Approximately one year ago, one moment in particular stood out as one of the most intense moments of the year 2007 in anime. That particular scene started out as an innocuous event of a girl leaving a message for a boy who stood her up for a date, and leaving several more as she becomes increasingly mad at the wayward brat. But slowly and gradually, she started to panic, and ended up leaving a total of 99 messages on the boy’s cellphone. Frustrated by the lack of response, she eventually gave up in tears, believing that she has once again disappeared from someone’s life. For what seems like such a trivial event put in words, portrayed merely by words crawling across a screen accompanied by only a voice, the mental trainwreck of Miyamura Miyako in the 7th episode of ef ~a tale of memories~
was an intensely melodramatic moment that left a deep impression on nearly all who had the pleasure (or is it pain?) of experiencing it. One year onwards, and SHAFT has returned to the same technique in ef ~a tale of melodies~
, this time being the province of the young Yuuko of the past; to great effect as it may, for it has become the talking point of the respectable number of fans that the ef
franchise has gathered at this point.
ef ~a tale of melodies~, Episode 6.
Still no clue as to what this thing could possibly be? Could it be the broken watch we saw Yuuko looking at earlier?
It seems as if Yuuko is not all that she seems, and in fact, the cheerful facade that she puts on in front of Yuu may just be that; a facade. In fact, the way Kuze mentioned that other people see her sounds quite….familiar. Perhaps a good number of us would have known that one guy or girl who’s always sitting by himself or herself, someone nobody dares to approach because there’s no idea what would happen?
Also of interest is how they’re reusing themes through this episode; apparently, Yuuko was the first person in the series to come up with the mask metaphor. Kuze only adapted it for his own situation later on, although this seems to bode an omen about Yuuko, however slight the link…
When a child extends her hand, she does so in the knowledge that the adult she gives her hand to can be trusted. However, what happens when that trust is broken…?
"Yuunagi"…a most eloquent way of putting it. It’s funny how, in a sense, the stagnant relationship between the young Yuu and young Nagi almost exactly mirrors what happened between Hiro and Kei, years afterwards. Perhaps, they both just assumed that things would go on the way they always have, much like how their younger counterparts eventually did.
I’m really starting to wonder what tune Kuze is playing there; it’s a pretty nice one as far as melodies go. On the other hand, I’m also wondering whether he plays anything else other than that.
I’ve always wanted to wipe away your tears.
Now, I can finally do that.
The bad omens just come thundering one after another, pun fully intended. While we’re at that, I have to mention how melodies is feeling subtly different from that of memories; for the latter, the Shinbou-style WTFness was pretty much overt, in an in-your-face manner that turned away a good majority of curious anime watchers, leaving a select minority which quickly built up an acquired taste to every demented special effect that the legendary director could cook up. By contrast, the Shinbou-WTFness in this series seems almost understated compared to its predecessor; although he shows his roots as a disciple of Shinbou, it almost seems as if Oonuma is asserting his own style more here than he previously did. The result is still very much SHAFT, but it seems to be a more palatable SHAFT, able to appeal to a wider demographic although it does disappoint some of the most ardent fans of the Shinbou style.
Is it a good or bad thing that when Yuuko was in the first half of her speech, I was reminded of Itoshiki-sensei’s rant about people’s habit of dropping bombshells in an unassuming manner? In any case, this episode is not something you watch in order to feel good; it almost seems here that she’s dropping all these bombshells on Yuu in an unassuming tone as a kind of psychological punishment. Almost as if she’s been waiting to commit what I could only call psychological violence against the guy she likes (or perhaps, she used to like).
And caught flat-footed by the utter horror of what he had to hear from Yuuko, Yuu stutters to summon up the idea of something worth hoping for, of the idea that a horrific past can be forgotten for a brighter future…
Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. This moment was probably the origin of the cynical attitude we see in the present-day adult Yuu.
The moment that all the fans of ef are talking about right now, where Yuuko pretty much goes stream-of-consciousness, just like Miyako one year ago. If I were to be honest, the performance of Yuuko’s seiyuu lacked the pure rawness of the effort that Miyako’s seiyuu gave one year ago, but the contrast in the significance of their respective subject matter was just so wide. It’s hard to think of how horrendous Yuuko’s experiences must have been.
Whatever the case, this still looks to be on course for being one of the most intense scenes of 2008, just like how Miyako’s scene was for 2007. Somehow, it feels somewhat unfortunate that Yuuko’s effort didn’t quite sound as visceral as Miyako did, but maybe the relative lack of impact may simply be down to familiarity. After all, Miyako’s scene was the first of its kind I’ve ever seen; frankly, it’s a tall order for anything to top that. In it’s own right though, Yuuko’s scene can stand with anything out there that others have to offer.
And the episode ends with Yuu….
….forced to reflect on how he was 10 years too late to confess to Yuuko. Not many anime out there get anywhere near the true horrors which abuse entails, and the tragedy is just something that makes the stomach churn. I have to admit, despite what I said earlier about Yuuko’s seiyuu
, I still felt a little sick in my stomach when I watched the scene, and that sickness stayed with me for a while afterwards.
On the other hand, I can’t help feeling that this is not all that we’ll see about Yuuko; somehow I can’t help but think that there’s something she’s still hiding, and that whatever it was, it’s keeping me from fully empathizing with her situation. In fact, the way she practically beat Yuu over the head with her tragedy….I dunno, it’s tragic to be sure, but I ended up feeling almost as if she’s been biding her time to beat him over the head with the consequences of a decision he made in his childhood, when he could hardly be held responsible for an outcome he could not have foreseen at his age. And one has to wonder, why take that course of action, even if what she’s experienced is enough to warp her mindset entirely? It’s cruel to her, but it’s cruel to him as well in a way. And I’m not sure whether I can stand behind that; whatever is it, I guess we’ll have to wait for the next episode to see further how it’s how about.