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This Week in Anime - Is After the Rain's Forbidden Romance Worth Rooting For?


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Vaisaga



Joined: 07 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:37 pm Reply with quote
Not watching the show, but do they actually treat the relationship as taboo in series? Because in Japan girls can marry at 16 and the age gap isn't really an issue, so I'm wondering if it's just Western sensibilities that's categorizing it as taboo.
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JacobC
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Joined: 15 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:46 pm Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:
Not watching the show, but do they actually treat the relationship as taboo in series? Because in Japan girls can marry at 16 and the age gap isn't really an issue, so I'm wondering if it's just Western sensibilities that's categorizing it as taboo.


Yes, it's regarded as taboo in the series as well. Even if they could legally date or marry (there's not a blanket marriageable age of 16 by the way, that sort of thing depends on where you live in Japan, it ranges from 16-18 and you would need parental approval if under the age of 20), both of them acknowledge that this would be seen as Extremely Creepy by everyone else. Akira doesn't particularly care about this, but Kondo does.
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meiam



Joined: 23 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 1:51 pm Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:
Not watching the show, but do they actually treat the relationship as taboo in series? Because in Japan girls can marry at 16 and the age gap isn't really an issue, so I'm wondering if it's just Western sensibilities that's categorizing it as taboo.


Not taboo but weird. Kondo himself realize that it's not really serious and that he was just at the right place/time. She realize that she shouldn't let other people know but doesn't really seems to think that she's doing anything wrong. They haven't really touched on the power dynamic (there's not much of one though so I don't think it'll really happen). At this point it could still go either way (my bet is that there won't be a resolution).

I love that Usagi drop has just traumatize the entire community that you can just reference it and everyone understand what's going on. I was actually reading the scanlation has it was coming out and definitely had a "WTF!" moment at the ending.
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Greed1914
Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!


Joined: 28 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:02 pm Reply with quote
Vaisaga wrote:
Not watching the show, but do they actually treat the relationship as taboo in series? Because in Japan girls can marry at 16 and the age gap isn't really an issue, so I'm wondering if it's just Western sensibilities that's categorizing it as taboo.


I haven't seen the show either, but I've seen other stories where things that might be legal are still treated as taboo. There isn't anything illegal about the age gap in this instance, but it would still garner a lot of judgment, especially if it is between a worker and manager. You'll see something similar where maybe it's a teacher/student relationship where they might acknowledge their feelings but not start dating until after graduation. I suppose there could be school policies in place against such relationships, but the concern usually seems to be along the lines of, "What will people think?" rather than, "I'll get fired for violating school rules."
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Blood-



Joined: 07 Mar 2009
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Location: Toronto, Canada
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:17 pm Reply with quote
Good discussion. I'm a fan of the show, too. I initially started watching it in a defensive crouch, waiting for The Possible Ickiness to appear, but as the eppies go on, I've been able to relax into a more comfortable posture. The last episode gave hints that Kondo may have hidden aspirations to be a writer (or had them and perhaps gave up on them) so I'm curious to see more about that.
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Dian Z



Joined: 27 Feb 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:18 pm Reply with quote
Well said guys, I especially relate to what's pointed out by Jacob.
Regardless of the already much-discussed-in-the-episodic-review-forum premise, I just love how this show tells, or rather, shows its story. That's basically what a visual art (in this case, an anime, and the manga it's adapted from) aims to do, to communicate through pictures.

It understands well that verbal language is such a limited means of communication, that it offers to communicate and shows its stories and ideas beyond what the verbal language is capable of. Even more so, the subtlety of the depicted pictures (which were presented appropriately beautifully), that it didn't show too much or distractingly too obvious, that it regards its readers/audience as a human being capable of relating to its language of visual beauties.

And now that you guys mentioned it, Akira is indeed not your typical heroine. I was quite surprised to see her straightforward attitude. I'm just glad that we spoiler[weren't to fuss over much whether the heroine would confess her feeling or how hesitant she was about the confession throughout the season. Instead, our story moved forward from her confession earlier in the series.] And her introverted personality that she doesn't talk too much about her feelings to any other characters (or even the audience, as we (almost?) never get to hear her inner monologue) just bring some more realistic depiction of a mostly dramatized personality. I've been pretty tired of listening to a whole lot of inner monologue by an introverted main character complaining just how introverted they are (not that I think it's utterly bad, just tiringly overused).
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Utsuro no Hako



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:31 pm Reply with quote
I'm curious what everyone finds problematic about the story: the underage aspect, or the age gap? From the discussions I've seen, there are some people who would be fine if Akira was simply a year older, and others who would still have a problem with that but be okay if Akira were a 16 year old crushing on supervisor in his early 20s.
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Lemonchest
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:32 pm Reply with quote
Him being clueless about the opposite sex doesn't sound so bad. He is middle aged after all, & it wouldn't be romance if there wasn't an element of house training. Considering the dad in Sweetness & Lightning at times seemed like he just assumed kids raised themselves before his wife died, not knowing what a pedicure is is a minor infraction.

Incidentally, the age gap here is larger than the one in Bunny Drop. Since it's anime & noitamina rather than some kinky late night stuff, I imagine it's more likely to end with one of those "we don't know what the future holds, but we'll continue to awkwardly bumble through our not-quite-committed-romance together" monologues they like doing.
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Blood-



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:33 pm Reply with quote
My initial leeriness was the age gap. Not knowing anything about the source material, I wasn't sure if this was going to be some pandering fantasy for dirty old men like myself.
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Aquasakura



Joined: 01 Jan 2014
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Location: Chesterfield, Virginia, U.S.A
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:59 pm Reply with quote
I have not watch this anime so far ( I have been so behind with this season due to life), however after reading Nick and Jacob's discussion about the anime, I feel like I want to give it a try. In recent times I have come to realization that love is one of my core values, and I enjoy reading or watching stories in which people help each other with their problems and bond in the process.

As for the issue some would have with the premise, I tend to find from my experience that people typically look at these kinds of situations the wrong way as they typically make assumptions about the situation that are not present to begin with. They get easily disgusted and immediately start reacting to it emotionally without first thinking it through. Recently, I have learn that this kind of behavior is known as "moral dumbfounding", or "moral disgust", and apparently there is a link to how easily disgusted people get and their views on morality. I won't go too into it since I think that might risk going off topic, but I find it interesting that the emotion of disgust is tied to how we view and define our moral values.

Anyway, when one gets down to it, the real problems with the situation like the one the show presents isn't necessary out of perverted reasons (because this is a straight up romance, not erotic love or eros), but of the following:

1) Two parties in different stages of life are going through and experiencing things differently from each other and therefore may risk not relating too well with each other in the long term. I think of the theory known as the "stages of psychosocial development" by psychologist Erick Erikson which gives an basic idea of the different stages people go through in life.

2) Getting too close to one's superior and vice versa, be it in terms of romantic relationships or just being friends, can risk upsetting the status in ways that would be problematic. You might have heard of the saying "parents should not be friends with their children until they are grown up and moved out the house." People in authority have to to view their relationships with their inferiors in a professional manner; otherwise they risk loosing their respect and it becomes harder to lead them in whatever they do.
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Brent Allison
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:16 pm Reply with quote
Normally I would be rooting for this couple in order to make a political statement against ageist prejudice, which is still one of mainstream social justice movements' blind spots decades after the conclusion of the Civil Rights Era. With the bait set, I would get into long internet arguments and rants with total strangers over how unfair they dismissed such a relationship out of hand due to their deep-seated biases that helped perpetuate current age-based injustices. Which of course would be a totally appropriate and useful allotment of my limited time on this earth. Rolling Eyes

But no, this time I'm rooting for a couple (age gap or no) because I like the way the story is encouraging the development of both characters as they come to terms with different challenges in their lives together, solidfying their bonds as they lose and then find themselves in the other. Despite expected objections from some in the poststructuralist camp, I like this in the absence of any kind of actually-existing politics.


Last edited by Brent Allison on Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Lemonchest
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:20 pm Reply with quote
Brent Allison wrote:
You know, normally I would be rooting for this couple in order to make a political statement against ageist prejudice, which is still one of mainstream social justice movements' blind spots decades after the conclusion of the Civil Rights Era. With the bait set, I would get into long internet arguments and rants with total strangers over how unfair they dismissed such a relationship out of hand due to their deep-seated biases that helped perpetuate current age-based injustices. Which of course would be a totally appropriate and useful allotment of my limited time on this earth. Rolling Eyes

But no, this time I'm rooting for an age-gap couple because I like the way the story is encouraging the development of both characters as they come to terms with different challenges in their lives together, solidfying their bonds as they lose and then find themselves in the other. Despite expected objections from some in the poststructuralist camp, I like this in the absence of any kind of actually-existing politics.


I usually find the "taboo" side of young woman, older man relationships is less the age gap itself & more the imbalanced power dynamic that it usually represents. Since most of the world (& definitely Asia) sees an age gap in that direction as normal, you either have to go really extreme (as in, GILF territory) or, like here, make the woman not only younger but barely legal. Now if you want to make it a more novel "taboo" romance: keep the age gap, switch the genders & play it straight rather than a Finch's mom scenario.


Last edited by Lemonchest on Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Parsifal24



Joined: 20 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:28 pm Reply with quote
I actually originally was not going to watch this as I did not want to pick up another Senien Romance Anime. I ended up watching and ended up really enjoying it I sure did not expect Wit Studio to put out something this pretty and wistful. Sure the age gap can be a deal breaker at a 28 year age difference conversely Aoki and RIn in Kodmo No Ji Kan only have a 15 year age difference as an Anon on 4chan pointed out in a thread.

While the series also seems permeated with Mono no Aware and a kind of ennui. Between this and My Boy by Hitmoi Takano getting a paperback release in April from Vertical. (Also Vertical is publishing After The Rain under the title Summer Rains so the actual Manga will be available legally in English) . An interesting discussion is afoot and on the horizon also nice Koi Kaze to get a mention that's one of my faveroute Anime of all time.

Oddly enough the couple Akira and Masami remind me of the most is Mei and Yamato from Say "I Love You"


Last edited by Parsifal24 on Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Cordelia LeFay



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:37 pm Reply with quote
It would be one thing to root for an age gap relationship, but this isn't a story about a 30 year old woman in love with a 60 year old man, it's an underage girl who wants to have a relationship with a man 30 years her senior.

I've seen the first four episodes and I would say it's hard to root for their relationship because Akira is still discovering who she is as a person and Kondo, at this point, doesn't relate to her as an individual, but as a father figure.
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Dop.L



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:38 pm Reply with quote
Personally if I'm rooting for anything it's that the show will end with Kondo letting Akira down gently and she manages to move on out of this ridiculous teenage crush.
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