“After The Rain” tells the story of Akira Tachibana, a 17 year old high school student and gifted athlete, whose promising career as a track star is cut short by a debilitating injury. Confronted by the loss of her dreams, Akira withdraws into alienated solitude, One day, after attending the clinic where her injury is treated, Akira takes shelter from a sudden storm in a nondescript roadside café; there, a small act of kindness results in her joining the café’s roster of part-time staff. Eventually, Akira comes to realise that she has fallen in love with the author of that kindness: Masume Kondo, the café’s divorced, middle-aged manager, who is despised as a weakling by his co-workers, and whose own youthful dreams of literary glory have faded into disappointment and despair.
Based on the acclaimed manga series by Jun Mayuzuki, and airing in Japan in early 2018, “After The Rain” is a gently compassionate coming-of-age tale that takes seriously the emotional landscape of its protagonists. With a light, deft touch it explores the themes of disillusionment, unrequited (and unrequitable) love, the loss of dreams, age-related despair, the generation gap, the nature of friendship, and the sources of human resilience. A noted feature of the animation is the way in which – a la Makoto Shinkai – it uses rain, not merely as a plot device, but as a character who interacts with the other players in the drama, driving the story toward its emotionally affecting conclusion.
© Text Copyright Brendan E Byrne 2019. All rights reserved.