she no longer runs. This has changed her high school life as she overcomes broken relationships and creates new ones.
During a faithful encounter on a rainy day, Kondou meets Tachibana and it gives
life to the girl with the broken ankle. With nothing else to do in her high school life she gets a job working with her boss, Kondou, who she secretly has a huge crush on.
At the Garden Cafe she finds a new meaning to happiness and looks forward to working with everyone there. Or, that is what she thought. Apparently having a crush on your boss, and working along side the boy who has a crush on you is harder than it looks.
The art is very pleasing to look at. Often reminding me of old anime styles, giving a soft nostalgic feeling. It may have nothing special to it but if you look closely you can see how elegant the designs in her eyes are. Especially during heart fluttering moments, the anime wastes no time in showing us her emotions through the art, as if it had a daydream effect. Beautiful.
In 2018, I vote the intro and outro songs as best opening and ending. I fell in love with the way they played out, gives me nostalgic feelings to past anime. Apart from the theme songs the background music gives a subtle flare of summer vacation when I was in high school. I can really hear everything happening around the busy city Tachibana lives in as if I were there.
Although there is nothing special about the amazing sounds most anime produce nowadays. I still love it and give my applause to how far it has come.
Akira Tachibana, aside from her normal life she is a serious and awkward teen who might seem too uptight but is just shy. Aside from being shy, when she smiles I bet she could light up a room. Especially the way the anime lights up my screen during heartwarming moments. The anime portrays subtle clues that she is lonely and she isolates herself.
She loves rainy days the most out of anything, on the other hand Kondou does not like rainy days.
Konou Masami is her manager who has a bald spot on the back of his head. He is just as socially awkward as Tachibana. Often having to frantically apologize for everything, he definitely shows the father in him. He should since he does have a son and is divorced. One could picture how lonely he must be living alone and working much harder than he should.
One thing is for certain, there are many more things to him that meet the eye than being an "old man".
After watching the first episode I jumped right into the ongoing manga series. Although a lot is portrayed differently in the anime than the manga it is still played out nicely. They add quite a bit to the managers personality into the anime and I can definitely agree with their decision.
Unlike most anime, I don't enjoy watching adaptations from manga I have read. I find it easy to watch Koi wa Ameagari no You ni without being bored, it makes me smile unexpectedly.
To think that all of this happened because of a broken ankle.
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.
Love is like After the Rain. In the midst of stormy conditions you can either comfortably wait inside until the weather dies down or choose to face it head-on, pressing forward through the torrent and seeing where it takes you. Similarly, passion is like after the rain; once drowned out it can leave you confounded and lost with grey clouds hanging overhead. What once before had consumed one’s lifestyle is suddenly stripped away, no longer part of who they are and now they must come to terms with this. In After the Rain we are shown two characters, each on the surface seem completely different
to one another but upon closer inspection share a comparable suffering – they are both burdened with the feelings of a lost passion.
*THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*
High-school sophomore Akira Tachibana is obliged to give up track-and-field after suffering a torn Achilles tendon. Up until this point, running had been part of her life since her earliest memories, almost becoming an instinctual part of her. Now having been ripped away from her passion she finds herself detached from her past world. Stumbling along mere sidewalks by her lonesome self, enveloped in a constant downpour that doesn’t appear to let up anytime soon. Akira as shown on numerous occasions is very emotionally-driven, her feelings never bottled up and always fuelling her actions. Now facing the reality of her situation alone, she is at the lowest she has ever been. But one day, whilst sitting inside a family restaurant staring out at the rain, the manager approaches her with a cup of coffee on the house, performs a cute magic trick before saying to her:
“It’s boring when you’re just waiting for the rain to stop. I’m sure it’ll stop raining soon.”
This alongside his act of kindness captures her heart and results in Akira developing a childlike crush on the man, subconsciously filling the void her injury left with an almost unhealthy love for Masami Kondo, the manager over twice her own age. Going so far as working under him at that very restaurant, becoming more and more committed in confessing her feelings to the man. Considering the subject matter, this series walks on very thin ice with focusing on an implied romance between a young girl and a middle-aged man, even testing the waters at times with her confession leading to a date between the two. But where many other series would have faltered, After the Rain handles this relationship with a level of grace and tactfulness rarely found in anime. It evolves from a simple age-gap romance generally considered taboo to deliver on a tale that focuses on the couple as individuals, each having lost something integral to themselves in the past and are both still learning to cope with.
Masami Kondo may seem a typical kind man on first impression but his life up to this point has been far from what he once hoped for. He is constantly burdened by what could have been – an avid writer in his youth whose material unfortunately never gained popularity and coupled with a failed marriage, leaves him with an attitude of complacency. His adoration for writing heavily implied as the driving force behind his divorce and losing custody of their child, a tragic turn of events that left his family broken and eventually caused him to abandon his writing. Now whenever his past career work is challenged, he simply blames it on age and sees any serious attempt to change such is inconsequential. He is content in reminiscing about the love he once had bitter-sweetly, afraid of potentially tainting the memories he still cherishes.
Both our main characters have felt the pain their passions led them to, Akira physically with a severe injury and Kondo emotionally with his family fractured in the process. Both are pushed away from what they lost and have grown fearful of the hole left in their place, afraid of ever returning to them. Kondo is fine reading the words of others and scribbling down notes when working, but at his desk with pen in hand he can only stare at the sheet in front of him, his thoughts never put to paper. Alongside being reminded of his past failings in the form of his highly-successful college friend, he is unable to take that step towards rekindling his passion. Akira is still willing to talk with her friends on the track team, but now doing so is coupled with a feeling of disconnect and angst, stranded alone and forced to watch their practice from the sidelines. Every time she tries to run she’s left injured in the process by her lost love, an ever-present obstacle that she just cannot seem to overcome.
On that day when Kondo offered her coffee they were only strangers, unaware of what has happened in the other person’s life. What Kondo did know however was the look in her eyes; the longing gaze of someone who’s lost and mourning something important to them. He knows it because it’s the kind of look he shows whenever alone. Staring into the rain at night with cigarette in hand, reflecting on what he once had, his position in life and how he ended up there. Despite the difference in age Kondo is able to empathize with Akira, birthing a stronger connection between the pair from the parallels of their situations. A crush from the teenage girl does initially result from this and while there are moments throughout the show that hint towards romantic feelings being returned by Kondo, the overall approach is cautious and thoughtful. Her fondness for Kondo is illustrated as simply infatuation born out of immaturity and never becomes a path to shape her future. Not only are her feelings never taken advantage of by the older man, but what began as a school-girl affection morphs into a deep mutual respect and understanding between two damaged people.
Love is like After the Rain, but not strictly in a romantic sense. Instead it aspires to depict the rekindling of a lost love that has plagued both Akira and Kondo’s lives. Here lies a story of two people with their own problems that are able to help each other work through them. Allusions are a core aspect of the series used to convey the issues each main character faces, both visually and metaphorically. When referring to the short story “Rashomon”, Kondo suggests he is too far gone to try writing once again, claiming he is not the protagonist and does not possess the energy or determination required for it. In response Akira tells him that his regrets aren’t something to wallow in, instead use them as motivation to return to that love that constantly spurred him on. For Akira, her fears of running again are finally addressed when having a conversation around a swallow that had trouble leaving the nest. Asked if the bird could have been happy staying behind in the nest, Kondo asserts that while there might be happiness found, it would forever look up and long for the skies. These moments end up being the push both needed to take the next step forward in their lives. Both have realised they each have a lot to work on as individuals and neither are ready to give up on the dreams they hold dearly in their hearts yet. And so, they each go their separate ways.
As the end credits roll, a melancholic theme plays set to a race track flooded with rain, only to transform into a bright one as the sun breaks through the clouds whilst the tune meets its climax. It’s a gorgeous representation for how the series closes with both Akira and Kondo coming out of the storm stronger than before, ready to face their passions once more. No matter how long darkness and feelings of uncertainty loom over, there will surely be a light that follows. Amidst the rain seeds of romance were planted, but now that the rain is over do they have the chance to flourish. Whether their relationship still holds romantic love or not remains to be seen. But from a year praised as one of the best for anime, I know there’s at least one show from that year I still hold great fondness for.
I'm generally not one to offer review of anything prior to its conclusion since you usually end up with egg on your face, however, I feel the need in this case since it seems that Koi wa ameagiri has not been given a fair shake by the wider community.
The most frequent excuse I hear is related to the age difference - this usually comes from people who'll then proceed to watch any number of Ecchi Harem stacked to the rafters with Lolis. The main female character is 17, which means she's of legal age of consent in most western countries. I'm sure you'll all be
horrified to hear that 17 year old's do sometime fantasize about older adults...clutch those pearls!
Now that the arbitrary excuse for not watch it has been dealt with I'd like to make to case for this anime. I've found it to be one of the most engaging series this season. It's at time funny, dramatic, heartwarming and treats its subject matter very seriously.
If you have your doubts please watch up to, and including, episode 7. I promise you that you will not be disappointed. there is something very poignant about the contrast between an adult who's dreams have been crush by the passage of time but who, nonetheless, remains kindhearted, running headlong into the intense passions of a young adult experiencing her first love in the face of a life changing event.
One look into the premise of this show is enough to turn people off; A high school girl finds herself crushing on a man in his mid-forties who ends up being her boss at the restaurant where she works after class. Japan has no shortage in that kind of unpleasant male-wish-fulfilment fantasy in the anime industry—the older-man-younger-woman “forbidden love” type of tale. The execution of Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (After the Rain), from Jun Mayuzuki's manga of the same name, makes it less of a #MeToo story than one about two broken hearts at very different, but equally important, stages of their lives
and where they intersect. What starts as an unlikely romance becomes a more aspiring story about one’s unfulfilled dreams leading another to re-evaluate the broken connections of their own life.
After the Rain is made unique by the unlikely relationship between the two leading characters. A beginner when it comes to love, Akira Tachibana is emotion-driven, fuelled by her feelings and almost fiercely expresses them instead of bottling things up. Her long-time love for running having been sidelined due to a recent injury, her fiery passion is suddenly redirected towards her crush and part-time job manager, Masami Kondou. The embodiment of youth, she is the spitting image of a High school girl in love. Eager to please yet saddened by life, Masami, keeps a friendly facade without ever displaying an inch of bitterness. His own dreams having been buried many years ago, he’s labelled himself content with life as is. With Akira and Masami having lost a part of themselves at one point in time, they indirectly become what the other needs whether it be the liveliness of youth or the quiet maturity of life experience. As for Masami, he is clearly aware of how inappropriate a relationship with Akira would be, but her attention does help him remember—and revive—his own youthful dreams of becoming a writer. For Masami, too, Akira is less a realistic romantic choice than a totem representing what’s been lost—and what might be found again.
Akira was a track-and-field ace at her school, she tore her Achilles tendon which put a halt to her goals. Now her after-school hours are spent taking orders at a casual dining restaurant called, “Garden.” Masami, a mid-forty-year-old with a self-deprecating laugh and a goofy, positive attitude about everything. They are the complete opposite, the excitable man with a silent midlife crisis, and a reserved young lady who has a fire burning inside her youthful dreams. What ignited this relationship were two events, first being a rainstorm and a cup of coffee while the latter was a confession. Both of these moments happened early within the story, this way, it has more dedicated time in testing the feelings and emotions of these characters. There is something about Masami that has captured Akira's attention and affection, and she believes that whatever it is, it's worth knowing and nurturing. Can we call this a woman’s intuition? Instincts, not logical deductions. Akira is drawn to the fact that he has a need, and she does not yet understand that need is not a romantic one. More so a spiritual one. It's because once was a time that Masami had dreams of being something else, doing other things, and in the time since he has settled for so much less. Just as she has.
The story being lived out mainly from Akira’s standpoint, with some back and forth with insights into Masami’s life and past. There is a sheer weight of insight that the story provides about its characters. There’s so much about this series that’s so truthful, so beautiful and so on-point—it impacts you in the way only stories that enlighten our actual lives can impact you. Our protagonists are multi-dimensional characters that go through a lot of development, a lot of relatable high and low’s. Then they begin to let each other into their respective hearts, and Akira thinking about Masami goes from crushing on him to knowing someone whose dreams have also dwindled. When this change goes into play, it affects her on multiple fronts. It not only changes her relationship with Masami, but it also alters her relationship with her close friend Haruka. They were two peas in a pod, drawn together with their love and passion for running, but they drifted apart after Akira's injury. Masami also deals with a real-world issue like Akira when it comes to raising his son in a shared-parenting situation with his ex-wife, the pain of the divorce still lingers with him and both help each other when they confront these problems.
When two people show up on stage together and the result is a special “spark,” you know you’re seeing character chemistry. Chemistry is the “it” factor in all great fiction and that is exactly what Akira and Masami share, this is the main point that makes this anime amazing. They both light up the room—amp up each other’s energy, instantly making each other happy, and make it easy for one another be their best self along with their vulnerable self. Both respond to one another according to any number of social and subliminal signals that end up creating paradigms that belong uniquely to them. It’s a subtle dance, in which they take cues from one another, testing out their moves, discovering to what degree they can unleash the full power of their personalities in an ever-shifting dynamic of opposition and harmony. There is also a supporting cast that helps give Akira and Masami an impact in their decisions when needed, while they aren’t fleshed out, they do play pivotal roles and give the story a much-needed change of mood and pace without it feeling out of place.
What’s common in love tales in anime is that romance is an ingredient and not a subject, normally used in a way to pull laughter and tears from the viewers. Things aren’t interesting by default because the characters in it are in love; the same goes for the characters themselves. But every now and then get a series that is about the way love is awkward, difficult and self-contradictory and not just a showcase for those things. It is hard to depict characters in love, there is a great risk of looking less impressive and blinded by love, instead of being empowered and uplifted by it. After the Rain’s method of showing how its characters are made better by what they feel Is best portrayed in this particular element that stands out from the rest. Twice Akira visualizes about having an embrace-and-kiss moment with Masami—the first happened earlier on after a date and once more at the very end of the show after she has run out after to give him some documents. But both times, we get the reality of things and not what Akira fantasizes, each going their separate way by themselves, while no longer alone, knowing they have each other as an aspirational strength in their lives.
Wit Studio perfectly adapted this series, their works made After the Rain into a more memorable, enjoyable and mesmerizing experience. While remaining somewhat loyal to the manga, Wit’s own take on character design brings extra elements when it comes to general appearance and personality. Referencing a modern take on a 90’s anime art style while keeping an intriguing illustrative format pushes the art to the same level of importance as the narrative, having them compete for the spotlight. The animation has great fluidity, the colour scheme has all shades of human emotion and feelings, all the fine details in the background and various locations bring the setting in a bustling city to life. The director in Ayumu Watanabe gives it the little touches that colour in the spaces between the emotional frames, and that gives Akira and Masami’s story it’s astonishing depth and realism. He was able to illuminate the “Show, don’t tell” approach effectively where a single moment provokes numerous emotions and can tell a story on its own. Each episode works in this format where the first part builds towards something while the latter part concludes with an influential and impactful crescendo that feels like a little film in itself.
The score is gorgeous and outstanding. Ryo Yoshimata’s thick atmospheric background music—which is definitely one of the best for 2018—paired with Ayumu’s direction and Wit’s glorious artwork makes After the Rain the complete package. The voice actors are a perfect pitch and are irreplaceable. The OP "Nostalgic Rainfall” by CHiCO with HoneyWorks plays on the innocent crush that Akira has for Masami, it has a happy, playful and upbeat tone that sets the romantic mood. The ED "Ref:rain" by Aimer is a more very meaningful and emotional ballad. It perfectly portrays a more accurate picture of the series, that is something greater and deeper than just an unlikely romance. The lyrics touch on yearning desires, farewells, mourning the loss of good things in your life while being left with the bad—along with imagery of a dark and rainy track field, then the song hits the climax when it finishes its slow transformation into a bright and sunny one. It’s one of the best ED song choices and visual pieces I have seen in a long time.
There is this quote from the series that I loved, it really highlights the message of After the Rain, “The swallow knows that / Any place where you won’t get wet from the rain / Will also have no sunlight.” It’s a very powerful and beautiful moment, one that definitely represents self-reflection and healing—For both Akira and Masami, knowing that someone will love and accept them unconditionally, without judgment, for who they are is surely going to give them the courage and determination to follow their heart once more. They discover each other in a lonely world and giving that gift to the other. Once broken, two hearts beat as one.
After the Rain takes the idea of slice of life and romance to a very different, analogous level. You have two people adrift in the world disconnected from their passion, if not obsession, in life. The story is as much about the intense, irrational emotions of youth as well as the surrender of dreams. It is two unlikely people connecting in the face of similar despair with young love as the rocket fuel catalyst. Two people who find they need each other in unexpected ways.
The shaping of the characters is one of my favorite subtleties of this series. Akira is single minded, intense and down
right forceful, which lends to the humor of the show. She is robbed of her greatest joy and focus of that intensity, which, to me, shows the level of devastation she is going through dealing with the loss and her keen focus on Kondo. Kondo is the end result of a failed passion; plodding through life as a cog in a role that doesn't suit him while keeping his passion at arms length. The episode where Kondo helps Akira with her Rashomon homework is almost a perfect summary of this entire series, including Kondo's joyful response to being able to see the characters from multiple perspectives. It's also a bit of recognition that this series follows, or at least borrows, those Japanese literary roots. In particular, the ambiguous nature of Rashomon ending.
With no offense intended to some younger viewers (or those who haven't had your face dragged through the gravel of life . . . yet), I think us more "experienced" people can appreciate this quite a bit more. Just like Kondo, we can remember those heated passions, for better or worse, of our youth, as well as the excitement of reigniting a long dormant passion.
The end of the story is nothing less than I expected; satisfying, sad, poignant. The story likely resonates with different people in different ways depending where one is in life, which makes the story all the more vibrant.
When I look back on this show after everything has concluded, I find my thoughts to be at odds. On one hand, I really loved the way Akira and Kondou’s relationship was handled and developed over the season. On the other, I felt as if the show lost momentum when it focused on their interactions with the supporting cast.
For those of you expecting a straight age gap romance plot, I’m here to tell you now you’re going to be disappointed. The romance ends up being the lens through which to tell a story about two people confronting their inner struggles and how those inevitably
shape their identity.
After a leg injury that leaves Akira unable to run for months on the track team, she finds solace in working at a family restaurant whose manager has caught her interest. She sees Kondou as a responsible, compassionate, humble, and mature man. She would be hard-pressed to find someone with those same qualities in her high school environment.
Ignoring the age differential, she moves forward in her attempts to start a romantic relationship with him. In the beginning, this is the main focal point. Akira makes many moves to slowly become closer with Kondou and this, in turn, puts him in an awkward spot as not only someone much older than her but as her manager as well. Kondou sees himself as just a deadbeat father working a modest living in the service industry. It’s tough for him to turn down Akira’s affections when she’s such a charming girl. You really root for her because of how genuine she is with her feelings. Of course, it helps that she’s a real head turner too.
As Kondou tries to contextualize Akira’s love to her so that she might stop looking at him in a romantic sense, he unwittingly starts to rediscover his youth. He views Akira as this naive beautiful young woman with so much potential. She is a mirror reflecting his past as a young man charging straight into love without a second thought. Reminded also of the literature he once threw himself into which he no longer pursues. Exploring this youth and the feelings that come with it, the plot’s focus begins to shift and ultimately we get to the true heart of the show. Upon realizing that Akira is potentially exhausting her youth on him he maneuvers to distance and reposition himself as a supporting figure in her life. More a good friend than a lover. It’s painful knowing those feelings won’t be reciprocated but Akira learns to accept the reality as things progress.
Afterward, Akira starts to really think about her love for running again and Kondou does the same revisiting his writing passions through an old friend. Now, this is where the show sort of dipped in momentum for me. Haruka is a girl introduced as Akira’s best friend and teammate on the track team before all this. Several times throughout the show she is presented as this opposing force trying to get Akira back on the track team because of a promise they made when they were younger. There is hinting that she also has somewhat romantic feelings for Akira but that’s less important. I think she was meant to be another pillar of support in line with the way our main characters were changing but she comes off as this passive jealous person who wants her friend back for selfish reasons.
Another character acting in opposition to the way things were developing is Kase. He’s the restaurant chef and playboy who tries to discourage and mock Akira’s feelings for the manager for one whole episode. His purpose in the show I don’t fully understand because he’s barely shown or mentioned after. I’m actually thankful his interactions were somewhat limited.
These pauses in the plot, mostly caused by Haruka, were what hurt my overall enjoyment of it. Had Haruka taken more of an active role like Akira in expressing her sentiments and not just stared at her from afar for way too long, maybe she’d be more of a fleshed out and likable character.
But let’s get back on track. As the series came to a close, I felt Kondou and Akira’s relationship was in a great spot and that it was clear skies from there on. I was a bit saddened because if I wanted to know more about the direction it was going in I would have to read the manga. So despite the show’s weaknesses in its supporting character interactions and somewhat disjointed transitions, it was a beautifully animated narrative about two people’s journey to discover themselves and the role that love plays in the process.
If that sounds like a story worthwhile to you then please give it a shot.
Well, for being a romance story between a 45 year old man (Kondo) and a 17 year old girl (Akira), it didn't come off as creepy as I had thought it'd be. I suppose I don't have much moral qualms with it though since 17 is legal in a lot of places... barely. Anyways, I absolutely adored the art style. It's just so pretty, and well executed. I adore all the facial expressions the some of the characters make. I did think some of the pacing is kind of rushed. I did read the first volume of the manga series before this, and it's a
lot more slow burn than this. Though given this anime only has 12 episodes, maybe this issue is to be expected. I love how the anime slowly unravels details about the characters. We don't learn that Kondo is a writer until way later in the series, though we can see glimpses of that earlier with his novel collection, and poetic way of speaking. I do like how Kondo and Akira help each other grow. Akira is nervous about her drifting friendship with her friend from track since she quit the team. Kondo has a novelist friend from college that he kind of drifted from. Using his experience with his friend, he consoles her about her friendship, and it's just so nice. One thing about Kondo's character is his insecurities with his age. He wants to write and feel young again, but doesn't feel confident about it. Akira does see his good points and encourages him to write again, which is also heartwarming. The scene where he hugs Akira for the first time made me cry. Like the buildup was perfect. There is also some symbolism with things like birds, umbrellas, keychains, etc. Which I dig. I like subtle things like that. What's interesting is that there is romantic buildup between Kondo and Akira in the first half of the series, then the second half deals with the personal problems of each character. Though as I mentioned earlier, the two help each other through these problems so it's not like their relationship development is totally abandoned. On one hand, I was craving more romance, but on the other, I sort of like this too because it's very sweet.
I don't think I was able to verbalize why I liked this anime so much very well, but I was really invested in it, and loved every minute of it.
This is my first review, so have patience. Warning: spoilers ahead. I think this anime is very polarizing. Some will love its visuals, which are very good, and its shift away from a controversial subject that makes them uncomfortable. Others will see it as a disjointed, poorly plotted story that loses its way after episode 7. The story advertises itself as a romance between a 17 year old girl and a 45 year old man. It's clear both from the OP and ED that this is the main audience draw.
The story starts with a depressed Akira,
apparently a budding track star who has suffered an achilles injury. She meets Kondo in a restaurant to which she runs to get out of the rain. Rain is a metaphor here, but the anime hits you over the head with it. In contrast to Koi Kaze, where wind was used to mark essential turning points, here it is used bluntly as an attempt to convey emotions. It gets tiring after a while.
This anime is a classic bait-and-switch. The tension and best story writing do indeed involve the crush Akira has for the much older manager, a divorcee with a child and a dead-end job, suffering a mid-life crisis. Being Kondo's age myself, I really empathized with his plight. A little insight into Japanese society makes clear that the author had no choice but to steer clear from this subject. Compensated dating is a current social problem in Japan, and the issue of divorce, ironically, is more controversial than incest (at least to the Japanese censors). The manga, which I have read, and the anime are really two different stories. The manga is dark, using themes from Japanese culture dealing with Yuki Onna, a ghost -like succubus. Guess who that is? It delves more into Kondo's suffering. It's dark and unsatisfying ending has aroused indignation in Japan. It comes as a gut punch. I give the author license to draw dark stories, but they must be well-plotted, and the anime, while less dark, does not meet this criteria.
The tension between Kondo and Akira ramps up to episode 7, ending with a scene reminiscent of Koi Kaze, for those familiar with that dark masterpiece. It then goes into an entirely different direction, thus dropping all the tension that drew the viewer to the anime in the first place. Thus, it fails to resolve the central conflict that held my attention: how can a much older man in Kondo's state withstand the avid attention of a very beautiful young woman? In real life, of course, such attention would create a serious internal conflict for the man, even if he had no intention of returning the affection. Here, it really is not touched upon, except in episode 7, which was brilliantly filmed.
After episode 7, the series loses steam as it tries to re-focus to the safer topic of life lessons. However, good drama is not safe, and it feels like a cop out after all the tension that had been built over the previous episodes. There is not even a satisfactory explanation for why this relationship was necessary to achieve the changes in the characters' life directions. A college friend, introduced late in the series, seems to be the primary influence on Kondo. A friend and Kondo's son seems to have been the tipping point for Akira.
I really wanted to drop this after episode 10, but I saw it through. WIT Studio, which produced the series, did an admirable job making the drawn-out manga into a 12 episode anime, and the production values are high. But it is a half-a-story, and thus earns a 5.
The synopsis of this is a little misleading. It's not just a 12 episode typical love anime. Each character has so much depth. I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive about reading that it followed a 45 year old man and a 17 year old girl, but this show does an amazing job of not making it weird.
The animation is also AMAZING. Tachibana's eyes are gorgeous. The rain scenes aren't just randomly added in, they usually happen when something emotional is going on, and watching the rain is so comforting.
Overall, I think it's a nice slice of life anime and even though I was
a little disappointed by the ending because it did not live up to my expectations based off of every other romance I've seen, it was still amazing.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni threatened to touch controversial and even delicate topics, but ended up staying in a simple flirtation.
As I said in my first impressions, this series was presented with a very interesting setting to take us out of the typical high school and introduce us to the world of a family restaurant; In addition, from the beginning, it strongly opted to show us that "crush" that Tachibana had for her boss, to the point that even the girl forced the man to notice it.
However, already at that moment I noticed that the
fact that this series was based on an ongoing manga could lead us to the fateful "open end"; and sadly that was just what happened.
But the worst was not that, but the final episode showed a very big change of pace with respect to the rest of the series; which made it feel too hurried. It was as if you had to relax any tension to be able to close the anime in a neutral point.
It is true that the Manager was already on track to resume his passion for writing and it is also true that Tachibana was getting closer and closer to returning to her beloved athletics and returning to her friendship with Haruka; nevertheless, if we see the rhythm that all the other episodes had, it is impossible not to feel that in the last one it put his foot on the gas pedal.
Additionally, all that "sprint" ended in a completely anticlimactic outcome that honestly tasted like nothing. This is the great disadvantage of adapting a work that has not finished. Or a large license is taken and an end is shown that can then be refuted by the original material; or an open ending is sought where there is no compromise in the plot to stay true to that material.
In Koi wa Ameagari no You ni, it takes the second road and that led us to this final "without salt" that left little and nothing. Indeed, it is unfortunate that a series where the commitment of the creative team was noted for providing a great product, culminates in this way.
And there was material to show us a more daring ending, either by continuing to develop the controversial relationship between Akira and Kondo, or by exploring a possible yuri romance between Akira and Haruka. Throughout the season it flirted with both options; although evidently, the emphasis was on the "crush" of the protagonist by the manager. Haruka's thing was always more like an unrequited love. However, in the end all this was "stand by" because the director opted for a "play safe" to avoid running the risk of going against the manga.
Speaking of the technical section, the design of characters was very attractive and unusual, the soundtrack simply fulfilled (highlighting the ending well above everything else), the animation was one of the best of the season; and the direction did a great job even though a better closing could be done.
However, to be fair, they had their hands tied. In fact, despite the open end, a sequence imagined by the Manager was included that served as a fan service for all those people who expected greater progress in the romance. Not all directors do that in such scenarios, so the gesture is appreciated.
In short, a nice series to watch with an interesting plot that in the end could not progress more due to the restrictions of the original material. It only remains to read the manga to know how this story continues and see what the true outcome of that attractive romance between Tachibana and her Manager will be.
My point of view: I didn't read the manga. (Also, if this happens to be relevant to you, I went into this anime not supporting relationships with age gaps like this one)
Story: Although this anime is considered a romance, I honestly like how the main relationship was already set up to fail. The main character was a confused young teen who "fell" in love with a goofy guy in his 40's. Rather than progressing their "romantic" relationship, they explored the factors behind it. Why does she believe that she's in love with a middle-aged man she knows nothing about? What happened to make her feel
this way? What do both parties get out of the relationship? Because of this, the characters were really the shining part of this anime. In regards to the story, I felt as though the climax, the conflict, and the conclusion were awfully weak. I've seen slice of life with a more distinct plot than this. In conclusion, the plot was about a relationship destined to fail, and it worked; however, the other elements of the plot were a bit weak.
Art: The art was glorious. I loved how the art kind of had the aesthetic of the natural beauty after a rain. Sometimes it was dim and gray, but during the more important scenes, it was shiny and bright, almost like the sun was reflecting the image off of a puddle.
Sound: The sound was how I usually like it, un-recognizably good. The background music was subtle, beautiful, and didn't distract you from the show. However, I feel as though the ending song, Aimer's "Ref:rain", was my favorite part of the show. In fact, I feel as though the song gave a better interpretation of the show than the show itself.
Characters: The characters were really the shining part that, I believe, saved the show. At first, the 2 main characters were just a teenager, Akira, and her crush/boss, Kondou. Throughout the animation, the characterization progresses creating characters who are not only more complex but realistic and relatable. I do, on the other hand, feel as though a lot of the side characters suffered with a lack of development. The lives of these side characters were brought up, but they were missing a special touch: the why behind the behavior. It wasn't even that the characters were flat characters, there was room for development and progression; the anime just passed on the opportunity. Considering how the characters did take a part in the plot, I felt as though they should've had a little more development.
Enjoyment: Although I was entertained enough to stick with the show, I still felt like my enjoyment was a tid bit above average. It had potential, but I felt as though it missed out on a lot that could've made it better. I was waiting for a break out moment that never really came. A part of me wonders if the manga did a better job of branching out on the plot and other characters.
Let's forget about Vladimir Nabokov. After the Rain is a literary masterpiece. The saying, "Love knows no boundaries," is often used to justify love between two people separated by age. After the Rain speaks to something similar, but in an unexpected way.
I'll say it now, I loved this anime.
Contrary to what others are saying, this anime is very much a romantic one.
The symbolism was sometimes a bit heavy-handed, but never obtrusive.
Youth is a large theme in this show. Through Tachibana, Kondo rediscovers pieces of his youth. Previously bright hopes and dreams that were shunned and broken throughout the course of his life.
He looks at these pieces through a nostalgic filter--wistful and bittersweet, like coffee.
Life isn't easy to navigate and neither is love. Tachibana and Kondo push and pull on each other as they attempt to reconcile their own lives, as well as each others' places in them.
It's been a week, but After the Rain continues to hang over my head like a cloud. =]
I don't even care that this review is short and unstructured; Koi wa Ameagari no You ni is freakin' phenomenal, and I had to let people know.
If you're looking for a more mature romance story that highlights the true complexities of people, relationships and being in love, you're more than covered here. It's visually stunning, chock-full of beautifully deep imagery and metaphors, hits you right in the feels, and does wonders towards a realistic depiction of the forbidden love high-school student Akira Tachibana has for her restaurant manager, Kondou.
I'd even compare it to 3-gatsu no Lion, it's that good.
I was a teenage girl very recently. And based on my own experience, this is the most honest portrayal I've ever seen of what it's like to be a teenage girl in love. It portrays quite openly all the weirdness, misplaced lust, and slight insanity of a young heart's growing pains.
(Maybe it's also a good portrayal of what it's like for all people in general. Or maybe it's not a very good reflection of the majority of people's experience at all. But I just wanted to start off this review by pointing out that I could definitely relate.)
Despite the fact that the main storyline
deals with Akira falling in love with her middle-aged boss, the underlying theme of the story is actually not about that at all. Instead, it's about following or giving up on dreams; how our over-commitment or under-commitment to those dreams affects the way we treat our family and friends; and whether or not youth is truly wasted on the young. The storytelling focuses on the little details, which lent a superb reality and delicacy to an extremely awkward and difficult premise. But I have to commend the treatment of something so awkward and difficult in a way that did not condone it but gently put forth the question of what the characters could possibly get out of it or learn from it.
Art & Sound: 10
I'm going to combine these and simply say that the beautiful animation is a treat and the extremely well-designed and purposeful sound is sublime.
I've probably pressed the point enough that I was once Akira and that her character showed a raw and honest portrayal of that supremely awkward and sometimes awful stage of learning love (and misplacing it dreadfully). Most of the side characters are pretty standard tropes and functioned pretty well within their role in the story. But Akira's friend Haruka is very well-rounded and relatable and their friendship actually ends up being the most important relationship in the story. Then we have Kondou. His struggle between trying to ward off Akira's advances and a crisis inside him of wishing to regain his lost youth through her is a dangerous but powerful character arc and I thought really well done. Again, the point here is not a love story at all. It's about very real and complex human emotions that cannot be defined in a word. Perhaps they can be called a kind of "love" -- but only as subtly and fleetingly as the moment just after the letting up of the rain.
Being such an awkward and difficult premise, again, this wasn't the most entertaining or fun watch. But I feel like I really gained something other than enjoyment from it and there's nothing wrong with that.
At one point a character says that pure literature should not "help" people but instead be a "poison" -- Koi wa Ameagari no You ni is, in my opinion, a very powerful and beautiful poison.
I thought that I would write a review for this anime since the current top review is only based on the first four episodes. The aforementioned review paints an unfair and unrealistic picture of the anime. Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (Koi henceforth) is an anime that gets incrementally better as it continues.
Koi is a story far more concerned with personal growth and adulthood than the seemingly taboo premise it represents. The umbrella topic of 'adulthood' is explored through character interactions and various symbolic devices. This review will explore the themes and messages of the anime within the categorical confines of: story, art,
sound and character.
The story itself is not overly complex or revolutionary. The narrative explores the increasingly intertwined lives of the male lead (Mr Kondou) and the female lead (Tachibana). Although inherently simple in nature, the story flows well and fits the genre. It has a suitable balance of comedy and drama too. Having said that, some of the earlier episodes do have some borderline unnecessary comedic moments.
As alluded to earlier, the story does become more fluid and enjoyable as the anime continues. This fluidity is reflected by the increasingly well-placed symbolism in later episodes. Rain is a recurring motif. Whilst it may represent many things, it adds an appropriate layer of intensity to the storyline and the overall mood without being overbearing.
The art is polished and easy to look at. Tachibana looks like she would fit well in a shoujo or josei manga/anime at times. This sort of hybrid style does help to make the characters distinctive and memorable.
Without spoiling anything, some of the more dramatic/emotional scenes also use different colour palettes and contrasts. Although not a novel technique, it is executed well and adds to the quality of the anime as a whole.
The OP and ED songs are both nice to listen to. They are memorable and also reflect the duality of happiness and sadness that persists throughout the anime. Some of the soundtracks are ordinary at best but at least one of the sad soundtracks stands out. It fits the bittersweet and sad moments perfectly and adds to the overall emotion of these scenes.
The Japanese VAs are acceptable. I would say that Mr Kondou's VA stands out most. The inflection of his voice helps to show the various sides of his character; from being amusingly clumsy to being nihilistically pensive.
Although the characters do start off as archetypes, they do grow as the series progresses. This is actually something that pleasantly surprised me while watching.
A slight caveat however; none of the side characters really stand out. Hence why I have neglected to mention them or discuss them in any depth.
She is a quintessentially naïve 17 year old girl. Although she does distance herself from her school peers, her affection and feelings toward Mr Kondou are very innocent and idealistic. She refuses to think or reflect upon the practical considerations of a potential relationship.
Tachibana is an interesting character because her youthful vigour makes it easy for her to reject social expectations or norms. For instance, she is not bothered by the pervasive taboo of a teenager dating a middle-aged man. Overall, her character provides an interesting contrast to conventional adult cynicism on the topic.
At the start, Kondou is just a socially awkward and clumsy middle-aged man and a single father. He exists mainly as the unaware and innocent romantic interest of Tachibana.
I am wary of spoilers but Kondou grows throughout each episode. Aspects of his past are hinted at throughout the story and his reactions to Tachibana's affection are authentic and believable.
Much of the symbolism throughout the story accentuates the relationship between the two characters. At times, the viewer also begins to understand Kondou better through Tachibana's eyes. As part of this process, we also understand Tachibana better and see her grow.
All in all, I can wholeheartedly recommend Koi. I say this as a harsh critic that generally avoids anything with a hint of romance. Just as one should not judge a book by its cover, I would not judge this anime based on the first few episodes or the premise.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni or After the Rain is not actually a romance show. So if you wish to watch a hard romance, dont expect it here. The show, show us a hard 'slice of life', how dreams affect us as living being who live coexist and don't see on what age we are.
What is great about the show is, what i expect the show to be a romance with 'unusual' set and will be have an assured ending. Well, i am really wrong.
Romance is a side genre from this anime, life is the main genre. It tells us how dream can
be a symbol of hope to us, who live without and with obstacles.
what makes it even better is all aspect of the anime support the story greatly. The art, sound, and character are well built that makes the anime very eye catching and makes us want to watch it in one sit.
But the reason why I only give it a 8 and not 9 or 10 is, i'm not really into such 'set', but it kind of blown me away after i finished it. I like it, the music, art, and character in this anime is well known than other anime, which makes it more powerful than other anime with same genre.