“The girl is the only one in the world.  That made her the god of this world. She found herself on an island when she began to understand the things around her.  There was a mansion on the island, which was connected to an old castle by a passageway.  She did not know for why, or for what purpose those structures, which completely seemed to be unfit in the environment, were built there.  She did not need to know why.  And besides, the girl never wondered why because she had been there before she realized.”

Ef. A Tale of Memories is a 2007 anime, animated by Shaft.  It is one of their earliest releases that isn’t the typical fan-service anime they were known for.  The series consist of too loosely entwined stories.

On Christmas Eve, Hiro Hirono, a young shoujo manga artist’s bike was stolen by a girl who was chasing a thief who had stolen her purse.  He gives chase and finds the girl unconscious and his bike ruined.  The girl, named Miyako Miyamura soon wakes up and they decide to spend Christmas together and become friends.  Later Hiro finds out that Miyako attends the same school as him and they start to spend more time together and Miyako develops feelings for him.  Kei Shindou a childhood friend of Hiro becomes jealous and a love triangle occurs.

Renji Asou a shy boy one day meets Chihiro Shindou, the twin sister of Kei Shindou. Although they are both very shy they become friends easily.  However Chihiro was in a car accident years ago, which makes it so her memory can only last for 13 hours. Nevertheless a romance occurs between the two and Renji sets out to help Chihiro achieve her dream of writing a novel.

arto

There was a huge amount of preserved food and daily necessities inside the warehouse of the castle, so she did not have to starve (although she was hungry until she realized these were eatable).  But she almost died several times because of sickness and injuries.  In most cases, she almost got herself killed by eating either spoiled food or plants and inorganic things around her.  She used the mansion as a residential area, and almost never set her foot in the old castle.  There was no particular reason to draw a line between the two structures.  It was only a rational judgment that the old castle was unfit for her to live there.  She had nothing to do.  The island was small, and one could go around it in half a day by foot.  All she could see at the beach was the ocean, the sky, clouds and horizon stretching as far as she could see in a 360- degree view.  That was everything the world offered.”   

Typical of Studio Shaft series, EF. A Tale of Memories is a heavily dialogue based anime which means very minimal movement.  There are nearly static scenes with no movement at all which is sometimes very disappointing.  Sometimes it feels like you are watching a paused screen except for the fact that there is dialogue and music playing.  Now enough complaining about tiny aspects of the animation, there are some real breakthroughs animation-wise throughout this series.  EF. A Tale of Memories has the most breathtaking and memorable backgrounds I have ever seen in anime.  I can think of no words that can describe the emotional feelings that come over me when I see these backgrounds.  They are full of color and they fit the emotional mood of this anime perfectly.  There is one scene from this anime that has stuck with me ever since I first watched it, when Chihiro and Renji are standing on the school roof and something crazy goes down.  I wish I could tell you about it but it would probably ruin the series because it is a huge spoiler.  You will know what I mean if you watch the series.  The best way to describe the animation is as “artsy” as much as I hate to use a word like that.  Everything about the animation has Studio Shaft written all over it.  The characters are all designed very well, and I especially love the character’s school uniforms.  They remind me almost of church clothing, it looks great on them.

9/10

characterso

She painted a human being, and it was good. But the girl did not feel like painting a human being in a bigger size, unable to judge whether it was well drawn or not. So, she decided to add a figure of a boy into all the paintings of landscapes she had painted. With no specific reason, she started putting those paintings in the same places where she painted them. There was not a single place in the mansion she did not paint.  The boy was just standing straight in all of the paintings, and the boy was looking straight ahead. It meant that the girl and the boy looked at each other every time she looked at the paintings. The girl had no feeling of achievement. Would it be a “human?” She thought.”       

Renji and Chihiro are two of the strongest leads I have ever seen in a romance anime but they are not without with their personality flaws.  There are of plenty of face-palm moments where you will be thinking why would they ever act that way.  This is just able to prove that these characters are only human; they may appear to be the perfect couple on the outside but like everyone they have internal struggles with themselves and others.  Unfortunately the members of the love triangle are not as strong.  Hiro isn’t the strongest male character; he almost seems lazy and uncaring.  He is trying to juggle being a Manga artist and a high school student but he really never goes to school.  He really doesn’t appreciate Kei who really who is the only one (before Miyako) who seemed to care about him at all.  On that note Kei seems to get shafted in the series, very little development is done with her character.  Miyako is a real mess of a character, which isn’t a bad thing at all.  While falling into some anime stereotypes of teenage angst, she is still very interesting.  Her one wish is to find someone to belong too, which makes her very clingy and emotional.  There are other characters who are interesting but are barely touched on in the series, that’s why there is a sequel.  Overall the characters are developed well which adds to the emotional state of this series, if they weren’t developed well the series would not be as touching as it is.

8.5/10

audio

This was the “painting of a human being,” She knew that from the very beginning. He did not move. He did not think. He was simply there. Lonely? Finally, she could ask herself by finding the word. She was not lonely. The girl started to practice drawing her own portrait from the day after the wedding. There was only one human being on this side of the paintings. So, she started painting herself on the paintings. On the other side of the paintings, the two had smiles on their faces. Still, the girl felt strange to see herself in the paintings. She could not find right words to describe her feeling. She did not really understand her emotion. But the painting continued to capture her attention without making her bored for the first time for months to come. The girl was alone in the world. That made her the god of this world.”

Ef. A Tale of Memories has wonderful background music that includes piano and string instruments.  For most of the anime the music is barely noticeable in the background but it will become load to enhance the mood of specific scenes.  The opening and ending are polar opposites. The opening is an above average j-pop style song that is sung in English.  The ending is a softer song with very interesting choice in instruments.  The actors who voice Renji and Chihiro are very soft spoken which fits their personalities well but during dramatic moments they really break out of their shell and give off a great performance.  The rest of the cast does a great job with voice especially with the dramatic lines of the anime.

9.8/10

ploto

“Something mysterious happened. It was the day after she repainted all of her paintings, hundreds in numbers. The two in those paintings had moved. But it did not startle the girl, because she had no way of asking herself whether it was abnormal or not. From the beginning, she was trying to make humans. “Did it work?” The god looked inside the miniature garden. She looked closely at the paintings. It appeared that those on the other side of the paintings could not see the world on her side. The two in the pictures seemed to be doing something, smiling at each other. But the paintings were blurred. The world itself appeared blurred, giving her no clue to see what they were doing. Why, the girl thought. She could not confirm her results. She could not see what was supposed to be there. A strange feeling developed inside her mind. She could not describe what it was. She could not find in a dictionary the definition of something she could not describe.”

EF. A Tale of Memories is the most histrionic anime I have ever seen, except maybe for its sequel.  Everything story-wise is over the top and overly emotional.  I am having an internal battle over if this series is a genius romantic anime they should be considered a classic or if it is a cheesy pretentious piece of garbage.  Despite which it may be, EF. A tale of Tale of Memories will grip the viewer from the beginning.  From the second you find out about Chihiro’s condition in the first episode your heart will be apart of this story.  I barely ever say this but it is almost like this series was to long.  Parts of the middle really drag, especially during the writing of Chihiro’s book.  The series would have been stronger if a few episodes were cut out in the middle.  If they had done the amazing ending could have been even better.  The ending is one of the most heart-tearing things I have ever seen in anime.  Episode 11&12 were almost emotionally rich enough to make me cry, almost but still no anime has made me cry.  I felt like I knew the characters so well and it was so upsetting to me even though the characters aren’t real, just a reflection on my computer screen.

8/10

overall

She wondered why the paintings became blurred even though she painted them so clearly. Was it a failure? But the two in the paintings were smiling at each other. That was what she felt, which made her feel weird on the other side of the paintings. Something must have been wrong. Had I understood things this way, making mistakes repeatedly? she thought. She repainted them over and over. But the results were exactly the same. She was at a loss. She became unsure over everything.”

Overall EF. A Tale of Memories is an extremely emotional romance anime.  Sometimes it may come off as cheesy and sometimes it may come off as a true emotional masterpiece.  I recommend to all you people who love Clannad (although I still haven’t seen it) Anohana, Angel Beats, or any other emotionally rich anime.  I’m sure it has enough to make many people cry and feel the overall heartache that occurs when you watch this series.  This probably had a chance to make it into my top 10 anime of all time but I forgot it when I was making my list a few weeks ago.  If you are still skeptical about watching it then watch it for the breath taking backgrounds that occur throughout this series.

8.8/10

“The girl is the only one in the world.

That made her the god of the world.

So she thought she should make her world much cleaner.

She burned all the pictures.

She set fire to the mansion and the old castle.

Along with the structures, she burned all her memories.

Lastly, the god threw the trash,

the only trash left in the world,

out from the cliff.”

The End.

-Chihiro Shindou

Thank you for reading.  Sorry for the lack of high quality pictures and gif pictures, there is a lack of them on the internet.

-Xana

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