Friday, February 23, 2018

After The Rain Episode #07 Anime Review

You know nothing about me.

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)
With last week's episode serving as a tool in propelling After the Rain down a much more depressing path, it's needless to say that this week's installment must find a way to ride on its coattails. Now that Kondou has seriously begun to question his involvement with Akira (As well as reawaken some feelings of his past), the idea of a 'happy ever after' for these two seems like nothing short of a pipe dream. Well, at least that's what I thought to myself before coming into this episode. Afterward? I'm not so sure anymore.

It's easy to expect that the first interaction between Akira and Kondou after his dejected and mysterious departure will be a bit awkward, to say the least. Well, at least its awkward for him. Akira continues to be Akira and shrugs it off as the manager basically just having a bad day or something. But when she approaches him at work with the intention of striking up a simple (Albeit slightly romantic) conversation, he shuts her down with a cold "You know nothing about me" line that pretty much sends her spiralling out of control. By 'out of control' I don't mean that she goes all Sekai from School Days but instead suffers a bit of a slow, mental breakdown. This ultimately causes her to show up at Kondou's apartment in the middle of a typhoon and bawl her eyes out in his living room.

Here, before a lonely 45-year-old man, we have a cute 17-year-old girl in hysterics because the former isn't head over heels in love with her. And this isn't to say that Akira expects love- it's actually quite the opposite. Battered by her own thoughts of how she might be a burden on him, Akira begins to question her own sanity and whether or not she's good enough for Kondou. However, instead of letting the typhoon distinguish the withering flame of romance, Kondou dumps gasoline all over it and- OH MY GOD THEY'RE HUGGING. Ahem, please excuse me. I just wasn't ready for that emotional, poetic and only slightly-disturbing moment we just had the pleasure (?) of seeing.

When I say "emotional and poetic," I'm really not exaggerating. The entire scene with Akira breaking down in Kondou's house is the most powerful one in all of After The Rain- at least thus far. Backed by an inner monologue that seemed to be ripped straight from the pages of some landmark in classical literature, Kondou's change of heart, which had prompted him to hold the near-broken girl, creates a scenario that may very well turn this entire series on its head. Up until now, he's been able to establish a sort of physical barrier between them. But now that the barrier has been demolished, there isn't much preventing Akira from falling further in love with him and- more perhaps even importantly, him with her.

Oh, and I predicted that whole 'Kondou's wife wrote the book' thing. Yeah, yeah...I know it wasn't a very impressive prediction but it was a prediction nonetheless. And if we're following the same pattern of me calling the shots, he's going to spill the beans to Akira next. Well, at least if she doesn't contract pneumonia from the manager and end our series four episodes early.

In Summary: 
The seventh episode of After The Rain is a fantastic follow-up to the melancholic sixth one. The series takes a dramatic, emotional turn when the physical barrier between Akira and Kondou is broken. And while said barrier is soon to be rebuilt and reestablished, the impact of its momentary deterioration is sure to not fade. The series can only get more emotional from this point on and, at the rate we're going, I still think it's rather unlikely that we will see a happy ending.

Episode Grade: A-
Streamed By: Prime Video

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