The fourth episode of After the Rain ends with two movie pamphlets. They’re both from the same movie. They’re also from two different circumstances to Akira Tachibana. The first time, her attendance was coerced. The second time, it was freely given.
Yet she cannot tell the pamphlets apart.
She laments that they’re “Definitely not the same” but with her personal context removed, they’re identical.
On premise alone, After the Rain is a contentious series. Following a potential budding romance between 17 year-old former track star Akira Tachibana and her 45 year-old divorced boss, nearly every discussion of After the Rain is prefaced with the admission that this show won’t be for everyone. It’s a series that’s approached with varying amounts of faith, with good reason.
Kondo’s reaction and response to Akira’s repeated romantic confession at the end of Episode 3 leaves much to be desired, but is still toeing that very fine line — albeit less deftly than in previous episodes — rather than crossing it outright. With so much talk around what the series is doing, or hasn’t done yet, I want to draw attention to an example of a similar situation handled near-perfectly, with sincerity and genuine attraction from both parties: the relationship between Audrey Horne and Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks.