ef – a tale of melodies [ep 2]

by eternal on October 23, 2008

I know I said this already, but really, this show is brilliant. Only two episodes in, and I’m already smitten – the animation is absolutely beautiful, the characters are unusual yet likeable, and the Shinbo/SHAFT combo is doing everything that we’d expect them to do. This week, we see further into Yu’s mind and his history with Yuuko – as well as the bizarre yet intruguing relationship between Mizuki and Kuze.

Yu’s tragic past.

Off topic, but that’s some awesome karaoke. Great job, Chihiro.

Like always, SHAFT does not disappoint.

Nice added touch with the visible shadows from the clouds. I need to find someone that can draw backgrounds like this OTL.

If I didn’t know better, I’d say that ef was all about the visual effects. But I definitely know better.

I’d forgotten that their creativity extended beyond epic sunsets and shadows.

…Speaking of which, I’d also forgotten than this show had comic relief from time to time.

Heh, way to mess with her head.

Revenge, I suppose?

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. I love these sun-drenched backgrounds almost as much as I love Naru Nanao’s character designs.

Lots of examples of brilliant animation, not that I’d expect any less.

Yu was quite the artist at such a young age.

…He was also quite the pessimist.

Naru Nanao character designs, beautiful as always.

That’s what I mean when I say that this show is amazing.

Kuze’s internal metronome, figuratively and literally.

Um…yeah, keep talking about that sensual music, Mizuki-chan…

Two confessions in one episode, not to mention that this is only the second episode – that’s got to be a record, somehow. Just as with the first season, though, I love how each girl has a guy for herself, thus avoiding the whole messy harem situations and blatant escapism. Thanks to this setup, it doesn’t even strike me as odd that Mizuki and Yuko are both being so upfront about their feelings, even though it’s still technically highly improbable in real.

But putting that aside, I have to say, things are coming along spectacularly so far. I’ll try to avoid repeating “this show is awesome” over and over again in different ways (and then passing it off as a post), but really, that’s the one thing that keeps coming to mind. As just about everyone has already figured out, the animation is simply gorgeous, to the point that it’s a treat to just watch raw – not that I would do that – and to top it all off, the directing is simply brilliant. I believe that Akiyuki Shinbo is supervising this project, with the main directing being done by Shin Onuma, and I think we can all see the prevalent SHAFT style; except this time, just like with a tale of memories, it’s being done in a far more dramatic tone than the lighthearted Hidamari Sketch or Pani Poni Dash.

I’ll definitely ramble on quite a bit more about the artistic impact this show has had on me later on (whenever I build up enough material to write a post), so for the time being, I’ll settle it by saying that these people really know what they’re doing. I’m obviously no film expect, or anything even close, but anyone with a self proclaimed artisitc eye and a bit of common sense can figure out just how skillfully this show is being animating. It’s all in the simple things, like the shadows of the clouds drifting over the school rooftop, and the empty world within Kuze’s mind where time appears to be almost frozen – it’s things like this that are brought to life through the visual effects, and it’s these visual effects that help bring the series itself to life. If we ever see a translation of the original visual novel, I’d love to play it even if only to see what the source material is like, because after all this, I can’t imagine seeing ef in any format other than anime. Although the game would probably still be worth playing for the Mizuki H-scene.

I’m also, as I said last week, very interested in the relationship between Kuze and Mizuki. There’s just something about Kuze that piques my curiosity, somewhat like the appeal of the mysterious, frail Key girls, except that he’s a guy – in which case, it’s reminiscent of the guys from shoujo like Fruits Basket. I obviously don’t “like” him in the same way that most female Furuba fans would like Kyo or Yuki, but I’m intrigued by his mental strength, physical frailty, and all-around aura of mystery. His relationship with the ever-genki Mizuki also creates an interesting dynamic – I doubt any of this would work had he been paired up with an equally mysterious or silent-type girl.

All in all, things are proceeding smoothly, to say the very least. The quality of the production is top notch (and likely to bring SHAFT into the mainstream’s eye, if it isn’t there already), the presentation is nothing short of brilliant, and most importantly, the plot itself is absolutely enjoyable. All the fancy visual effects and ingenious directing in the world couldn’t make a bad plot become good – but luckily for us, the story of ef is quite possibly one of the best in the visual novel world, or at least the ones that have been revealed to us English speakers. With all of these things combined, ef – a tale of melodies has everything that makes anime good, and nothing that makes it bad; it’s a compilation of everything I love, everything that this blog is about, and it’s being executed flawlessly.

In other words, it’s a reminder of why I love this form of media, and why I’m taking this chunk out of my time to talk about it. It’s a brilliant show, and it deserves to be rambled on about, by whomever may be able to appreciate it.

He’s wondering how he became such an awesome harem lead that he got a borderline loli to confess to him in two episodes. I just know it.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

M12 October 24, 2008 at 5:38 am

Nice review. I’m retarded, because I always watch this show before I go to sleep. As a result, I’m tired and I have no idea what’s going on ^_^;.

M12s last blog post..Kyou no Go no Ni


ETERNAL October 27, 2008 at 9:15 pm

@ M12: Again? lol, you’d better be more careful from now on, you’re missing out on a lot! XD


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