After the Rain

As the end of another anime season draws near, it is time to do what any responsible anime fan would do and that is to watch all the most talked about shows even though they promised themselves that they would skip the season entirely to watch as many shows as possible in the dreaded and ever-growing ‘plan to watch’ list. The only shows I have heard consistently good things about (that weren’t from a continuing series) were After the Rain, A Place Further Than the Universe and Laid Back Camp and therefore these are the shows I will try to cram in before the new season starts at the end of this week.

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The first show I chose to watch is the one which I think is most suited to my current taste and that is After the Rain, a charming and delightful slice of life story about a reserved yet surprisingly bold high school girl with a crush, the difference in this story is the huge age difference between the two, with the guy of her affection being 45.

At first I thought I would have a problem with the controversial age gap, but I was pleasantly surprised as the relationship between the two was probably one of the more healthy ones I have seen in an anime/manga. The relationship did not become a romantic one and instead became one that was designed for each of them to help the other grow. It was cute, it was funny and it experimented with a whole array of styles that it didn’t need but totally worked for it. The other characters, although not essential to the story except for maybe one or two of them, made it that much more enjoyable.

aftertherain

Instead of going off on a tangent I feel I need to focus on our main characters, Tachibana and Kondo.  At the beginning I couldn’t quite understand why Tachibana was so attracted to Kondo, obviously there is the age gap which instantly shuts off an obvious possibility of a romantic relationship but as well as that he is also the manager at the restaurant she works at and he isn’t presented as someone who is popular with those of the opposite sex, at all. Particularly in the early episodes he is shown to be a complete pushover, some would go as far as to say he is weak and if you wouldn’t go that far you would definitely call him awkward. Tachibana on the other hand is the young and bright ex (due to injury) ace of the track and field team and the only person she is anything close to awkward around is Kondo! The two shouldn’t work well together, or so I thought, but I guess that’s what I get for judging a book by it’s cover.

And after a few episodes I can even see why she is attracted to him, although I struggle to think of him in the same way as her. Yes, he may be awkward and yes he may struggle when it comes to interacting with others but at the same time he is kind and considerate and only has the best intentions at heart. It is made undoubtably clear that this is a very strong contributing factor to Tachibana’s affection for him in a flashback of when the two first met and it is a heart warming moment but this is where my opinion splits from hers as she took his kindness and put it to romance but I took it and put it to family.  To me he represents a father figure rather than a romantic interest, and of course this is emphasised by his age, I mean how could it not be he is 28 years her senior. But it’s not just his age, when you compare how he treats his own child against how he treats his staff (including Tachibana) there are countless similarities, the only person he is not this way around is his old classmate and friend but that may just be because he is the only person Kondo interacts with that is his age or it may be because he looks up to him rather than looks after him like he does with the others.

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This leads me to a point where I can talk about the non romantic aspects of the show. Both Kondo and Tachibana have goals higher than the restaurant they are currently working at. For Kondo, he dreams to get back into writing with the passion he had when he was at college, there are slight hints at this although it is not an obvious goal until he meets up with his college friend (mentioned above) who has since became a published author. Only at this moment and when Tachibana discovers it does it all fall into place for the viewer.

Unlike Kondo’s dream, Tachibana’s is made pretty obvious throughout the show with constant glances to the track field and flashbacks to a time where she could run alongside her best friend. Although it would be (and I’m going to use this term really loosely) quite easy for her to rejoin the team, the idea of doing so takes a backseat while she is pursing Kondo and she appears to reject the idea of going back completely using her injury as the excuse. This is where I think the relationship between the two is beneficial to both of them as they encourage each other to focus on what they want to achieve with the end of the show being them agreeing to see each other after they have reached their goal. Honestly, I don’t know where I expected the show to end, after all I haven’t read the manga, but I don’t think it could have ended better than it did, it wrapped up the show perfectly and left ambiguity about the future of the two.

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