Real Talk: Misattribution, and Why Tachibana Akira’s Love is Like After the Rain

(It wasn’t until I took this screenshot that I figured out that, other than being half of a heart, the thing Akira is holding is also in the shape of a rain drop, lol).

Yes, yes, we are back with another installment of this seemingly forgotten series — except that I have not in fact forgotten about it and I have, on multiple occasions, talked about how I did intend to do more of these in some capacity if not a bit more regularly (look, it even has its own page now and everything!). Real Talk is one of my favorite brainchilds after all (not that there were a lot to begin with) so it’s high-time I treated it as such.

To those of you who’re gonna be encountering this kind of post from me for the first time (do feel free to just gloss over this part entirely), Real Talk is a series of posts where I try to draw parallels between certain anime shows with concepts and ideas that I’ve encountered elsewhere. I phrase it like this because the connection between said concepts and what’s shown on-screen is derived mostly from my own observations and how I interpret specific occurrences within the anime. That is to say I’m not really putting forth a claim as to what sort of themes were intentionally displayed by the show, but rather these are quite simply the by-product of random thoughts mishmashing in my head which I then try to justify using actual academic discourse and theory work.

– –

Okay. Long-winded introduction over — now we can get to actual post proper, and yes, today (or tonight, whichever) as the title says we will be talking about Winter 2018’s Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (dubbed as After the Rain in the Western market) for quite a fair bit. Timely, I suppose, considering how love is in the air again and all that jazz. …Or, well, I say that but I’m not entirely sure that our subject matter at this time is gonna be that romantic for the most part. Then again not all love is romantic so I guess it’s fine (#NotAllLoveIsRomantic, #WhyAreYouSoBitterLeap).

*coughs*

It’s somewhat of a shame that the English title crops it to just After the Rain (as opposed to the more complete and in my opinion more interesting title “Love is like after the rain”), as it leaves out what I’d think of as a key element in what we’ll be talking about for the next couple or so minutes. Because for this installment of Real Talk, we’re gonna be looking into the very moment when Tachibana Akira fell in love Kondo-san, and why it is exactly that Akira’s love is like after the rain — in what I consider as misattribution.

But what is misattribution? According to the Encyclopedia of Social Psychology, the term misattribution (of arousal) refers to “the idea that physiological arousal can be perceived to stem from a source that is not actually the cause of the arousal, which may have implications for the emotions one experiences”. Arousal, in this sense, is the general state of the body being “worked up” (heart pounding, palms sweating, shortness of breath etc.), which happen to be the same markers for both attraction and strong emotions such as fear and anxiety — and because they induce more or less the same sensations, it is largely believed that the mind can “mislabel” what ultimately triggered these bodily responses.

I’m sure a lot you may know this phenomenon better as “The Suspension Bridge Effect”, named after a classic experiment in the mid ’70s that aimed to establish a link between the feelings of attraction one generates upon seeing an attractive member of the opposite sex and the feeling of anxiety that one goes through when subjected under a great deal of stress. The researchers who conducted the study found that people undergoing conditions of rapid heart-beating and such had a tendency to interpret their emotional state as being caused by seeing someone they think they’re attracted to, as opposed to attributing said emotions to just having crossed a dangerous suspension bridge moments prior.

*The whole experiment really is a fairly entertaining read and in an earlier draft of this post I wrote up a summary which I then took out in my final edit as I deemed it needlessly lengthy, but you can read the study here if you’re interested

Okay, we’ve defined misattribution but… You may now be asking — Leap, what does all this have to with Love is Like After the Rain? The scene where Akira interacts and subsequently falls in love with Kondo-san is neither literally nor figuratively taking place on a suspension bridge. Akira was barely, if at all, displaying any clear signs of physiological arousal throughout the entire scene (I mean, she flinches and stuff, but most people would consider that normal, given the situation). Do you mean to say the coffee made her heart beat faster than normal, and that’s why she thinks she has the hots for Tenchou???

First off, the coffee thing is an actual example from the reference material that I pulled the definition from (xD), so don’t hate me for that; and second, she didn’t even drink it, so that’s a hard no for that theory (though the smell of coffee might do the trick…). Instead, and some of you guys may’ve already seen this coming, we’re of turning our focus now to the other more prominent element present during that whole sequence between Akira and Kondo-san; which is of course, the rain — more importantly, we will pay close attention to the moments after the rain.

This is where I propose the idea that Tachibana Akira could have “misattributed” her love for Kondo-san as something else, given a very peculiar set of circumstances. “How?” you may ask, when again, Akira was far from being agitated (at least visually) in her exchange with Kondo-san, and saying so would just end up being pure speculation take on my end (which defeats almost the entire purpose of this post). So instead we look at something not completely speculative in the sequence of events as they occur.

We’re shown a little snippet of Akira leaving her regular clinic (presumably on her way home from a routine check-up on her leg) and as she’s walking along it starts raining. This is juxtaposed with the fact that Akira’s injury prevents her from being able to run. We can see from her demeanor that she’s downtrodden, further amplified by the imagery of rain. Rain, which (both in anime and really for all forms of story-telling) is generally used to depict a more somber atmosphere — usually as a means to emphasize melancholic undertones in a particular scene; as was the case here.

We mention earlier that emotional states can be misattributed, but because of the connotation brought about by The Suspension Bridge effect, you might’ve been led to believe that it only occurs when the body is in high stress situations (ie crossing a suspension bridge). But you probably don’t need me to tell you that not all emotional states induce intense heart-pounding and shortness of breath. You see, another way of interpreting the term “emotional state” is quite simple one’s affective “mood”.

A study conducted in the 80’s aimed to determine “whether judgments of happiness and satisfaction with one’s life are influenced by mood at the time of judgment”. It sounds like a no-brainer right? I mean, of course your thoughts and actions are going to be based on whether or not you’re happy or sad. But, for now, let’s keep to mind two important things of note here moving forward; “influence and “at the time of judgment“.

One of the experiments performed in the study dealt with how the weather *wink wink nudge nudge* affected people’s moods, and subsequently how they would describe their present life situation given that particular state of mind. The researchers did this by calling participants on the phone during either sunny days or rainy days (interesting stuff really) and inquiring them about their quality of life; how happy they felt about their life from a scale of 1-10, whether or they wanted to changed their life as it were, etc. The study found that people who were interviewed during sunny days talked positively about their well-being, and those they talked to on rainy days assessed their lives negatively.

SO. To finally tie everything together, as I realize this has gone on a bit longer than I expected to (my bad), let us now incorporate what we’ve now learned about misattribution to this particular moment in the show:

The rain stops, and in its place we see the warm glow of the sun. Akira’s world, and the world around her brightens up both literally and figuratively — from only a couple of moments prior appearing rather cold and dull. She looks to Kondo-san, who in that same time went out of his way to cheer her up. Her mood changes; perhaps, not necessarily by feelings influenced by the sun (as mood doesn’t really change at a snap), but rather her sadness going away right as the rain went away.

Perhaps it’s these peculiarities happening in congruence with one another are what she misattributes as love for Kondo-san — that in nearly the same moment that Kondo-san showed Akira warm sentiment, the heavy clouds that seemed to have hung over her had dispersed. The world was okay. Akira was okay. Despite having lost the ability to run, which we can safely assume to have been the epicenter of her life if not simply something that meant a lot to her; she was okay.

She assessed her well-being positively after the rain, not during. And who was it that made the rain go away? Well, obviously no one can, but perhaps for Akira it was Kondo-san. Perhaps for Akira, Kondo-san’s kindness was like the sun that dried out all the rain, where all that was left was her newfound positive feelings — and Kondo-san.

Thus, Tachibana Akira’s love is “like” after the rain, not in the metaphorical sense but rather in the very literal sense that she might be misattributing what she felt “after the rain” as “love” when she met Kondo-san that one fateful day.

– –

Of course, I could be totally wrong (xD).

One key reason for that is I haven’t even read the manga (lol) and I’m basing all this from what I’ve seen from the anime (should’ve lead off with this probably). That said, Real Talk is never about being right, but rather it’s about sharing ideas in (hopefully) an interesting way — and if anything, I do hope it was an entertaining read at the very least ’cause I did enjoy writing this one quite a bit.

I also realize it would’ve been easier if I’d just said:

“Kondo-san’s kindness made Akira happy when she was feeling down the most, and that’s why she thinks she’s in love with him.”

But where’s the fun in that? πŸ˜€

What do you think about misattribution? Why do you think it is, that “love is like after the rain” for this show? How do you feel about the show in general?

Share your thoughts down in the comments section below~!!

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11 thoughts on “Real Talk: Misattribution, and Why Tachibana Akira’s Love is Like After the Rain

  1. It’s a stretch, but I can’t say you’re wrong, either. I feel like you focused on the literary accessories of the moment, the rain and the coffee and the sun and all that sh*t, that really feels like a mangaka amping up a scene. But again, you’re not wrong. Tachibana’s “love” is suspect, and a bunch of reasons can be attributed to it. You can say she’s in trauma, or she’s going through the stages of death (not literal death, but the steps Denail, Anger,Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance), or we can focus on her child-like innocence and immaturity that could stem from her upbringing.
    All I can say is YES, her love is complex. it’s not a straightforward romantic thing, and there’s more beneath the surface. To me, her love is human. Imperfect, impulsive yet honest and true. How we perceive her love is really what makes us human as well. πŸ™‚

    buti nlng pinapanood ko din to. hehehe

    • It’s an imaginative stretch for sure xD (ooohhh, I should use that next time to describe these)
      On the one hand, yeah, these staging elements (mostly the rain, and ‘after the rain’) may very well only serve to “amp up the scene” for that specific moment and nothing more; on the other hand, and you say it yourself, there should (or at least *could*) be something more beneath the surface to all this.
      It’s gonna be interesting to see how exactly she defines her love for herself — ’cause ultimately that’s what matters the most.

      Pretty sure a lot of people are watching this, maybe just afraid to admit it or something, lol

  2. Yes yes! I can’t believe I’ve missed out on such a wonderful series you’re doing!
    I vaguely felt the misattribution in that scene, but wasn’t able to put it into words adequately like you did here. I have to wonder though: if somebody providing you with kindness leads to misattributed love, what would be genuine love? Don’t people fall in love with people who are kind to them all the time? Or are you supposed to fall in love with a person’s specific characteristics (and might that not become fetishistic)?
    Thank you for such an insightful post. It was a pleasure to read!

    • lol it’s on me that this series got kinda pushed into the shadows the way it did xD
      Now I’m no expert on the subject of love (who is really :)) but personally I always default to the notion that “feelings” of love in whatever way shape or, form is “genuine” to a certain extent — in the sense that you can’t really say that what *you* yourself are feeling is fake (’cause what do you compare it to?). The authenticity of it all only really comes into question when that love is acted upon, where it then becomes something defined by two people, and that’s where stuff like compassion and intimacy come into play.
      But, I suppose that’s also the beauty of abstractions such as love; since you’re free to find your own meaning, and no one would be the wiser.
      Likewise, thanks for hearing me ramble Moya!

  3. Given that she’s clearly too young to know what “love” is in any depth, I doubt that you’re far off the mark. Even she seems relatively hesitant now, wanting to learn more about her crush in the way that many young people do when they start to realize that the love they’re feeling is more along the lines of “soul mates” than “lovers”. That is, she isn’t necessarily misattributing the fact that they share a certain kind of kinship or even love, but is likely misattributing it to being romantic love. But her motivation for this seems to be that she’s using Kondo as a substitute to fill the void of having run away from her athletic career, not something truly “pure”.

    That’s actually what makes this story so fascinating – you don’t usually see this angle in a story like this. Traditionally it’s just played for shock value, base wish fulfillment, or even less savory reasons. They could have done this story without masking it with such loaded themes, but that would be downright tedious – something that almost everyone goes through on some level, done without flair. Plus this gives them the chance to explore it from not just her perspective, but the equally fascinating one of an older man who isn’t cartoonishly tempted, but still longs for affection… or perhaps vicarious redemption; I wouldn’t be surprised if his own writing career never took off, making him want to help Akira get hers back on track (no pun intended).

    And that’s just the lead pair. There are other characters who may be on similarly trollish trajectories (from a narrative standpoint). That seems to be what’s made this story interesting to those who didn’t just write it off immediately. They don’t know what it intends to be, and so far it has just been a rather down-to-earth story about people with emotional problems who can’t form close relationships as naturally as most.

    Of course that’s all assuming this isn’t just a feint and all the subtlety was just a troll or all in our heads. Sometimes it’s just fun to over-analyze.

    • It’s funny that you allude emotional maturity with regard to Akira and how much she understands about the concept of love, as you’d think that that would come up more often in shows depicting high school romances in general, but just as often it’s glossed over by something like an unspoken agreement between the medium and the audience — kinda like “they really don’t know much about it, but let the kids have the springtime of their youth”. However now that there’s an adult involved, it’s almost as if it’s fair play to bring it up (xD)

      I agree that without the backdrop of Akira “losing” her passion in life (in running) or Kondo lamenting his youth through the lens of a frustrated author — it become, at least in face value alone, fetishistic (which it isn’t, by any means). I think that’s what turned off a lot of people from this title, which is a shame because, you’re right; we don’t get to see a story like this played very seriously, almost with care even. Kondo’s perspective in particular, the romantic view point of a 40-something man… that’s rare in and of itself in anime.

      I do wonder if these other characters get fleshed out more (as I can imagine them just being white noise for the most part). Ah, save for that guy who’s in love with Akira — it’d be interesting to see how the show differentiates his attraction to Akira, and Akira’s to Kondo. I mean, this too goes back to how much Akira understands “love” and “being in love” as she’s completely oblivious to the poor guy’s feelings for her.

      That is true (lol), but I’m holding out hope that there’s something to it in the end.

      “Sometimes it’s just fun to over-analyze.”
      As is the very heart of this post. Thanks for dropping by, and I’m glad this write-up piqued your interest enough to share your thoughts on it as well. πŸ˜€

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  5. This is a really interesting read and I’m going to see what other real talk posts you have! As for what I think about that moment and her love…I haven’t watched the show so IDK! But now I want to go watch the show so I can give you a proper response (and since it’s only 12 episodes…)

    • Haha, yey~!! Thanks crimson, lol, there’s not a whole lot of ’em really, but yeah, by all means check ’em out if they happen to catch your interest :3 (and yes, would love to hear your thoughts on After the Rain too xD)

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