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Anime ef - a tale of memories


Dagger
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[url=http://www.ef-memo.com/][u]Official site[/u][/url]

ef is an upcoming project from [url=http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/company.php?id=677][u]Shaft[/u][/url]. It's based on a recent ero-game whose opening sequence was animated by [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makoto_Shinkai][u]Makoto Shinkai[/u][/url]. The character designs are by [url=http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=15661][u]Naru Nanao[/u][/url], who also did the original designs for Sola. [url=http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=14455][u]Tenmon[/u][/url] (the composer for all of Shinkai's independent works) is responsible for the soundtrack.

You can see the demo movie for the game--which includes Shinkai's stunning OP--[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvNlpnM79n4&mode=related&search=][u]here[/u][/url].

I've played the game (the first half of it, at any rate; they decided to split it across two discs, and the second has yet to be released). Unlike every other eroge out there, ef completely avoids feeling like a harem story. Instead of focusing on one protagonist who has to choose between a bunch of girls, it's an anthology that tells the stories of several different young couples. Although it's mostly realistic, there are hints of the supernatural.

One thing I liked about the game is that the protagonists all have some kind of intense aspiration. (The person who initially plays the role of "carefree best friend/comedic relief" turns out to be seriously dedicated to his dream of becoming a filmmaker.)

The TV show's [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMQMCXXUDzY][u]prologue[/u][/url] just came out on DVD. It includes the new OP, which--while nowhere near Shinkai's level--is quite impressive in its own right. I might be jumping the gun, considering that a tale of memories won't air until October, but I loved the game and am very psyched about this new adaptation.

~Dagger~
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I actually can't wait gor this to start being aired as I enjoy watching anime based on ero-games. They just seem to have a lot more depth to the story at times. I was talking to a friend who said that story based ero-games or at least Type-moon games seem to have some very in depth stories.
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  • 1 month later...
I liked the storytelling approach to the first episode, but it's already getting a love/hate response, and I can understand why. Instead of going story by story, it mixes them together, emphasizing the connections between the characters.

I thought this was pretty awesome, because it lets us see things like Kyousuke's lifestyle prior to chapter 2 of the game, and what Kei and Mizuki were up to on Christmas. (I also thought the scene between Renji and Yuu was a great touch.) That said, it could be off-putting for people who don't know where this all is going.

Lovely music, artsy Shaft touches, and a Lucky Star (and Touhou?) reference. That adds up to a good episode 1, as far as I'm concerned. The animation was half amazing and half spotty, but Shaft being Shaft, they'll probably even it out on the DVDs.

My only serious complaint right now is that they did a horrible job of adapting Mizuki's character design. I have no idea how that slipped past.

~Dagger~
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  • 2 weeks later...
I'm a little behind. watched the first ep last week but not having played the game I'm not sure whether there are 2 separate stories or 4 separate stories being told. I must say though that I really like the artwork. I wasn't expecting some of the effects they used but once they did I was really impressed. I'm going to watch it even if it's just for the artwork but hopefully the story will make more sense to me as it progresses.
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Well, the game (once the second half is released) should have five stories total. The anime appears to be covering three of them, but characters from the other stories show up as well. 3.5, maybe? :animeswea

Apparently the episode 2 ED is going to be the real OP. Not that it's a bad song or sequence, but man, it seems like a waste to have that gorgeous prologue arrangement and not use it in the actual show...

~Dagger~
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  • 3 weeks later...
[COLOR="DarkOrange"]Copied from LOOK AT THIS

What makes ef interesting and different is what also has it teetering on an edge that it will have to be really careful about. The show makes use of as many things to set it apart as possible. Most commonly noted is the highly diverse animation and ?weirdness for the sake of weirdness?. There are also a lot of situations present in ef that you don?t see as commonly in other romances. My personal favorite being that one of the characters is a professional manga artist who is in the midst of questioning his purpose in this career as well as trying to balance himself between his job and school life and trying to find color in his world.

Then there?s the eye-patched girl who can?t remember anything beyond 13 hours prior. This isn?t so much new to anime romance since we always get our fair share of incredibly strange diseases/hidden abilities/true forms but thankfully her case is at least more believable. What makes her interesting, though, is her desire to write a novel, and it gets even better when we get to know the rather dark and intelligent nature of her ideas.

It?s in all these complexities, though, that ef finds itself at a problem which it can either dodge with ease, or crash right into depending on the coming episodes. Tat being that any little cliche that manages to sneak in will look absolutely crushing on the show as a whole. In episode 4, there?s a scene where one of the love interests of the manga artist is at home preparing a meal for him, while the other is feeding him. Anyone would have predicted that they would run into each-other, and lo and behold, it happened. This incident that is not uncommon to romance stories seems especially cheesy when seen in ef. (We also had a lot of cooking scenes in general, though thankfully none of the ugly over-dramatic ones that plague so many anime. I wonder if they were just trying to slap those shows in the face?)

In any event, ef is 100% a show for me. It?s got the same romantic cynicism that you might find in a Boogiepop novel, only without the darkness. The writers have a very intriguing view on society, and since it deals with a conflict that I suffer from presently (the conflict of following one?s dreams against what is ?morally? correct and ?politically? correct) I will surely be tuned in.

Latest Episode (5): Makes up for episode 4?s borderline silliness with some hard-hitting dialog on the part of bow-tie girl and I?m really, really getting to like the relationship between eye-patch girl and guy-with-horrid-hair. Eyepatch-girl?s book sounds deep and interesting and I look forward to more exposition on it. One of my favorite things about this show is how all of the characters are so closely related and yet it never groups them up - they feel like separate stories about a group that doesn?t realize how closely woven they are.[/COLOR]
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Yeah, I thought ep. 5 was the best yet. (Although that was in part due to the pangs of nostalgia from the gorgeous violin theme that came up when Kuze was walking Chihiro home).

I love MiyaMiya-sama (bow-girl). Her harshness toward Kei really surprised me when it first came up in the game, but it makes her a more interesting character. Despite the way she wafts around, she's got a clear and uncompromising way of looking at things.

~Dagger~
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I absolutely love the artwork in the show...it keeps distracting me from the actual storyline. In ep four when Kei was talking about the world as black and white and the show itself was devoid of colour for that scene. Then showing MiyaMiya we are returned to colour. It's those sorts of things that surprise me that I love about this show. the same with the end of ep 3 where [spoiler]Chihiro was talking about disappearing from people's memories[/spoiler] and she slowly fades out from the picture.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Episode 6 was close to perfect. The direction is getting a lot more confident and powerful right as (both) stories heat up. Better comedic timing, superb use of imagery to enhance the drama, and a nice new ED from Chihiro's seiyuu.

What impressed me in the game--and the anime creates the same feeling, perhaps even more strongly--was how the writing makes you lean toward the canon pairings without starting to dislike any of the characters. The anime's greatest strength lies in its emphasis on the stories' interweaving; by doing this, it creates even more of an impact. There were some amazing conversations in this episode, from Kyousuke and Hiro's argument over professionalism, to Kyousuke revealing his innate awesomeness while [spoiler]talking to Kei in the infirmary,[/spoiler] to Round 2 of Kei vs. Miya.

Also, uniform!Chihiro (and I mean both of 'em) for the win.

~Dagger~
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[COLOR="DarkOrange"]I?ll never be able to post like [url=http://omo.serenana.info/2007/11/13/captive-audience/#comments]Omo[/url], but I gotta say, ef 6 continues to strengthen my opinion that this may be the best show airing this season. The bigges thing ef has for me is inspiration - between Kyousuke and Hiro are some of the best characters I?ve gotten to see in anim in quite a while, EXPECIALLY in comparison to other school show characters. They just don?t make romance anime like this - **** they just don?t make anime like this period. And I have to say, I?m happy that someone is taking the opportunity.

So for some reason when I watch this show, it always reminds me of the light novel Boogiepop and Others. Well, it?s probably something in the self-referential nature of the ideals which you can tell are the writer?s personal feelings being imbued into the television. The people who wrote this stuff experience/d it themselves and they really, honestly appreciate these situations. In this way, it makes the truly motivational scenes really moving. And the bottom like is that these are cahracters who are regular people - KNOW thier limitations, are JUST as constrained as you and me bt they STILL do what most are afraid to do facing all the trials and tribulations. Honestly, I can?t remember seeing characters like this in a realistic situation before.

But of course, ef isn?t only a self-referential oddity full of motivational power, but like Boogiepop, it DOEs have a story to tell. (and in this case, it?s a romance) so it?s natural that the actual romance needs to be judged as well and it stands up to other anime of it?s kind and even goes at least above-average, so you could say that the show is really ?ahead on all fronts?. Amazing is a word I wouldn?t mind using.[/COLOR]
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Best show of the season.

I don't know how to describe ep. 7 except by saying that it's a [i]brilliant[/i] episode in which almost nothing actually happens. Amazing transition-to-ED... I could not believe it was over (or that I'd have to wait another week for ep. 8). For them to be creating this much suspense when I know exactly how the story plays out is downright stunning.

There's a lot of stuff I could point out, since practically all of the visual devices worked this time around, but I'll stick to saying that the use of on-screen text was pitch-perfect, from the empty quotes in the Chihiro/Renji half to the [spoiler]phone messages blacking out the screen[/spoiler] in the triangle half.

Both halves built to a shattering climax. I had the shivers both times, and both times, it [i]hurt[/i]. Really really great stuff here. I can't believe I went from being back and forth about the earlier episodes to being totally blown away. I'm *thisclose* to ordering the R2s. Here's to Shaft keeping it up.

EDIT: Anyone want to talk about themes? This episode alone offers so much fodder for discussion about how the Chihiro and Miya/Kei stories are connected (in terms of theme rather than the relationship connections that have already been made apparent). In ep. 7, [spoiler]while Miyako has her breakdown, Renji painfully begins awakening to the fact that he is constantly "disappearing" from Chihiro's heart...[/spoiler]

~Dagger~
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Yay! :)

I rewatched ep. 7 on Nico Nico Douga earlier today, and the comments were fascinating. A lot of people pointed out the fact that it's minimally animated, but done so with such care and purpose that it's hard to mind. (The series director personally storyboarded and directed this episode.)

Some of the comments that came up most frequently were about it being scary/chilling--more so and in a different way from any kind of cheap horror. There was also a lot of praise for the voice acting. (Can't argue with that.)

I hope this makes Miyako's seiyuu a star.

ETA: Oh, and for whoever's following the show, be sure to watch through & after the credits.

~Dagger~
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I must say that ep 7 was probably the most heart wrenching,overpowering, dramatic eps yet. The effects when Renji comes to his realisation and of the whole Miyako section was enough to drain me completely. Again the animation effects were great, I especially liked the "kiddy" style of drawing during the Miyako stuff. I was genuinely teary when they [spoiler]revealed that little bit of Miyako's past and why she doesn't want to disappear[/spoiler]. My impressions of both Kei and Miyako changed during this ep, and it was hard not for that to happen.

What do you want to start with on thematics Dagger? I mean ep 7 just has so much to work with in itself while the series has some thematics that run right through while it appears others are just within an episode.
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ef- is simply blowing me away. I agree with Daggers previous post about it being minimally animated, but I honestly don't care! The stylizations(Example: Stained glass, faded color in Ep. 7)have been done so well thru out the series so far that it does not matter how little it moves, only how much of an emotional impact it has on you. Its kinda like watching a really good book :D

So are their any thoughts yet on how the stories are going to end? Will Renji and Chihiro have a happy ending like the story is supposed to? Will Kei or Miyako win over the contested manga-ka? Myself, [spoiler]I'm hoping for an ending akin to a bad higurashi arc! Ok, not that evil[/spoiler], but this doesn't have the feel of a show where everyone is happy at the end.
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[quote name='Twilight_Kioku']
So are their any thoughts yet on how the stories are going to end? Will Renji and Chihiro have a happy ending like the story is supposed to? Will Kei or Miyako win over the contested manga-ka? Myself, [spoiler]I'm hoping for an ending akin to a bad higurashi arc! Ok, not that evil[/spoiler], but this doesn't have the feel of a show where everyone is happy at the end.[/QUOTE]
I can't say anything with respect to Hiro's side, since at this point I'm pretty confident that they're not going to go for a different ending than the game. (Some scenes have been removed/added/changed, but the overall shape is the same.) As for Chihiro, though, I don't know what to think. At the least, I doubt the writers are going to aim for a miraculous ending, which means they probably can't have a purely happy ending...

[quote name='Meggido']
What do you want to start with on thematics Dagger? I mean ep 7 just has so much to work with in itself while the series has some thematics that run right through while it appears others are just within an episode.[/QUOTE]
Replying a little late here; Thanksgiving got in the way. :animeswea

It'd be nice to start with episode 7, since it's got so much meat to it (so to speak) and then work backwards (or forwards) to see where it takes us. I'm especially interested in the fact that while Chihiro's novel functions as an obvious metaphor for her personal story, it also brings out themes that apply to the other characters (Miyako in particular).

ef keeps coming back to the idea of a "closed world." Pretty much all of the characters except Chihiro have the ability to choose between figuratively shutting themselves in or reaching out to others. On a related note, the arts--drawing, writing, filming, etc.--become either a means by which to connect with others or a way to withdraw further.

From the contrast between Chihiro and everyone else, it's possible to trace one of the show's main threads: the implicit suggestion that the only way to break out of your closed world is to grow as a person, and that this is not accomplished solely by reaching for your ideal self, but by growing [i]toward[/i] others.

In episode 8 (hopefully no one considers this a real spoiler?) Miyako mentions that there's a certain freedom in not being connected to anyone. This parallels Chihiro's story (and, in a way, Chihiro's own experience) about the girl being the "god" of her world. Are there other parallels between Chihiro's story and the other subplots? Is it only Miyako who can be referenced here, or are any other characters experiencing the same kind of thing?

And so on and so on. :catgirl:

Speaking of which, in episode 8, [spoiler]there's a lot more cutting back and forth between Kei/Hiro/Miyako and Renji/Chihiro. I especially liked how the scene changed to Chihiro after the shot of Miyako trying to open the locked door.[/spoiler] Actually, my favorite moment was probably [spoiler]the unvoiced montage of the various characters that appeared when Kuze was playing his violin.[/spoiler] The last scene [spoiler]was heartbreaking...[/spoiler]

Oh, and great news: [B] ef - the latter tale[/B] finally has a release date! It's set to come out on 5/30/08.... which seems endlessly far away, but at least it's on the schedule now. I'm really excited for the [spoiler]Kuze/Miyuki[/spoiler] story, since it won't be in the anime.

~Dagger~
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I like the way you've brought up that idea of the closed world because it's then interesting to see what characters choose as their main option. Hiro for example seems to be one who chooses to shut himself up more than reach out. It's possible that this may be an after effect of the Chihiro accident but also as a byproduct of his job as a mangaka. he states in ep 6 that [spoiler]he prefers to sleep on sundays rather than doing things with others[/spoiler] and thus pretty much is choosing to close himself of from others.

I think Miyako is the opposite. She has forcefully been drawn into that solitary world and she is trying to break out by reaching towards Hiro. I think the end of ep 7 is the first real sign we really get of this, though either ep 5 or 6 also made mention to it. However she's trying to break out of the solitary world by moving towards someone who appears to be more inclined to retract into a solitary world.

Chihiro would then be the interesting case in this aspect. As you said Dagger, Chihiro is the only person who can't exactly choose to reach out or retract into solitude. Like Miyako she seems to be forcefully introduced into solitude and I think this is where her story parallels herself. Like the girl on the island she doesn't have anywhere to go. Her own deficiencies stop her from being able to break out of that solitary world. Though it could be said she is reaching out to Renji, she is forcefully returned to that world of solitude by the simple fact she can only remember him by reading about a past self. In this way, to her Renji could only be fiction, something created in the same way the [spoiler]Boy in the pictures painted by the girl in the island is created by her the painter[/spoiler].

I'm going to think this through a bit more as I had a few more points but they seem to escape me at 20 past 1 in the morning. XD
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  • 2 weeks later...
Curious about what people make of episode 9. I liked it, but my perspective may be skewed because of having been through the game. Opinions seem to be divided over whether it was way too fast-paced or just right.

People have also mentioned being uncertain about Hiro's feelings, which is interesting; each chapter of the game is narrated by a different male character, so you really get inside their heads. In contrast, the anime shows more of the female characters' perspectives (to reiterate, a lot of the Miyako material in the last few episodes was anime-original and not in the game, at least not in that kind of direct detail).

So is Renji right about Chihiro? Is she always the same at heart no matter how her memories change? And whatever the truth might be, will he have the strength to go on believing that?

~Dagger~
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  • 2 weeks later...
ep 10 seemed to be [spoiler] the end of the Miyako/Hiro/kei arc but I could be mistaken [/spoiler]. It seemed to move away from that artistic style that is prominent in the first 9 eps and return to you basic anime with a few extra's thrown in. The [spoiler]countdown of Miyako's phone card was well done and set up the suspense really nicely[/spoiler]. I found it interesting that this one also didn't alternate between the different arcs like the other eps and maybe that will hold for the last 2 eps as well.
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Episode 11 was... I almost don't know what to say. I still don't understand how such a short series based on a pre-existing work can have so [i]much[/i] to it.

I was amazed at how the girl's portraits were brought to completion as a perfect metaphor for Chihiro's diary at the same time that Chihiro and Renji's story reached its climax. On one hand, that was just a secondary effect of the fictional and "real" worlds converging, and yet it demonstrates an attention to detail that's hard to find in other shows. It was chilling to hear Chihiro's voice narrate the scenes of the girl watching the happy couple move in the painting and to realize that this was Chihiro's exact experience: for her, reading her diary equates to witnessing a happiness she can't touch. She can only know it, not feel it or remember it.

As it happens, I spoiled myself for the ending of the episode before watching it. That's part of the reason why I put off seeing it; I just didn't understand how the writers could possibly make a development like that make sense. But they justified it in spades.

Don't quote me on this, but I think this is scheduled to be a 12-episode series? I guess that means there will probably be a DVD-only episode 13 (to complete the EUPHORIC FIELD pattern of episode titles).

Given the lack of a preview and the potential for a DVD episode follow-up, I have no idea what episode 12 will contain. I wouldn't even be surprised if it switched over to Yuuko and Himura. At this point, though, I don't think that they're going to touch more than the very beginning of the Kyousuke story--they just don't have room for it.

~Dagger~
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I must say moving away from the thematics I didn't see that ending at all. It was extremely sad and was a direct contrast to the Miyako/Hiro ending. I'm going to go wipe my eyes a little bit and collect my thoughts and probably discuss it properly after. However I agree it was great that the novel was a direct link to Chihiro's experiences.
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[SIZE="1"]I hope that's not [i]the[/i] end for them. Granted, I have trouble seeing how the writers could turn it around even a little bit... :animedepr

[url=http://hashihime.blogspot.com/2007/12/voice-actresses-in-ef-tale-of-memories.html][u]Hashihime[/u][/url] has a cool feature on the main voice actresses of ef. It's hard to believe that Chihiro is played by a 36-year-old. [/SIZE]

--------------------------------------------

Incredible, incredible final episode. (And it[I] is[/I] final... they used the letter D in an epilogue called 'dream,' sneaky bastards.) Not going to comment on the content right now, but I will say that I now feel way more than justified in deciding to buy the R2 DVDs (volume 1 & the prologue should have shipped already... I might take a couple of photos to show the box art etc. when they get here).

The changes in the OP alone made me giddy with joy, haha. Major bonus points for using the game vocal theme right where it truly belongs. "Everything I hoped for and more" pretty much sums things up, and I had high expectations to begin with.

Okay, I lied... just a few words about what happened. :p I'm nervous that ep. 12 will see a backlash for [spoiler]being a so-called cop-out,[/spoiler] although I suppose opinions will be divided as usual... I've already seen people respond to it both favorably & unfavorably. (ef does seem to be a love it or hate it show in general.)

I want to argue that the writers performed a brilliant sleight-of-hand trick in [spoiler]making us focus so much on the significance of the diary.[/spoiler] They foreshadow the later events of ep. 12 [spoiler]in Renji's seemingly unrelated conversation with Kuze, when Kuze emphasizes feelings, thoughts, emotions.[/spoiler] Despite that huge clue, I still didn't pick up on what was about to come.

And yet it makes perfect sense. [spoiler]Memory and emotion are entwined and yet not the same thing at all. Chihiro forgot what happened in the torn out diary pages--in other words, she forgot the entire history of her relationship with him, but she couldn't forget Renji himself. She couldn't tear out her love for him, and she couldn't force herself to stop thinking about him.[/spoiler]

That was my interpretation, anyway: that [spoiler]she was unable to discard her feelings for Renji or the simple fact of his existence, even if she forgot the time she spent with him (because the time limit was too long for her to do so, as she explains).[/spoiler] I loved how [spoiler]Renji is later shown becoming the guardian of memory in her stead, almost, by writing their story himself.[/spoiler]

Over the course of the show, for all the characters, the focus shifts from memories (the past) to feelings (the present & future).

~Dagger~
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  • 2 weeks later...
I'd heard from a friend that ef was worth a look, and since I needed a little something to take the edge off of my boredom during early winter break, I figured it wouldn't hurt to give the series a go. Started watching it a couple of weeks ago, and as such I mostly marathoned the episodes. Finished up the show with episode 12 last night. What follows is a fairly messy write-up of my experience with the series.

So I took the plunge; ef is the first anime I've watched with eroge roots. Though I guess I'm still reflecting, my impression as of right now seems to be that this was a great series, even though it's not one I fell head-over-heels in love with. Chances are I wouldn't have bothered with it at all if not for a string of circumstances, but I'm glad I took the initiative to check it out after being introduced.

After watching the first few episodes, my superficial nitpicks about the series still remained. I guess the whole genre isn't really for me; SHAFT's bishoujo-esque mantle on character design made the events ever so difficult to take seriously, and certain scenes were sappy enough to make me quit outright. In addition, the dual-story approach to the series offered a slower start than I would have liked - once one 'side' of the anime got interesting, the episode would halt progress and show off what was going on with the other characters. This direction really annoyed me at first, although it later proved to be quite powerful come the series' finale. I realize that these are ridiculously superficial nitpicks, but they somehow felt potent while I was watching the series.

Nonetheless, I continued watching, mostly because I knew it was going to be a relatively short series and that I had nothing better to watch at the time. Redeeming qualities were abundant, though: the symbolic animation sprinkled throughout the series lends each episode a certain brilliance, and anything that Tenmon touches seems to shine a little more than it would have otherwise. (I love the composer to death.)

Then, about halfway through, things actually picked up and got interesting. I guess this was the point when a lot of the conflicts started bubbling out of control in both plotlines. Things did not disappoint from this point onwards - the series moved on rather smoothly and powerfully into a stunning climax for all of the characters. It was great to see the final outlooks of each character during the epilogue. In the end, it's a very touching and inspiring story rooted in believable humanistic themes. In spite of all the hardships and conflict, each character came out of the experience with more confidence, ready to embrace their future.

And yet... I never connected with anyone. These stories were all interesting from a spectator's perspective, but I don't feel like I actually cared about how any of their lives turned out. Many series have seen me cheering certain people on, while detesting others. In ef, I couldn't find anyone to sympathize with; it was little more than an entertaining story, and yet it always felt like it was trying to be something more. Maybe it's just that I [i]wanted[/i] it to be something more. ef's characters left me feeling empty in some way, but I really can't put my finger on specifics.

So, yeah.. I don't know. Maybe all I'm trying to say is: Good series, but not my cup of tea. Regardless, it definitely wasn't a waste of time. I enjoyed it; probably just not as much as I wanted to.
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[COLOR="DarkOrange"]This might read awkwardly, having bee cut from the tail end of my Year in Review blog post, but it does the job.

So I think it?s time to get right to the heart of the matter. What was my favorite show of 2007? I?m actually a little bit mad that this was my choice because I would have lived to have something as gracefully amazing as Potemayo or Manabi Straight for my number one, but then again, I didn?t pick Tengen Toppa Guren Lagann in the end, so I guess I?m still as indie as ever.

Yes, odd as it is, I watched my favorite anime of all time on new years eve, concluding with the last 2 episodes after the new year had already begun. I had alrady seen the first 6 episodes before, and t was already my favorite show of the season, however, I am much better at marathoning and saved it. Which I also did for all of Fall?s shows. The plan was to wait till 1 week before 08 and watch them all, but that plan failed. however, I KNEW I couldn?t finish the year without watching this show, and I KNEW I could not write the year in review until I had watched this show.

Yes, I am talking about ef ~A Tale of memories~. This is, by FAR the single greatest show I have ever seen. I don?t believe that anything else came remotely compare to it, and I doubt I will ever like another show this much again unless Shinbo hand-writes his next show with every ounce of his soul. ef. Is. perfect. Visually, it is the most intriguing, creative, beautiful, amazing, insert superlative thing ever. Emotionally, it touched me deeper than anything EVER. PERIOD.

And that?s on 2 fronts even. For one thing, the romance stories were the most well-told romance stories of all time They were NEVER cheap. They were NEVER stupid. The characters were all realistic, enthralling, they beckoned every emotion of the watcher. From start to finish this show ?glistens?. From 2 still images that will shake the foundations of your SOUL to the first climax to make me cry, on-spot, ever. The ****ing OPENING SONG of the last episode made me tear up. The ending was MOVING.

However, the shows message is what presses it deeper and deeper into the core of my heart. This show truly expresses the feelings of a dreamer, and artist, it sits exactly where I sit, at the penultimate decision of the beginning of one?s future. around 8 hours before watching this show, my new year?s resolution was already set. I resolved to BECOME and this show WAS THERE. To put into words how this show made me feel cannot be possible - unless I can make you cry, make your heart pound, make your lips curl into a smile that hurts your face muscles, make your skin tingle, your body shake, and give you the feeling that you are rising from your chair, maybe you?d get the gist of it.

Or maybe I?ll pick up my camera, tun it on, and show you exactly how I feel.[/COLOR]
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It's interesting and valuable to see such different reactions from you two. I enjoyed reading both of them.

Since the show has finished its run, I should mention that NNL [url=http://nnl1.com/ef/][u]released[/u][/url] an English translation of the ef - the first tale game demo a little while back. (Shouldn't be any legal issues that I'm aware of, since the demo is already free to download in Japanese.)

In the spirit of celebration, I'll share a few game CGs I liked.

[I]Prologue[/I]
[url=http://img115.imageshack.us/img115/1471/yuuko1we1.jpg][u]Yuuko & Himura[/u][/url]
[url=http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/4025/yuuko2yk6.jpg][u]Yuuko & Himura[/u][/url]
[I]
Chapter 1 - Miyako[/I]
[url=http://img115.imageshack.us/img115/328/miya1lu1.jpg][u]Hiro & Miyako[/u][/url]
[url=http://img186.imageshack.us/img186/7711/miya2up9.jpg][u]Hiro & Kyousuke[/u][/url]
[url=http://img186.imageshack.us/img186/1794/miya3ma6.jpg][u]Kei, Hiro & Miyako (through Kyousuke's camera)[/u][/url]
[url=http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/8739/miya4se9.jpg][u]Hiro & Miyako[/u][/url]
[url=http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/7753/miya5uz5.jpg][u]Hiro & Miyako[/u][/url]
[url=http://img509.imageshack.us/img509/9480/miya6vg8.jpg][u]Hiro & Miyako[/u][/url]

[I]Chapter 2 - Kei[/I]
[url=http://img509.imageshack.us/img509/2645/kei1le8.jpg][u]Kei & Kyousuke[/u][/url]
[url=http://img102.imageshack.us/img102/9417/kei2lu4.jpg][u]Kei, Hiro & Kyousuke[/u][/url]
[url=http://img88.imageshack.us/img88/3236/kei3jh6.jpg][u]Yuuko, Miyako & Kyousuke[/u][/url]
[url=http://img102.imageshack.us/img102/1198/kei4ix2.jpg][u]Kei & Kyousuke[/u][/url]
[url=http://img102.imageshack.us/img102/1916/kei5ag5.jpg][u]Kei & Kyousuke[/u][/url]

The first ef R2 DVD comes with, among other things, a short manga called Blue Blue Sky by "Shindou Nagi." The really awesome part about this (which I didn't pick up on at all until I re-watched the first two episodes) is that the rough-sketch version of that manga is what Hiro is shown drawing in the actual show.

~Dagger~
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