Have you ever had a crush on someone older than you? Have you ever been in a situation when someone younger than yourself had feelings for you? How would you react in that situation? In a society where the matter of age difference in relationships is heavily judged or even considered a taboo, After the Rain addresses the subject of love that knows no age, love that blooms under unique circumstances, love that focuses on pure romance more than anything else.
Akira Tachibana is in love, something not unusual for a high school girl, but the person she has feelings for is Masami Kondo, her 45-year-old manager of the restaurant that she works in as a part-timer. Kondo is just an average man who likes literature, likes to smoke, has been working in a restaurant for some time without having any career development and doesn’t inspire any respect to his subordinates whatsoever. But Akira thinks of him as attractive and charming in his own way and confesses her feelings to him hoping that she will see their relationship grow.
Awkward romance is something that we can all definitely relate to. Whether the reason for it is age limitation or just unusual settings and conditions, love is always beautiful. On that note, MANGA.TOKYO is here with 10 anime that resemble After the Rain and that you are definitely going to enjoy.
Spring 2004 13 Episodes
Saeki Koushirou is a typical salaryman who works as a wedding planner. As a child of a divorced couple, he finds it challenging to commit himself to love. After being dumped by his partner, he thinks that he will never be able to love again, but one day, as he rides the train, he sees a beautiful girl, Nanoka, who awakens new feelings inside him. But little did he know that the girl is, in fact, his sister who he has not seen in years and who will now be living with his father and him.
The similarities in plot and characters are quite apparent, especially in the male leads as they are nervous and unsure as to how they should respond to the young girls’ confessions. Koi Kaze deals with the age gap theme more seriously since it involves incest as well but also presents the problems that couples with a big age difference face, and without being silly about it.
Spring 2009 11 Episodes
Nicoleta, a 21-year-old lady, has just arrived in Rome with only one goal in her head: find her mother who abandoned her and ran off in order to remarry. She tracks her mother to a restaurant called Casetta dell’Orso, where she wants to meet her mother’s husband and inform him about her previous marriage that she was desperately hiding from him. To her surprise, the restaurant is staffed by a group of older gentlemen wearing spectacles where she meets Claudio and falls in love with him. She then begins working in the restaurant as a chef’s apprentice and hopes to win Claudio’s heart.
Even though this show is a josei and After the Rain is a seinen, they both appeal to more mature audiences and focus on the slice-of-life and romance elements rather than fetishize over the age gap.
Spring 2007 24 Episodes
Lovely Complex tells the story of Koizumi Risa, who is much taller than the average Japanese girl, and Atsushi Otani, who is much shorter than the average Japanese boy. Due to their great height difference, they are often labeled as a comedy duo at school, and due to their circumstances, finding an ideal partner for them is quite tough. After their crushes fall in love with each other, they start becoming close friends and encourage each other in finding love, while realizing that they actually have more in common than they initially thought.
An anime where it is shown that love can be very unusual and strange even though it doesn’t have to do with age difference, Lovely Complex has a funnier and more light-hearted feel to it but tells also a great romance tale.
Spring 2015 24 Episodes
Takeo Gouda is not your average high school freshman. He is tall and has a muscular build, but behind his intimidating looks, he has a very pure and gentle heart. Even though he is looked highly by his male classmates for his courage and strength, his traits and appearance doesn’t help him much in his love life. But one day, after saving a girl named Rinko Yamato from being molested, his affection for her grows instantly and his love life finally starts to bloom.
Yet another anime with an unusual love concept. Ore Monogatari!! gets rid of all romantic clichés with its unique main character design and your-not-so-typical tropes presenting a plot full of cute romance and great humor.
Ojisan to Marshmallow
Winter 2016 12 Episodes
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Or at least that is what Iori Wakabayashi wants to believe. Habahiro Hige is just a simple old man who just loves marshmallows. His colleague Iori likes to tease him and provokes him constantly to get his attention using his obsession over marshmallows. Will Habahiro ever realize her intentions to make their relationship grow?
Iori is very similar to Akira in the way she does things and she can be pretty aggressive while trying to express her feelings, leaving her love interest rather confused. Ojisan to Marshmallow is more comedy oriented and has a lot of silliness to it but it is cute to see the relationship grow between the characters.
Kouhei Inuzuka is a math teacher who has lost his wife and is trying his best to raise his young daughter, Tsumugi. With no culinary skills whatsoever and after an encounter with one of his students Kotori Iida, he decides to start taking cooking classes to learn how to prepare proper meals for his daughter.
Sweetness & Lightning is based on the same concept as After the Rain, although it keeps it more platonic and ambiguous as we never fully understand if Kotori actually has feelings for Kouhei. Nevertheless, both anime have a similar feel to them as they both show a high school girl spending time with an older man.
Spring 2010 13 Episodes
A lover of all things small and cute, Souta Takanashi finds himself working at the Wagnaria family restaurant as he couldn’t turn down the very cheerful and childlike Poplar Taneshima who recruited him. Soon he realizes that he joined a very quirky staff, including an almost delinquent-like manager, a katana-carrying chef, and Inami, a violently androphobic waitress. His work environment makes him fear for his life on a daily basis.
The reason why Working!!! is included in this list is the restaurant environment that is very similar to After the Rain. Even though it focuses more on the everyday work in a restaurant and less on the romance between the staff members, the great antics and eccentricity of the characters along with the fun art style will definitely catch your attention.
Love can be very tough especially when it’s one-sided. Chiyo Sakura is a cheerful high school girl that is in love with Umetarou Nozaki, another high schooler who happens to be also a very famous shoujo mangaka. In her attempts to confess her feelings to him, she is being misunderstood and ends up as his manga assistant. Nevertheless, she strives to help Nozaki with his manga and hopes that he will eventually notice her feelings.
Chiyo, like Akira, struggles to convey her feelings to the person she likes and even when she does so, she is not being recognized. After the Rain has the age gap as an obstacle for their romance but inGekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, the male lead is just unaware of the situation which adds a more comical side to the love story.
Another anime with a rather strange love concept. Chise Hatori is a 15-year-old girl that had a very hard life so far. Unwanted and abandoned by her parents, and later on put in a slave auction, she seeks desperately for a place to call home and someone to care for her. Chise is bought in the auction by Elias, a strange mage who is not exactly human, to become his apprentice and his bride.
The settings of these anime are very different since Ancient Magus Bride is more of a fantasy romance but both Chise and Akira fall in love with an older man (or whatever Elias is supposed to be), try to find out more about them, understand them and ultimately bring the best out of them.
Fall 2005 12 Episodes
Yukari Hayasaka is a senior high school student who is forced by her mother to study really hard in order to attend a good university but herself is lost and doesn’t have any dreams or desires about her future whatsoever. That changes when a group of third-year fashion design students asks her to model for them. As she is unsure of what she wants to be, the whole experience helps her realize what adulthood means and what she has to do in order to achieve her own goals.
From the moment I started watching After the Rain, I was reminded of Paradise Kiss. Besides the beautiful art style in both shows that is somewhat similar, Akira reminded me so much of Yukari with her personality and ‘coming of age’ issues. Also, Yukari gets involved in a love relationship with George, one of the fashion students who is borderline narcissistic and their whole relationship looks quite dysfunctional which adds even more resemblance to Akira and her relationship with Kondo.
Love is ageless, love is unusual
Love can be expressed in so many ways and it is definitely not an easy battle to win. All the shows above share the same theme: some emphasize more on the age gap, others in appearance issues or personality traits, but in the end, they all offer unique and beautiful love stories that will make you laugh, cry, and make your heart race. From one romance anime lover to another, I hope you will enjoy this list and make sure to write more anime recommendations that you think would suit the taste of After the Rain fans.
You should also have a look at the review of After the Rain If you would like to read a more in-depth analysis of its themes, plot, and characters.