It’s really hard to find an anime that has so much impact in this season. I was actually waiting for the series to end before making this post, and the last episode fulfilled every wish of mine. A show that divides viewers, some will consider this to be a classic in terms of symbolism, character development and the active use of abstract objects and colors to explain feelings and emotions. Others will deride this as a nonsensical portrayal of objects and colors that is used simply to complicate things.
No matter which camp you are from, EF ~ A tale of memories ~ is a beautiful story enveloped by the theme of memories. Are there memories that you do not want to forget?
The story revolves around the protagonist Hirono Hiro, a poor high school boy who draws shoujo manga for his living. One cold Christmas night after meeting a very strange woman in a church, who tells him that he’s going to meet someone he has to meet, his bike gets stolen by another strange girl. He runs after her and finds her collapsed on the street. Her name is Miyamura Miyako and her bag got stolen by a man on a motorbike. Soon after, they start hanging out together, enjoying high-school life. Miyako falls for Hiro pretty quickly but naturally finds a rival in his childhood friend, Shindou Kei, who has been dictating Hiro’s life since ever
A second story told along goes with Shindou Chihiro, a girl who cannot remember more than 13 hours of her life due to an accident. She became isolated and enjoyed her stay at the desolated train station that no longer has any train service. One day, she meets Renji, a boy that considers the train station to be his secret hideout. Chihiro will realize that her life, her memories and her goal will be affected by this very boy.
Why you should watch it
If there is something more beautiful in the romance of the two couples this year, please point it out to me. It’s been a while since I last cried at an anime, and the last anime that did was AIR. This makes this show all the more powerful in terms of driving emotions. In that aspect, one must definitely credit the work of SHAFT that generally tends to be rather hit and miss with their common repertoire of quirky comedy. For once, they almost hit the bullseye at every single attempt for storytelling, and that is perhaps worthy of such a statement.
One thing that is perhaps the difference in the opinion of fans is the many symbolism in terms of the color. The mood of the show is often dictated with colors. Miyako, one that does not feel like there is a future with anyone, looks at things with a black and white screen. This is exhibited when everything with Miyako alone turns monochrome. The sky is often a quiet approach to the mood of the scene, changing from yellow, red, purple or simply white.
I personally loved the beautiful story of Chihiro and Renji. Without spoiling you too much, the ending is one that will leave you shocked and happy at the same time, considering how your emotions will be twisted and changed by the plot. One thing about Ef that makes it worthwhile is how it starts off rather mellow and calming. It makes you think that everything that is thrown at you is mindless and senseless until you get absorbed into it. I guess you can call it the classic “starting slow” anime.
Then it arises, slowly but steadying. By the time it reaches its mid point, you cannot but look at how the drama has grown. You start to feel for the characters, you feel for what they think, their relationships with their counterparts and how the story is going to end. You cannot wait for the next episode, hoping that the bad end that seems so likely will be resolved by a miracle. You hope that memories will not bind them to their past, but allow them to move into the future (yes, it is quite cryptic, so watch the show to understand).
Ef ~ A tale of memories ~. That is greatness at its best in 2007.