May 9, 2012

Anime Review: ef - a tale of memories.

A wonderful and beautifully illustrated anime that produces a mysterious storyline of young love and fate between the characters throughout this anime. It is just so touching and leaves a imprint in your memory that you will not forget. Hence the name, a tale of memories.

ef - a tale of memories.Synopsis:
On Christmas Eve, Hiro Hirono's bike is stolen by a girl chasing a thief who stole her purse. He gives chase and finds her unconscious and his bike ruined. The girl, Miyako Miyamura, soon awakes and the two begin to talk. After making sure she is okay, they end up spending Christmas Eve together. Later, Hiro finds out Miyako attends the same school as him and they begin to spend more and more time together, Miyako developing affections for Hiro. Kei Shindou -- Hiro's childhood friend who has long held a crush on him -- begins to become jealous and a love triangle follows.

The series also tells the story of Renji Asou. One day, he meets Chihiro Shindou, the twin sister of Kei Shindou, at an abandoned train station. Even though she's very shy, they get along pretty well and begin meeting at the same spot everyday. However, Renji finds out that Chihiro was in a car accident years ago and as a consequence she suffers from a disability: her memory lasts only 13 hours. Nevertheless, after learning that Chihiro's dream is to write a novel, Renji finally decides to help her fulfill her dream while also trying to make her overcome the difficulties imposed by her condition.

It may seem another linear love story of some sort- but this anime goes beyond the norm and produces a mystery right from the start. It all starts with love, followed by tragedy, then sadness, and finally a true happy ending. These mixed in together to form ef - a tale of memories. Why is that so? Because the mystery remains of each and every of the characters and how they interact with each other. I am trying not to spoil any of the story here but I can say that somehow, this anime captivated me right from the start. For the first few episodes, you will be left wondering what is going on as we see two different stories unfold at the same time. Even though the characters are 'far away', the connection is there and in the end, you will encounter the true meaning behind such events that have happened throughout the series. I know it is confusing trying to understand what I am saying but it is just one amazing and beautiful anime that will touch your heart.

The art was just simply beautiful, the visual effects and unique art style just complemented the story even more. Many quick shots featured a more simplistic approach in art style- which adds to the effect even more. It will keep you guessing why the artist made it this way. You will also keep on asking why the locations are so similar and how this came to be. Of course, you don't find out what happened in the past until the very end of the series. There anime also features repetitive but thought-provoking text that makes you think really hard at what is going on through the character's minds. The simple phrases are enough to advance the plot and at the same time depicts the mental state of the characters.

The soundtrack used in this anime was just simply stunning. The themes were appropriate for the anime and the beautiful background music can be heard in various scenes. This is one of those unique anime that uses music to influence the audience's reactions and thoughts. It was well executed.

The characters themselves are the most mysterious indeed. We see two parallel plots happening at the same time. We don't get to dive into any background information of any of the characters except we come to understand who they are and what's their situation as of now. One side as a love triangle happening, the other a one-sided love that slowly forms into two. I can't say any more on how these characters came to be as all these details are left to the sequel; ef - a tale of melodies.

Overall, it was a enjoyable experience for me as I got to feel a lot of mixed emotions throughout the anime. Love, tragedy, sadness and resolution. It's all there. The beautiful soundtrack along with stunning art style just captivated me right from the start. The story was neither dramatic or action-packed but rather it was slow paced. However, this slow paced story was well executed that I did not feel bored at all. The mystery of the characters just kept me going to the end. This anime is definitely recommended for those who love mystery, tragedy and romance; but not the sloppy kind of romance. It is definitely worth your time to watch this anime. It gets even better in the sequel as it uncovers the truth and the past of the world this anime is set.

Really well executed and engaging even though it does not feature a major climax or action scenes.

ART: 9
Simple stunning and unique. Highly effective on the interesting use of text and simplistic art styles.

The music was just beautifully composed and suited the anime really well.

Mysterious and unknown to the end. We get to uncover only some minor details though.

Somehow this anime didn't bore me at all.

Just well composed and executed. The sequel, ef - a tale of melodies wraps up the story and gives us insight to the past.