Friday, January 12, 2018

After The Rain Episode #01 Anime Review

I'm sure it'll stop raining soon.

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.

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
First and foremost, I want to personally thank Amazon for closing the lid on Anime Strike. Now that people are actually capable of watching their licensed shows without a double-layered paywall, I'm sure that we'll have shows like After The Rain reaching a wider demographic of people. Unfortunately, for a series as niche as this, I still can't imagine that being a very large number.

As I'm sure you've read in the description, After The Rain focuses on the relationship between Akira Tachibana, a seventeen-year-old high school student, and her manager at a local diner. This manager, however, is a divorced forty-five-year-old man old enough to a be the father of Akira herself. But despite this incredibly taboo and overwhelmingly unique premise for a shoujo series, After The Rain's pilot episode comes off as very innocent. Of course, we're only twenty minutes into it so it's hard to ascertain the path it is starting toward -- at least without any pre-existing knowledge of the manga it is adapted from.

Almost immediately after the show kicks off, we're greeting by a refined take on late 90's Sailor-Moon esque visuals. The necks are long, the eyes are bright, and every male character looks like they accidentally walked into a room they weren't allowed to enter. But despite such light visuals, and a color palette to match, After The Rain is actually quite pretty. The background are phenomenal and those floating light orbs you always see in romance series are done rather well. I was worried going into this that the visuals wouldn't be able to keep up with the story. Funny enough, episode one gifted me the exact opposite.

You see, not much happens in the introductory chapter of After The Rain. Simply put, it's twenty minutes or so if exposition and character introductions. Akira comes off as a sort of despondent, angsty teen with the heart of a child while Kondou, on the other hand, possessing the 'everything' of a child. He's a clumsy, oblivious restaurant manager who's really just trying to do his best. Of course, thanks to his persona, no one in the diner really takes him all that seriously. In fact, the only one who does take him seriously is Akira- but she takes him so seriously that she literally smells his clothes. Yeah, that's a thing that happens. It's weird.

At the end of the day, After The Rain is a little different than I imagined it would be. I expected more drama right off the bat, but the picture that was painted was more of a comedic romance than anything else. I'm hoping that some more serious undertones will squeeze their way in soon, but I'm not going to amp up my expectations any more than I already have. After all, that's what I did with NTR- and we all know how that turned out.

In Summary:
After The Rain presents a taboo premise in brightly colored retro-shoujo splendor. With a fantastic soundtrack (Including a phenomenal ending song by Aimer) and gorgeous backdrops, the series has marked itself as unique very early on. The only challenge is going to be taking that niche, age-gapped romance and carefully detailing it without crossing too many 'lines.' Personally, I hope those lines are crossed. I know they won't be, but it will keep me excited if I can keep my hopes up. Overall, I'd say this was an interesting first episode- at least in terms of the characters. Would I call it a must watch? No, not right now. But several episodes down the line, who knows? This is a series we're just going to have to feel out as we go.

Episode Grade: B-
Streamed By: Prime Video

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