Friday, February 16, 2018

After The Rain Episode #06 Anime Review

Window by the Wave.

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)
In the six weeks that I've been with After The Rain, I've gotten rather close to it. Now, I'm not saying it's something I can particularly empathize with, but I've picked up on its queues and patterns and, for the most part, I've figured out how it works. Well, at least I thought I had figured out how it worked. This week's installment sort of turns everything up until this point on its head in a rather unconventional way. Instead of honing in on a flouring relationship and sticking to its lighthearted roots, After The Rain dares to dread a slightly darker path- not in terms of content (We haven't gotten to the super weird parts yet, assuming there even are any) but in terms of the series' tone.

There's a creeping sense of melancholy that follows you throughout all of episode six. With Kondou barely even appearing until the latter half of the episode, the beginning half devotes itself to making sense of the situation between Haruka and Akira. While Haruka has had incredibly minimal screentime up until now (This may even be the first time I've mentioned her by name), we get to see several glimpses into her character and the way she perceives- or even loves Akira, in a sense. I'm not saying this series is going to travel down the yuri road anytime soon- but it's clear that Haruka harbors some level of feeling toward her former track partner that she has a hard time bringing to light.

The dialogue is almost absent from this week's animation, though we do get to spend some time in both Akira and Haruka's shoes, whether it be in the form of flashbacks of montage sequences. The point is, this silence somehow manages to heighten the mood of each scene to a point where the series becomes almost unrecognizable. There isn't much of the quirky comedy we've grown used to -- it's just...quiet. And you'd think that once Kondou comes back into the picture, everything's bound to go back to normal, right? Wrong.

Kondou and Akira cross paths at her local library and quickly lure the viewer into thinking that the tone is about to shift yet again. We bid adieu to the melancholic and forgotten friendship of Akira and Haruka and welcome in the budding one of a young girl and divorced man. And for a moment, the series does revert to its former self- but it really only is for a single moment. From across the room, Kondou's attention is grabbed by a book called "Window by the Wave." As soon as he takes it into his hands, both his mood and the mood of the series take a sharp turn toward a mixture of confusion and somberness. Both he and Akira leave the library and walk in silence the entire way home. Then, without even giving a proper goodbye, Kondou breaks off toward his home, staring down at the book and uttering the name "Chihiro" to himself.

In Summary:
For those of you (Including myself) that aren't familiar with the source material, there is plenty of confusion surrounding the mention of 'Chihiro'. The safe assumption, however, is that this is either the name of his wife or a former lover. Perhaps his wife even wrote the book herself? There's really no way of telling at this point, considering any trace of that name before this point had been non-existent. The one thing we can be certain of, however, is that Kondou has his own issues he must deal with. With several of Akira's already opened up and solved, I'm sure we can expect a heavy dose of single-father in the near future. But until then, we're just going to have to cope with the dramatic change of pace and tone and hope that our forbidden romance may continue to bloom. Unfortunately (At least right now), that's beginning to seem less likely.

Episode Grade: B
Streamed By: Prime Video

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