With the advent of rain, chaos ensues.
First and foremost, change happens. Clothes get wet. Streets become swamps. Old wounds ache.
People also experience mode swings – some love the rain while others hate it. But most people belong in the latter. There’s a reason why the phrase “saving up money for a rainy day” implies that the rainy day refers to a future time of need, after all.
The rain generally brings in wistfulness and unexpected developments.
With that in mind, I would like to claim that it’s not a coincidence that the title of Koi wa Ameagari no You ni contains “雨上がり” (ameagari) which roughly translates into “after the rain” (and happens to be the English title for the series). It’s not an accident that the ED,”Ref:rain,” is titled as such. It’s not happenstance that Akira fell for Masami on a rainy day or that the series alternates between that pivotal moment and the scene in which Akira attempts to discreetly sniff the manager’s dress shirt.
Firstly, let’s discuss that particular rainy day which led to Akira becoming attracted to Masami. By “discuss,” I actually mean “speculate” since the viewer has to infer from visuals. I’d like to start off by saying it is likely that particular day was their first meeting since Akira came in as a customer and not as an employee. Again, this is uncertain.
I would also like to claim that Akira was probably trying to figure what to do with her sudden increase in free time. Before she wanders into the café due to the rain, Akira is seen leaving a chiropractic clinic. Combined with the fact that the audience finds out she recently retired from the school track-and-field team, along with the fact that she now has a noticeable scar by her Achilles heel, and it becomes fairly reasonable to assume that Akira was coming to terms with no longer being able to be a student-athlete on that particular day.
For Akira, hearing the results from the chiropractor must have made that particular day gloomy like the rain that was drizzling down. Yet the manager, Masami, cheers her up by providing a free serving of coffee. He even sweetens the deal by performing a magic trick and making some single-use cream manifest since he assumes Akira doesn’t like black coffee. Akira is taken in by this sleight-of-hand, much like how a child would, and also becomes enamored by this older man who acts younger than how he looks and who emits this sort of hapless and helpless aura.
Seeing Akira then pour the cream into the black coffee in turn signifies her newfound decision. She chooses to not brood over the past and what could have been for her in track-and-field. She decides to turn the bitter not as bitter by mixing in something sweeter to make everything a bit easier to swallow. And so Akira finds her eyes fixed on Masami. Love at first meet (?).
But this love is a bittersweet passion. First of all, it’s currently unrequited. Secondly, there’s a very poignant age gap between a high schooler and a middle-aged man. Thirdly, both Akira and Masami will face discrimination and judgment should they do end up together. People will question and mock Akira’s preferences in men while Masami will be labeled as predatory for having a much younger partner.
In fact, Akira’s tastes in guys has already been scoffed at by her friends when she vaguely describes Masami. Her co-workers are also quick to berate Masami as they call him pathetic for bowing too easily and for smelling like an old man. Yet so far Masami hasn’t done anything overly questionable aside from momentarily seeing himself in Akira’s admiring classmate, Takashi. That raises some concerns, admittedly, but the significance of that particular moment remains to be determined.
Once again, this is just speculation, but I do believe there was a reason why the ED is titled, “Ref:rain” beyond just wordplay. The title evokes this sense of melancholy by bringing attention to the word, “rain.” By the way, the word, “refrain,” happens to mean “to stop oneself from doing something.”
And in this episode alone Akira has done so several times. She stops herself from clearing up misunderstandings or making situations clear because she’s aware of what could easily happen if she were to confess. Much like how the OP, “Nostalgic Rainfall,” says, he could treat her as a child or he could try to turn her down kindly and gently.
Small wonder, then, that she seizes for the chance to smell Masami’s dress shirt when he’s not in the room. It’s an act that comes across as both intrusive and shameless; Akira herself makes it apparent she knows how her actions could be considered distasteful when she looks behind her shoulder at the door before she reaches for the dress shirt. Yet it’s the closest she’s ever came to being with Masami because of her reluctance to be honest thus far.
Through Akira’s eyes, a lugubrious mood is set. Through Masami’s perspective, a man is misunderstood by all except for his much younger admirer.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni is about rain. The very premises of the series will surely be controversial from beginning to end. Yet the viewers following KoiAme want to know what will follow the downpour. Will the skies ever clear up?
Or will there just be rain?