Why I don’t love ef

I had planned to watch ef ever since some bloggers started talking about it, but I also firmly etched in my mind that I will wait until the final episode of ef has been aired. Since the final episode aired some time ago, I started watching ef three days ago. By then there were eleven episodes subbed, so I dutifully downloaded each one. I ventured to marathon the series, but changed my mind after I watched the first episode: it was heavy and relatively emotional without the light-hearted interpellation that characterized Honey and Clover. Consequently, the first episode cemented my decision to view the series piecemeal, one to two episodes at most in one sitting.

ef1
These are ef’s main girls.

I was ready to give up by the second episode. I usually give series three episodes to prove their worth (to me) before I dispose of them as trash or simply not to my proclivities. Watching the first two episodes was a test of patience. I found Chihiro and Miyako to be utterly unbelievable, and I did not have an ounce of empathy towards them. This was most definitely an omen.

However, I valued korosora‘s opinions since I have had protractedly chatted with him online and I believe his tastes in anime series were quite good. He told me to be patient until episode seven, since that was when the series began to be awesome: I acquiesced with his request, and so I kept on. Unlike him, however, my appreciation for the series took a nosedive instead of accreted: I hated the bathos, which magnified the series’s lack of originality, at least for me.

The multitudinous messages from Miyako was nothing but an atavism to Tokimeki Memorial ~ Only Love‘s Yayoi Mina. If I remember correctly, she also sent Riku a plethora of messages that were sent because of her anxiety. They were, to my recollection, also unanswered. The primary difference, however, between Miyako and Mina was that I was besotted with Mina. Although she changed for the worse as the show progressed because of her obsession with Riku, her facial features were more appealing, and more importantly, her attitude was, also. I know that most romances are unoriginal nowadays; in fact, one may argue that nothing is original nowadays, only that this is magnified with romance series. This cliche struck me more, however, because I was already initially dissatisfied with the series. I guess there is a truth to the saying that one’s eyes grow bigger whenever one is critical of something: one tends to want to see more as well as truly see more because one is not blinded by one’s biases. I would admit, Honey and Clover has quite a significant number of flaws, but I just cannot see them right now seeing as how I am besotted with the franchise. Likewise, Guncannon cannot see any flaws with anything involved with KEY primarily because he loves the company and its products dearly.

ef2
Yes, these are Google Image results because I could not open any image board when this was posted.

With that said, the storyline behind Chihiro and Renji is reminiscent of 50 First Dates. I do not know if someone else has written of this, but their story has become cliched because of that. In case one is unfamiliar of the popular, feel-good movie, Drew Barrymore is an amnesiac akin to Chihiro. Instead of a 13-hour memory, however, Drew Barrymore has a memory that does not disappear so long as she does not go to sleep. Adam Sandler struggles with his feelings toward her, much like Renji did. To conclude simply: it had been done before.

I will not compare the show with Honey and Clover. My bias towards that show is inexorable. I will, however, compare to ef’s peer which is Kimikiss ~ Pure Rouge. I think these two are better suited juxtaposed with one another. First, both involve two primary male leads: there is Renji and Hiro for ef while there is Kazuki and Kouichi for Kimikiss. Second, both are set in a high-school environment. Third, Hiro has to deal with two women, and so does Kouichi; Kazuki has his eyes only on Eriko (as of episode twelve), and Renji has his eyes only on Chihiro also (as of episode seven). I am pretty sure that there are many other parallelisms that can be found, but I am simply trying to drive home the point that the two shows are proximal enough in terms of the genre and the setting to allow proper comparison. After this, however, is opinion, so feel free to disagree. :)

Kimikiss evokes in me a sense of empathy for the characters. I can understand and comprehend their struggles without these struggles seeming superfluous. On the other hand, ef, from some parts of episode four, to almost the entirety of episode seven’s second half, made me cringe to the extent of expecting something sanguinary occurring in the following episode. It was overwrought, affected, and quite frankly, simply bathetic. Bloodletting was in the air, like Sekai’s performance of Makoto’s involuntary hara-kiri: I expected someone to die within the episode itself. The show is much better than School Days, most definitely, but when one thinks of such occurrences, it is impossible for one to think highly of the show. Kimikiss, at least, does not make me think of these things. Kimikiss allows me to reminisce the quaint occurrences of my high school life, and I love the show for it. Of course, I also appreciate the romances, but that is merely topping on the cake.

sumire
There’s Sumire, however, a pretty older woman.

I am not averse to avant-garde animation. I love Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, and I love Mononoke as well as Ayakashi‘s Bakeneko arc. I also watched and liked Kemonozume. I know that the abrupt changes in color symbolized and suggested many ideas, but I felt that they simply did those changes for the kick of it. It was simply jolting in a bad way.

korosora, I am sorry, but I have watched and “absorbed” episode seven with barely any changes in my initial opinion: the show is decent, but not awesome. Everything seemed to be a rehash, only done worse and with less taste.

23 Responses to “Why I don’t love ef”

  1. lolikitsune Says:

    you continue to fail

  2. korosora Says:

    well, okay. atleast we have alot of other shows we seem to like. πŸ˜€ /me touches mike

    I think my main attraction to the seriess was the not the “symbolism” portrayed throughout the animation nor the characters.

    It was the mix of the music (the background music of Miyako’s monologue of voice messages had a powerful impact) AND the voice acting (excluding Chihiro’s voice actress). Each voice was heartfelt throughout as the accompaniment of appropriate music for each situation only amplified it even more. The screams for each other, for love, and for despair. All were very emotionally well done.

    I understand your sentiment of not liking the characters; Chihiro’s pseudo ailment really bugged me for the longest time. (Her goddamn voice didn’t help either.) Miyako’s annoying clingy personality disgusted me. (Her outcry on episode 7 was when I started to understand her). Hirono’s selfishness and disrespect toward Kei was irresponsible. Kei was… well not very interesting. Her character was the damn childhood friend model. The guy who had that running girl fetish with his video was the only character that I kinda liked. The white haired church guy was kind of a bitch. Renji had a really hot mom and he didn’t fuck her.

    But the characters were not the main focal point in my enjoyment of Ef. Nope. Rather, their desperate attempts to find their significant other was. I loved seeing the end to each relationship. Mike, did you finish it? Did you watch episode 7 with your speakers turned up real high? πŸ˜›

    LOL I just thought of a bad joke:
    E = Everyone
    Ef = not for Everyone.

  3. lars Says:

    I dropped ef after six episodes–the personality of a character such as Miyako evoked negative feelings in me such that I felt the need to drop it for my own sake. Not even the show’s good aspects could salvage that.

    I wonder if other people also feel the same way towards a show–to detest a character so much that you give up on the show even if the other elements of it are quite good.

  4. usagijen Says:

    I’m gonna have to watch ef for myself and properly judge, taking in mind the “danger” that I might resent it the same way as KimiNozo. If I end up not liking the show after, then I’ll also think the show is overrated, the same way as KgNE was…

  5. westbluef Says:

    Well, as for me I liked ef because (other than the fact that I’m a big sucker for drama) of the symbolism it presented throughout the show and trying to figure out what those words meant every episode was fun for me. I did not really mind the artsy style but I liked how the symbolisms made sense.

    And did you watched past episode 7 because I found some people that did not liked that ep. but liked what happened next.

    Cheers! and Happy New Year tomorrow πŸ˜‰

  6. shh227 Says:

    For me ef rules fall 07! I like the drama and I like the audio too. I have to admit I so did not like episode one but I really started to like it on the next episode.

    One thing I like about how this is some people prefered to like the love triangle while others were into more RenjixChihiro.

  7. Anya Says:

    LOL, avatism and anime. You better stop watching right away. :)

  8. Michael Says:

    It’s atavism. I can finish it in a few episodes, so I’ll just finish it.

  9. meganeshounen Says:

    I’m guessing that liking ef or Key is an acquired taste, much like how I acquired the taste of liking Da Capo. (Okay. Maybe it’s just the Shirakawas that I like. And the Asakuras. And everyone else.)

    If you ask me, I was first in it for the art (Naru Nanao? Animooted? Huwaaaaat?) and for the quirky studio (Hey, it’s SHAFT. What gives?)… then I got wind of the story. I don’t know why, but I watched more of ef than of Kimikiss… Maybe because it was a bit more fast paced(?) for me, and it’s only 12 episodes long.

    And if you’re saying something about “it’s been done”… hmm….. I’ll just say that art imitates life, and life is a merely a cycle of cliches. πŸ˜€

  10. IKnight Says:

    I can’t comment on ef; I haven’t watched it, and I won’t. Time presses.

    But I would like to know if your allusion to Pirates of the Carribean in the third paragraph was intentional or not. Either way, good job.

  11. omo Says:

    I don’t see how ef is at all “acquired taste.” It’s more like don’t watch anime just for the story? Does that count as acquired taste? Yea, it’s just like 50 first dates LOL only if you don’t watch the last 4 episodes or discount the fact that it is wacky animation based on porn games?

    The voice acting and music are good, sure, but there’s more beyond that going for ef.

    Then again his blog post is not original either in the sense that over the course of many years I’ve seen so many people blindly having faith at someone’s opinion about a show, goes out and watch it, and only to torture themselves. That’s fine, you live and learn. The key thing is to walk away knowing why it worked for some but not for you.

  12. Michael Says:

    @IKnight

    I think that was unintentional, seeing as I have not seen or read Pirates of the Caribbean. Could you kindly point out where it is? haha.

    Oh, and thanks. πŸ˜›

  13. IKnight Says:

    At one point in Pirates of the Caribbean, a character says ‘I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request’. The marred rhyme caught my attention and so, while I’m no fan of the film, the phrase has stayed in my mind.

  14. Michael Says:

    @IKnight

    Thanks. :)

    @korosora

    Personally, I saw the screams and the voices as a little too high-pitched and a little too emotional. I see no fault in putting emotion to the voices; too much, however, ruins anything, and includes a superfluity in the speaking.

    Of course there can be little expected from series like this except cliches. There was a bevy of them in here; I am not complaining about that. Most of the characters were grating, however. Miyako was an irritation, even with episode seven, and so was the apathy of Kei.

    Sumire was also underused, at least for me. I felt that she had to have a more pivotal part of the story (but I will try and see if she has). It was simply highly reminiscent of School Days for me to be comfortable about it.

    Yes, I turned the speakers very high. And I watched the entirety of episode seven.

  15. hanlu Says:

    thank god I’m not the only one who disliked this show – it has great music and visuals though

  16. Totali Says:

    “tl;dr, i suck”

    fixed!

    Happy New Year.

  17. Michael Says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! πŸ˜€

  18. korosora Says:

    Happi New Year.
    I’m a sucker for BGM.

    I think the episodes from 7 and on is what changed my opinion. Keep watching Mike. :3 and then I can answer without spoiling :3…

    http://jii.animeblogger.net/?p=142

  19. Ryan A Says:

    I’ll attest that ef does get better in the last 5 episodes; I finished, and I enjoyed. Of course there were things I did not enjoy, mainly some of the SHAFT-type scenes and the premise (50 first dates). It wasn’t lighthearted at all, (at all!), and actually the attempted level of seriousness probably wasn’t achieved, but I think it did maximized it’s potential; I couldn’t see it getting better.

    So it tried to get serious, but didn’t get that serious, and wasn’t very original… I guess that true.

    The music was nice, and some of the SHAFT scenes worked well; I thought the last 3-4 episodes were much stronger an experience than the whole first part of the series. I don’t know, it’s just ef, and I guess I enjoyed the little bit of drama it reveals, Chihiro, etc… the good points overweighed the bad.

    What the hell was up with the setting???

    Happy New Year Michael!

  20. BangBangAnime Says:

    Happy Holidays from
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  21. wildarmsheero Says:

    It makes absolutely no sense to compare a josei manga adaptation to an otaku eroge adaptation. Just saying.

  22. TORK Says:

    I like your post 3) I’ll surely be peeping into it again soon! ;>

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