Friday, March 9, 2018

After The Rain Episode #09 Anime Review

We're not friends- we're classmates.

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 off, before we get into anything, I want to say that this week's episode really had me going for a second. I'm not sure if its because I was so desperate for my prediction about Chihiro to be correct or if the director is just a top-tier bait-and-switcher, but for a few minutes I was reasonably convinced that Kondou's ex-wife had undergone sexual reconstruction surgery and had become a man. I can now assure everyone that this DID NOT happen and that Chihiro is NOT Kondou's ex-wife (Damn unisexual names). He's just Kondou's best friend from when he was in high school like five-hundred years ago. Kondou's ex-wife is actually named Midori- and she apparently was also part of their friend group and club.

Chihiro is rather...eccentric, to say the least. He's loud-mouthed, flamboyant, and surprisingly wise. He's also hammered throughout our entire meeting with him and it's hard to say for sure if this had any impact on his character. Regardless, the chemistry between him and Kondou is that of...well, old friends. They waste no time reverting to old habits even though it's been ten years since they've seen each other. And despite the distance that has so obviously plagued them, their relationship remains almost entirely untarnished and was one of the most consistently entertaining exchanges in all of After The Rain. However, this isn't the only reunion we're graced with this week.

Yes, I know, calling the festival hang-out session between Akira and Haruka a 'reunion' isn't entirely accurate. But, in a sense, it's hard to describe the outing as anything else. The fact is, these two characters have not really had a significant chance to rekindle their relationship at all thus far. And just when things are finally looking up (And Haruka is finally starting to show off her yuri side), they take a significant turn for the worse. After catching wind of Akira's crush on Kondou, Haruka freaks out and spews that whole, "You never talk to me anymore!" spiel that is typical of sixties TV sitcom housewives. Akira responds with the even more typical, "Well, you never ask!" and now, all of a sudden, we're in an episode of I Love Lucy. And even though I'll poke fun at how it sounds on paper, this scene was definitely one of the more impactful ones thus far and was easily the highlight of Haruka's [semi-unnecessary] character arc.

At the end of the day, we have two friendships displayed in different manners. One pairing was suffering their first true struggle while the other was regaining lost bonds that had weakened over extensive time apart. The way these two bonds connect, however, is that they sort of can't exist without each other. Kondou winds up getting all poetic again and goes over this with Akira at the end of the episode, basically promising her that what she has/had with Haruka will never go away. And as the two stare off into a suspiciously large moon, the episode comes to a close and we're left with some sound advice that causes us to think back on all the friends we don't talk to anymore- which, in my case, is pretty much all of them. Sad face.

In Summary: 
Following a rather uneventful week with episode-eight, episode-nine turns up the volume and manages to introduce a brand new character while still giving ample time to two separate, yet relative plot lines. With Akira and Haruka's relationship reaching an all-time low, there is now a conflict in our protagonist's life just as large as figuring out how to bag an old man. Before we wrap this up, however, I want to point out that the artwork in this episode (Particularly the detail in the izakaya scene) is a cut above the rest and is truly a sight to behold. The level of realism this series is capable of portraying is significantly more impressive than I imagined it would be. Overall, the ninth installment of After The Rain is one you'll want to keep a close eye on when attempting to evaluate the series as a whole. It has a lot to say- and it says it well.

Episode Grade: A-
Streamed By: Prime Video

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