Koi wa Ameagari no You ni Ep. 7: False hope

Notes again. 

— Yui wants to get the whole team onto some sort of group chat so they can talk during work. Sure, just get Slack. But Kondo is so old, he still has a flip phone. Hilarious.

— Kase acts like Kondo is too old to even learn how to use an app. C’mon, he’s 45, not 95. But just like that, everyone gives up on the idea. Uh, why not just bring it up with the boss and let him decide? It’s kinda silly how the group just collectively deflates after Kase’s interjection. Even Akira doesn’t think he can use the app properly, so she greedily decides to see if she can get just the two of them to text each other instead. About what, though? That seems like the first question she should answer. It feels like they have enough trouble even having conversations in person, so how can their friendship transcend to another medium?

— That guy who has a crush on Akira… yeah I don’t even know his name. I’m just going to ignore his existence until his role in this story amounts to more than comic relief.

— Meanwhile, Kondo continues to obsess over that book he had checked out from the library.

— I was hoping they’d start talking in-depth about Botchan, but the conversation never really goes anywhere. She then asks about his book, and he reveals that it was written by a “friend.” Just a friend, I’m sure. But she finds it remarkable that he even personally knows an author: “You’re amazing, Mr. Kondo.” I dunno, I find this to be a strange reaction.

— This conversations are so awkward. He’s right in that he’s just a middle aged guy, but there’s nothing wrong with that. He lacks confidence. On the other hand, she’s way too effusive. So what if he reads? Lots of people read. Paperback sales have actually gone up over the past few years. They have no chemistry. They have nothing to talk about. These conversations lack any sort of substance or depth. And y’know what? The problem is her. He might have decades of experience to draw upon, but she has nothing to contribute. Of course, it’s not her fault because she’s teenager. We are reminded, however, how mismatched they would be as a couple, mentally and physically.

— Akira: “You can even explain books like a teacher because you know so much about them.” Can he? Let’s hear it.

— Kondo: “You know nothing about me.” Cold, but true. She’s just being kinda childish, right now. Childish doesn’t always mean annoying or bratty. She’s being childish in her unflinching adoration of a man she barely even knows outside of work. Most of us don’t know our coworkers. Everyone wears a mask to work. And just like that, it begins to rain outside. The weather seems oddly in sync with Akira’s mental state.

— Meanwhile, Kase overhears everything… I guess we’ll have to revisit his creepy ass at some point. Maybe it’ll be this week.

— In fact, Akira feels so bad, it looks as though a typhoon is about to hit. And yet, Akira intends to work. If it’s that bad, you’d think someone at the diner (like Kondo) would tell the staff not to come in. It’s not like you’ll get very many customers during a typhoon. Speaking of inclement weather, I’ve lived in California for 99% of my life, and the worst it ever rained was in sixth grade. It poured so much, the classroom got flooded, and one of my projects got destroyed. Hey, I didn’t complain; got a free A out of that.

— You’d think it’d be cold too, but Akira has on a medium skirt and a short-sleeved shirt. It’s still the summer, I guess.

— Kondo’s gone and gotten himself a cold… I wonder if it’s something else, though. Still, he had the wherewithal to call in sick, but he didn’t tell his staff not to open the restaurant? I guess the owner calls the shot, but we’ve never even met this person or persons.

— And somehow we have customers. I guess nobody got the typhoon warning.

— This dessert looks pretty good for something out of a diner.

— Dark thoughts swirl in Akira’s head, and she ends up dropping the dessert on the group. On the one hand, it seems a bit silly that Akira would be in such a bad mental state. Kondo didn’t scream at her nor did he say anything all that harsh (in my opinion). Plus, he has a cold. Yeah, his mood has been in a funk lately, but enough to send the girl into a tailspin? On the other hand, she took this job and fell in love with Kondo to help her cope with the loss of track and field. Kondo is her emotional crutch at the moment, and without him, we’re seeing a girl who has yet to really come to terms with her devastating injury. So from this point of view, Akira’s terrible reaction slowly starts to make sense.

— Yeah… Kubo says it wasn’t so busy thanks to that typhoon. So how are we gonna get home, lady?

— I only ever see Akira eat sandwiches on her break. I’d ask if it ever gets old, but I eat curry at least twice a week so… hey, I even had Japanese curry today!

— Kase: “You seem to be under the weather.” No pun intended, I’m sure.

— He tells her to quit chasing Kondo, but nobody ever likes unsolicited advice. Plus, it’s hard to feel that the advice is coming from a genuine place considering how hard Kase tried to seduce Akira. Nevertheless, even Kase is astute enough to draw a link between the girl’s crush on Kondo and her injury. It’s not rocket science.

— Oh boy, Kondo really is sick. I bet you he’s not eating right either.

— Dude, his fever is not even that high. I still wouldn’t come to work, but I wouldn’t look as bad as he’s looking right now.

— The doorbell is ringing. God, it better not be Akira. But who else would it be?

— A 45-year-old man and a teenage girl who won’t stop loving him… cooped up together in the middle of a storm. Hoo boy…

— Kondo: “Tachibana, you always appear out of nowhere on a rainy day.” Huh, I notice it always rains when she feels bad, but I never thought to consider how it must look like from other people’s perspective.

— It seems terribly rude to just barge into someone’s life and for what? All because she wants to know more about Kondo? That’s ridiculous. I love how this show is directed, but the story and its characters… are just so unhealthy. Yeah, it’s unhealthy. It’s unhealthy for her to go this far out of her way just to know more about her boss. Yes, I know she’s in love. Yes, I know he was a bit cold to her. But this all just feels very wrong. This is not what you do. I would’ve never let her into my home in the first place. I know there’s a storm raging out side, but she managed to make her way here so she can manage to make her way home too.

She could’ve called. She could’ve sent a message (she has his number). She could’ve pulled this nonsense on a much less dangerous day. She could’ve just forced him to take her out on yet another stupid date. Try picking something besides a movie next time if you want to get to know the guy. Just a thought! The point is, I make my boundaries very clear, and I would never let a coworker just waltz into my home. Of course, I have no emotional attachment to the girl, but Kondo shouldn’t either. Some of you might say I’m being way too harsh, but try imagining one of your coworkers having a crush on you despite your clear disinterest (Kondo has warned her that they can’t be a couple) and just showing up at your house out of the blue one day. That’s messed up, man. Take the pretty Japanese schoolgirl out of the equation and see how you would honestly feel. Are you perfectly A-OK with an obsessed coworker just crashing your apartment?

— But Kondo could never get mad at her. He only apologizes for being mean the other day, and reiterates that he has no self-confidence. These characters are so frustrating. Why must a beautifully crafted anime have such a frustrating story?

— Kondo: “…and I don’t have anything I can be proud of.” I know he’s speaking glibly, but in my head, I’m just like, “What about your son, man?”

— Kondo: “I’m not the kind of adult you think I am.” Well, she said it herself: she doesn’t even know him. Ergo, she’s not even in love with the real him. She’s in love with her idea of him.

— Akira wonders why it has to hurt so much. Something else is hurting her. She needs to confront the root of her sorrow. It’s unfair to put this all on her love for Kondo when she doesn’t even know him.

— Kondo: “Youthfulness can sometimes be rough and vicious. But, the emotions you feel then will eventually become a precious treasure.” This kinda reminds me of that speech I loved so much from Call Me By Your Name:

How you live your life is your business, just remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. And before you know it, your heart is worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it. Right now, there’s sorrow, pain. Don’t kill it and with it the joy you’ve felt.

We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!

Speaking of which, Call Me By Your Name is also a story about a forbidden and taboo love.

— The girl asks him outright if she’s just not good enough for him. It’s not about that, though. It’s never been about that. Kondo is, however, too nice to ever give Akira any tough love. He wants to protect her, so he tells her that she is an awesome person. Unfortunately, he takes too long just trying to praise her, so he never quite gets to say anything more than that. Whether or not tough love would work, who knows…? Maybe he knows better than me. I would personally try to explain to the girl again why a relationship with this large an age gap would never work. I have a line in the sand that I would fight to never cross no matter what. Some viewers will argue otherwise, but I’m not 100% certain if Kondo has that same line.

— In the darkness, Kondo confesses that her love for him reminds him of halcyon days, and he’s truly grateful for that. I just feel like by being nice, he runs the risk of giving her false hope. I fear that she’ll hear what she wants to hear, so even if he has the best intentions, she won’t really listen to what he’s trying to get at. And that’s the problem with his reluctance to be perfectly blunt. It might break her a little, but I see it like exercising. We actually damage our muscles when we exercise so that they may grow back bigger and stronger. We can’t treat Akira like this fragile porcelain doll that can never be put back together should she fall. Rather, she needs to bounce back from this. More importantly, she needs to bounce back from her injury. But so long as the possibility of love between her and Kondo continues to exist, she’ll never properly work on what matters most: herself. That’s what she should be focusing on right now. She needs to love herself before she can even start loving someone else. Let’s put it another way… you’re not ready for love if someone’s rejection is enough to make you hate yourself.

— Hmph.

— There are some emotions that only the reptilian mind of a teenager can understand. That sounds mean, but I’m not even being sarcastic. Okay, maybe just a little bit. But honestly, our brains are not fully developed until we are well into our 20s, and by the time we’re fully matured, some emotions just don’t… they just don’t hit us as hard as they used to. It’s like how young kids can’t stand strongly flavored food, because they have too many taste buds. As they grow up, their taste buds become less sensitive. I’m not a psychologist, so it’s highly possible I’m talking out of my ass, but I feel as though teenagers are like that but with emotions.

They are just much more sensitive to certain feelings due to their youth, and as adults, we can’t really understand it. All we have are our faded memories to draw upon. So having said that, I get how and why Kondo would want to try and protect Akira the way that he does. I don’t agree with it, but I see how he would have to put himself at her level: “I’ll close my umbrella and get wet in your rain. Something that’s youthful in every respect, and something you shouldn’t touch just from the sense of nostalgia.” I just think the danger of giving the girl false hope outweighs his need to protect her in this very instant.

— Pfft. You know that stupid animeism nonsense where a girl is like, “You shouldn’t do that to a girl unless you like her?” Totally applies here. Totally, totally applies here.

— Naysayers will protest that they hug their friends all the time. Sure. But this is about false hope. And he planted that seed of false hope in her. I think that’s irresponsible of him.

— What a coincidence… the weather is perfect following their little “platonic” tryst.

— And now it’s Akira’s turn to be sick. Lovesick, that is.

— I mean, look at her. She’s all drenched.

— What a goober.

— And in her fevered mind — a love-addled mind, I might add — Akira starts to fantasized:

— Ugh. To complete the metaphor, we even see Kondo enjoy a cigarette. Hilarious.

— Such a beautiful anime… and yet, such an ugly story. Feel free to disagree. I’ve already heard what you guys have to say. At this point, I’m sure we’re entrenched in our positions anyway.

3 thoughts on “Koi wa Ameagari no You ni Ep. 7: False hope

  1. Anonymous

    The manga is ending soon (in two chapters, I believe?) so we might get the conclusion animated. I still don’t believe this is pushing for a romance ending but I might be biased.

  2. Pierre

    Observing Akira’s Modigliani-sh beauty is such a pleasant entertainment while waiting to see how far the authors will dare to push this story.
    For me, it will be as much important to see the CONSEQUENCES of this dangerous love.
    After all, a jealous colleague or some nosy neighbour might already destroy Akira’s and Kondo’s lives with a scandal.

  3. Yalu

    It was a nice surprise to see you mention Call Me By Your Name.

    To be honest, the story has quite a lot of flaws but the execution and directing is so brilliant I am willing to turn a blind eye on the ugly bits. I like to think the messiness of the story is just an attempt at capturing the awkwardness of youth…


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