After a couple of episodes that can only really be classed as artistic genius, I suppose it's only natural that this series was going to have to come back down to earth with something of a bump, and compared to the compelling, dramatic and uncomfortable instalments that have come directly before, episode eight of ef - a tale of melodies feels strangely... well, 'normal'.
Despite losing out in his fight with Amamiya last time around, a quick phone call to Yuuko's mobile phone is all it takes for him to persuade her to run away with him, a fact that is probably unsurprising given her wavering thoughts at the end of the last episode. So, off they trot, with the lion's share of this episode dedicated to showing the pair of them struggling with accomodation, work, and their feelings for both one another and themselves. Of course, this can only last for so long before Amamiya turns up in both of their lives again, and so the original status quo is restored.
Meanwhile on the other side of the story, Kuze recovers from his heart 'episode', enough to bemoan his life (and of course how it's running out so rapidly) while also finding some fork-tongued barbs to throw at both Nagi and Yuu, the latter of whom throws the punch in his direction that I've probably been wanting to see since a tale of memories.
At the moment, I'm really quite happy that the Yuu and Yuuko part of the series seems to be getting far more weight thrown behind it, as to me that's where the real crux of everything that this series has done well is, leveraging the feelings of loss, abandonment and so on in a disturbing yet moving and intriguing fashion. Up against that, even Kuze's battle with his own mortality seems rather thin on the ground, a fact which isn't helped by either his character or the whole nature of the relationship with Mizuki, which still feels like too much of a schoolgirl crush for me to take particularly seriously.
As I mentioned just now, this episode had no change of living up to the past couple of instalments, which simply blew me away - With that in mind, I can't really bemoan ef - a tale of melodies for offering up a solid episode that simply progressed the story rather than relying overly on flashy visuals or shocking revelations, particularly when it focused on what I can only call my "favourite" side of this series' story.