EF: A Tale of Memories is a twelve-episode anime series based off a Japanese visual novel. The show revolves around the love lives of two teenage sisters named Kei and Chihiro.
Out of the two tales on offer I would have to say that Kei’s is the least interesting, as it is the typical love triangle you often see in romance animes. The target of Kei’s affections is a fellow student named Hiro, whose artistic talents have landed him a job as a comic book artist. Kei has had the hots for Hiro since childhood, but hasn’t plumped up the courage to reveal her feelings to him. Instead she adopts an older sister role, looking after him and coercing him to go to school whenever he’d rather stay in bed and doze off after pulling an all-nighter to meet a pending manga deadline. Heartless wench. I bet Akira Toriyama didn’t have some crazy broad depriving him of sleep back when he used to draw Dragonball.
One fateful Christmas night Hiro crosses paths with the free spirited Miyako who is less shy when it comes to matters of the heart. She actively pursues Hiro forcing Kei to leave her comfort zone and go after him herself, or else risk losing him to the Xmas Harpy. The battle lines are drawn leaving viewers to see how it will all play out. Hiro is at a crossroads in his life, and much like how he must choose whether to continue with his studies or go full time into the manga industry, he will have to decide which girl is best for him. Sadly he’s not smooth enough to date both at the same time. I might have found the story more engrossing if the ladies in question would agree to share him and engage in some ménage a trois.
The reason I enjoyed Chihiro’s story more was due to the affliction she is suffering from. Back when she was twelve Chihiro was involved in a terrible car accident that robbed her of an eye and caused her to lose the ability to retain new memories. As a result any events in her life are forgotten after thirteen hours pass. It’s a bit like that 50 First Dates movie, an ex of mine forced me to watch, only it takes the subject matter much more seriously. Ah how good it is to be single, I am no longer forced to watch inane rom-coms against my will. The question is why am I watching bittersweet romance cartoons instead?
Due to her condition Chihiro is wary of making friends and therefore leads a lonely existence. Thankfully a dashing knight in shining armour comes to her rescue in the form of a boy named Renji who she meets at an abandoned train station (ah how romantic, I often pick up women at derelict railways.) Slowly the two bond, culminating in Renji offering to help Chihiro overcome her handicap, which is preventing her from making her dream of writing a novel come true. As they endeavour to write the book it becomes apparent that Renji is smitten with Chihiro, but how can love flourish when your partner constantly forgets who you are and only knows of your existence from reading diary entries?
As a macho man (oh yeah, snap into a Slim Jim) with a heart of ice I don’t tend to gravitate towards mushy animes but, much like Clannad or Waiting in the Summer, EF: A Tale of Memories proves to be an exception to the rule. Even if ironically speaking it’s not as memorable as Clannad, I liked it enough to give it four stars out of five. I should however warn readers that it’s unlikely to be everyone’s cup of tea. As a dialogue heavy show it may be too slow for some and cynics could accuse it of being both overly dramatic and emotionally manipulative at times. If you care for animated romance yarns that shouldn’t be an issue though. For viewers in that camp I can recommend giving the series a go.