After the Rain, Vol. 1

By Jun Mayuzuki. Released in Japan as “Koi wa Ameagari no You ni” in two separate volumes by Shogakukan, serialized in the magazine Big Comic Spirits. Released in North America by Vertical Comics. Translated by Jocelyne Allen.

In general, when reviewing manga that involves a relationship between a young girl and a much older guy, I have been pretty wary. This is because for the most part it’s either had the older guy be a replacement father who ends up with his adopted daughter, a trope I can’t stand, or the guy exists in a position of power over her, such as the classic student/teacher romances that litter shoujo manga. But After the Rain’s restaurant manager and waitress is not all that big of a power imbalance. In addition, the discomfort involved in such a relationship seems to be the point with this series – Masami is well aware that Akira is still only 17 years old, and that he is 45. What’s more, the audience sees that Akira is desperately searching for a purpose in life after an injury forced her to quit sports. Is this romance just a passing thing?

I’d mentioned that Akira’s face on the cover reminded me a lot of School Rumble’s Yakumo. It gets even worse when I read the series itself, as Masami is a very close match to Captain Goto from Patlabor. It feels a but like I’m reading someone’s AU crossover fanfic. That said, behind the character designs is some very pretty art and deft panel work, and you can see why this title won awards when it was coming out in Japan. Akira starts off dealing with her crush and trying to hide it, but resolves herself to confessing fairly quickly – especially for a series like this. That leaves the latter half of this omnibus for us to see how Masami (entirely referred to as “Boss” throughout by Akira, in case you wanted the power imbalance shoved in your face) deals with it – as he is very well aware what the world would think. That said, he’s not exactly unattracted to Akura either.

The audience is helped by Akira’s other romantic options, which range from pathetic (her hopeless male classmate) to loathsome (the playboy chef, who blackmails her into going on a date with him, smugly creeps on her throughout fully knowing she dislikes it, and straight up says that he feels that her love for the manager is not going to work out. The fact that he’s likely right about the last one is particularly galling, and nicely sets up the audience to root for the couple despite the age difference – we want them to prove this smug ass wrong. Unfortunately, I really don’t think Akira is in a position where romance is good for her right now. A scene where she sees her track friends running and having fun, and flees in raw shame and self-hatred when they try to resume their friendship – shows she’s in a very delicate place now. I think Masami knows this – so what does he plan to do about it?

We’ve got four more omnibuses to go, so I think the drama will play out for a while to come. What’s more, this apparently was made into an anime at some point, so I think most readers are well ahead of me in knowing what happens. Still, this was good solid seinen drama, deftly handling an uncomfortable subject. I want to see what happens next.

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.

Speak Your Mind