I’m not sure what to make of After the Rain. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good story, but its main hurdle, at least for me, was being able to relate to teenager Akira Tachibana. Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t have much of a personality in this first volume that I didn’t really feel like I got to know her beyond her cold stare and dreamy gazes. There were instances where a former, bubblier personality shines through, but she’s most likely fighting through some depression after having suffered an injury that’s taken her off the track team. Her escape from reality has her crushing on a 45 year-old restaurant manager though I’m not sure if that’s a realistic interpretation. Tachibana isn’t one to talk much and while a good chunk of the story is told from her perspective she doesn’t share much inner dialogue. So it falls to the supporting cast to help set the stage, and they do a good job. From the cranky coworker to Yoshizawa who’s got a visible crush on Tachibana. They all play their parts to help support the story.
However, once Restaurant Manager Masami Kondo takes on a more prominent role it’s his viewpoint that really helps to flush things out. His inner dialogue is also very amusing as he attempts to keep a love-struck teenager at bay! He is “old” and “undesirable” after all. Kondo is the epitome of the nice guy who finishes last and throughout the story I sometimes actually want him to reciprocate Tachibana’s affection as it feels like he deserves that small victory! Herein lies the missing connection between these two harbored souls and why I think that this is where After the Rain’s strengths truly shines. This is a real story with real human emotions which are subtly played out. There’s no over dramatization. No grandioso showboating. They are simply just two people trying to find their way in life, and while societal pressures are keeping them apart for now it looks like they may be making hard decisions in the future. After the Rain has peaked my interest enough that I’ll be picking up the next volume in order to see if there’s truly a rainbow at the very end of the storm.
For those who may want to check out stories with similar no-easy-answer themes I’d also recommend checking out My Boy, The Bride Was a Boy Manga, or My Brothers Husband Manga Volume 1 as all three deal with the pressures of going against societal norms.
Akira Tachibana is a reserved high school student who was the star of the track and field team but had to quit when she got injured. Sidelined and depressed, Akira stops in at a family restaurant one rainy day, and after the manager—a 45-year-old man with a young son—serves her free coffee, she is smitten, and soon takes a part-time job at the restaurant. Despite the age gap, Akira is drawn to his kind nature, and finally decides to tell her manager how she feels… but how will he react?Add to CartLearn More