ef: Two Tales

As I tend to marathon anime, and dislike watching multiple anime at the same time, I went ahead and finished the sequel to ef: A Tale of Memories – ef: A Tale of Melodies. Unlike the first season, I was prepared for the drama, sorrow, and heartfelt moments. Most of what I wrote about previously also applies to the sequel: beautiful characters, vivid skies, nice story.

Despite having the same style, there are some differences between the two seasons. So for this post I’d like to compare the two, and bring up what I liked and disliked between them both. But first I want to bring up a few thoughts about ef: A Tale of Melodies.

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ef: A Tale of Melodies, like its predecessor, is a beautiful anime. I really enjoyed it and all it had to show me; the stories within were also very sad at times, happy at others. It was a good anime. But despite this, I feel like it fell short for me; it felt like it was in the shadow of it’s prequel. I have a few reasons as to why I think this.

Call me cynical, but ef: A Tale of Melodies just felt too positive. It’s weird to think this but the stories in the anime ultimately rely on emotion to bring about the best viewing experience. The stories in isolation were sad, there was sorrow, but it felt drowned out and short lived by all the positivity in the anime. While I appreciated being able to see the characters from the prequel, and how they all had found their happiness, I feel like they were too involved. Considering they were all basically beaming with happiness, it sort of took away from the somber moments in the anime.

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The happy cat ears were totally fine though.

In addition to the positivity, I have an issue with one of the stories. I will mention now that I really enjoyed Himura’s story, and learning about his past. I liked his character in the first season, and that held true here. It’s Kuze’s story that I just didn’t find as compelling. While his situation was tragic, it also was pretty cliche. It wasn’t exactly the first time I’ve watched the “character pushes loved ones away in order to “protect” them from, only to find out that the power of love & friendship trumps all”.

Last point I wanted to bring up here was with regards to the theme / title of melodies. This one isn’t a huge deal, it’s more of a nitpick, but I found the melodies lacking. There is only one song that the story focuses on and uses throughout the anime. We really only get to hear one piece of this song, that’s around 10 seconds long, for the entire anime until they finally reveal the full song near the end. The song was nice, and I feel picky saying this, but I wish there was more involvement of melodies / music in the anime. The one song felt like a little letdown, considering the title of the anime.

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Some points about both seasons now. I loved the design choice of showing two stories side by side. Advancing two stories at the same time was done very well, and I think in this particular genre it works well. The anime had more freedom to plan out and balance emotional scenes with plot development and positive moments. I liked having the two stories in their own timelines, so that one would conclude before the other. Of course this also meant that the anime could feel more like a roller coaster of ups and downs, but personally I didn’t feel like this was a problem here.

Something else I loved from both seasons was the use of abstract imagery, along with the previously mentioned vivid skies. While last post’s images focused on the skies, I wanted to showcase the imagery this time. It reminds me a lot of the imagery used in the Monogatari Series which is near and dear to my heart. I love the use of these abstract images in scenes – they do a great job of conveying emotions and also spicing up dialogue between characters. And on this topic, I think that the colours used throughout the anime are fantastic. Skies, abstract imagery, auras around characters, background images – the colours were spot on and added to the beauty of the anime.

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My biggest complaint when comparing both seasons side by side would be that the sequel uses the exact same storytelling formula that the first season used. Like I mentioned earlier, it felt like it was in its prequel’s shadow. Part of this may be on me, because I watched both seasons back to back without any time between. If I had waited longer this may not have felt like as much of a problem, but I would have liked to see ef: A Tale of Melodies try something a little different. I was able to correctly predict what would happen in both stories, and I also had a good idea of the direction the stories were going in the entire time. Just a change of pacing or a slightly different approach would have been nice when moving from first to second season.

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Overall, the anime in its entirety is very beautiful and memorable. The colours and art design in particular was very striking and impressive – I’ll remember this above all else in the anime. There were so many scenes that looked like an HD wallpaper because they stood out so well. Like I mentioned last post about this, the anime really felt like a piece of delicate art that I want to stand back from and admire. The stories contained in this anime may not be as heart wrenching as some other prominent sad anime, but they were still very touching and heartfelt – a great experience in the end.

 

And with that, it’s time for me to find something more mindless to watch. I was thinking of checking out Bakuman.

Also thanks to everyone who has read this far. Feel free to mention what you enjoyed about ef: A Tale of Memories / Melodies. If you haven’t watched them, I would certainly give them a recommend.

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