ef – a tale of melodies [ep 9]

by eternal on December 7, 2008

After Miyako’s 99 Missed Calls scene in memories, I believe it was evident to all of us that there was more to ef than met the eye, especially in terms of psychology. Though based on an eroge and technically following the VN adaptation formula, it’s nearly indisputable that the characters in ef, both male and female, contain a considerable amount of psychological depth, and that their actions are often times unpredictable. Whether “unpredictable” means foolish, naive, courageous, or anything else is irrelevant; the point is that they all contain more depth than one would expect, and the depth of said characters is emphasized through the drama in the story.

This time, we witness first hand the state of mind of the show’s most twisted character: Akira Amamiya.

The episode begins with a beautiful segment in which Yu and Yuuko solidify their feelings for one another. Accompanied by delicate music, with Yuuko holding her knife and Yu holding his pencil, the couple realizes with certainty this time that they both wished for the same future, and that there was only one way to attain that future.

And then, the conflict. It was satisfying to see the main couple truly on the same side for once, without any manipulation or deception or hidden feelings. For the first time, I believe, they both sincerely wished to be together, and to eliminate the one threat to their future.

And this is where things become interesting: when Akira’s obsession is revealed.

Meanwhile, Kuze ponders by himself as his time slowly ticks away.

…And Mizuki receives an unusual form of encouragement.

Even after running away, he remains restrained.

…I admit, this one stumped me. Thoughts?

He wishes for death, and yet he is afraid of death. His masks still line the wall behind him, representing every false persona and every lie he told himself.

At last, the masks come to life, questioning his sanity. What chance of happiness did he have to begin with, when all he did was run from potential sorrow?

Every act he put up to shield him from the world, every time he tried to escape from reality…the masks that represent each and every side of himself surround him, taunting him.

And in the end, they fall to the ground.

And his last hope is revealed.

Focusing on both parts of the story, episode nine draws us ever closer to our dramatic conclusion. On the Yu/Yuuko side, it didn’t surprise me very much to see the couple finally come to terms with their situation; if anything, it was expected, and I was glad to finally see it. Their feelings were surely wavering at different points in the story, especially with Yuuko’s initially twisted goals, but it seemed obvious (no doubt partially due to the fact that it’s based on a VN) that they would one day realize that there was only one thing that they wanted, and that day was today.

That is why I believe that the key to this episode lies within Akira; or more precisely, within his disturbed psychological state. We’ve all seen a few yandere here and there (I envy those of you who haven’t), but if one took the overexagerated obsession and possessiveness of, say, Kaede, and applied it to a realistic scenario, then isn’t this what it would become? Akira never got over the death of his sister; it stayed with him for as long as he lived, tormenting him longer than it tormented even Yu. It destroyed his life and led him to destroy the life of the innocent Yuuko, all in the name of finding some form of escape. This is, as I see it, the most extreme case of loneliness and loss, taken to the point where the victim refuses (or rather, is simply unable to) accept said loss and move forward. As we can see from his room full of paintings – and if I recall correctly, paintings lacking a face – little more needs to be said about the man’s deteriorated psychological condition. One could even say that there was no salvation for him; he was doomed within his own mind, clinging to a girl that would never return to him, and he was bound to meet his demise at some point. As chance would have it, he happened to recall his sister’s face from Yu’s drawing, and having finally “seen” her again, he decided that there was nothing else to live for.

Likewise, we can see that Kuze’s mind was also severely damaged, although this time for more logical reasons. As we’ve seen throughout the show, his inevitable death has held him back from searching for any form of happiness, but even knowing this, he was unable to shatter his feelings for Mizuki. In this episode, however, his masks fell apart, and I’d hazard a guess that they’re gone for good (although knowing Shinbo they’re probably not). He was overwhelmed by his own mind, finally realizing against his will that he had nowhere to run, and that even after he did run there was no happiness to be found in solitude; and at that moment, the door opened. With his masks lying on the ground and his mind in a state of desperation, it looks as if he’ll be fighting for his own happiness, for however long it will last – or at least, so I hope.

Finally, the episode concludes with a cryptic preview. What could be in store for us next time? I haven’t the faintest clue, but I know I’m looking forward to it.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

animekritik December 8, 2008 at 3:18 am

What the heck is up with the clock?? I hadn’t even noticed that!! In a sense I feel that Amamiya died just the way he wanted, so that for him it was a happy ending…


M12 December 8, 2008 at 4:55 am

Ah nice nice!
… I’m still on episode 7 T_T. Anyway, those masks really have become symbolic, haven’t they?

Got a little surprise for you in here. Hope you like it:

M12s last blog post..Fiesta Hangover


azurewraith December 9, 2008 at 1:21 am

his time is spiralling downward? instant reaction when seeing that screen.


Haruka December 10, 2008 at 8:12 pm

I never thought of that clock more than being really unqiuely designed. I want one like that. Other than that, Kuze sets that clocks and when it goes off everyday, he needs to take his medication or else he has heart convulsions which may lead to an early death… I was like, “Swallow those things, Kuze!” when he hesitated to take his pills, as if he wanted to just give up instead, but yeah. Of course, he wouldn’t do that! D:


ETERNAL December 11, 2008 at 5:26 pm

@ animekritik: Indeed, he didn’t seem unhappy at all. It was for the better for the entire cast, I suppose.

@ M12: Yeah, they’ve been around since the beginning of the series, too…thankfully they’re a rather straightforward symbol ^^;

And thanks for the surprise!

@ azurewraith: …Not bad. I think you might be onto something there.

@ Haruka: It really is one of those shows that makes you want to reach into the TV and do something, isn’t it? Thankfully the characters aren’t stupid :P


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