Friday, January 26, 2018

After The Rain Episode #03 Anime Review

What a good thing we lose.

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)
Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that after just three episodes, After The Rain has wandered into the territory that I previously feared it would avoid. With Akira's curiosity of her own feelings and a mix of adolescent lust, we've been literally thrust into the beginning of a forbidden romance between a divorced 45-year-old man and a 17-year-old schoolgirl that will be essentially inescapable from this point onward. Hell, Akira even went as far as confessing a second and third time just to make sure that we couldn't revert back to how things were in the first episode. But before we get into the romantic aspect of the show, it's important to first explore the other half of this episode- being as it's just as (If not more) important than the lovey-dovey section. That half, of course, is the impact that losing everything had on Akira's life.

This week's installment of After The Rain begins with a relatively despondent Akira, confused at how her half-confession from the night before would impact her relationship with Mr. Kondou. But in the midst of her sorrow comes an old acquaintance from the track team that strips her from her sadness and invites her back to watch them practice. Reluctantly, Akira returns to the track, but what she finds isn't solace- it's regret. Memories of her time belonging somewhere come flooding back in the form of flashbacks and montages. The feelings weigh her down as soon as they arrive, playing hell upon her already wandering mind. With only half of a goodbye, she leaves the track and wanders off into the rain in one of the most beautifully executed and thought-provokingly silent moments I've seen in recent memory.

When she arrives back at the restaurant, the silence breaks. She confesses again, this time leaving Kondou in the dust as she disappears back into the fog. It isn't until the next day that he's able to confront her about everything.

Desperate to, you know, not be a pedophile, Kondou tries reasoning with Akira. He goes on to talk about how there's no way the two of them can be together because of how everyone around them would see it. But Akira, being the headstrong gal she is, refuses to back down. In fact, she seems to get more even into the whole romance thing with every single reason Kondou throws her way. What's most interesting about all of this, however, is that she doesn't see anything wrong with it. In fact, it's like she refuses to acknowledge that their age gap is even remotely unusual. Kondou, of course, doesn't know how to handle this apart from blushing like a maniac and forcing himself to awkwardly look away every four seconds. At the end of the day, it's clear to see that being with Akira is making him feel young again. And with just how close he is to succumbing to temptation after just one day of this, I think it's easy to see how this relationship may end up several weeks from now.

In Summary:
The latest episode of After The Rain is met with a level of poeticism previously untouched by the other two installments. Kondou becomes more than just an aloof and out-of-touch old man, adding a layer or two to him that places him only several steps down from Akira. The shift in After The Rain from just last episode to this one is almost palpable, completely changing the tone of the series. And given just how much I've been looking forward to that tonal shift, it's hard to skip out on praise for episode three. If this level of quality can be reiterated in the weeks to come, it will be easy to place After The Rain at one of the top slots of Winter 2018.

Episode Grade: A
Streamed By: Prime Video

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