There's a sweet, enjoyable new anime series this year called After the Rain (恋は雨上がりのように) about a teenage waitress who has a crush on her 45 year-old boss. The animation and design are average but pretty enough and the story wisely avoids operatics. It contents itself with what turns out to be a pleasant, mild story about two very different people surprised to find they're dealing similar issues.
Akira (Sayumi Watabe) is a high school student and former track star. She's also a waitress and we learn she got the job after she'd met the manager when she was a customer. She'd been depressed and she'd been charmed when, using a magic trick, he made a tub of milk appear in his hand for her coffee.
This is Kondo (Hiroaki Hirata) who is comically oblivious to Akira's crush at first and is dumbfounded when he does find out about it. He doesn't seriously contemplate a relationship with the girl though the idea wouldn't be as taboo in Japan as it is in the west. High school girls falling for older men, even their teachers, is a concept that crops up in Japanese fiction. Fans of Rumiko Takahashi's great series Maison Ikkoku will remember the female lead, Kyoko, mourning death of her husband, an older man she met in high school.
But it's socially awkward enough that Akira is reluctant to confide in her best friend about it and Kondo spends more time worrying about how to handle the situation than exhibiting any attraction to Akira. As the series progresses, we find they're both repressing former passions; Akira stopped running track after an injury to her ankle and at one time Kondo aspired to be an author of fiction. He's still friends with a former schoolmate who's now a celebrity author.
Those looking for the kind of hyper romance promised by the show's theme song may be disappointed by the series. But it's a nice story that begins with an awkward friendship built on uncertain foundations and becomes a sort of gentle rumination on the human need and capacity for self-fulfilment. A side plot about Akira's friend is obviously there to manipulate the overall story in a certain way and the show's not one of the best anime series I've seen but I found it a perfectly decent diversion to watch one episode at a time while eating breakfast. The whole series is available in the U.S. on Amazon Prime.