Well, that was unexpectedly cheerful and upbeat

I just want to know what that other paper airplane was.

Just when you think the Renji x Chihiro arc is over with, whoops! It’s not! Contrary to my predictions, ef was ultimately not quite a tragedy, or even very bittersweet–instead, it’s something more. Since episode 7, the series has sent its loyal and devoted viewers on an emotional rollercoaster of sorrow and triumph and heartache. As with all things, I value the getting there much more than the conclusion (a value that is almost essential to being an anime fan) but, in ef’s case, the conclusion is very strong indeed. ef really is a romance story done the right way–it’s not comfort food like those slim Harlequin paperbacks you see at Wal-Mart, but rather a twisted, tangled path to the ultimately happy conclusion.

I guess the ending in bittersweet in the sense that all the characters had to prevail over intense emotional suffering before ending up in an ultimately happy position–Chihiro over the pain of trying to forget about Renji, Renji over Chihiro forgetting about him, Hirono over being torn between two girls, Kei over the pain of losing Hirono to Miyako, and Miyako over the pain of a meaningless existence. The video director guy (who I still can’t remember the name of, and I’m sure it was in this episode somewhere) is just kind of…there, to give Kei someone to be foisted on after Hirono chooses Miyako. One weak character in this cast, however, I can forgive.

The coda was quite nice, and we get to see that everything seems to have worked out happily for everyone involved, which is never a bad thing. The ending didn’t feel like they artificially made it happy just because it’s easier to end on a high note. Rather, it felt more like the logical next step. Of course Chihiro wouldn’t forget about Renji quite so easily (although if she was really determined she would have conked herself in the head with a mallet and remained unconscious past the time limit). Of course Hirono would choose the lonely Miyako over the almost domineering Kei, whom he sees more as family than as a potential love mate. Foregone conclusions never hurt something on their own; see previous post for the emphasis placed on execution over originality.

ef is certainly a high watermark for the eroge conversion genre, and if more eroge (and their adaptations) learn from it, this can only be a good thing. I said before I’d like to have strong stories (with sex) rather than sex with a bit of plot in it. Still stands.

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NOTICE SHAMELESSLY STOLEN FROM G.K. CHESTERTON

I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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