ef ~a tale of memories~ 6

Categories: anime, ef, episodic review


Now this is a declaration of war.


Forget Celestial Being. Forget Shana vs. Yoshida vs. Konoe. Forget Kana vs. Chiaki. Forget Kimikiss vs. blinking. Forget Tomoyo vs. Graham Acre. Kei shows the proper way to declare war: “I will never lose to you. I will wipe you out. Together, Onii-chan and I will start from there. He will then say farewell to you. And then it will be over.”

Let’s go over that again. “I will never lose to you. I will wipe you out.” Obviously, this is many times better than Shana’s and Yoshida’s epic “You can’t get to know him!” “Why?” “You can’t!” “Why?” “You can’t!” confrontation back in Shakugan no Shana 12. Talk about good, forceful stuff; Kei is gold and diamonds and sparkles here. Kei means business; she’s on the offensive, like Rambo: First Blood. The best part wasn’t just Kei’s confidence, it was that somehow the disappearing motif struck a nerve with Miya-Miya, thus inflicting even more damage. It’s like stabbing with a knife, then twisting it as you pull it out.

“Together, Onii-chan and I will start from here.” I think Nemu said the same thing to Kotori, and we all know how that turned out. Confidence. Kei is just exuding confidence, and her approach to her unrequited love is a breath of fresh air compared to other shows currently airing. If Kei played her Ace earlier, this is her Jack.

Her final salvo, “He will then say farewell to you. And then it will be over.” The implication, of course, is that Kei will be such a wonderful asset/companion/lover/etc to Hiro that she will make him forget about all other girls. Once you go Kei, you don’t go back. I loved this just because it hammers home the point to Miya-Miya. Kei talked a very good game, now she just needs to back it up. It’s one thing to trash talk like Gilbert Arenas, it’s another to back it up with a 16 for 28 shooting night (and not a 5 for 20 stinker).


The best part was that their confrontation setup, logically, the remainder of the episode. Prior to the confrontation, you could tell that Kei had already made up her mind about confessing to Hiro, but she wanted to do that at the game. She was most likely threatened by Miya-Miya, and, pushed into a corner, she is going out swinging, even if it means pulling a Nemu on Hiro. Marina, Shana, et al could learn something here. Miya-Miya isn’t stupid. She’s actually a lot smarter than Bamboo Blade‘s Miya-Miya and Hidamari Sketch‘s Miya-Miya. Combined. She figured out that Kei is trying hard to impress Onii-chan, so following her logic, she would confess after the game. Of course, Miya-Miya offers herself on Sunday to cockblock Kei (there’s probably a more appropriate term than “cockblock” but I’m short on time writing this post and am too lazy to think of it). It’s fantastic. Logical scenario. Logical action. The writers and producers of 90210 would be proud, if they weren’t on strike.

Then Rei gets hurt during the game, which is fantastic for two reasons. First, Kyosuke tries to be the good guy. He’s trying to win over Kei, and he’s doing it the smart way. He’s being persistent and being a nice guy. You’d think he was more Woody Boyd than Sam Malone. Second, Kei’s resolve to confess to Onii-chan dissolves once the immediate Miya-Miya threat has been resolved. Because Hiro ditched Miya-Miya to care for Kei, she has time. I think she should have gone for it, asked Hiro to carry her onto her bed, and then proceed with the Nemu plan, with only some “7 Days of Simon and Nia” action thrown in, but that’s just what I would have done as the scenario writer.


Of course, the war between Rei and Miya-Miya isn’t even the most interesting storyline. As fantastic as Rei and Miya-Miya have been, Renji and Chihiro really steal the spotlight. Renji’s been the patient, understanding, and encouraging support for Chihiro, just like any strong relationship. Only, you start sympathizing with him because things cannot be so good with Chihiro’s condition yet you want him to help her. You just get the sinking feeling that something awful is going to happen, but you can’t stop Renji, because he’s being Chihiro’s noble knight. Renji’s a nice contrast to Ninomiya, Yuji, and Tomoya. I loved the final image where Chihiro’s still tied to the clock, but Renji’s there to lend a hand. You want to root for him to make Chihiro happy.

I think there’s a level of depth to Renji and Chihiro that goes beyond the traditional “caring for the sickly girl” moe mode (i.e. Yuuichi and Shiori) as it feels fundamentally different. Whereas Yuuichi was more of an accompaniment to someone like Shiori, Renji is a frickin’ support pillar for Chihiro. Renji is also more like a devoted loved one than a dad (i.e. Yuuichi and Makoto). If that base wasn’t good enough, there’s Chihiro’s novel. I’m still not sure what to think of it. It’s a great metaphor for Chihiro, and I can’t help but think that it’s unwritten, unfinished because Chihiro doesn’t know how she wants to finish it. The logical end for that girl, and for Chihiro, is not a happy one. Almost on cue, Chihiro needs Renji’s help to not just literally write the novel, but provide the ending that allows the heroine to escape her fate. Good stuff. And I haven’t even gotten to the part of how it connects back to the euphoric field.


And whatever image of Renji and Chihiro’s book isn’t even best imagery of the episode. The best, which floored me, was the revelation that Kuze has a female school uniform in his closest. It was the best until it was revealed that he has them in many sizes and many styles, including Mahora Academy (though I’m disappointed we didn’t get Momotsuki Gakuen or Yamabuki High School). I was still trying to wrap my head around that until Renji found out that his mom– HIS MOM!– was modeling such outfits for Kuze. Bar none the best scene so far for fall 2007. I will not argue this. This out epic’s Sumeragi, out amazing’s Haruka, out Aruru’s Fuko, out :3’s Lion-chan. I was floored. I was even more floored by Kuze’s answer as to why he had this collection. When I was still recovering, the following must have dawned on Renji as well: Kuze is probably more diseased than Family Guy’s Quagmire. And he probably banged Renji’s mom. Repeatedly. And that pretty school uniform that Chihiro is now wearing? It probably has more DNA on it than the CSI Miami crime lab. Try getting that out of your mind. I’m sure Renji was praying to Kyrios/Haruhi/Yurie/Oyashiro-sama to forget this knowledge in 13 hours.


12 Responses to “ef ~a tale of memories~ 6”

  1. It’s too late to “declare war.”

    “Girl punches guy.”


    Misandry anime should fate/stay where misadry anime belongs. In the kitchen.

  2. Man, this has been my favorite series this season, and it’s still delivering, thanks Shaft for making something GOOD. I gotta wait another week?.. sh*t

  3. awww you didn’t mention the freaky 99 missed calls

  4. The term you were thinking was cuntblock.

  5. My friend has been recommending this Tale of Memories to me for a while, but I didn’t actually watch it until I read “out-amazing’s Haruka”. I’ve been comparing Shaft to (virtuoso electric guitarist) Steve Vai: technically brilliant and endlessly creative, but whose compositions are often ruined by clutter, randomness, and just plain showing off. But when Steve Vai exercises restraint, he can produce songs of great beauty and emotion, executed with the skill and grace of a virtuoso.

    After watching the first episode, I’m quite impressed. The great beauty is quite apparent in the backgrounds and animation. The setup of multiple relationships seems to be executed even better than Kimikiss, and avoids the To Heart-like pace in Kimikiss that some people have issues with. There seems to be a bit of randomness, but it’s restrained enough that it doesn’t get in the way.

    Eric Johnson (Kyoto), Joe Satriani (J.C.Staff), and Paul Gilbert (Doumu) all have strong offerings this season, but even after one episode, it looks like Steve Vai (Shaft) might have them beat this time.

  6. I’m still trying to track down that beautiful piece of piano music they used in the trailer for the show.
    I swear to god I got every variation of the game/anime’s OP other than that one.

  7. @ Xeifa
    Good luck with that. The trailer was so good…

    This is a series I’m following for sure.

  8. “Kuze is probably more diseased than Family Guy’s Quagmire. And he probably banged Renji’s mom. Repeatedly. And that pretty school uniform that Chihiro is now wearing? It probably has more DNA on it than the CSI Miami crime lab.”

    u convince me, now i will go watch EF.

  9. Loved this show from the first episode, though at that time Kaiji was on the top of my list. Well, I think it’s time I added one more + to this show to make this the one of three more anticipated shows of the season each week for me.
    The drama is just brilliant thanks to SHAFT’s almost-random style and some funny/creepy scenes. Though the school uniform scene was pretty funny (oh god MILF in school uniform… hadn’t thought of that even after all these years when the term MILF came out…), the 99 unread messages gave me a creepy NICE BOAT feeling (though I’d hope ef doesn’t go down this route… NICE BOATs are reserved for evil morons only).
    It’s a shame I think ef’s set up for the ending is a little too predictable, with three guys and three girls and all. The greatest strength in ef is probably the storytelling, with the dialogues and accompanying background music. A great contender for one of the best harem series this year.

  10. Wrap your mind around this: I did a little research on the Game that Ef is based on and apparently it has four separate story lines with different protagonist for each. Anime is only covering the first three (Hiro, Kyousuke and Renji), the last one is Kuze and he is supposedly paired off with Kei’s middle schooler friend Mizuki. Now that’s something I both want to see and at the same time I feel like I’d rather not …

  11. Yes, its based on a visual novel (AKA “game”) but I think the reason this might be good (not watching it) is because the director is Shin Onuma, I was not making the connection until now but the visuals remind me of Tsukuyomi that I know had people from SoulTaker working on it, also Shaft can do good things.

  12. I’ll have to say, ef is a lot better than I was expecting, partly because of Shaft’s involvement and partly because we’ve been getting a lot of game adaptations lately making this stink like a bandwagon “hurr this will sell” thing. I’m happy that I’ve been wrong on both accounts.
    They’ve been using interesting, stylized visuals and animation quality remains very, very high – just look at the care put even into backgrounds, like the rail crossing, the library, and so on. And if the above concerning separate paths is true, they’ve done a good job combining them into a single whole. I wonder if they’re drawing similar nerd rage in Japan as Kimikiss over “destroying the story” or whatnot. :P
    It all would be wasted though without a good story and characters. Over that, the kei versus Miya-Miya showdown was pure gold. A head-on assault like Kei’s has been a rare thing in any anime I’ve seen. A spontaneous applause and “you know who I’ll be rooting for” is in order. I’m finding this more interesting than Chihiro’s story (which is in no way bad either) because of this three-way tension. Wonder what Miya-Miya’s response will be (99 messages, she’s really freaking out).
    As for Kuze…… -_- Yeah.

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