Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

ef - A Tale of Memories

I'm not a big fan of artiness just for the sake of art and at first glance that is exactly what ef - A Tale of Memories seems to be. There seems to be virtually no setup or introduction to the characters, but we are instead treated with amazing and abstract animation. 

I certainly wouldn't classify this as your typical "school romance anime" because the way it is presented does make it stick out like a sore thumb. In some ways, the entire thing reminds me of the final episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion where the animation portrays the thoughts and emotions of the characters rather than portraying the characters and situations "the proper way." Only in this case the animation is a lot better and you can tell there was a budget to work with. 

Indeed, Shaft does an amazing job like they always do when it comes to animation. I knew from the first few seconds of the first episode that I was going to be in for some great visuals and I was right on that front. 

The story, though... I'm not sure about it. 

With the animation being as abstract as it is, the story seems rather pedestrian by comparison. Essentially, it's about three male characters and the three female characters that they eventually fall in love with. 

The story certainly tries to make things interesting by giving one of the characters a 13 hour memory and I found that story to be the most appealing part, but the anime as a whole seemed to suffer from a bit of a pacing issue. It takes a while for the characters to really come alive, outside of Chihiro with her 13 hour memory, and by the time you become really invested the anime ends. 

All of the primary characters grew on me and I found myself having some favorites and least favorites, but what annoyed me is that almost none of them really became anything more than abstract animations to me. They didn't really come to "life" like they do in really good anime. 

Which is a pity because the animation really does come to life. 

Perhaps this puts me in the minority because I know a lot of people like this anime and swear by it as one of their favorite romance anime, but I just think it is a little bit too bizarrely presented for its own good. 

One thing that does stand out to me is how one of the female characters seems vanish and appear. Amamiya Yuuko is a character whose presence in not explained or understood. She dresses like a nun and hangs around at the church Chihiro's brother seems to live in, but there is certainly a sense of "otherworldliness" about her. 

She doesn't seem to a have a major role in the series, but she somehow seems connected to many of the situations presented in the anime. And on occasion some of the characters have conversations with her and you wonder if she's really a ghost or not. 

I'm hoping ef - A Tale of Melodies will fill in some of the blanks. That one is next up on my viewing queue, but I might push it out of the way so I can finish up Mobile Fighter G Gundam

Anyway, thanks for reading. 

P.S. - Am I the only one who wonders why so many girls in anime wear eye patches? Chihiro is the fifth eye-patch anime girl I've come across so far. What's with the eye-patches? Why can't we give them something really cool like monocles instead? 

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