Things between you two will never work out.
What They Say:
Akira Tachibana is a soft-spoken high school student who used to be a part of the track and field club but, due to an injury, she is no longer able to run as fast as she once could. Working part-time at a family restaurant as a recourse, she finds herself inexplicably falling in love with her manager, a divorced 45-year-old man with a young son.
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Now that Akira’s feelings are out in the open, Kondou walks the fine line between being a respectable adult male and an unlucky cradle-robber. Having accidentally asked her out on a date (Which may or may not have actually been an accident) Kondou reorganizes the schedule at work so that he and Akira both have off on Saturday. Of course, Akira notices this immediately and, without hesitation, pretty much forces Kondou to promise that he will take her out this weekend. He obliges because that is the premise of the series- but with all good premises come several forced conflicts.
The conflict this time around is that Kase (The long blonde-haired cook) is willingly a pedophile, as opposed to Kondou accidentally being one. Kase winds up learning about Akira’s crush on the manager while he was innocently looking through her school textbooks- an incredibly normal thing to be doing during work. Instead of feigning ignorance, however, he tells Akira that he will keep her feelings secret under one condition- she must go on a date with him.
The date gets off to an only slightly-creepy start with Kase taking Akira to the movies. He attempts the stereotypical anime-male mission of using a horror movie in order to scare her into holding his hand. This would have worked for most girls, and I’m sure Kase has succeeded in such multiple times, but he must have forgotten that Akira is unexpectedly badass. She winds up leaving him in the dust, watching the entire film as straight-faced as Sean Connery at a poker table. When the film ends, she even hands Kase some money and tries to bail, clearly uninterested in him. It is here where the episode takes a dramatic shift.
Instead of grabbing the money from her hand, Kase quickly grabs- well, her actual hand. It’s hard to put into words but the manner in which this was animated is actually borderline-jumpscare material. Kase clearly has some impure intentions and is not willing to take no for an answer, forcing her into a nearby cafe. When she attempts to leave, he even follows her into an alleyway- forcefully kissing her on the cheek before being pushed away. Akira handles the entire situation in a relatively surprising manner, not appearing threatened despite being forced into a literal corner by another older male (Though, much younger than her ideal number of 45). At the end of the day, she simply shrugs everything off and allows the anticipation of her real date to well up within her.
When that time finally comes, the clear contrast in which Akira viewed both dates immediately comes to light. From the way she acts to how she dresses, she’s a completely different person. It was actually pretty darn adorable seeing how excited she was to be going on a date with Kondou. On the other hand, Kondou seems to be having a bit of trouble. Despite the date getting off to a light-hearted and innocent start, things take yet another dramatic turn when he notices how young everyone around him is. Kondou essentially leaps out of his seat, telling Akira that they need to leave before starting their voyage home. Along the way, memories of Kondou’s past begin to assail him yet again and the line between his young self and his current self becomes impossible to look past. And while the date comes to a close in a rather unsatisfactory way soon after, a brief, dreamlike sequence shows us what could have been if Akira acted on her emotions once again. But instead, the events of the last few days appear to hold her back from her normal, impulsive-self.
After The Rain maintains its downhill ascent into forbidden love. The introduction of the first major conflict comes on as strong as it needs to be and turns the series on its head, albeit for only a short amount of time. As Kondou’s past continues to haunt his obvious current desires (Along with a slew of other legal issues), it’s not crazy to expect After The Rain to taper off into a series of dramatic and depressing events from this point on. With little to no depreciation in quality thus far, I’m excited to say that this series may be even better than I expected it to be by the end of it.
Episode Grade: A-
Streamed By: Prime Video