After the Rain – Exploring Age Gap Relationships (but Actually Learning to Follow Your Dreams)

Classic Bait ‘n’ Switch

After the Rain promises a show about a 17-year-old high school girl falling for her 45-year-old manager. Will Tachibana be able to tell Kondou how she feels? At first glance, this show seems to explore age gap relationships in a modern context. Though it may seem awkward, After the Rain is actually a sweet show about learning to follow your dreams. The main message is to never give up on your passion, and that it is never too late to make your dreams come true.

There is a lot going on narratively speaking, despite the relatively slow pacing of the show. You have Tachibana’s plot about an injury she sustained that prevents her from doing her passion:  running. Then there’s Kondou’s plot about wanting to be a writer. Lastly, you have the will-they-won’t-they relationship between the two. Throughout, the supporting cast has little side-stories that are told largely in the background as well.

Before I dive into the actual story and what I thought about that, I have to put out there that director Ayumu Watanabe has rivaled famed Makoto Shinkai for most scenes with feet in them since “Garden of Feet”. Seriously, I get that a girl’s legs and feet are a visual short cut used to clue the viewer into what a character is thinking in a given situation but I found it to be super distracting.

Any way, back to the actual story. The relationship between Tachibana and Kondou is pretty obviously not going to go down any romantic avenue in the anime from the start. Kondou is often shown uncomfortable with Tachibana’s advances and the directing constantly puts visual barriers between them all the time. Outside of one specific moment, it should be obvious that the story is actually about something else.

Image result for after the rain anime
Case and point

That said, After the Rain plays its cards pretty close to the chest for awhile at least. While it is pretty clear that Tachibana is depressed about not being able to run any more and is using Kondou as a way to feel better, his character remains a lot more shrouded in mystery for some time.

Tachibana is a reminder to Kondou of his youth and he’s the kind of guy who wants to be a people pleaser. He constantly gets swept up in the moment and ends up humoring Tachibana despite his clear reservations. Eventually, others start to notice this. In particular, Ryousuke.

At first I kind of liked this character but he ends up blackmailing Tachibana into going on a date with him. The intention behind this series of events is to get Tachibana to realize Kondou’s position and feelings but it just came off as uncomfortable. Obviously, there are parallels between the date that Tachibana and Ryousuke go on and the one that Tachibana later goes on with Kondou. They literally do the same things but the roles are just in reverse. I’m not sure how the show could have handled this better, but this was my one major complaint with the show.

After this mid-point, Tachibana realizes that she doesn’t really know anything about Kondou. She then proceeds to learn about him and discovers that he writes in secret. He’s afraid that now he’s too old, and since his dream to be a writer never came true while he was young, it can never come true now. This is a trap that a lot of people in real life fall into and was very believably done. I’d go as far as to say that Kondou’s character is by far the most human and relatable aspect of the entire series and is worth watching just for his story alone.

Additionally, Tachibana’s friend, whatever-her-name-is tries to get her to come back to the track team and run again. Despite getting a lot of screen time, Tachibana’s friend is not at all memorable. I seriously couldn’t tell you much about her at all, other than she loves seeing Tachibana run. That’s it.

A bunch of dumb drama comes out of that but eventually everything works out and everybody learns a valuable lesson about not giving up on your dreams. I know I more-or-less just explained how the story goes there but the journey is what makes the show interesting. If you get into this for the romance, you may walk away feeling stilted. While knowing this bait and switch is going to occur, which I did know coming in, actually makes the experience a lot better.

Despite the narrative not always being fantastic, the one place that After the Rain really delivered was with the animation. The show looks great nearly all of the time. The atmosphere was also always captured appropriately which is critical in a series like this that some other anime that are similar to this sometimes fail to get right.

As for the show’s music, I thought it was all serviceable. The OP was catchy but the lyrics were a bit too on the nose. Is it just me or does Tachibana’s half a heart piece/raindrop (Oh look who’s clever show) look like a slice of watermelon when she holds it? Oh, that’s just me then…?

Image result for after the rain anime

Some people are calling this one a sleeper hit from the previous 2018 Winter season, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that. The show is good, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t the next big thing. Still, fans of the romance genre and fans of personal growth stories are going to find something to enjoy here. If you have access to Amazon Prime’s streaming service than it wouldn’t hurt to give this one a shot.

What did you think of After the Rain? Did it manage to hit it out of the park for you or maybe it feel a little flat? Let me know your thoughts on both the series and my review in the comments below. If you’d like to support the work I do here please head on over to my Ko-fi page and buy me a coffee. As always, thanks for reading and hope to see you back here at Jon Spencer Reviews again soon!

Image result for ko fi buy me a coffee button

11 thoughts on “After the Rain – Exploring Age Gap Relationships (but Actually Learning to Follow Your Dreams)

  1. As a man I guess the lack of romance didn’t bother me as I liked the tacit “senpai” tone of their relationship which i found more appealing. Plus the comedy with the supporting characters at the restaurant was a nice extra layer of warmth to the show’s texture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t see the lack of romance a negative either, just that I know a lot of people expected it and then there wasn’t any. Really though, I think that made the show a lot better. Exploring an age gap relationship is fine and all, but I don’t think it would have worked for this specific story.


  2. Haha people need to realize there is pretty much little to no romance in the manga even. It mainly focuses on personal relationships with one another rather than throwing Akira and Kondou together for the sake of shipping. I think the author did a beautiful job showing what it’s like to be vulnerable and human….because lets face it…romance doesn’t happen like how it’s portrayed in movies, books, and television. Things aren’t always black and white and sometimes things get a little messy and awkward. That’s exactly how Akira and Kondou are! I really loved this anime but wish they would have left the last episode on a slightly different note. They made it seem like Akira was going to focus on running and Kondou was going to focus on writing. Akira doesn’t go back to running at all. She still pursues Kondou in the hopes of being with him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get ya. I wasn’t in the show for the romance aspect so what the show gave was what I wanted for the most part. I actually disagree if that is how the manga goes. The ending for the anime is more inline with the messages it wanted to convey from the sounds of it. Haven’t read the manga, so maybe that is amazing, but as things stand I think the anime was pretty complete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t really like the first two episodes that I saw that much. I didn’t really get much further than the awkward crush stuff but now that I’ve read reviews talking about the other themes it explores, it makes me want to try it again. But like, with still low expectations lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really thought that by the end it was much better than when it started. Still, if you want something that explores good themes like this I would recommend The Great Passage (also on Amazon) instead.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I felt frustrated because I did ship them together and the opening theme visuals were misleading. Tachibana was so straight-forward in the beginning so I thought it would be going somewhere. I still enjoyed the show a lot because of the beautiful visuals and the focus on friendships. It was a pleasant watch, but I was a little disappointed by the lack of romance. Overall I rate the show pretty high but like you said, it’s not the “next big thing.”

    Liked by 1 person

What'd you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s