ef – A Tale of Memories – Episode 9

Let’s return to ef – A Tale of Memories! The show’s run through a battery of dramatic twists over the past couple episodes, as Kei has fought to keep Hiro away from Miyako and the Renji/Chihiro relationship has run up against the limitations of Chihiro’s disability. Miyako has revealed herself to be the deeply scarred child of a broken home, while Renji has finally witnessed Chihiro at her most vulnerable. Considering the ways Kei has worked to keep Miyako out of Hiro’s life, I’m not sure it sounds terribly healthy for him to end up with either of these girls, but I’m certainly still invested in their drama. And the Renji-Chihiro story has risen from seemingly contrived origins to stand as a smartly articulated and very compelling romance. I’d frankly be happy if this episode focused entirely on the two of them establishing a relationship beyond the constraints of Chihiro’s diary, but I’ve got a feeling Miyako will be taking center stage this time. And hey, I guess Kyosuke still also exists? Either way, I’m excited to get started on one more episode!

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ef – A Tale of Memories – Episode 5

And we’re back for another episode of A Tale of Memories. Last episode was, as usual, a mix of the good and the bad. On the positive side, Chihiro’s story has surprisingly turned out to be the strongest narrative within this series, with Chihiro’s condition being handled in a thoughtful way and her personality coming through gracefully throughout. On the negative side, Kei’s material last week was pretty much all romantic comedy cliches, as she flipped from a misunderstanding in the first half to a walking-in-on-her-rival moment in the second. But considering ef was able to turn Chihiro’s story into something compelling, I have reasonable hope that Kei will turn out the same. Let’s find out!

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ef – A Tale of Memories – Episode 3

And we’re back with more ef! The second episode did a great deal to increase my confidence in this series, largely because it was so quick in revealing the dark and tragic secret of Chihiro’s memory. Chihiro’s problem is a Maeda-style device that would have made for a totally inert reveal if it were dragged out – her problem is tough to relate to, but that doesn’t actually matter if we can relate to her feelings about her problem. When dramas like this hide their tragic twists, they trade the audience’s ability to sympathize with their characters for a cheap combination of suspense and surprise. By revealing her condition right now, the show can work to put that condition in tangible, relatable terms through her future actions.

Anyway! We’ll see soon enough whether the show actually takes its variables in compelling directions. Let’s get right to it!

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ef – A Tale of Memories – Episode 2

And we’re back to ef! I’ve spent a little time away from this one, but I’m excited to continue Shin Oonuma’s big SHAFT treatise. The first episode mostly impressed through visual invention, though I did also enjoy the banter between at least one of the couples we’ve met so far. The implied melodrama of the narrative seems to match nicely with the aggressive theater of the presentation, making for a beautiful and cohesive overall package. If the writing can hold up, this could be a pretty special show!

Alright, let’s get right to it.

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