Vagaries and rain encompasses all things in After the Rain. Both not managing to find a solidified interpretation in certain scenes that I found unnecessarily convoluted. You know what I think? I think it’s fine to be ‘artsy’ but I don’t think you should do it in the vain of concise writing. Managing to find a healthy medium is difficult and, often times, impossible. You shouldn’t aim for perfection but you should land as close to it as possible.
Those are my thoughts in the grand scheme of things but let me go little-by-little as to how I came to this conclusion. At the very beginning, I was impressed. Akira was one of the best characters I had seen in awhile. Everything she did, the way she acted was very organic and, at the time, it didn’t feel like her personality was dominated by any prerequisites. She didn’t need to act like something or someone else to appeal to a certain demographic or be tailored to fit a common story idea. She felt like her own person! Not a strong-suit within the anime industry nowadays.
To specify, she moved and acted according to what we were told how she felt. They depicted not just by showing a blushing expression on her face but we got to see her re-imagining the imprints left by Kondo, her love interest. She’d caress and feel the shape of her body in the area where he touched her. Hey man, I know how that feels and it’s a lot more wholesome than you think! Getting over-excited for recieiving Kondo’s phone number is another tiny element that causes someone’s heart to skip a beat. All these details don’t give her a ‘reason’ but love is not about having a reason. This anime details that well enough whereas in some instances it feels like romance has to be this perfectly written structure that almost doesn’t feel like “romance” at that point. Just an algorithmic formula made to appease certain demographics.
She had interests outside of things that were super plot oriented. In episode 2, she was talking with ‘Bad Haircut’ girl about things that “make their hearts flutter”. Now, ‘Bad Haircut’ girl does some bad haircuts (despite having a cute aesthetic in general) but it is nice to see her have some character in the form of being someone who clearly loves to eat sweets. Akira has a broader scope of interest in the form of: Pink daisies, black and white cats, sandals with ribbons and rose-scented hand creams. I don’t think any of this comes into play. I’d like to think that they subtly dressed her up during one of her dates with sandals with ribbons and wore a shirt with a black and white cat on it but I don’t remember that being the case. It’s still nice to know she has interests outside of Kondo’s salami. Just a missed opportunity.
Speaking of Mr. Kondo, I fucking hated him at the very start. I didn’t much care for him, as a character, because he was not remotely believable. He was supposed to be this adult that was… I guess had a younger identity than his age would suggest. But he just didn’t make sense. Like not knowing that girls paint their nails; you can’t expect me to believe he went 4o-years without this basic knowledge. Nor can you expect me to believe he acts this idiotic. Now imagine my surprise when he ends up being the best character in the show.
To summarize what happened: Everything seemed like a theme for human growth.
Akira’s side of the story just seemed like she was deadpanning her way into every problem, looking for Kondo for advice and listening to whatever he says. She hardly seemed emotionally invested from anything in particular. There was one scene where she raised her voice at Kondo because his advice, at the time, was one she didn’t want to listen to. Ultimately, she didn’t do anything. And when she did, it was unnecessarily obscure. There were multiple times where she would text either Kondo or her on-off best friend and it would immediately cut to the recipient right before she’d even text it to them. Yeah, it’s a very small and negligible detail for me to criticize but I was pleading for her to do ANYTHING in the second half of the show! And I wanted to SEE her do it… I’m obsessing over nothing but fucking hell she was so boring! She did turn out to be such an unoriginal character that I sorely do not like. But on top of that, she was uninteresting.
I did like her in the final episode. It brought back some of the nuance she had originally with her training Kondo’s son how to run- which was so refreshing because it showed a much more animated side of her. If she wasn’t so static and passive throughout the series this could’ve been a lot better.
What kept me going was learning more about Kondo and his love for literature. More importantly, his love for writing and exemplifying his relationship with Chihiro to compare and contrast their friendship alongside the friendship of Akira and runinng girl.. Her name is Haruka, I think. The issue was that Kondo and Chihiro had more realized ideas and interesting concepts especially behind their diverted paths that it just immediately became a hell of a lot more interesting to follow than Akira and Haruka.
Despite me somewhat ending it with interest in how Kondo’s life turned out (I suppose with how they ended it they want you to assume that he became a successful writer.) It wasn’t a major selling point. And virtually nothing else happened, therefore, not much to talk about. It was pretty slice-of-life. Bad haircut girl presumably became a hairdresser and married bad haircut guy. Best girl waitress died single and alone because nobody appreciated her inner beauty. Dick cook just phased out of the show entirely so I don’t even have an idea as to how his life took shape. You probably remember him because he was supposed to be the ‘handsome’ guy but, for the life of me, I do not remember what he did. He was either a dick to Akira for a moment but it didn’t go very far. Or he forced her on a date (kind of dick-ish anyways) and they just used that as an excuse to contrast how Akira was willing to prepare for a date with Kondo than a date with dick cook. Who else was in this? I’m thinking about this as I type and I generally leave it in there cause I think it’s funny so… Get used to it.
Oh yeah fucking Akira! Uh, it seemed like she ‘eventually’ ended up with Kondo and was a runner? Like I said at the beginning, this show is filled with vagaries; the end had some symbolism and didn’t quite make sense in reality but how I read the conversation was basically:
Kondo: I’m gonna write. Can’t fuck you right now cuz’ I gotta focus on this shit..
Akira: Yeah, I’ll focus on running. You do that.
Me: Why not just… Fuck and focus on your individual goals?
Writer: Fuck you! It’s more romantic this way. Also, i’m being vague whether or not they end up with each other cuz’ fuck you.
Me: Oh now that I have you here… What’s the metaphor behind the ‘rain’? I originally thought that it rained every time Akira was sad but you kind of proved that wasn’t the case. Is it, like, just a coincidental thing that they happen to have…. Specific kinds of conversations during the rain and they, like, resolve them and when they get resolved the rain stops? Couple of answers would be nice…
Okay well, not a fan. I definitely think it was lacking a lot of things to begin with but it also didn’t manage the things it was trying to do very well. The characters were very inconsistent. I don’t even entirely know if my interpretation of the show is remotely what the creator intended. I’m just gonna throw this mess out there and hope to receive some more put-together thoughts.