Minnie: Hello everyone and Merry Christmas Eve! This is Minnie and your last episode of ~ef~. Even though the rightful writer should be Koala, I believe he has reviewed too many last night so I will take on this job for now. However, if Koala wants to join in, please do because this is the last episode of one of your favorite animes this fall season. If this episode is not epic, I will complain. And everyone will know about it. Anyways, moving along now, we are greeted with Yuuko’s grave…
Archive for the ‘~ef~ a tale of melodies’ Category
Garrick: I’m back once more… This time, for another epic episode of ~ef~ a tale of melodies. This time, though, it’s with a fever, and 3 blankets around me. I have ample time to write this. So here I go.
Garrick: After the sudden, and quite emotional death of Yuuko in episode 10, we are now faced with the problem of Kuze… and his heart affliction. Will Kuze realize his weaknesses?
Minnie: Hello everyone. This is Minnie here with your latest ~ef~ review. I am sad to say that ~ef~ does not have many episodes left (2 I believe?). Through and through, I must say this anime has been very enjoyable to watch and review. I will be very sad to see it end. Thanks to this season, I am more than willing to watch the first season once I am done with my list of animes I am supposed to watch. Anyways, enough of the chitchat. Warning! This entire episode will be black and white! You know what that means. This episode is going to be one emotional wreck after another. Angst lives forever in the ~ef~ series!
Minnie: I do not know the situation with Koala with ~ef~. As much as I enjoy the anime, if Koala doesn’t wish to team-review this with me anymore, I’ll probably have to drop it to make room for others that I feel I should prioritize. In other words, either Koala will blog this with me, blog it alone, or this anime won’t be reviewed on this blog anymore. Sorries! This may be your last review for ~ef~ for me. The ride is fun so far and I enjoy Shaft’s performance. I can’t wait for their future work in Maria Holic! Chances are I’ll be blogging that one. The episode starts off with insane Amamiya in his messy art room…
Garrick: Yeah, I’ll review it. I’ll try and stay with the program, and not totally abandon you guys.
Minnie: Thanksgiving weekend is right around the corner and Koala is out to visit relatives and hang out with them. He’ll be back soon! Meanwhile, I don’t know if he’ll have time to add comments to my ~ef~ post but I really do hope so because he can analyze this anime much better than I can! Remember last episode where Kuze is on the floor, coming to his senses about wanting to live? This episode we get Yuu on the floor, beaten up by Amamiya last episode…
Minnie: Is anyone surprised to see my name first this time? While Koala is taking care of Yozakura Quartet episode, I’m going to take care of this series for him until he has time to add his side of the review. Thanks to my free day today, I have nothing to review for and is feeling empty inside. And then, bam, the newest ~ef~ episode comes out! Let’s see what’s up with our loveable gang of Yuuko, Yuu, Nagi, Mizuki, and Kuze…
Garrick: Welcome to drama. That’s really all I can say as a preview paragraph of this episode. This episode is by far, at least to me, the most revealing, story-wise, and most emotional, in a very dark way… of the whole season. In a word, epic. Prepare to ride an emotional coaster as this episode reveals both Yuuko’s past and Nagi’s feelings…
Garrick: Talk about twists. As we know from episode four, Kuze has a fiancee. This episode reveals the girl… but not only that… in quite a surprising fashion. While both me and Minnie had our predictions, it makes for an exciting scene. Oh. And did I forget to say… quite an important member of the cast of “a tale of memories” makes her re-appearance. Yeah. There’s only one who hasn’t made her appearance yet… you know who I’m talking about? Although it’s not only her. Two others make their appearance. You’ll just have to click the link below to see who I’m talking about.
Garrick: I swear, before watching this episode, I was 100% exhausted. I just wanted to sleep. One minute into the episode, even before the OP started, I was wide awake and ready for more. I can’t exactly put my finger on why, but it could be the colors, art, or the symbolism in the scenes. Shortly after recieving his burnt violin case, Kuze, who has already vowed to end all relationships, including his tie to music, due to his chronic heart illness that will kill him sooner or later. Already, within 30 seconds of the beginning of the episode, Kuze has scenes flashing, from black and white, to color, and of course, to the all encompassing image of a ticking metronome. As we all have watched episode 3, we all know what that means. As the metronome slows its ticking, Mizuki’s voice echoes within Kuze’s head, and the metronome begins moving once more. It’s a rather scary scene, but once again, the overdramatic-ness of it makes the anime (and the scene) so amazingly AWESOME.
Minnie: To tell you guys the truth, I don’t know if I can add much to whatever Koala has to say since he’s really into this anime but I’ll try like always. The metronome symbolism is pretty deep and is always present during Kuze’s solo moments. With every new episode, Kuze’s story becomes sadder and sadder. I love the Kuze/Mizuki pairing so this illness that is catching up with Kuze will either end the pairing in tragedy or end in a way that Mizuki miraculously finds a way to cure him. I am not making any guesses until I am further into the anime.
Garrick: A Tale of Melodies’ OP > all. Good game. Bye.
Minnie: Correction. Ebullient Future OP>all this Fall season.
Garrick: Now, this part surprised me. Guess who it is? We have our protagonist from “A Tale of Memories”, Hiro Hirono, our resident manga artist. However, he seems to be in a rush, and he sends a text message to somebody named “Nagi Hirono” (You all know who that is, right?) We finally get to see the relationship between the two, Nagi and Hiro. I’ve been eager to figure it out. Anyway, the episode continues, with Kuze in Sumire and Renji’s house, finding Mizuki sick and sleeping in bed. Kuze checks up on her, but as he leaves, in what seems to be her dreams, Mizuki mutters the words, “Save me.” Obviously, this is enough to get Kuze to stand by Mizuki. He reaches his arm out, and supposedly in her sleep, Mizuki grabs it, and suddenly wakes up. The two kiss (O_o); but then they clarify that at the VERY end of episode 3, the two indeed kiss at the beach. This, actually, unlike the suddenness of the kiss in Nodame Cantabile: Paris’s episode this week, I didn’t expect this at all. I’m not sure what to think, but it was interesting.
Minnie: Although I myself did not enjoy that scene between Mizuki and Kuze, it is absolutely necessary to the development later in the episode as well as the anime as a whole. In the end of Episode 3, we are left wondering what the relationship between Mizuki and Kuze is. The kiss in this episode is pretty well done even if I was caught off-guard by it. The two seem to be rushing things but I can understand since I mean one of them is going to die very soon.
Garrick: The next part is a part of the Yuuko/Yuu arc. Yuuko and Yuu are meeting to go shopping for a new pair of shoes. After all the other students of the school decided to ruin Yuuko’s leather boots. However, Yuuko has more in mind than that. Of course, as all girls would want when they’re on a ‘date’, Yuuko wants to eat lunch. However, Yuu apparently doesn’t eat lunch. He’s saving his monet for college tuition. What a studious person. Yuuko manages to persuade Yuu to eat lunch. Yay. Lunch is good. After this, they show a scene with Yuuko after buying the new pair of boots. This, actually, is one of the few funny scenes of the episode. As Yuuko refers to their shopping trip as a date, Yuu obviously counters, saying that it’s not a date, but simply a shopping trip. I had a strong feeling that, in a way, Minnie would find something wrong with this. We’ll see if I’m right.
Minnie: I always find something wrong. XD But I don’t think it’s what you’re thinking about Koala. In any case, yes, we’re back at the Yuuko/Yuu arc. I don’t know why but I was pretty caught up in this scene and at the scary implications around it. The camera angle keeps showing a smirk on Yuuko’s face every time she teases him, making me think about Yuuko’s overall character. Can she actually have two personalities? A creepy one on the inside that accidentally comes out with slips of the tongue? Similar to a yandere type character? You know nice and goody goody until she comes at the rival with a knife or something. I hope and not hope that is the case with Yuuko. Yuu is acting more like Zero from VK with every episode…
Garrick: The next part of the episode continues on the Yuu/Yuuko arc. Yuuko takes Yuu to another part of the city that she wants him to see. And, as you could guess, it’s a scenery that Yuu does not want to see; the church that Yuu drew Yuuko in front of at the beginning of Episode two is a place that is long engraved in Yuu’s mind and memory. As they discuss the past, they enter the church, and find Yuuko’s adoptive older brother, Amamiya-sensei. This part is rather creepy, but interesting. Amamiya threatens Yuu, saying that if he dares to take Yuuko away from him, something will happen, and that he should be prepared. It’s sort of cliched, but I definitely found it interesting. Even more so after Yuu, and of course, the audience discover that Amamiya also lost his younger sister in the earthquake that killed Yuu’s little sister, Akane. It’s a sad recurring theme, and, once again, while rather cliched, makes this anime so dramatic, and awesome.
Minnie: Almost everything in anime are cliche Koala. That is why we have to judge an anime by how it executes and expands on the cliche. And this anime thus far has done it incredibly well. Amamiya is starting to give me rapist vibes. I know a lot of people probably caught onto these implications as well. I have a feeling that Amamiya might be using Yuuko as a replacement for his dead sister in some sick way. But I will hold further hate and judgment on him until he appears later. I just hope he’s not the annoying obstacle in Yuu/Yuuko’s relationship because that is really getting old.
Garrick: And with this scene… most of the audience would think – I hope – that Nagi is a love rival of Yuuko’s… Following the trend of ~ef~ stories, I would not be surprised if that was the case. Nagi has been told by Amamiya that Yuu was on a date with Yuuko. Although, her expression doesn’t change, she seems to overreact, questioning Yuu about why, and what he was doing. Yuu defends himself, saying that it was just a shopping trip, which it was. After a small confrontation between the two, resulting in Nagi walking away (not to mention loads of chain imagery that I am still trying to figure out the meaning of)
Minnie: I like Nagi>Yuuko and yet, I must say I prefer the Yuu/Yuuko pairing at this point. In any case, this scene sort of threw me off. I mean when Nagi starts talking faster and faster, I feel that Nagi is so jealous to the point that she will hurt Yuuko in the future. It scare me I must admit for several reasons. I don’t like unknown, background characters bullying Yuuko so I definitely won’t like a known, named character doing crap to her, especially a character I have grown to respect a lot. I am now praying they won’t go down this path because it’s probably the most cliche path ever. Anyways, I calm down when Nagi calm down somewhat. The odd thing is to me, Yuu doesn’t seem to like either girls and yet, here we are.
Garrick: As of this point, the anime returns to the “future” arc, or the arc with the older Yuu, the older Kuze, and Mizuki (and at this point, Hiro, the older Nagi, and Miyako, with the first and the third of these three as characters that appeared in “A Tale of Memories”). Kuze and Yuu are talking in the church, about Kuze is now all tied up in his relationship with Mizuki. I found this scene rather interesting, because, once again, the art is fantastic. They are depicted, for one part of this scene, as sort of a stained-glass figure, which fits the fact that they’re talking in the church. Then, Yuu states that “The exam results are in.” It took me a few minutes to realize it, but now, I realize that the exam is a medical exam, examining the severity of Kuze’s illness and how long he has to live. This translates importantly to two other scenes, so it’s worth noting.
Minnie: I guess I didn’t like this scene as much as you but I must admit that it is still quite devastating to hear that the results are in and to have Kuze mark his calender the day of his death later in the episode.
Garrick: Anyway, the episode then turns to the protagonist of “A Tale of Memories”, Hiro Hirono, still working on his manga draft. However, someone else is helping him, behind him. This girl, is the wonderful Nagi Hirono. ^_^ She’s amazingly tough on her brother, putting down his work, but he takes it well, simply continuing to work. As he works, he recieves a message from another of the main characters from the first season, Miyako Miyamura. She stands on the same roof that holds so much meaning for almost every story in both seasons, the Yuu/Yuuko arc of this season, and both the Renji/Chihiro AND the Hiro/Miyako/Kei arc from the first season. It’s only fitting that the roof of the school is still so very important in this arc also. Of course, Yuuko is with Miyako… tossing the ever symbolic paper airplane. I love that symbolism. It’s so… so… amazing.
Minnie: The appearance of Yuuko in the future is surprising to me because the first three episodes have hinted that she is in fact dead in the future. There have been so many foreshadowing that she will die in the childhood arc. This is why I’m wondering if the Yuuko next to Miyako is not an image- an angelic spirit of some sort. Of course, this is all speculation on my end. Also, I like older Nagi a lot. She’s beautiful, strong, and cool. I’m curious as to why she wants to leave for Australia though.
Garrick: Now, this episode really gets deep. The story returns to the past-Yuuko/Yuu arc, but now, they decide to explain the meaning behind the red watch. The story moves farther into the past, showing Yuu and Akane, his younger sister, when she was still alive. As you could guess by the way Yuu reacted when he lost Akane, the two siblings are very close. Akane is looking at a red watch in the window of a store, and Yuu asks if she wants it. To be nice, Akane says no, but Yuu buys it anyway. Akane seems to treasure it, but that all ended rather abruptly. Quite ironically (and tragically), the earthquake that sends Yuu’s house up in flames, occurred that day. The earthquake sends flames from a stove to the carpet, and the whole house catches on fire. What would be good to notice is that this scene, the blinking eyes, appeared in episode two, during the flashback and the red watch dream of Yuu’s.
Minnie: Nothing much to say about this scene except who DIDN’T see this coming? Please raise your hand. *waits* I thought so. In any case, I like background information and this one is pretty crucial. But that’s it. I feel sad that Akane seems to have such a wonderful personality but is not around anymore. Tragic indeed.
Garrick: Then the episode returns to the present (or maybe future, to some). Kuze and Yuu are now in Kuze’s room, and apparently, they have looked over the results of the medical exam, and… as you could guess by the tone of the scene, it’s not good. The scene uses red and blue coloring to portray Kuze and Yuu, and I found that rather nice. However, the real fact of the matter is, that… well… the exam apparently states that the end WILL be coming for Kuze. And, what’s worse, is that, he knows the date. Kuze asks Yuu for a calendar, and, as morbid as it seems, he will mark the day that he’s due to die on a calendar. What makes this anime so very… well… scary is the many masks, and of course, Kuze’s maniacal laugh. While… well, it makes me think so highly of Kuze, what really takes the cake, is how they showed what Kuze said, at least, the very most dramatic ones.
Minnie: I see red and blue. I see red and blue! Now on to the important comments, Kuze and his masks again. It’s hard to see my favorite character in pain but it must be done. He knows his death day. Some might call it lucky. Others may call it unlucky. For me, I just see it as a smack to the face really. My interpretation for the last part of the scene is that Kuze is truly afraid of dying but he’s hiding it from Yuu and of course, Mizuki. He’s being strong at times like this… it makes him very admirable. I hate characters who are into the whole self-pity act. Kuze is none of that.
Garrick: The anime continues with Mizuki meeting with Kuze, apologizing for being asleep the day before. Of course, being a gentleman, Kuze says that it’s fine, and he takes Mizuki on a date-like thing to a secluded, sparsely-treed field. As nice as the place, is, I really could only expect something bad to happen. As Himura, who seems to be magically everywhere, talks to Mizuki, telling her that Kuze is due to die. In more than one way, the conversation is rather morbid. He reveals to Mizuki, although it was rather obvious, why Kuze is trying to end all his relationships, with people, with the world, with the music he so loves. Mizuki takes it well, although she is saddened to hear that, especially as Himura notes that Kuze has already marked the day that he will die. Mizuki attempts to be cheerful by smiling and asking Himura to… well… do what he did in the picture I provided at the top.
Minnie: Yuu is a stalker I say. If it’s true, I’ll laugh because I’m joking. The Mizuki/Yuu conversation is actually my favorite scene in the entire episode. I don’t even know why! It must be the combination of atmosphere, dialogue, and the fact that Yuu admits that he is used to death. However, with every new death, he feels more scared. Again, more foreshadowing of Yuuko’s death if it happens.
Garrick: As Himura leaves, Mizuki, quite ironically, falls asleep. As she wakes up, Kuze is already awake, and ready to give Mizuki his final goodbye. In a way, what he says is cliche: “Because we love each other, we can not be with each other.” But, really, it holds a deep reason, and, it makes total sense. Hm. Maybe cliches are used because they’re true? Anyway, after doing so, Kuze then tells Mizuki to leave, and never see him again. After all, nobody wants to meet with a person after they know that they’re leaving soon… forever, right? Of course, I believe that Mizuki will not give up. She’ll try to find some miracle to save Kuze, since… well… that’s just how optimistic she is. It’s a cute litte trait, and honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that miracle happens… because… it happened in the first season. Although, that’s not much to go on, either… so I wouldn’t be surprised if Kuze did die. Either way, I’m ready for more. Give me more… NOW!!!!
Minnie: I’m quite surprise you fail to mention this but Kuze also tells Mizuki that he was in love before and with his fiancee. However, because of this illness, he has to break up with her. That’s so sad. They are supposed to get married and have lots of kids but no, Kuze has to have this happen to him. The thing is… who is this fiancee? I know a lot of you guys will think I’m crazy for thinking this but is there any chance that Kuze’s fiancee is Nagi? One, there have been hints that these two get along in the past and talk before. Two, Nagi is leaving for Australia at the same time as Kuze’s almost death day. Three, Nagi I think sends him mail somewhere before. If Nagi is indeed his fiancee, then this whole thing will become one love diagram and I’ll be really happy. In any case, the ending is perfect. The ED ruins it but besides that, it’s good. Lovely, yet tragic, episode.
Garrick’s Rating for Episode Four: 9/10
Minnie’s Overall Rating for Episode: 10/10
Garrick’s Anticipation Scale: 10/10
Minnie’s Anticipation for Next Episode: 9/10
-Minnie and Garrick
Garrick: Right off the bat, I will say something. The art in this anime, OP/ED and non-music scenes, are always impressively captivating.
Garrick: Even before the OP of Episode Two, they decide to shed a little more light onto the past of Yuu Himura and Yuko Amamiya. Although, the cryptic way that they show faces and people in this flashback/dream definitely adds a sort of mysterious feel to it. They say that both Yuko and Yuu were raised in an orhpanage. However, they add a scene that shows a girl trapped in fire, who is later known to be Yuu’s true younger sister, Akane. As you would guess, Yuu doesn’t like being called “Onii-san” or “older brother” by Yuko, which seems to link to the phrase, “Don’t bring up those memories.”
Garrick: Anyhow, continuing on the story, it seems that Yuu and Yuko met by art. Yuu seems to have been a very skilled artist when he was a child, and he is seen drawing various things, such as a logging barge, a church, and Yuko herself. However, at first he refuses to draw Yuko. Why? Because she reminds him too much of his bad memories, of his sister, who apparently died in the fire that appeared in his dream. They end the scene of Yuu’s and Yuko’s past with Yuko leaving the orphanage, after being told that Yuu did not want to be her older brother.
Garrick: At first, I didn’t realize that what Yuko was saying actually meant a true family. Obviously, in Japan, “onii-san” can usually mean more than “older brother”. In this case, however, when Yuko asked if Yuu needed another little sister, and he refused, I didn’t know that Yuu could have possible been Yuko’s real older brother. However, that seems to have been possible, since Yuko was acopted by a distant family member shortly after. One quote by Yuu that strikes my heart is this: “Someday, without a doubt, everybody will be separated from you. That’s why I won’t expect things from others. That’s why I won’t interfere with others.” It is so true. As a testament to this quote, Yuu takes the picture he drew of Yuko, folds it into a paper airplane, and tosses it into the air, symbolic of tossing away the memories. I absolutely loved this scene, because it was just so emotional. Obviously, Yuu assumed that they’d never meet again.
Garrick: That’s not the case. As you could tell if you watched episode one, they met again. And now, they’re high schoolers. Yuko takes Yuu to the roof of the school, where she tells Yuu that as a child, she loved him, and still does. It’s quite an expected turn, and could almost be classified as cliche, but the way they showed Yuu’s expressions, in fact throught all the episode, anime, and ~ef~ series, the animators have always excelled at this. The attention they give to Yuu and Yuko’s expressions gives the whole scene on the roof, along with the entirety of the flashback/past/dream that much more emotional and memorable. Great job, SHAFT.
Garrick: And, that’s only half of the episode.
Garrick: Back to the present, we find Kuze lying on his couch and the ever-cute and ever-energetic Mizuki at his door. Mizuki intends to abduct Kuze for the day, just to wash the laundry of Sumire Asou’s household. As you would be able to guess, the Mizuki/Kuze arc has far more comedy elements. This involves the total stripping of Renji, and, although I didn’t find it too funny, is just a testament to how (in Minnie’s words) un-manly the male characters are.
Garrick: As the two discuss Kuze’s first love, the metronome (he’s a musician), Kuze collapses. Obviously, something is wrong. At least, so Mizuki thinks. From what it looks like, Kuze was only extremely exhausted and collapsed sue to sleepiness. Of course, he dreams about Sumire. However, his dreams aren’t only good, after all, and he seems to be having trouble sleeping alone, something rather unbefitting a person like him. This scene is probably the most hilarious I’ve seen in a VERY long time. It involves Mizuki trying to carry the floor-sleeping Kuze onto a nearby couch. All would go well, except for the fact that Mizuki his his head on a table, a chair… and something else. That would have hurt, yet… he’s fast asleep.
Garrick: This is where the real emotion comes in the episode. After Kuze returns to his house, and after another serving of the Yuko/Yuu arc, a scene with two Kuze’s begins. This scene relates the beating of the heart to the ticking of a metronome. One Kuze seems to be the bodily spirit, while the other seems to be the musical spirit. A heart beat of 60 relates to a bpm of 60. However, one line from this scene makes takes the cake. As they’re talking about heartbeats, one of the two states, “You’re slowing down.” This could only be related to the heartbeat of Kuze.
Garrick: Now that I think on it, an earlier scene in the episode, one that involves Kuze burning a huge stack of letters thaty were in the mail-slot in his door, makes total sense. Especially when he says, “I’ve ended all unnecessary human interactions.” It makes me believe that Kuze knows he’s dying, and the metronome that is his heart is slowing down.
Garrick: While they have yet to go deep into the musical past of Kuze, I have reason to believe that music has always made up all of his life, in more than one way. Both mentally and physically. As the two inner souls of Kuze fight it out as to whether “the metronome is the heart of a musician”, or “the heart is the metronome of a musician”. Yes, they look like they’re the same, but if you watch the scene, it makes sense. That whole scene itself, definitely takes the cake of the whole episode. By FAR. Did I mention that the art was amazing, specifically in this section of the episode? The background of gears, and the metronome definitely left an impression on me.Along with the whole mask and metronome imagery. It makes the scene just so much more emotional and dramatic. It’s great.
Garrick: And for the second time this episode, there’s a love confession. What seems rather ironic to me, is that, while Kuze just said that’s he’s ended all unnecessary human interactions, another girl falls in love with him. That girl would be Mizuki, of course. What really seemed… almost comical, is the way Kuze said, “Damn.” as Mizuki left.
Garrick: And I haven’t even said anything about the OP or ED yet.
Garrick: I believe I said in the first episode review that ebullient future, the OP, is an amazing song. And if I didn’t, well… here it is. Ebullient Future is an amazing song. The combination of violin, piano, and amazing vocals already makes for an amazing OP. But, notice, I didn’t even say anything about the art. It’s rather amazing how the whole ~ef~ series of songs and openings are FAR and AWAY my absolute favorite openings. I can name them off the top of my head. Opening of “~ef~ A Fairy Tale of the Two: The First Tale” (the first 3 chapters of 6 of the visual novel by minori) is: Eternal Feather. Opening of “The Latter Tale” (the last 3 chapters) is Emotional Flutter. The ending of the whole visual novel is: Ever Forever. The opening of the first season of the anime is: Euphoric Field. And the opening of this season: Ebullient Future. Note that they all have two words, and those words always start with “E” and “F”. It makes ~ef~, if you haven’t noticed, the word/phrase/something that precedes all of their works.
Garrick: And for the ED, I don’t have much to say. I’ve probably bored you all with the rest of my post anyway, but here goes. The ED is a happy cute song sung by… probably the VA of Mizuki Hayama. I don’t know her name off the top of my head, though. Sorry. Anyhow, it’s a pretty darn good song, but it really doesn’t compare whatsoever to the OP. Not that that’s a bad thing. No ED or OP compares with the ~ef~ series’ OP’s. What makes it all the better, however, is the art, once again. This the whole series of ~ef~ titles (that’s “A Tale of Memories” and “A Tale of Melodies”) use… well… sort of… abnormal colors to accentuate details that need to be noticed. But when they do a sort of cutout picture (they did it during the episode also, when Mizuki was dragging Kuze), it’s still amazing, in my opinion. In short, the music and vocals are good, made great by the art, and every OP or ED ever in existence fails in comparison to Ebullient Future and Euphoric Field.
Garrick’s Rating for Episode Two: 10/10 (trust me, if I could give it more, I would)
Garrick’s Anticipation Scale: 10/10