Koi Wa Ameagari no You ni was poised to be this season’s Tsuki Ga Kirei – a show I hold very dear and even honor as one of my top 10 (maybe even 5) romance stories of all time, and in a genre I’m particularly fond of and very experienced with that’s saying a lot. It’s also a big expectation setter.
From the moment this show started, I had fallen in love with it; a mature yet lighthearted romance with beautiful art, my girl CHiCO singing the OP, and a really unique concept of a teenager falling for a middle aged man without any sort of weird or creepy undertones. A pure story of love between two very different people and the hurdles faced by this massive age gap on both sides, and it really started delivering on that concept immediately.
My favorite thing about this show was actually the way that task was presented to us for the manager, Kondou. While the show is mostly told from the perspective of Akira (the teen girl) with a few bits of Kondou’s private life thrown in from time to time, they did a really great job of integrating Kondou’s monologues and emotions into scenes that were otherwise being told to us through the mind of Akira. We’d jump from her to the thoughts of Kondou and they really nailed what he would and should be thinking and feeling – and they managed to make it not only really romantic, but emotional in a bigger way for a man who thinks he’s a wasted life.
Thanks to Akira he’s able to feel young again, he’s able to go back mentally to a place he wishes he still was, he’s able to believe in himself and even in a miracle like a really cute teenage girl falling for him even though he’s such a loser. It’s just shown so well and in such simple ways, he always gets lost in the moment in a genuine way because the emotions flood him so fast that he forgets he really isn’t back to that time again. I’m not 45, but as a 30 year old who has been through some shit and who has felt things that I never was able to feel again after certain things came to pass until many years later I can say it was near unbelievable how accurate this was to how it feels to be just plainly amazed by – and lost in – something as simple as a feeling you forgot you ever had even if it only lasts a moment.
The emotions, both love and beyond, were visceral and presented so goddamn well. Yet, this is no Tsuki Ga Kirei. No NANA, Cross Game, Honey & Clover, or Nodame. In fact it’s not even close and it damn well should have been.
Instead, about two-thirds of the way through it completely forgets everything it was doing in the way an old senile man might go from telling you a story about fighting in Vietnam and how his unit was ambushed and oh shit we’re all gonna die but THEN…oh did I ever tell you about the time I made love in the back of my Camaro back in high school? In this case I guess it’s actually the other way around, but you get the point – Koi wa Ameagari just completely drops the entire story out of nowhere in exchange for some rambling tangent that was a barely relevant characterization element becoming the entire plot for absolutely no explicable reason.There is an exact moment this happens too, which is odd because usually it’s not so easy to tell something like this. It’s when the manager angrily says to her she knows nothing about him, while he’s there fed up about his friend’s writing career taking off so spectacularly. From the moment he says this she just totally loses all her romantic interest in the man – she isn’t SUPPOSED TO HAVE the story doesn’t imply or say she has and in fact keeps trying to pretend she hasn’t, yet that’s the last time these two ever have a moment where either one of them shows any interest in the other beyond a slightly more than work friendship yet the show never acknowledges that and instead just turns into being about side stories that have no purpose beyond developing characters who HAVE NO NEED TO BE DEVELOPED because they never actually serve a purpose beyond that IN A ROMANCE ANIME.
Their love has no ending, no let down, no disappointment, no fantastic moving scene – nothing. It literally just never has any conclusion and absolutely evaporates from the show. Even when they do things together there’s no attempt to present her as loving him any longer aside some blushing because the focus is instead put on her thinking about her track friend and him thinking about books and shit.
The entire show changes from romance into a really childish and generic story about not giving up on your dreams. That’s all this show ends up being. I quit writing, now I have started writing again. I quit track, now I have started track again. The conclusion is nothing except that, nothing more nothing less. Ironic given Akira, in “following her dreams”, decides to just drop her entire interest in a man she loved so deeply mere days ago. You’d think being with the person you love would be kind of your biggest dream and goal, but no, running with her brown tomboy is.
Her and brown are pretty much the only thing resembling closure of a romance element. After all the massive blushing around each other, after all the memories, and after the focus of the show was all about these two the entire last third of the show (and Kondou and Chihiro, his writer friend – but that story being completely disconnected from tomboy and Akira) and them longing for one another…okay, one longing for the other and the other longing for track specifically by her side, it’s hard to pretend there’s nothing there. I hate yuri shit, let alone shipping, but man, I need some sort of fucking ending for this show so I have to tell myself that’s what happened.
It’s not that farfetched anyway, the show pushes pretty hard into the “these two are WAY TOO CLOSE to be just friends if this was real life” territory, not that anime doesn’t always do that but still. Being happy you are hanging out with your best friend shouldn’t result in the most powerful blush possible. Again, it’s the only thing resembling a romance by the end so let me believe.
The only “more” there really is lies in one COMPLETELY irrelevant character (the cute co-worker at her job) who has a big push in the right direction with the guy she likes which was given a sweet and adorable little scene in the final episode.Now, no, I’m not stupid. I “get” what they were going for with the ending. It’s just shit. It’s pretentious and trying to be more than it actually is while still, no matter WHAT you want to pretend I didn’t understand, never actually giving you what was promised from the start. It gives THE CHARACTERS THEMSELVES some sort of closure but it gives THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE SHOW none. I was totally expecting a rejection by the end but was hoping they’d end up together, I would have been fine either way – instead we’re given nothing but a really fucking cheesy “maybe when we both fulfill our promises :^)” while the cunt runs on the fucking sky because I’M MAKING ART YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND. It all felt so fucking stupid, dull, out of place, and avoidant of giving any actual closure in exchange for retarded fucking visual metaphors and cringey dialogue that served no purpose. These two helping each other mature is not what the show sold itself as, I don’t give a shit about her track career or his retarded idea that if he writes trash in his closet enough he’ll become a fucking novelist. That’d be fine as a side story, as a development arc, even as something one of them could say as another reason they harbor such strong feelings for the other (which they don’t), but not as the ending.
This show really makes me sad because it seriously was so wonderful and did some amazing things at the start. There was no reason for this to happen. I can’t even hate it because NOTHING HAPPENED. It just randomly ended on the dumbest fucking non-ending possible, which is more conflicting to deal with than a shitty one. I knew something was wrong maybe 4 episodes before it ended. The show clearly had completely lost focus, but I thought it was an arc that would end in time for the finale and yet after the rain it was all that was there.