Welcome my pandas to the first ever aniblogger collaborative post with the one and only Moyatori-chan!
Yes, you heard that right! This is my first collab post with a fellow anime blogger and I couldn’t be more excited. I had a total blast with Moya and I look forward to working with her more in the future. We decided to do a read along of the manga Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (After the Rain). If you aren’t watching this anime adaptation for winter season let me give you a little recap on what this manga/anime is about:
“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 love with her manager, a divorced 45-year-old man with a young son.
Despite the age gap, Akira wholeheartedly embraces his mannerisms and kind nature, which is seen as spinelessness by the other employees, and little by little, the two begin to understand each other. Although unable to explain why exactly she is attracted to him, Akira believes that a concrete reason is not needed to truly love someone. On a rainy day, she decides to finally tell her manager about how she feels… But just how will he react?”
So far there are 6 volumes of the manga out (translated to English). It looks like 9 volumes is the total number published since November 10, 2017. Moya-chan and I read all 48 chapters in the span of a few days (more like a few hours for me XD). There is also 4 episodes of the anime adaptation out currently as well. The fifth episode will be out on Thursday I believe. Yes! Thursday is the correct day.
The manga series is written/ illustrated by Jun Mayuzuki and a live-action film adaptation will be released in May 2018. The live-action version shall be interesting! That is actually a new tidbit of information I did not know yet.
With this read along Moya and I decided to ask each other five personal questions about the manga. We then gave our responses to each question and then replied to those answers as well. I felt like this was a better way to have a discussion rather than just ask Moya all the questions with no input from myself. You guys already know I always have something to say when it comes to manga and anime 😉
I’ll start with the questions I asked Moya first. Her response will be in the color purple and mine will be in the color blue. *SPOILER ALERT* You may want to use caution here if you plan on reading the manga or just want to continue watching the anime. You have be warned!
What are your overall thoughts/feelings towards the series thus far?
Moya: It’s a consistently charming manga that I enjoyed my time with. The chapters aren’t long, but they were enough to tell the story. I don’t usually read shoujo manga, because I don’t have the heart to see ambiguity, misunderstandings and suspicions go on for tens and hundreds of chapters, but Koi wa Ameagari no You ni just cuts straight to the chase and gives us a confession that both parties acknowledge near the very beginning. I like that about it.
Also, I was exposed to the series through the first episode of its anime. It switches the order of things around (gives us the flashback to when Akira falls in love with Kondou in advance to justify her behaviors), and I think it does that quite rightly. I have a feeling that the anime is actually better than the manga, but I have to see more of the anime to know for sure.
Ayano: I am totally happy that they just cut straight to the chase. Nothing bothers me more than when an anime/manga gets drawn out because the main character can’t decide on their feelings! The same could be said of “harem” anime and the MC can’t just choose one girl. Argh! Let’s get it together people. I was also exposed to the manga due to watching the first few episodes of the anime adaptation. I am so glad I decided to read it though! I really enjoy the chapters being shorter so you can read them fairly quickly. I think a lot of fans could get into this manga based solely on that notion. I think the anime does a beautiful job with the special moments between Akira and Kondou. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. I got similar feelings while reading the manga but seeing some of these moments animated was even better!
What is your take on the theme (a young girl being in love with a much older man)?
Moya: I believe in love! Age gaps can be overcome. This might also be because I’m reading Jane Eyre right now, and I really ship Jane and Mr. Rochester. It bothers me that people look at the old man & young girl combo and jump to accusing Kondou of taking advantage of Akira. I think the set-up creates some nice and complex layers of conflicts to overcome. There’s social judgment, there’s the “what if I’m not good enough” internal struggle, and there’s the power dynamics that exist between them; how they’re inherently unequal because of the whole employer vs. employee thing (especially since Akira actually calls him “boss” even in private).
It’s not that I think the age gap was handled perfectly though. There are moments where I feel like Kondou doesn’t really show enough guilt for what he’s doing. He’s often self-conscious about being old, but he rarely wonders about how Akira could be negatively impacted by their relationship. I don’t think he’s a bad person – I adore lots of the kind things that he does – but I just wish he’d reflect on things more considerately.
Ayano: I definitely agree with your thoughts! I feel like Kondou for the most part doesn’t take Akira seriously and that is why he isn’t showing any regret/guilt for what he is doing with her. Sometimes it takes awhile for these emotions to set in. It’s almost like you have to fully commit to something before you can decide whether it is “right” or “wrong” so to speak. I know I have had to learn my lesson the hard way a few times in my life. In a lot of ways I do believe that “age is just a number” and that love “knows no bounds” when it comes to two people having feelings for each other. Heck, my grandparents are fifteen years apart and that never stopped them from being together, but you also have to face reality when it comes to these types of situations.
Kondou has twenty-eight years on Akira and that could be a very problematic for each party. As you stated Moyatori, both of them would face social stigmas and many internal conflicts because of their large age gap. I love the fact that this manga/anime is exploring this type of complicated relationship because not many people talk about this topic even though it does occur in real life. It is different from the normal relationships you see in other manga/anime. Kudos to Mayuzuki-sensei for having the guts to create this masterpiece!
We see a few moments in the manga/anime where Kondou is brought back to his youth. Do you think Mayuzuki (the author) is hinting at Kondou missing his youth, feeling like maybe he wasted his youth, or that Akira might just make him feel young again?
Moya: Definitely. It’s very much there. He thinks it, feels guilty/embarrassed about it, and tries to convince himself as well as Akira that he’s a really old soul already. There’s also that part where he meets up with his high school friend in the manga. Kondou is moved when he states that they are not just old men but rather “classmates.” I don’t necessarily think it’s wrong for him to long for youth (I would probably too, when I get to his age). There should be more than “she makes me feel young” or “she makes me feel appreciated” to justify their relationship though. That is something I’m still waiting for.
Ayano: I couldn’t help but laugh when Kondou told Akira he is just an old fart with nothing else to give. That he had no more dreams or aspirations. Kondou was basically telling her he has already lived his life and that she had many more years of youth left to go. I feel like Mayuzuki-sensei is nodding at all three of the aspects I mentioned above. Akira makes him feel youthful (we can see this when we get moments of him turning young in the anime). I feel like Kondou has regrets of wasting his youth, especially when he meets up with his old classmate to talk about his book/success as a writer. We find out that Kondou once loved writing but it seems he gave it up quite some time ago. Maybe when he got married or when his son was born? I felt like that part was kinda thrown in there and I hope Mayuzuki-sensei expands more on this with the rest of the series. I would have to agree with you about Kondou longing for his youth. I think I’m going to feel the same way when I’m that age as well!
Does Kase have a point when he states that Akira is only filling the void of not being able to run anymore with the idea of being in love with Kondou?
Moya: Kase was just trying to get a rise out of Akira. In fact, I don’t think the manga did a very good job at making Akira’s leg injury feel significant to the story. All we know is that Akira fell and stopped being close to her best friend (whom I don’t actually care about either). Kondou makes her feel accepted and perhaps optimistic, when he tells her that “the rain would surely stop soon”. If this is all about her leg injury, I think the manga could have shown her exasperation better before giving us this scene. All I feel right now is that the leg injury is only vaguely connected to the rest of the plot.
As for “filling a void” I would have to say I don’t know! If love provides you with what you’re lacking in your life, is that love only there to fill a void? What even is pure and healthy love then? Akira’s feelings for Kondou are caused by his acceptance of and warmth towards her. At one point, she even says that she’s not sure if she’d fall in love with anyone who did what he did for her on that day (offering her coffee/encouragement), but she’s glad that it’s Kondou. I guess you can say that it was infatuation first, but more meaningful love after she starts understanding more about him…or at least, that’s how the manga seems to be framing it.
Ayano: I want to know more about her leg injury as well! I feel like it is only a fraction of the story and really doesn’t have that impactful of a meaning just yet. We even see that younger girl (who is kinda creepily stalking Akira) come back from the same injury and still practices running. I wonder if Akira doesn’t want to run anymore because of some other issue? You can tell she loves running by the way she watches her old best friend/and the rest of the class practice. There has to be a deeper underlying issue at hand. The moment where Akira says she’s not sure if she’d fall in love with anyone who did what Kondou did for her on that day (offering her coffee/encouragement) was a pivotal moment for Akira. It is when (what I’m guessing) she fell in love for the first time. And you know what they say about your first love? You can never forget them!
What are your favorite moments in the manga?
Moya: I enjoyed the two movie dates that mirrored each other. I loved seeing the not-so-subtle differences between how Akira behaves around Kase and around Kondou. She’s a single-minded protagonist and I kind of love it.
Ayano: Great choices! My first favorite moment from the manga is when Kondou looks at Akira on the bridge after their date (she looks so beautiful, and pure, and youthful) that it even makes Kondou stop in his tracks and blush. I feel the sparks! And my second favorite moment is when Akira goes to check on Kondou after he calls in sick because she is really worried about him. When Akira lays her head on his table and starts to cry my heart wanted to burst. Then Kondou pulls Akira to him and gives her that heartfelt hug. I literally DIED!!! I couldn’t even handle the feels I was feeling in that instant. I was like yaaasss! But then of course Kondou had to ruin it with the whole “we are friends” card. Stahp! I don’t know how much more my heart can take. I also really enjoy the drawings of Akira before each new chapter starts. She always looks so elegant and mature! I wanna be like that.
And now the questions Moya-chan asked me!
How do you feel about the rain motif in the series?
Ayano: I adore the rain motif in this series! Rain is a universal symbol in many forms of classical literature. It can be seen as washing away the old and bring in the new. You can also view it as the sustenance of life. I feel like this symbolism can translate across all languages and not just in English. Many writers will use rain to set the tone of their scene or use it to symbolize birth, rebirth, death, and destruction. I feel like rain can have many meanings and the reader can interpret it in any way they deem fit. For me, I feel like in Koi wa Ameagari no You ni it almost brings Akira and Kondou together. Kondou even mentions in one of the scenes that anytime it rains Akira seems to appear. I would like to think that the rain is bringing them closer together.
Moya: I really loved the idea of it as well! Especially how it’s connected to the idea of pain, even though I mentioned previously that I didn’t feel like the leg injury plot was strong enough. I live in a city where it’s constantly drizzling, and I appreciate any attempt to romanticize that. It’s interesting how you said that rain brings them together. I can’t agree more, but isn’t it funny how Akira is always hoping for the rain to stop? Her Yahoo (or whatever) account is even called “Waiting for Rain to Stop-san”, if I recall correctly. Maybe this foreshadows the two going their separate ways in the end, like your prediction further down.
How do you feel about Kase as a whole? Is he a good character foil?
Ayano: Kase’s character seems to be written as the typical “playboy” stereotype. In the manga we get a tiny bit more of a backstory with him verse the anime. I wish they would have put that into the anime as well! In retrospect I don’t think Kase in a terrible person deep down. I think he is struggling to figure where he wants to go in life. He may play it calm, cool, and collective but in reality he has no idea what he wants. Enter Akira. I think there is some fascination with her. She is cold and distant most of the time but when she sees the manager/thinks about him she is a totally different person. Kase seems to be the type to want what he can’t have and I think Mayuzuki-sensei might play off of that in the rest of the series. I feel like Kase is going to play an important role to Akira at some point as well.
Moya: You know, I loved Kase the moment he appeared for like 5 seconds in the first episode of the anime. I love random good-looking side characters. Unfortunately, Mayuzuki-sensei doesn’t seem to want me to love him…dammit, why doesn’t he just stay unimportant? The date part was there to deliberately frame him as a bad person in contrast with Kondou. I was surprised to see more sides of him than that later though, when his “sister” (and his implicit feelings for her) comes into the equation. It’s also interesting that he’s the only one who really knows what’s going on between Akira and Kondou. A confidante?? That might be too much to expect, but I agree with you that Kase might play a more important role later on.
What do you think was a weak point in the series?
Ayano: The only thing I didn’t like in this series were the chapters that focused on Takashi. I understand that sometimes you need to thrown in a side story in order to progress the characters but I think it was kinda unnecessary. I found myself just skimming through these chapters in order to get back to the main story of Akira and Kondou. I wanted more moments of them together!
Moya: Lol…I had to look up who Takashi was. I think of him as Yoshizawa. It seems like Mayuzuki-sensei is aware that he’s kind of insignificant too, as she always starts Takashi chapters with reminders of who he is. I do hope he and Yui get together though…Yui is too sweet to be rejected!
Did you like Akira? How believable/relatable did you find her?
Ayano: I can relate to Akira ten fold. I am a girl who also likes older men. I didn’t start liking older men until I was in my mid-twenties (not seventeen like Akira). So that aspect I can totally relate to! I find her curiosity and longing for Kondou to be very well done in this series. At seventeen you are growing up, exploring your sexuality, trying to be an adult, and making adult decisions, so for her to be fascinated with Kondou isn’t out of the question. It happens with a lot of young men and women. Even though Akira is distant (mainly due to her injury) I like her in this series. I especially love when the manga/anime focuses on her eyes! Akira’s eyes are EVERYTHING! Akira is a young girl growing into adulthood. I think it is only fitting for her to be the way she is. The way she is now allows for her to grow up in the rest of the series. Gotta have that character development!
Moya: I share your opinion entirely. Limited real life experience here, but since I started formally getting into anime (that is, when I was 13), I’ve only ever been interested in male characters who are 20+. When reading the manga, there were so many moments when I felt like…that’s totally me – I’d feel dazed too. Of course, if I ever feel attracted to a much older man in real life, I’d censor those feelings and tell myself to cut it out. Akira seems to not be bothered by this at all. It’s what makes Akira the best protagonist for such a story, in my opinion.
I’m predicting that the manga’s going to let Akira and Kondou get together (you can disagree). How many chapters do you think it will take before it concludes satisfactorily?
Ayano: Personally, I don’t think Akira and Kondou are going to end up together. Yes, in my fan-girl heart I would love to see them be together in the end, but in reality I think it’s going to end up a bit differently. I won’t be surprised if Akira and Kondou have more intimate moments together or even try to date but I don’t think it will last. I feel like this story is going to end up bittersweet. Akira is young, and impressionable (I know I was at that age) but I am not the same person I was ten years ago. I feel like Akira will change over time and so will her taste in love/relationship choices. I’m predicting that Kase and Akira will end up together or Akira will be an independent woman who doesn’t need a man in her life. Only time will tell though!
Moya: It would definitely be painful to read if they go separate ways – I see lots of tragic moments in that route. It would also take many more chapters for all the necessary character development to happen so that things would be somewhat okay in the end. It’s probably the realistic ending for such a story though. If they end up together, I’d be pretty happy. I feel like a happy ending is actually much riskier to write, with such a “taboo” relationship. Indeed…only time will tell.
I’m sad that we could only read up to chapter 48! I want to read more darn it…but the good news is Moya-chan and I will be back to give you guys our final thoughts on the anime once it wraps up. Yippee! *Does a little happy dance*
I hope you guys enjoyed reading our thoughts and take on Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (After the Rain). This was super fun to do! I can’t wait to add more collaborative post in the future. If anyone is interested in doing one feel free to let me know! A big thank you to Moya-chan for doing this with me. It was a pleasure having you on my blog. I can’t wait for out next post. I’ll see you guys on Thursday for my 5th episode review of Violet Evergarden. Cheers! ❤
Disclaimer: All imagery and photos come from searching for them on the internet. I have no claim or right to them.