Thursday, February 7, 2008

Why not ef-tale of memories

Warning: I will not use the words pretentious or overrated in this post. If you're expecting them, well I don't know now what to tell you. But they won't be here.

Okay, so that's out of the way. Now I have a confession to make, I've always had a soft spot for a good romance. For all of their faults, I do like Paradise Kiss and Kare Kano a lot.  I'm comfortable enough admitting that and ef is a good romance show.

In fact, the parts people would complain about (the crazy artwork, the overly dramatic, heavy-handed theme) all worked in the course of the story. Now, I will say that ef didn't really do that much that Paradise Kiss and Kare Kano didn't already do. They essentially had the same themes of following your dreams and the perception of self versus the perception of others. In this case, the show used memories as a way of dealing with those themes (go figure the thing is called "a tale of memories.") But unlike those shows, ef was the perfect length. It is an exceedingly rare thing when I find a twelve episode series that should be twelve episodes.

I would say that the visual symbolism for the most part worked for the show. Granted there are parts that I'm still not sure that I understand, and parts where I think the creators just ran out of money. But the symbolism is consistent with the characters and except for a couple situations isn't completely over bearing. (The stained glass window bit got really old.)

(Spoiler Alert!)

But good lord, the pathos. This show had enough angst to power an entire emo city. Now, I realize that this is part and parcel to the entire romance genre. (What would a romance show be if the main characters didn't whisper each others names three or four times an episode.) But there are several moments in the show where it pushed it too far. For instance, there is a scene where one of the love interests is calling this guy she was supposed to meet. Now she's in the process of getting stood up, but we get privy to the messages she's leaving for him.

All of the messages she's leaving for him.

All twelve or thirteen messages she leaves for him.

One or two would have been alright. It would have been heart-rending without being over bearing. Three would have been pushing it. I could have accepted five, but after that I started thinking about fast forwarding it through the scene. Simply because it felt like a trick so that I would feel bad for the character.

Oh yeah, and then there's Chuhiro, the girl who loses her memory every thirten hours, who is essentially a Teddy Ruxpin playing a Country-Western tape. Oh yeah, and she's lost her eye too, because she didn't have enough going against her. Her storyline is nothing BUT angst. Granted, it's not bad angst. It is understandable. But the one moment in the show where she stops being the little angst-girl who could was like a breath of fresh air.

But it didn't last long.

But enough about the angst.

Because I have to talk about a film student.

Now, I give the show credit his name didn't come up enough for it to stick in my head, which means that his dangerously self-referential remarks only have a face to pin to it. Honestly, when I heard the line, "I want to make the film that I want to make." I just about shot out of my seat, grabbed a copy of "In Our Time" and smacked the computer with it.  Come on SHAFT, you don't need to tell us to go screw ourselves if we don't like your show.

Really, we can figure that out all by ourselves.


Agree or disagree? Leave a comment or e-mail


Michael said...

You mean, good Lord, the BATHOS. It's not only an emo city, it's an emo universe. Good romance? I'm not as kind as you.

Good post, though. :)

Cameron Probert said...

Thanks michael -

I dunno, outside of the angst I thought it was pretty good. And there were moments when I thought that the angst level was just about right. But I was on angst overload by that point.

ザイツェヴ said...

Keep in mind that Mike is an avoved ef-hater. He'd have stand the ground even if it were directed by Tatsuo Sato on Dennou Coil's budget, animated by KyotoAni, and starred Yuu Asakawa and Rie Tanaka.