Ef - a tale of melodies
Desperate in my pursuit of finding a brand-new drama anime with the dignity of my beloved Clannad, I was tempted by many promising series, most of which could be characterised by irksome mediocrity to worrying disturbance – always regarding their creators and what they may have had in mind while producing them. Nonetheless, my at large quest for pure drama and self-forgetting romance paid off and led (with the help of Anime-planet’s search function) to a dreadfully memorable anime by the name of Ef and its two adequate seasons: A tale of memories and a tale of melodies. Melodies – to which I shall comment in this review, should be considered as a direct sequel to Memories, hence the actual continuation of the story.
A tale of melodies (a.k.a. The latter tale of “Ef – A fairy tale of the two”, as it is best known to those indulged in the visual game’s saga) depicts the ground story to which Memories was built. The viewer finds out more about the relations formed between the protagonists of the first story along with their affinities in point of one another. The story of the ghostly Yuko is finally revealed while a 10-year-old past hounding Yu and Kuze unfolds the very essence of their tragic figures. The series’ storyline once again fluctuates between the two cities of the previous chapter, however this time it subtends the narration to both the present and the past of the heroes.
Once again, the direction is unique in its own kind. Although I was never fond of such artistic delineations, I was completely fascinated by the handling it gave out.
Of the few infirm points of the anime should be considered the lack of some innovation in order to differentiate from the previous season. Also, add some drama-clichés that I personally expect in almost every anime. Yet, the average spectator should not consider this a major drawback since the story was given the utmost attention in order to captivate the eye and the mind.
Why not 10? Who knows… maybe there’s a better 2008 animation I am not aware of.
Anyhow, the beauty of the picture is unmatchable and probably one of all-time’s best. Shaft inc. achieved in drawing some magnificent backgrounds and of course a variety of beautiful heroines – a true banquet of colours for the eye. Splendid work has also been done to the area of CG and light effects.
Despite the dearth of an enchanting intro song worthy of Memories’ "Euphoric Field", Melodies takes a slightly different turn, mostly now involving classic music without vocals. Calm and intense parts take their respective turns so as to endue the images, and thus create a fairy-tale-like story.
The actors are quite the same as the first season, so no big surprises there. Smooth, talented voices surround the characters modestly.
Living aside some repetitive deportment that will always come across our path, the diversification of the major characters is more than enough to make things interesting. My personal best is the protagonistic duo of Yu and Yuko, since their acts – especially the girl’s – don’t always correspond with the ideal profile of a nice guy or gal (she makes him fall in love only to break his heart).
Abuse, maltreatment, revenge, insanity along with purity, nostalgia, atonement and redemption compose a variety of characters wishing to live by their memories, through their melodies and on to a future unwritten. Any clichés? Hell yeah. But still, the effort put into creating such shivery tragic figures surely deserves praise if not admiration.
Ef – A tale of melodies is a story about the will of the heart, the desire to live and to love. A true masterpiece, inferior only to its predecessor and a few other classics, it deserves a rightful place at any drama-lover’s collection.