「After the rain」
MADHOUSE is badass and doesn’t mess around here, so if you’re looking for a dark series that is far beyond the usual stuff, consider this adaptation of Abe George (Jouji) and Kakizaki Masumi’s award-winning manga. Just don’t let the title fool you. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows here.
Taking place in 1955 and depicting the harsh reality of poverty-stricken Japan following the end of the Second World War, the story follows the lives of six juvenile delinquents as they get thrown into a prison/corrections facility for various crimes. There, they meet their senior prison-mate, Sakuragi Rokurouta (Koyama Rikiya), better known as “Anchan”. It’s a hellish depiction of grueling prison life, which you can get a feel for immediately from the sexual abusive doctor and the tyrant-like warden. If you’re already appalled by the idea of an old man sticking his finger up these teenagers’ anuses, then you may not be able to stomach this one. However, if you’re marveled by how an anime can branch off into such territories like I am, this may be worth checking out.
In the darkest hours of this series, there is a ray of hope for these seven teenagers as the theme of the story is courage and friendship. This first episode served to prove that point as “Anchan” first beat the crap out of his six new inmates to get them to discard their useless pride, then stood up for them immediately afterward by bearing responsibility for the incident and taking a relentless beating from the warden. The latter scene actually wasn’t in the manga, but turned out to be a really powerful one that reinforced the theme. I was pretty blown away by it quite frankly, especially when I saw the reactions on everyone’s face. Very very powerful scenes here, which are even more so when you take into consideration that these boys aren’t inherently bad kids. Some of them simply led horrible lives and are in prison for stealing and other misdemeanors, while others are here for aggravated assault, except they either got into a fight with their mother’s new boyfriend, beat up a teacher trying to rape another student, or beat up the person that was trying to rape them. Not exactly what you would consider unjust cause in many cases, but they were enough to get them sentenced with some additional false accusations.
Progression-wise, it’s important to note that this first episode is only the starting point of their time in prison and the story extends beyond that when they eventually get out. The opening sequence hints at that already, showing a lot of them more grown up. In terms of production, I really can’t imagine any studio other than MADHOUSE picking up a series as dark as this and was quite impressed with this premiere episode, reaffirming that sentiment. The quality was superb and they really set the tone for the series going forward, most notably with the ray of hope at the end. Cast-wise, drama-actor Oguri Shun (Hana Yori Dango) does an awesome job as lead Minakami Mario, while big name seiyuus Paku Romi, Fujiwara Keiji, and the aforementioned Koyama Rikiya provide excellent performances like they always do. The biggest surprise addition though is seiyuu veteran, the one and only Hayashibara Megumi doing the narration. You can never go wrong with Megumi, even if it’s just narrating.
If any of the above sounds intriguing to you or you’re simply looking for a non-typical anime that will provide you something refreshingly different, you can really do no wrong giving RAINBOW a try. So far, it’s provided a good taste of the emotion-filled drama that’s likely to come, as these seven teenagers try to get their lives back on track. I’m in, are you?