After the Rain
by Gabriella Ekens,
How would you rate episode 5 of
After the Rain ?
Last week, our problematic potential lovebirds had their first date, which mostly consisted of the two sitting in silence and ruminating on how the experience was making them feel. Following this exercise in self-reflection, Akira seems to have realized just how little she knows about the man she desires. So when the opportunity arises to take a covert look around his bachelor pad, she takes it—even though it means hanging out with his young son.
Mind you, this isn't as melodramatic as I'm making it out to be. Akira and Yuta get along well already, and she doesn't feel weirdly competitive about the man she likes having a child from a previous relationship. It's still a breach of Kondo's personal boundaries that Akira hangs out in his apartment while he's away, but given the context of her looking after his son, he seems more understanding for the moment. Regardless, this episode definitely represents an escalation in her behavior towards him.
This all starts when Yuta shows up at his daddy's workplace unexpectedly with a little buddy – a hamster named Tsubu. Unfortunately, it's Kondo's day off, so the staff all hold a round table about what to do with his kid. In the end, Akira volunteers to escort him to his dad's place – an act entirely devoid of ulterior motives, I'm sure. But seriously, Akira is using this as an opportunity to visit her beloved out of the blue. When he turns out to also be absent from his apartment, she decides to just scope out his living quarters behind his back. Not creepy at all.
What follows is perhaps the most awkward the show has gotten, as Akira finds herself in a (PG-rated) Blue Velvet situation where she gets to observe Kondo's behavior in secret. When he gets back, Yuta decides that he'll “surprise” his father with Akira's presence, so he shoves her in the closet to be revealed later. While in hiding, she ends up overhearing their conversation and learns a little more about her beau's life. In keeping with this show's tone, it's nothing too scandalous—Kondo is a kind father (and still susceptible to pushiness in domestic situations) and he likes to read. While we've known about his bookishness for a while, Akira is just now finding out, so this may be the first truly personal bit of information she's learned about the guy. Unfortunately, it gets too hot and heavy in the voyeur-zone, so Akira must dramatically escape to keep from passing out from heat stroke. Kondo subsequently realizes that his son has not spontaneously learned how to navigate Tokyo by himself or make a serviceable rice omelet.
So yeah, that's awkward. Kondo's surprised, as he should be, but he honestly doesn't seem that concerned by the fact that this girl used his son to get into his house and spy on him. It's within the bounds of Kondo's established willingness to be pushed around, I guess, but it's really becoming clear now that Kondo does not understand what he's getting into with Akira at all. We learn later that Kondo assumed this whole thing was over following their unbelievably awkward “date,” indicating that he really hasn't accepted the true nature of the young woman who's fallen for him. That will come with time, I'm sure, but I wonder whether the revelation of her obsessiveness will lead to greater attraction on his part or greater repellence.
Complicating everything further, Yuta manages to spill tea all over Akira in his attempt to revive her, so she has to change into one of Kondo's shirts. Smooth. This obviously sets her sensuality on fire, while Kondo runs off to the laundromat so as not to mix her clothes with his dirty undies in the apartment washing machine. In the end, this uncomfortable situation turns into a bonding experience when Akira and Yuta have to pick Kondo up from a sudden rainstorm. When Yuta runs off to play with some frogs, Akira openly professes her desire to learn more about Kondo, and he makes that shocked :U face of his right before the show cuts to the next day. I'd probably be more annoyed by his inability to accept that another person likes him if those feelings weren't so intensely relatable and believable.
Overall, this episode was more an intensification of things that have happened before rather than any significant progression forward. (This makes the review fairly easy for me, which is a nice break following the past few weeks of increasingly complicated circumstances.) The biggest development is that Akira has become downright possessive of Kondo. When other employees start showering him with attention over his adorable new hamster, Akira gets pissed and puts a stop to it, even though this change in his relationship with his employees was clearly making the poor guy happy. In her continued naïve disregard for Kondo's feelings, Akira is beginning to display a disquieting selfish streak. (Funnily enough, this is what gets Kondo to actually blush, which tells us something about what he likes in women. Makes sense with his personality, doesn't it?) All in all, After the Rain is approaching its midpoint with the confidence that I've come to expect out of this sublime little drama. Now if only its hero could find a little of that confidence to confront the heroine back.
After the Rain is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Gabriella Ekens studies film and literature at a US university. Follow her on twitter.
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