|Aired:||10/6/08 – 12/22/08|
ef – a tale of melodies is the 2nd part of the ef series – part sequel, part prequel, part spinoff – which focuses on two new stories, both of which can stand own their own, and yet are also intertwined with the stories of the first series.
The first story is set several years in the past between the mysterious girl Yuuko Amamiya and Chihiro’s caretaker Yu Himura. Suddenly Yuuko tries to befriend Himura while they’re in high school. However, Himura realizes that Yuuko is the same girl he knew when he was growing up in the local orphanage. However, he resisted to befriend Yuuko because she reminded him too much of his little sister whom he lost in a major earthquake which had rocked the town. Himura similarly tries giving Yuuko the cold shoulder when they meet again in high school for much of the same reasons. However, Yuuko’s insistence and evidence that Yuuko is being bullied by the other girls at school starts to pull Himura closer to her, only to reveal Yuuko’s terrible past.
The second story is set in what we end up learning to be a duplicate town of Otowa in Australia, which is actually where Chihiro lives with Himura and Renji, away from her sister Kei, who lives in the “real” Otowa with Hiro and Miyako in Japan. Kei’s friend Mizuki is visiting this 2nd Otowa and staying with Renji, who is her cousin, over the break. She soon runs into Renji’s neighbor Kuze and immediately starts to fall for him because of his beautiful violin playing. However, while initially playing along with Mizuki, Kuze starts pushing her away because he has an apparently fatal and incurable illness. However, Mizuki still insists on getting closer to him.
One of the best things about a tale of melodies as opposed to a tale of memories is that it seems more jointed. What I mean is that a tale of memories could have pretty easily been two separate shows just because they were, seemingly, so unrelated. However, the two stories in a tale of melodies are linked, at least in some ways, as well as giving a little back story to the two stories from memories as well. I think in part because of this a tale of melodies does what I would have thought to be unthinkable before: top it’s predecessor, a tale of memories.
I think the Yuuko/Himura arc is the best arc out of the 4 covered in the two series, and while I think the Mizuki/Kuze arc is probably the weakest of the four, it’s still good enough to keep the show going. Also, just like memories, melodies excels in keeping the stories going despite splitting time between the two of them in the bulk of the episodes. Also, the fantastic technical aspect of the first series also remain in this series.
If you liked ef – a tale of memories, you’ll probably love ef – a tale of melodies. If you haven’t watched either and you don’t mind some drama-heavy shows, go ahead and check this out.