|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
At a glance, Love is Like After the Rain seems like a romantic drama focused on a high school student named Akira who develops a crush on her boss, a middle-aged restaurant manager named Kondo, after he cheers her up from feeling depressed after having to leave her school's track team due to injury. The series devotes a good deal of focus on the chemistry between Akira and Kondo as the former's interest in Kondo develops and the relationship between them develops into something closer. To the anime's credit in this case, the series is rather sensible in approaching the relationship developments as they stay grounded and don't get too questionable or overly dramatic in their developments.|
However as episodes progress, the series does gradually provide more fleshing out on Kondo's character and viewers will come to learn that he has a similar situation as Akira he faced in his youth over having an interest he finds himself feeling forced out of due to a personal issue. Rather than an age-gap relationship, After the Rain's main focus is actually on exploring Akira and Kondo dealing with personal interests they struggle with trying to get back into due to their personal dilemmas. While Kondo's experience with the situation has led him to reflect on it, the situation is a new one for Akira to cope with in her youth and as episodes progress, the series shows that the crush she has on her manager may not be one due to romantic implications. The series takes the time to explore the issues effecting both characters and how both are handling them throughout the course of After the Rain, with the relationship between the two due to both actually feeling kindred spirits with their situations. In the end, both characters come to terms with their situations in their own different ways and they become better people as a result.
In terms of presentation, the series is a beautiful one to see with gorgeous scenic shots and fluid movement from characters. Characters and scenery are given a lifelike feel with a good amount of visual detail and realistic features applied to the designs of characters. The soundtrack consists of a mix of light and dramatic insert tracks that fit the mundane feel of After the Rain and blend in nicely with the anime's various scenes. In particular with the music, "Ref: Rain" made for a fitting ED song for the series with its melancholic mood and lyrics being a perfect fit for After the Rain's drama.
Overall, After the Rain is easily among my personal favorite titles for 2018 thus far. Being seemingly focused on an age-gap relationship that it sensibly handles, the series instead focuses on the struggles that Akira and Kondo experience with their personal interests and the show explores how both handle these and the relationship they develop with one another. This is a definite recommendation if you are looking for something different for a romance anime.
Last updated Thursday, March 29 2018. Created Thursday, March 29 2018.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni
(All episodes watched):|
Well, I want to see more of this! That was the impression episode left me with. I was definitely curious about how this unconventional romance might work out. Although there was some comedy, I got the impression that the topic was being taken seriously, which was a relief. A considerable cast of characters is introduced, from the staff at the restaurant that Kondo manages to the classmates at Tachibana's high school, and they seem like people who have been carefully designed in order to help tell a story. We learn how this all got started with a good deed that Kondo once did, and about his unhappy past in the world of romance. I was left optimistic about this series; it ought to be fun.
In episode three Tachibana finally confesses to Kondo and manages to get him to agree to go on a date with her. He's reluctant, being old enough to be her father, after all. This couple faces all sorts of headwinds that have the effect of discouraging their romance, which makes them underdogs we can root for. And we know they are good people: he's a kind middle aged man stuck in a modest job with little prospect of advancement, and who has already been married once but that marriage did not end well. She's a distinctly reserved girl who means no harm to anyone, and her crush on Kondo doesn't seem foolhardy, at least to me. She recognizes a good man when she sees one, even if he's more than twice her age. So, I liked these two and hoped things would work out well for them. I just hoped this show wouldn't end as many romance anime do, with no firm conclusion (like marriage) at all--just 'things are going well for the couple, so let's end here'.
Things get a little disturbing in episode four when Tachibana is blackmailed by a coworker who has discovered her crush on the manager. But it doesn't go very far and is ultimately little more than a cruel joke. In episode five we get a look at Kondo's home, which I thought was a clever and effective way to develop him somewhat. Episode six was more about Tachibana's changed relationship to an old friend than about her romance; I felt that it distracted us from the main plot and was impatient to get back to that. In number seven Kondo becomes sick and Tachibana tries to help him. Their romance seems to be in a lull at this point--no longer fresh and unpredictable, but not really serious yet either, since he has yet to take her seriously. I thought episode nine was clever, what with the parallels between old friends that both Kondo and Tachibana have and how things have changed/are changing. Tachibana has noticed Kondo's interest in literature and pursues it herself as a way of getting closer to him. It turns out that he once hoped to be a novelist himself, and the thought that she might help him revive and achieve that goal intrigued me, perhaps since their romance was otherwise at an impasse.
At first I had assumed that this would be a one season, 12 or 13 episode show, since most romantic tales of this sort are. But this was looking more and more like a two season show, as time ran out while the new thread regarding Kondo's literary aspirations was just getting started. That was okay with me, though I wouldn't have minded if things had been tightened up a bit. Has Tachibana lost interest in the track team because her interest is now on pursuing Kondo? That would make perfect sense, but it almost seems a given in anime that characters must be as competitive and team-loyal as they possibly can be. it turned out that this will be a mere 12 episode series after all. The general course is that early on she confesses her love to Kondo, he refuses to take her seriously, and she chooses not to press too hard, being instead content to be near him. How will everything wrap up in one more episode?
It almost felt as if the show shifted into high gear in order to wrap things up in episode 12. Right up to the last five minutes or so I had little idea how the basic question of 'will they fall in love or won't they' would be resolved. And, as it turned out, the answer was that we wouldn't get an answer. I got neither the good news I had been hoping for (they both realize that they're in love and will live happily ever after) nor the bad news I feared (Tachibana decides pursuing a grown man was a mistake and gives up to pursue track and friendship instead). No eventual outcome is completely ruled out, so you can't be completely disappointed, though a definite sense of dissatisfaction persists. The basic question of whether such a strange romance could succeed was at the heart of this show from episode one, and leaving it unanswered kind of feels like a cop-out. Sort of like you neither won nor lost, you just broke even. Could have been better, could have been worse. Still, while Winter 2018 was not an outstanding season this show was ultimately my favorite or second-favorite anime of it. If only it had ended a little more decisively!
Last updated Monday, April 02 2018. Created Saturday, January 13 2018.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site||http://www.koiame-anime.com/|