ef ~A Tale of Memories~

“ef ~A Tale of Memories~” by Minori – 13 Episodes.

The anime revolves around two protagonists, Hirono Hiro and Asou Renji. On Christmas Eve, Hirono Hiro meets a girl named Miyamura Miyako who was chasing a purse snatcher. Hiro later finds out that Miyako also goes to the same school as he does and they start hanging out together. This made Hiro’s childhood friend, Shindou Kei, feel left out. Kei then tries to compete with Miyako for Hiro’s affection and a love triangle ensues. The anime also tells the story of Asou Renji. Renji meets a girl named Shindou Chihiro at an abandoned train station. He soon learns that Chihiro suffers from a type of amnesia where her memory span only lasts for 13 hours. He also discovers Chihiro’s dream of writing a novel, but she has never been able to fulfill that dream due to her condition. Renji then decides to help her fulfill that dream.

-Anime News Network

Rating: 85%

 (This review is spoiler-free)

I came into ef feeling rather skeptical. I’d heard a bit about it on AnimeSuki, regarding the show being a particularly good romance.

So… why not?

Plot – 6/10

Two girls falling for one rather dull guy for one substory, and a guy with some sort of… top-side pony-tail… thing falling for a sickly girl in an abandoned train station in the other. Oh yes, and a camera guy who’s totally into making his own film.

To be honest, the plot doesn’t really pick up; it’s not bad, but the show is better represented by its characters and character relations.

The things that happen in the world around the characters are mostly trivial – character relations drive this show.

Primary Aspect (Romance): 9/10

Shindou Chihiro, Asou Renji.

Something that always pleases me upon watching any serious romance – the pair are serious about their relationship. They’re willing to work and struggle to bring themselves closer to each other. Chihiro and Renji are an excellent example of this happening, much like Tomoyo and Tomoya in Clannad, or Chise and Shuuji in Saikano.

This is no fairy-tale romance. Chihiro’s feelings come across as quite realistic, and she often disagrees with Renji quite vocally, regarding questions and decisions.

The pairing’s strength is in its feeling of loss and recovery. Chihiro’s memory lasts no longer than 13 hours, such that the only way she remembers Renji early on in the series is through her precious diary, in which she writes her daily experiences – her lifeline to the Chihiro of yesterday.

Despite this, they endeavour to write a novel together, a task seemingly impossible for either of them alone, as a bond in their relationship.

 

Hirono Hiro, Miyamura Miyako

 I love green eyes.

This pairing looks quite ordinary on paper. And it is on the screen as well. The relationship between this pair isn’t nearly as deep as Renji and Chihiro’s, but the characters themselves have individual problems to solve, i.e. it’s not really a shared problem this time.

Nevertheless, its a well-rounded, nicely written relationship.

 

Characters: 9/10

The characters are portrayed consistently, without any out-of-character moments breaking the atmosphere (this doesn’t allow much room for comic relief however). Each of the 5 main characters in the show feel very fleshed-out. Rather than being characters evolved from a single idea or quirk, they’re watched and heard more like people with quirks and attributes.

Character development is excellent, each character suffering from problems that are easy to identify and relate to, whether it’s overworking, priorities, or something deeper. Even though Chihiro’s failing memory is a rather fantastic problem, the consequences feel very real.

No characters stand out as particularly annoying, though perhaps with the exception of Renji’s green-haired mother.

Animation: 10/10

The animation is top-notch. Well drawn, and well animated. The backgrounds are very often animated rather than stills. CG is often used for water and sky effects, and it works well. The attention to detail given to ef’s animation is astounding, and stands even with the best out there.

Vibrant colours, fantastic artwork, surrealist imagery bring ef to life.

Sound and Music: 7/10

The OP, “Euphoric Field”, and the various EDs are of quite varying quality.

“Euphoric Field” fits the show nicely, and brings us a clean, upbeat melody before each episode (with the exclusion of a few). The first part of the song (used for the OP) is primarily in English, and while it manages to avoid the classification of Engrish, it does have a few awkward sounding lines, though primarily largely correct. The singer’s voice is a bit drowned out somewhat by the song, especially after the chorus. I sat through the OP before each episode, and felt it helped to establish atmosphere. Again, it fits the show nicely.

The background music throughout the show is quite hit-and-miss. Some tunes are quite forgettable, and some are missed during tense moments in the show (a testament to the show’s strong atmosphere, perhaps!). The one’s that stand out are remixes of the OP and ED songs, especially that of “Euphoric Field”  and “I’m here”.

The sound effects are stock standard, bringing the show to our ears perhaps, but ultimately unremarkable.

Overall: 51/60, 85%

“ef ~A Tale of Memories~” met my expectations, and exceeded them in the animation and character development. It certainly is an excellent romance series, recommended for young adults. It does contain adult themes and strongly implied sex, as a warning for potential young viewers.

It’s certainly worth time (and money) to pick this series up, if you are a fan of serious romance. Not a lighthearted series, it certainly brings up some things to think about, and brings a great treat to your eyes, ears, and mind.

One Response

  1. Wow, it’s hard to imagine something this detailed coming from you (No offence intended) – this is really well written, there’s no doubt about that. You should make more anime reviews dude.

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