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Manga / After the Rain (2014)

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A pretty good representation of their relationship.
Akira Tachibana is a 17-year-old high-school student and former track star who ruptured a tendon and has been using her free time to waitress at a casual family restaurant, a job which would be utterly boring if not for the staff's manager, Masami Kondo, a 45-year-old divorcee whom Akira has completely fallen for.
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The story follows Akira's attempts to confront Kondo with her feelings and the way their relationship develops after he realizes she looks at him as more than a co-worker.

It also explores the main duo's relationships with several side characters, such as Haruka Kiyan, a member of the school's track team who feels hurt by Akira's cold, avoidant behavior; and Chihiro Kujou, Kondo's old college buddy and writing partner who has became a successful author in the years since they grew apart.

The manga is notable for how tastefully it handles a subject which could easily come off as creepy or exploitative. It won the 63rd Shogakukan Manga Award in 2018, the year in which it also received an anime adaptation that is available for streaming on Amazon Prime.


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Tropes:

  • Age-Gap Romance: Akira expressed a romantic attraction toward Kondo, who is over twice her age.
  • Amicable Exes: Kondo mentioned that he and his former wife chat about their son Yuuto over the phone.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: While despairing over her injury, Akira tucked into a restaurant named Garden to avoid the rain. Kondo gave her some coffee and showed her one of his party tricks, starting her fascination with him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The manga ends with Kondo finally rejecting Akira outright when she visits his apartment on New Year's day, after which Akira stops working at Garden. Both have obviously grown stronger from the experience, with Akira entering rehabilitation and Kondo working on a new novel, but they never meet again.
  • Bookworm: Kondo is an avid reader.
  • Broken Ace:
    • Akira lost her only passion in life— she was a successful track runner— after hurting her ankle.
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    • Kondo was a motivated writer who gradually sacrificed his dreams for family, only to see that crumble.
  • Burger Fool: Garden doesn't sell fast food, but it's very casual and not a prestigious place to work.
  • Compensated Dating: Discussed; Kondo puts off Akira's advances by saying that people will assume that he's paying for her company if they date. She doesn't care.
  • Could Have Been A Contender: Kondo worked on novels for years, and whether or not he was right to move on is an ongoing question in his life. Akira is developing a similar attitude towards running.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Kondo insists that he sees his relationship with the much younger Akira as a non-romantic friendship. She isn't thrilled about the "non-romantic" part.
  • Jaded Washout: Averted/defied by Kondo. His life didn't go how he wanted, but he tries to be mature about it.
  • Love Confession: The first act is about Akira building up to confessing her attraction toward Kondo.
  • Motifs: Being a track runner, Akira's feet and toes are used symbolically through the series to convey her feelings. She has an ankle injury with its consequent physical and spiritual scar, dances barefoot in the opening while proclaiming innocently her love, later gets a pink pedicure and high-heeled sandals when trying to look pretty to Kondo, and also does a little happy dance in flip-flops to celebrate summer break.
  • Real-Place Background: Both the manga and the anime extensively use locations in and around Yokohama, including train stations, parks and the restaurant itself.
  • Romantic Rain: Akira and Kondo meet for the first time during a rainy day, and from then on their romantic angles involve rainy weather.
  • Oblivious to Love: Kondo suspects something is off with Akira, but doesn't realize that she's attracted to him until it's spelled out for him.
  • She's Got Legs: Akira, and being a former track runner surely helped.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Akira got her job at Garden to get closer to Kondo, who she is infatuated with.
  • Title Drop: The novel Masami's trying to write on is called After the Rain.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Inverted, Kondo's son generally comes to him.
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Akira. The show does focus a lot on her eyes on key scenes.
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