Friday, 17 October 2008

ef - a tale of melodies - Episode 2

I mentioned last time around that I wasn't too sure what to make of ef - a tale of melodies, and I have to confess that I'm afraid the same is true after watching episode two of the series.

It isn't so much that it doesn't make sense as the fact that it jumps about rather frequently, and hasn't given me enough in the way of a story for me to form any kind of bond with any of the main characters. In a sense, it almost feels like a triumph of style over substance, with lots of great artistry on show but not a lot to really nail down where the story is going, or indeed where it's coming from. Sure, we do get some more background on Yu and Yuko, showing how their relationship has both developed and splintered, and Kuze and Mizuki's relationship also gets a shot in the arm, but it feels almost like we're being fed random morsels of some far, far bigger stories, and to be quite honest it's a little bit frustrating, and I don't ever remember feeling that way about ef - a tale of memories, which seemed less prone to such prevarication.

I certainly haven't given up on a tale of melodies yet by a long shot, but I do worry that it's trying a little too hard to be an artistic piece that would rather look down its nose at anyone who doesn't "get it" rather than make a genuinely salient attempt at story-telling. I really, really hope it goes on to prove me wrong on that count.


Anonymous said...

The storyline isn't making a whole lot of sense to me either, so I'm pretty much running on faith that the creative team can deliver until things straighten themselves out.

The age gap between Kuze and Mizuki is a bit creepy but I'm finding the relasionships between the couples more convincing overall than in the first season. The Hirano/Miyako thing was just as realistic as either of these, but Renji/Chihiro felt somewhat artificial. Still, there are still ten eps to go and I remember I took a while to warm to A Tale of Memories too.

Hanners said...

I never particularly liked the Renji/Chihiro relationship in the first series either, I always wished that Hirano and Miyako had gotten more of the focus.

Still, I hope you're right that it all comes good in the end.

Anonymous said...

Style over substance......

I felt the same way about the first series. While that show had a unique audio/visual/directorial flair, it was greatly overemphasized at the expense of good storyboarding and writing. The overblown melodrama (pretentious play on time compression, lots of repetition, angsty theatrical monologues, etc.) eventually got on my nerves, and I can't say I found the overall experience to be remotely memorable.

That said, the show was never offensively bad. ef is artificial and inherently shallow, but it ain't a bad time waster. It just isn't the compelling, finely crafted masterpiece so many make it out to be.