ef – An episode too far

Episode 9: Tilting at sand castles

“So class, what morals did you learn today?”

Also my immediate reaction after finishing the series.

ef – a tale of memories. From the beginning, Yuko was the personification of the small miracle that is personal triumph, while Yu was the jaded cynic. The outcome, punctuated by Yuko’s appearance, was inevitable. But for me, the most miraculous smashing of chains felt decidedly unmagical, and putting the cast up for a little show-and-tell was about as inspirational as contrived slogans.

I feel like I ought to say more about episode 10’s Honey and Clover moment, or 11’s epic reset button, but for the time being, I can only mention them. The final episode was run through on auto-pilot and it’s a hard feeling to shake. Maybe that’s the price paid for inevitability. It’s not watching the pieces of a puzzle fall into place, it’s more like tying my shoes.

ef is a series worth watching, and a fine one at that. But my views are being shaped by how it ended, which is to say generally warm and fuzzy. Any time SHAFT broke out the visuals and the audio, it was to transmit the abyss at worst, and muted light at best. Even when displaying joy, it’s tempered with a shadow.

I try not to be greatly influenced by the end, but the whole series was building up to this point. Warm and fuzzy just doesn’t feel right – no shadows in that – but it’s the conclusion, so I think I will be struggling to reconcile the two for some time. For now, despite all the uncertainties facing the cast at the end of 11, it could have, should have, ended there.

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