First Impressions: Ef, A Tale of Memories

Many tales woven into one.

A boy, a girl, and their chance meetings.

I didn’t read anything about today’s first impression, I just noticed it was new to DVD so I dove right in. After viewing it, I kind of wished I had read a description, because Ef: A Tale of Memories left me wondering, “What the eff did I just watch?!?”

Oh, wow. Yeah, I can tell that you don't get out much.

There are several stories building up in this series from the looks of it, but the main two revolve around a guy and a girl. I don’t remember character names, and I don’t want to look them up because I don’t want to spoil any surprises, so bear with me, fellow otakus. Story one starts with a guy, probably in high school from the looks of it, talking about how he always wanted to be a prince that saves princesses, but now that it’s time to grow up he’s not sure what to do. This guy likes hanging out at an abandoned train station and reading, but one day he encounters a girl with an eyepatch hanging out there as well. They converse briefly, then part ways. The next day the guy meets her again, and they talk again, though the girl seems to have a memory problem, though this doesn’t hamper their pleasant chit-chat. This cycle continues until one day the girl runs up to the guy and embraces him tearfully. After she calms down she asks if they can be friends, and the guy agrees with a big smile on his face.

I know I should call the cops, but damn, I love making monkey faces with corpses...

The second story involves another high school guy who skips a Christmas party in order to research a drawing he’s working on. While outside a girl (different from the one before) races by him in pursuit of someone she claims stole her purse. She grabs the guy’s bike and takes off at top speed, and the guy, understandably, chases her. He rounds a corner and sees his bike in pieces and the girl lying in the street, apparently out cold. He calls 911 and requests assistance, but the girl wakes up and says that she’s fine. The guy tries to get her to stay behind and wait for help, but she walks away, so he follows. As they walk in a park she says that nothing in her purse was of much value. However, she did lose her house key, and no one is at her house. She smiles and says that unless he wants to leave her out in the cold alone all night, he’ll have to stay with her. Why he doesn’t just take her back to his house and let her sleep on the couch is beyond me, but I suppose she could be a psycho, so maybe it was a good call. The girl and the guy swing on a swing set and chat esoterically. The end.

Then there's this random girl. Cool nun? I'm betting we'll see more of her.

This anime is obviously supposed to be very deep and meaningful, but I just don’t get it yet. Perhaps there’s a reason for the Tarantino-ing going on with the jumps from one story to the next. Maybe the main couples are the same people in different lives, or maybe it’s all supposed to be about love and human relations. I have no idea, but I am intrigued enough to watch more. The animation had some very cool techniques, such as showing the night sky in the silhouette of the girl in the park, and it was quite lovely from a purely visual point of view. The music didn’t particularly stand out, but neither did the characters or their stories. I want to find out some answers, and I hope that I don’t have to wait until the very end of the series to discover them. Keep me in suspense, by all means, but throw me a breadcrumb or two to lead me down the path, don’t just wait for a frustrating ten episodes before springing the entire story on me. Those are my feelings, at least. But Ef: A Tale of Memories does show some potential, enough to make me eager to watch episode two.

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