While the latter half of episode 3 for Koi wa Ameagari no You ni was entirely dedicated to covering new ground, the first part of the aforementioned episode confirmed earlier speculation surrounding previous episodes while providing some insight into Akira’s mindset.
Firstly, Haruka’s downcast face back in episode 1 is revealed to likely be one of guilt. She feels responsible for encouraging Akira to run right before Akira suffers her life-altering injury. She’s also shown to be particularly conscious of Akira’s feelings and actions when their junior more or less drags Akira down to the track in episode 3, as Haruka is the first to ask if Akira’s okay with being at the field again and is the first to notice Akira’s early departure.
Once Akira is down at said field, she’s given a desk to sit at. The smooth, man-made contraption which belongs in a classroom stands out against the “natural”, gritty sand. It marks her isolation and signifies that Akira, who isn’t a student-athlete anymore, no longer belongs down at the field.
This part is grabbing at straws, admittedly, but Akira’s voice is also distinctly lower compared to that of the other track club members’. Furthermore, her hair is longer than their short cuts.
The vocal difference serves to convey how the other girls are naive since they, aside from Haruka, fail to consider how Akira might feel as she watches someone slower than her take her place. Even with her hair tied up as a tomboyish ponytail, Akira comes across as being feminine than the other track girls, which shows up in how often she covers the entire screen, room, and building in sparkles, shines, and stars with the power of her lustful, heated gazed at Masami. After all, girls’ talk usually ends up defaulting to gossip about love. While the relationship between Masami and Akira currently cannot be considered romance, Akira’s crush on Masami is very strong and overtly influences her thoughts and actions.
Their conduct, and the flashback flashes through Akira’s head as she walks alone in the rain, leads the viewer to think that Akira chose to go a family restaurant that was further away in order to avoid recognition. After all, notice how no one at the restaurant knew how Akira used to run in track, as shown in episode 2. But everyone at school (and at home) knows about her injury as she publicly walked around in a cast and crutches. She didn’t want others’ pity. She didn’t want to be see her former teammates and be reminded of what she no longer had.
And so she went to a distant family restaurant and encountered Masami, who had nothing but kindness and consideration for her (it was also more or less confirmed that this was Akira’s first meeting with Masami). For me, it’s easy to see why she fell for Masami. But it’s harder to say if this is a good enough reason.
Because I agree with Masami on how there needs to be a reason for Akira to like him and how others’ opinions are relevant. For a relationship to develop between Masami and Akira, there has to be reasons involved. Justifications and explanations have to exist. It may run contrary to what many may consider love, which is often characterized as a wild thing that just happens, but Masami expects some sort of logic to ground their relationship or else both of them will be torn apart by their peers and strangers. They’ll think Masami is taking advantage of her; they’ll claim that Akira is engaging in compensated dating.
Despite Akira’s protest in Masami’s car, which also shows that she’s capable of being immature as seen in her other outbursts in episode 3, the opinions of others do matter as they do determine what’s socially acceptable or not. The very same situation that’s unfolding within Koi wa Ameagari no You ni is being scrutinized by viewers, bloggers, and critics in real life.
The jury is out in regards to how Masami conducted himself in this episode, especially considering how he didn’t clearly reject Akira’s confession which was what many viewers were hoping for. As for Akira, it’s a lot more simple. She developed a crush on an older man she met during her time of need and is putting herself out there. But now Masami has to properly answer her. She, along with a bunch of
voyeurs viewers, is patiently waiting to see how he replies.
EDIT: Oh, I think I stumbled across something. It’s very likely that Akira’s father figure is simply absent in her life, which partially explains her attraction to Kondo who actually /is/ a caring dad. I could be wrong! But if it’s correct, then it certainly adds another controversial layer to the discussion and situation, doesn’t it? At any rate, it’s all thanks to KimmieKawaii. Thank you so much.