So, I’m putting ef ~a tale of melodies~ on hold for as long as I feel like, probably until I’ve got nothing better to watch. I’ve felt as though I should put it on hold since about 5 minutes into episode 5, but I wanted to at least get through the semi-legendary episode 6 before I did so. Well, I watched it, and my opinion hasn’t changed at all. I don’t like ef melodies. I’ll try my best to tell you why.
There are three main reasons that I love ef ~a tale of memories~ so much, and each is equally important. Firstly, there is a very unique and interesting visual style. Secondly, there is an intriguing and well-written romance story told. Thirdly, there are deep messages about living living life your own way and following your dreams and so on.
ef melodies certainly has that first quality in fucking spades. The visual style is at all times insane and intense with some of the coolest techniques I’ve ever seen and some heavy imagery. The only trouble with it here is that the style is so heavy that when really big things happen, they don’t stand out. Season one had lots of cool style, but when it broke out the special stuff, you knew it was something different. Melodies is breaking this stuff out at the most uneventful of moments as if they were special, which degrades the value when that style is actually needed (such as the legendary episode 6 scene.)
Unfortunately, the story is where Melodies totally fails in my eyes. Memories used a pretty basic teen romance as it’s basis and part of what mde it cool was how this grounding could be used to tell something more than your average romance. Melodies is just all over the place. It’s got romantic relationships, but they have no form whatsoever and mean nothing. Kuze and Mizuki’s relationship is just godawful. There is no pacing to it at all nor any sense of normal ground between them. The relationship was given no time to develop and there is no particular reason for them to like each other beyond that Kuze is honry and Mizuki is a free spirit. There are right ways to portray a relationship like this (see: Boogiepop and Others) and this is not one of them. A few retarded overbearing pseudo-philosophical conversations don’t incite romance.
Yuu is the most uninteresting character I think I’ve ever watched. He’s so predictable it’s embarassing and his whole place in the story just aggitates me. He is defined solely by what the story tells us about him and never by his own actions. We know all about his backstory and what drives him, but he’s not going anywhere with it. You can tell me everything in the world about someone, I don’t feel like watching them sit there and do nothing. Kuze is kind of like that as well. We are given what to expect from his personality and then he just kind of sits there and is what he is. No one is really doing anything.Misuzu I want to like, but she is nothing but a proponent to push along the story. Once again, the fundamentals of her personality are what drive her through the story and we never see her going anywhere from that. I don’t think I need to repeat myself in describing Yuuko.
That’s all we’ve got here – people standing still while we learn all aobut their past and personality. The dialog is complete shit. They never turn off. It’s absolutely constant philosophical floundering. No one can ever be direct with what they mean, speaking constantly in metaphors and contrivances. Memories had a lot of philosophical dialogue, but was always fairly outright with it, which is what led many to think that the staff was putting their own thoughts into the show. Melodies just has me sitting thinking ‘no one fucking talks like this’. Most of this philosophical bullshit does nothing to advance the story or prove any kind of point, either. The show never takes action, it just spouts frilly words. Whereas in memories, Kyousuke would have gotten frustrated and gone off to record something and try to find himself, or Kei would have put all of her angst into slamming a basketball around, the characters in Melodies never go DO anything.
Where’s the introspection? Where’s the action? Isn’t the whole point of being a frustrated artist the places this frustration leads us? What kind of artists are these who understand themselves so well?
I’m not sure if I’ve said anything that makes sense to anyone, even myself, but I can’t help but feel like Melodies is a sad sham and imitation that doens’t understand itself what Memories was trying to say. If this weren’t ef and the visual style weren’t so crazy, I’d have dropped this show already, but as it stands I’m just going to wait a long time to continue it. And the scene in episode 6 had no impact on me whatsoever.