In a high school setting, there are many people whose stories must be told: Hiro, an aspiring manga artist whose view of the world is "missing a certain color," according to himself; his childhood friend Kei, who is vying for his attention; Kyosuke, a photographer and cameraman who seeks to capture true emotion in his work; the ever-cheerful Miyako, who meets Hiro by chance and immediately becomes attached to him; the gentle Renji, unsure of his aspirations to become a novelist; and Kei's mysterious and quiet sister Chihiro, who seems to be a different person every day. As time passes and they interact with one another more, their paths increasingly intertwine as shades of regrettable pasts emerge.
Sorata Kanda has a real problem - he just can't say no to the cute face of a kitten! However, his lovely strays have finally landed him in trouble, as his dorm doesn't allow keeping pets. Given an ultimatum to get rid of the cats or move out, Sorata makes the mistake of standing up for himself and finds himself exiled to Sakurasou, the home of misfits the school doesn't know what to do with. Yet the more he spends time there, Sorata sees they all have their own incredible talents. None, however, enthralls him more than the latest arrival: Mashiro Shiina, a world class artist who is seemingly incapable of feeding or clothing herself! Since none of the other residents have a shred of responsibility, the onus of 'Mashiro Duty' falls to Sorata; what will become of Sorata and his latest stray, and will he ever achieve his goal of escaping Sakurasou?
Both Melodies and Memories have a lot in common with this anime. They are both beautiful stories that start off with the every day character and bring you into a world of drama and love that can't be simply described. Memories is also more light hearted than Melodies, which matches well with the earlier episodes of Sakurasou. Sakurasou has a wider range of emotions with mostly love and passion, where ef has more heartbreak, though not so much in Memories. Both of them keep you anchore din your seat with a unique sense of always being emotionally moved in every episode which is strange, because the whoel epsiode isn't simply Drama, there is much mroe to it, yet somehow even in the smiling happy moments and the everyday things you keep feeling strongly for the anime; you never ever feel bored. You find yourself sitting with the characters, begging them to make the next move or cheering for their successes and crying for their failures. I can't simply reccomend one over the other so watch them both as they will completely woo any true Drama/Romance fans.
In the futuristic city of Neo-Acropolis, eleven girls lead very different lives. Each has a different story to tell shaped by her fears and ambitions, and the small joys and sorrows that make up the formative moments of her life. From a scientific genius who has to face her fear of men, to a young girl who does not want to grow up, to a high school manga author struggling to meet the deadlines, to the intricate relationship between two sisters - the girls come from all walks of life, sharing only the city of Neo-Acropolis, and that mysterious spark that makes their lives so interesting.
At first they seem unlikely, but then you spot the way that they are quite similar: Both series are about different persons growing and learning who they are and to love themselves, mostly through love. The art in both series is really special, and the great touching stories combined with the fine drawings leaves you with the same feelig: Wow!
Teiichi Niiya is a first year middle-school student at Seikyou Private Academy, an institution known for mysterious occurrences. The boy quickly finds these rumors to be true when he meets Yuuko Kanoe, a beautiful, mischievous girl who quickly takes a liking to him... and happens to be a ghost who seemingly no one else can see! Unable to remember anything about her past, Yuuko enlists Teiichi’s help to discover the truth, and together they join the school's Paranormal Investigation Club. With fellow memebers Momoe and Kirie, the pair will investigate the many strange happenings around campus, including the shadowy circumstances surrounding Yuuko’s death.
The Chihiro story of ef and Tasogare struck me as remarkably similar. A nice, sweet guy and a girl with deep, crippling issues fall in love, but their romance is complicated by problems involving her memory. Both have the viewer ask themselves whether good memories with someone are worth carrying the bad ones, as well, or if it's better to just forget everything if pain will be a part of your life forever. They both also do various unconventional tricks visuals-wise.
Tatsuhiro Sato is a university dropout and a "hikikomori" – a person suffering from social withdrawal. To Sato’s dismay, his self-imposed exile from the world is rudely interrupted when a mysterious girl knocks on his door. She has charged herself with the task of curing Sato of his hikikimori ways! Now, as new problems ranging from hentai games to internet suicide spring up, can Sato manage to overcome his hermit-like ways, or will the imaginary N.H.K conspiracy force him to remain a hikikomori forever?
Admittedly, in terms of genre, ef and NHK are nothing alike, with one being a dramatic romance and the other being a dark comedy.
However, one of the important elements of both shows is a sense of self-honesty and awareness that shows the truly deep hardships of the characters. In NHK, the main character has to deal with the incredible hardships of his hikkikomori life and the reality of society that threatens to engulf him. In ef, many of the characters have professions or dreams that they take seriously, and rather than only seeing them as dreams, they actually work toward them and face the hardships accompanying, and have to deal with the accommodating societal pressures. The influence of the creator's personal experience can be strongly felt. Both series are able to recreate the sorts of feelings that would actually be present to the characters if they were real.
In addition to the plot itself, the animation styles are similarly strange. Both use intense imagery and a multitude of colors as well as great cinematography.