When I first skimmed over the description for this anime, I giggled to myself– it’s about a 17-year-old girl infatuated with a 45-year-old man who is a manager at a family restaurant called Garden. What is the likelihood of that happening? We know that Japanese men are notorious for enjoying the company of high school girls, but to make a show out of it, it’s kind of comical, but I was wrong. To my surprise, this is a very wholesome anime with a good feel to it. It’s more than just emotions and admiration for one another.
Akira Tachibana quit the track team due to her injury. She starts developing feelings for her manager when she works at a restaurant as a waitress. Masami Kondo, the manager is clumsy, but nice and not the best-looking guy. However, something is captivating about him that causes Akira to chase after him throughout the show until it is revealed what sort of person he is (I purposely tried to pique your interest so you can go and watch the show).
This anime has a simple plot, but it’s filled with depth when it comes to dealing with human emotions and self-discovery. On the surface, it may appear as if it is a love story but it’s more than that. It’s not a love story. It’s about not giving up one’s dreams. Akira, a 17-year-old girl still has a lot of time to reach and fulfill her dream as a track runner. Settling down as a waitress and replacing her passion by reverting and replacing her attention with the middle age restaurant manager would be a grave mistake. Not to say, Masami is not a worthy romance prospect (it’s not my place to judge someone’s love affair, however, the age gap can make the average person cringe), but most likely she would grow to resent herself for not chasing after her dream in her youth. Likewise, the manager learns a lot from Akira. He realizes that he has given up on his dream when he knows he is a talented writer. Through Akira, he realizes that maybe it’s time for him to finish that half-written novel that he gave up a long time ago.
The sad truth is, there are a lot of people like Masami. There are a lot of talented people who tuck their dreams away in the closet and just let them die over time. Are they truly content and happy with their choice? Most people feel alive when they do something they genuinely love. This is what makes this anime so wholesomely good: It shows two different people in different stages of their lives. Both are passionate about their dreams, but both fell off track. Their admiration and attraction for one another oddly give them both the courage to chase after their unfulfilled promises. So yes, it’s not a love story.
In my final thoughts, the proper use of colors does something to the senses so the animation is very soothing and attractive to look at. Overall, it’s an enjoyable anime if you want something light and full of colors with a positive message about not giving up on one’s dream no matter where we are in our lives. Aren’t we all born to do what we love? I think what matters most in life is to remain true to one’s essence. You don’t have to put a period or a stop at what you truly enjoy. I mean… what is there to lose other than gaining personal enrichment? Both literally and figuratively speaking, running toward the finish line is good for mental and physical health even if no one recognizes our efforts. Do it for yourself because the only person who is responsible for your happiness is you.
Note: Originally posted in 2020; revised and edited Aug. 10, 2022.