Yes, ef – a Tale of Memories is awesome. Yes, I think it is a masterpiece. Yes, I think you should watch ef. No, I don’t think you’ll enjoy it (most of you anyways). Yes, I know I am elitist. Someone once said that all the visual tricks for the show is akin to putting lipstick on a pig, but sometimes shows like ef expose who are really the pigs around here. Oink! And yes, you should watch ef anyways and decide for yourself. Yes I could be wrong!
So. How do you build your own euphoric field? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can either read some of those nice episode summary blogs or just watch the anime (I recommend this, as always). If that doesn’t help, well, I’m sure you’re not alone. Think of it as a top 10 list about ef, in no particular order.
1. Expect opposition. The road to life is narrow and treacherous. But like many other things in life that’s hard to do, it’s also worth doing. Like cheering for a show that most people probably won’t get or enjoy. Or better yet, making one of such.
2. Use your head. Even if you appeal to the most basic of instincts and emotions, it is still not going to make you better than the next guy or the guy before who also appeal to the most basic of instincts and emotions. Masterful storytellers weave coherent, internally consistent and effective narratives. ef is, for the most part, just that. Sometimes it takes time for ef to do its thing, but all signs point to that the people behind it thought it through, and spend the time putting it together.
4. Have a ball. Having fun is always a prerequisite to greatness. Sometimes it’s not so fun, but all the more to keep this one in mind.
5. Open your mind’s eye. Perhaps miracles are, as Menclave puts it, “inevitabilities and accidents, and what you’re going to do.” But for a people blind to their dreams and visions, they need all the help they can get. As clichÃ©s go, believing is seeing. Kuze puts it forth pointedly. All it takes is a gust of wind to change fate.
6. Repetition is the real test. Fact is most people (myself included) just don’t have the time to watch new shows and find time to rewatch old shows all the time. Most of my experience with a show happens inside my head or when I talk about it with someone, long after I’ve finished watching it. What a good show does is, well, what Renji does with Chihiro. I have to like to recall that show. It has to leave an impact. It has to withstand repetition, both in viewing (and ef does this well; watching it twice is almost necessary to understanding it fully) and being able to withstand analysis. Plus, of course, all that fuzzy warm feeling you have associated with something rushing back each time you remember the realization of a wish engraved into memories you don’t want to forget. That leads to…
7. Intercorse is good when you make it meaningful. It is pretty tough if you want to try to forget about meaningful sex the day after.
8. Cheer. Praise is an instinct, and it should be kept as an instinct. Not empty, calculated praise but genuine and heartfelt appreciation of something worth sharing with each other. The word cheer seems to be a little down to earth and gets the idea across a little better I think. Regarding to this anime, though, it’s exactly the sort of shows I watch and follow anime for. It’s edgy, it’s flawed, but the humanity shines through. All the while it’s entertaining and emotionally charged. The fact that it’s clever is just icing on the cake.
9. Field questions. Give answers with comment and suggestions. Pingback and trackbacks. Good o’ electronic mail. The postal service. Digital or analog telephony. Community and communicate have the same word root for some unknown reason that I cannot even begin to fathom. Right.
10. Stop being lazy–don’t do what I do.
I’ll just repeat myself slightly and say that like what X-Men the movie did to the comic book adaptation industry in Hollywood, finally we got one right in the eroge visual novel adaptation side of things. I’m not so much afraid that new shows following the same footsteps will get it wrong as much as just having that kind of production happen at all. Even among eroge, the ef game (soon games?) is peculiar. But without failures there cannot be successors, as ef itself only followed countless others that fell in the wake of the late-night otaku TV war. So, bring it on please!