WARNING: The following review may not be appropriate for children, Reader Discretion is advised
Critic's Log - Earthdate: July 16, 2012. Review #12: Ef: A Tale of Memories
The name's Giovanni, I am just an average citizen in the United States. I happen to be a bit different than some people. I happen to like anime because it is something I enjoy, but I don't remember quite clearly on how I was so fascinated from watching anime. One of my ambitions is to write a book, maybe because I like movies, shows, books and video games that have a great story. One of my hobbies includes critiquing anime. What I said is true, and yeah... this is part of the intro that would be most fitting for this review. Here is Ef - A Tale of Memories!
On Christmas Eve, a young male student named Hiro Hirono meets a girl named Miyako Miyamura as she chases a purse snatcher, Hiro later finds out that she attends the same school that he does and they start hanging out together. This makes Hiro's childhood friend Kei feel left out. She then tries to compete with Miyako for Hiro's affection, thus creating a love triangle. Meanwhile, another young man who is named Renji Aso meets a girl named Chihiro Shindo at an abandoned train station, He soon learns that Chihiro suffers from some sort of amnesia where her memory only lasts for 13 hours. Chihiro also dreams of writing a novel , but she has never fulfilled that dream due to her condition. Renji decides to help her fulfill that dream.
To be technical, this is an anime adaptation Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two which had a manga, some video games, and a couple of light novels. I haven't found any details about the manga and light novels but I have found out that the video games are classified as "Eroge", It is what Japan calls games that are erotic. *Insert Klaxon Horn sound effect* Yeah... The games possibly have sex scenes in them. It's pretty much anime video game porn, enough said...
The anime was made by Studio Shaft and I haven't really seen some of their animes but I will admit that they did pretty good on the visual department because the scenery is breathtaking in this anime. The style approach is a bit hit and miss and sometimes annoying. You'll see a short second of something a lot in this show. Here's an example below...
I am a little puzzled as to why some scenes have this visual effect, but I guess the style is unique, I find it somewhat slightly overused, If you can get past these visual one second scenes of the show, you'll be fine. I still think the visuals are quite nice, even the opening looks fantastic.
Unfortunately it seems the animation may be the biggest strength of all the elements of Ef: A Tale of Memories, This anime is definitely going to be a mixed bag for some otakus. There are some people that love this anime because of its beautiful imagery and visuals, some might not like it because of its slow pacing, there are some that have heard of it but never seen it, and there are some people that have not even seen it... AT ALL! I have seen the whole show and I sort of like it to some degree, this probably might not land in my favorites list but I will give Studio Shaft some credit, they did a wonderful effort making the visuals look like moving art. The animation is a bit limited in this show and it is a bit limited, that is the show's big flaw.
The story might be its biggest problem; it has nothing to do with the drama in this show... it's something to do with the romance that ensues in Ef: A Tale of Memories. I'll say this again... THIS ANIME IS KIND OF A MIXED BAG! When it comes to the romance moments, It is a bit boring for me. At least it picks up around the seventh episode.
The music by Eiichiro Yanagi and Tenmon really compliment the show pretty well, and it is really soothing and calming and it really fits the show. Yanagi-san has not composed any animes before or since Ef: A Tale of Melodies (which I'll review eventually), Tenmon on the other hand was the composer for the visually stunning 2007 anime film 5 Centimeters Per Second. (which had a beautiful musical score). The music in Ef is fitting and I guess there were a few songs worth listening to without the show.
The Voice acting is really good on both in Japanese and English but I might strongly recommend the Japanese version because it may make more sense watching this one subtitled, I listened to the dub for about 5 minutes and I thought it didn't sound bad at all. I stuck to the Japanese version because it felt appropriate to the character names, and the setting of the show. Christopher Ayres did great as an ADR director for making a dub that's really not that bad.
The characters themselves are sometimes a bit flat, except for maybe a few. These characters are not too interesting for me and this show uses little action and it is heavy with dialogue. I mean... NO ONE SHUTS THE FUCK UP IN THIS SHOW! That is not a big problem for me, I can handle animes like this, but if the characters are mostly boring and have little personality... it is going to be a big problem. The characters alongside the story arcs are not integrated really well.
I will admit that Shin Oonuma directed this anime in a bit of a unique way, but I will say this one last time, this anime is a mixed bag. Some will like it, some won't...
Ef: A Tale of Memories is available from Sentai Filmworks, the manga called "Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two" which was written by Mikage and Yu Kagami and illustrated by Juri Miyabi has not been released in the US yet, the light novels also have not been released in the US either. The Ef video games also never got released in the US as well and considering what type of game it is, those kinds of games never get released in the US.
With that said, Ef - A Tale of Memories is a unique art house anime with beautiful scenery, affective drama, and with some calming music. The story, characters and some animation quirks may have gave this anime some issues with viewers, it is not a terrible anime... it is just hard to get into...
I give Ef - A Tale of Memories a 7 out of 10, It Is GOOD!
Feel free to comment below, are there any memories you don't want to forget?