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Visual novel covers: Ef: The First Tale (left)...

ef: a tale of melodies [1] is the sequel, or rather the completion, to ef: a tale of memories and is an anime that I’m finding very hard to write about. Together they make up the adaptation of ef: a fairy tale of the two.

Much of my previous review still holds: ef: a tale of melodies is often surreal, visually stunning, supported by some fabulous design choices, and delves deeply into triggering behaviour [2]. It is based on the same set of visual novels that have since spawned manga, anime, and light novel adaptations.

ef: a tale of memories has two core stories instead of three, and this significantly improved the balance of the stories.  There is an amusing conceit in the series that nearly shattered my suspension of disbelief, and I suspect would similarly affect most Australian viewers [3].

In terms of the triggering elements, the midsection was extremely difficult to watch. I was worried that the ending would not salvage the series from my earlier discomfort.

As it happens there is a real sense of redemption in the ending, plus it weaves in elements of the previous series that I think will make a further viewing fascinating.

Overall I think I recommend ef: a tale of melodies as a “watch at least once” series, and it is possibly a series that improves on subsequent viewings. Finally, readers should be aware that ef: a tale of melodies and its predecessor are justifiably rated M in Australia for “mature themes and nudity”.

[1] Review copy kindly provided by Hanabee, please see Site Disclaimer for the treatment of review copies.

[2] Do NOT ROT-13 this unless you are ready for triggering subject matter: Lhxb Nznzvln vf n ivpgvz bs ivbyrag frkhny nohfr gung ynetryl qrfgeblf ure frafr bs frys jbegu. Rkprcg jura cebivat gur nohfr, guvf punenpgre nyjnlf nccrnef shyyl qerffrq vapyhqvat tybirf naq bcndhr fgbpxvatf.

[3] This is also a spoiler but not disturbing so ROT-13 at will: Gur navzr vf npghnyyl frg va gjb gbjaf pnyyrq Bgbjn. Gur frpbaq bs juvpu vf n pbcl bs gur rnegudhnxr jerpxrq Wncnarfr gbja gung vf va Nhfgenyvn. Guvf jnf n erny “lbh’ir tbg gb or xvqqvat zr!” zbzrag sbe zr.