Original Run: January 12, 2018 - March 30, 2018 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Romance Based on the Series Created By: Jun Mayuzuki
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Koi wa Ameagari no You ni. Reader discretion is advised.***
Akira Tachibana (voiced by Sayumi Watabe) is a beautiful 17-year-old high school student. She has many friends, is sociable, and works part-time at a local family restaurant. There is also someone in Akira’s life who makes her heart flutter.
For her, that person is her 45-year-old manager Masami Kondo (voiced by Hiroaki Hirata).
Masami is your average middle-aged guy. He lives alone, has a kid, and he has come to accept that his youthful days are behind him. He never considered the possibility that a pretty high-schooler would fall for him.
Be that as it may, here we are.
Akira insists that her feelings are genuine. Masami sees a young person looking for guidance. Who’s to say one is right and the other is wrong.
Regardless, these two – separated by many years – are facing problems in which age does not apply.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (KAY) walked a thin line during its run.
With just one false step or a poorly conveyed intention, things could have gone south fast. The entire time I was watching this series, I was waiting for it to go down a road I refuse to follow.
That never happened.
KAY was as solid as they come, and it ended up being a lovely little “romance.” Granted, labeling this series as a romance is misleading. Although that is indeed a way you can describe this show, leaving it there would also mean leaving a lot out.
Believe it or not, the awkwardness of the word “romance” when describing this series is part of the reason why KAY was an interesting sit.
There was more to this story than people falling in love. In fact, “falling in love” was something that didn’t really happen. Or at least, it didn’t happen in the way you would usually expect from a romance series.
KAY was about two people who were at vastly different stages in their lives, and yet, they found themselves in similar positions.
Wrapped in thoughtfulness, as well as a gorgeous art style, KAY, which could have easily become one of the cringiest shows of 2018, managed to be one of the most intriguing “romance” anime I have seen in some time.
The Relationship Between Akira and Her Manager
It goes without saying that a love story – any love story – only succeeds when the main pair works. You should want to root for the characters. If they are boring, annoying, or infuriating, why then would you want anything to happen between them?
That was the biggest obstacle for this series, and KAY was clever in how it overcame it.
Instead of downplaying, ignoring, or justifying the distance between Akira and Masami, this show always kept it in the spotlight.
Whenever somebody found out about Akira’s feelings towards her manager, they had their doubts. It’s not every day when feelings of affection blossom within someone towards a person twice their age. Making matters more complicated, Akira’s love was one-sided.
The person most taken aback by Akira’s feelings towards her manager was Masami himself.
That is what allowed this series to work. Masami never saw Akira in a romantic light.
Nevertheless, Akira and Masami did form a loving – not romantic – relationship. How this dynamic worked was what made KAY, KAY.
During this story, Akira wasn’t at her best. She had suffered a major setback and was at a loss of what to do. Along with that, strains in her personal life were beginning to crack and break. There were a lot of changes going on around her, and there was even more uncertainty on the horizon.
To put it another way. Akira was a teenager.
She may have been calm and mature for her age, but Akira was still only seventeen. Her feelings, her troubles, and her worries had never been as big as they were here. This was all new to her, and she didn’t have the life experience to help guide her in a direction.
Did these stresses have something to do with Akira’s “love” towards a much older man who – perhaps to her – had the knowledge and wisdom she lacked?
To KAY’s credit, that question never got an answer. Did Akira have a passing crush or genuine affection?
That was for you to decide.
Regardless, this show made one thing certain. For Masami, young love wasn’t alien to him. A long time ago, he had gone through it as well. It was unclear if Masami had what Akira was looking for, but he had experience nonetheless.
Thanks to this, Masami turned into a fascinating character. Given all the romance anime I’ve seen that have focused on high-schoolers, this was a fresh change of pace. It was nice to not have someone whose immaturity left them clueless.
Throughout KAY, whenever Akira would fawn over her manager, there was a nostalgia for days long past. Masami could see himself in Akira’s eyes.
Unfortunately for Masami, Akira was also a stark reminder of what he no longer was: young.
Masami was a man who had lost much of his energy and drive. Moreover, this lack of purpose played out differently depending on which Masami was on screen: the manager or the adult.
If it was the manager, Masami was a huge dork. He spoke in puns, dad jokes, and self-deprecating humor. This made him hard to take seriously. He was the type of person people would forget almost instantly.
If it was the adult, though, that was when this series came into its own. Masami had lived a life. He had gone through a lot, and he never really lived up to his own expectations. This person was much more broken. He had gone down the path Akira was about to start.
That was the connection between our leads.
The love that was between the two of them was closer to the love you see between mentor and mentee. Masami was the person who could steer Akira away from lingering regret. Conversely, Akira was someone who could get Masami back on track.
These two needed each other.
This was not your typical romance story.
Although KAY wasn’t what you would usually expect out of a romance anime, that is not me saying it was perfect.
This show may have been good, but there were plenty of moments when things felt off. This series often provided way too much information.
I won’t admit whether I thought Akira’s feelings towards Masami were a crush or not. Again, that is something you should piece together yourself.
However, crush or not, I never wanted Masami to reciprocate Akira’s romantic feelings. Had this show done that, I was ready for things to get out of hand almost immediately. There was a lot to like about this series, and I wanted to be able to keep liking those qualities when it was all over.
In that respect, I’m happy KAY never took itself in that direction. Too bad that left this story with a dilemma.
Although I’m glad Akira and Masami never became a couple, I will concede this. There would have been one positive outcome had the 17-year-old and the 45-year-old paired up. From a storytelling point of view, there would have been more for this story to work with.
I’ll just let you imagine where KAY could have gone had Akira and Masami gotten together.
Since mutualness was not the case, a one-sided love could only go so far; certainly not twelve episodes. KAY did the best it could at filling in the gaps; Masami’s great backstory was one of those things. More often than not, though, this series took on more than it needed to.
For example, one of Akira’s co-workers was set up to be a potential antagonist. This person found out about Akira’s feelings towards their manager and used that to blackmail Akira onto a date. This person was completely ready to be the prick of the series. Rather definitively, KAY proclaimed that this was a person to watch out for.
And yet nothing came of it.
This person fell back into the background and never had a significant scene again. In fact, I don’t believe they shared more than five minutes of one-on-one screen time with Akira afterward.
Why even establish this if you’re not going to take it anywhere?
KAY had plenty of these superfluous details. To be fair, some of these details had some impact on the larger story. That was great, and everything, except these complications either felt forced, came way too late, were underdeveloped, or were largely wasted.
For fun, there will be a character in the first episode who will come to play a much more significant role later in the series. Try and guess who that person is. There is going to be several candidates, but only one of them will become anything, and it wasn’t much.
The bright side is, KAY and this story did well enough on their own simply focusing on Akira and Masami.
This could have been a difficult sit. Instead, it ended up being surprisingly enjoyable.
The one thing you need to always have when watching this series is trust. It will not go down the easy path. This story had a lot more faith in itself to chart its own course.
This show took a different approach to romance. It had two lead characters that were both different and similar at the same time. The resulting relationship was unlike anything I’ve seen from this type of anime.
Koi wa Ameagari no You ni is worth a look.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Koi wa Ameagari no You ni? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.
Post Editor: Onions