TL;DR – Life can be a struggle no matter what your age but inspiration and revelation always comes from the heart.
Review (warning: spoilers)
After The Rain (aka Koi wa Ameagari no You ni) is an anime that explores the need for purpose in life, and how one can sail listlessly without it. It seeks to show that no matter what our age, whether it be teenage or adult years, we can all struggle for direction.
Akira Tachibana is an attractive 17-year old high school student. Her passion in life was athletics, and she was considered the ace of her sprint track team until one day she suffered a serious injury to her leg and subsequently gave up on running.
Masami Kondou is a 45-year old manager of the Garden Cafe. A kind man and good host, he is often perceived as too timid by his employees. Divorced with a young son, Masami’s passion lies in literature. He used to write novels in college with a friend, who went on to be an accomplished author while Masami ended up being a restaurant manager.
When Akira starts working at the Garden Cafe, she develops a crush on Masami. And though Akira wants to confess her feelings, the anime never crosses the line nor fully examines the appropriateness of such an attraction between two people with such a large age gap.
Instead, we discover that the pair are somewhat like kindred spirits even though they are in different stages of their lives. The supporting cast of characters bring their own insecurities and idiosyncrasies to the table, showing that we are all searching for meaning.
The light humour is mixed with the subtle examination of some serious themes including depression, loss and emptiness that comes from vanished hope. Rain is a motif throughout and symbolises many of the emotions that run inside the characters when on the outside they can appear stoic.
Don’t expect this to be a comedy-fest or an anime driven by action. This is a slow burn that is thought provoking and touching when looked at in the right light. And that ends up being the central message of the series.
There will always be the promise of sunshine after the rain.
7.5 out of 10