These last few episodes played out pretty much exactly as I had predicted. Our two main characters fall back in love with their passions and follow their dreams. They’re going to go their separate ways, and they’ll meet again. Probably. The ending left it a little ambiguous for fans so they could create their own theories and interpretations.
In the end, Akira has decided to go back to track and field. She most likely quit working at Garden and placed herself into rehab and is going to work her way to recovering so she could return to the team. The subject kept presenting itself to her when she had the career path paper to fill out, and Yuto asking Akira for help with running. Giving her wise words he learned from his father about never giving up, and with Kondo (kind of) giving her a little push, Akira made her decision. I say kind of because Akira mostly made the decision on her own, but Kondo sprinkled some great words of advice throughout the story so he was encouraging her without even knowing her full situation, which was last episode. In the end, she exchanges her own promise with Kondo, about…I’m not entirely sure?
After they complete their promises (finishing the novel, being part of her school’s team) they’ll meet up later in the future and: fall in love, date, marry, or just continue to be friends? The imagined embrace, which I’m pretty sure was Kondo’s perspective, makes it seem like he did fall in love with Akira and he meant that when they meet again, after maturing and accomplishing their goals, they can start a relationship?
So they both were in love with each other, I guess.
The ending itself was fine, but was lacking for me with some things. We got some flashback scenes of Akira and Haruka when they were younger, but I think those would have fit well in other episodes. The side characters ended up being pretty one dimensional. And the romance was never touched on ever again, which I’ll talk about in a bit. This ending was probably the best and only ending we could have gotten, so in that sense it did a great job but I felt like it lacked in execution.
After the Rain took a big shift in the second half. It had started with a taboo romance and made viewers curious how things were going to play out. I had admitted to being wary of the anime because of the premise, but had fallen for how mature and pure they were handling the subject matter. Akira’s girly happiness when she took another step further in forming a relationship with Kondo was adorable and made me smile, and I liked Kondo a lot because he never took advantage of Akira and took note of the taboo relationship. It wasn’t until the second half, when the show completely disregarded the romance and went for the “follow your dreams” plot, where it sort of started losing steam. The episodes still had a great quality to them, and I really did enjoy watching these two people get up and follow their dreams they had let go of. They both supported each other and encouraged the other, and they both shared a sweet friendship. What I think bothered me, and other people, was the romance disappearing. The episode with Kase mentioned Akira falling in love with Kondo because she latched on to him after her injury, making it seemed like she really wasn’t in love with him, and I agreed. I had thought in the finale, Akira would have gone over her feelings once more and realized that, yes, she did do just that. She could have admitted to Kondo that the only reason she had fallen for him was to keep herself from falling into a deeper depression. HOWEVER, in the end she really did fall in love with him because he was always there to encourage her and cared about her. That’s basically the reason why Kondo (probably) fell in love with Akira too.
The show started off as a romance, but finished as something else. I’m not saying I didn’t like the subject matter of the second half, because I enjoyed it, but when you present yourself to be a romance show, you should keep the romance in there. Giving the characters room to breathe and letting them build their friendship is a great thing, but leaving out the romance in the end throws it off for me. Unless their promise to each other in the end was romantic, but again it was pretty ambiguous. I think this is what is bothering me the most, but because of that “promise” in the end, I also felt the ending to be a little rushed.
Other issues were the side characters being a little boring and one note, because most of the screen time was spent on both Akira and Kondo. But, I liked Akira and Kondo’s characters, and their interactions with each other were sometimes so incredible and heartwarming. The apartment scene with the hug still lingers in my mind because of how amazing it was. Even with the plot switch, it was great to watch them help and encourage each other to follow their dreams. Kondo’s issues were incredibly realistic, and it shows no matter how old you are, and where you are in your life, you can still accomplish your dreams. His feelings of being old, how could anyone love me, how can someone like me write novels, I’m sure many people have those same issues, and it was great to see an anime touch on something like this! Having the spotlight on an older anime character is rare, and Kondo’s journey was a treat.
The animation and music were gorgeous and the direction was genius from beginning to end. It may not be perfect but I’m glad Wit Studio can make shows like these! I really liked this show a lot, particularly loving the first half more than the second. I felt like the second half lost a little bit of its quality and was rushing some scenes, but it was still a sweet little story of two people using their love for each other (romantically/platonically) to aid each other in difficult times, giving them the strength they needed and accepting them for who they are. It was a lot of fun to watch, and I wonder how their going to tackle the live action movie? 😮