ef – a tale of memories – 01
Asou Renji, who had always thought of protecting a princess as a knight, has an abandoned railroad station that he likes to visit for its quietness. When he goes there one day though, he finds a girl sitting on a bench, so he tells her that trains don’t come here. Renji then gets a bit flustered and excuses himself, and the girl smiles and waves goodbye. This was the first time that the two of them met, and the entire chance encounter lasted less than 45 seconds. Meanwhile, another boy named Hirono Hiro is drawing his manga when he gets a text message from his friend Shindou Kei reminding him to come to her Christmas party. Kei is furious when Hiro doesn’t show up, but before she can message him again, she gets a Christmas greeting from her own sister Chihiro. Hiro actually heads to a church first to gather some information for his manga, and it is there that he meets a girl dressed like a nun who claims that she has to meet someone. As he turns around to leave, she stops him to wish him Merry Christmas, and he says the same back to her.
Once outside, Hiro receives another message from Kei asking him where he is, and as he is reading it, someone races past on a moped. Chasing after this person is a girl yelling about a thief, and after questioning Hiro which direction the moped went, she takes his bicycle and rides off. This leaves Hiro no choice but to go after her to get back his bike, and to complicate things, Kei calls him as he’s running. Since he’s busy, he tells Kei that he’ll come another time and then hangs up on her. Hiro manages to catch up with the girl who took his bike when she crashes it and gets thrown off. Unsure if she’s still alive, he is surprised when she suddenly opens her eyes and initially doesn’t remember what’s going on. She then recalls that her bag was stolen with all of her important things in it, and she’s determined to get it back. However, after a bit more searching, she easily gives up and downplays the importance of her wallet and cell phone. Hiro is more concerned about if she got hurt earlier, but she claims that she’s fine and thanks him for worrying about her.
When snow starts falling around them, the girl dances around happily and explains that she likes how she can be with someone for a White Christmas because she doesn’t want to be by herself on such a day. Since she hasn’t introduced herself yet, the girl tells Hiro that her name is Miyamura Miyako, and she also finds his name strange. She then tells him that there’s no one home tonight, and she follows this up by accusing him of thinking perverted things. Unfortunately, her key was in the stolen bag, and because she doesn’t want to be outside by herself tonight, she has Hiro accompany her. As for Renji, he finds himself at school on a different day after getting a form to fill out his future aspirations. He wants to be the prince who fights to protect the princess from misfortune, but he realizes that he’s too old to be writing down that kind of dream. Unsure of what to do, Renji goes to see a man named Himura Yuu at the church to get an adult opinion, however Yuu claims to be neither a priest nor a counselor. The reason he’s always hanging around here is because he’s waiting for someone.
Yuu then asks Renji what he likes, and when Renji says that he likes reading, Yuu suggests that he go to a liberal arts college and write novels. Renji thinks that doing something he likes to do as a job is too simplistic, but Yuu points out that it’s better than doing something he hates. Afterwards, Renji heads to the abandoned train station again and finds the girl sitting there again. Unexpectedly, she asks him if they had met before, and since they have, she inquires if he comes here often. This gets the two of them talking about how great a place this is, and she eventually reveals that her name is Shindou Chihiro. When Renji comments on how she can get to this train station faster than him, Chihiro reveals that it’s because she’s not attending school. To his surprise, she then apologizes and decides to go home because she thinks that this is Renji’s special place. Both of them start telling the other not to worry about it, and it leads to both of them laughing. Chihiro nevertheless asks him if it’s okay for her to come here again, and since it is, Renji says he’ll see her again later.
The following day, Renji heads to the station again and sees Chihiro there, but he finds that she seems a bit different from yesterday. It takes Chihiro a moment to realize who Renji is, and she’s so glad that he actually came to see her again that she hugs him. Afterwards, they get to talking about the novel that Renji is carrying with him and the diary that Chihiro has with her that she apparently can’t live without. She eventually asks if they can be friends, and Renji is glad to do so. When it’s time for him to go, Renji again says that he’ll see her later, and this makes Chihiro quite happy because she sees it as a promise to meet again. Once she’s alone, Chihiro tries to write in her diary, but she starts crying instead with her thoughts on her sister. Unaware of this, Kei is playing cards in the White Christmas world while Hiro and Miyako are walking around town together. Their classmate Tsutsumi Kyousuke is also up at this late hour staring at a blurry photo of Kei that he had taken on the street.
ED: 「I’m here」 by 田口宏子 (Taguchi Hiroko)
Watch the ED!: Mirror 1, Mirror 2
The OP for this first episode was just an instrumental filler since it’s not the euphoric field feat. ELISA that’s currently being played on the official site. It’s still a nice piece though, and I don’t know why more series don’t just use these kinds of instrumentals. The real OP will probably premiere next week. The ending meanwhile is okay, but nothing really special. I’m mostly disappointed because I had been hoping to hear more of the theme that was on the prologue and the website.
Well that was unorthodox, to say the least. I had thought the story was going to be focused on Hiro and Miyako, so it was a surprise to see them completely switch focus to Renji and Chihiro in the second half of the episode. And if the ending of the summary sounds kind of weird, it’s because I couldn’t quite make sense of what happened to Chihiro and how Hiro’s world is related to Renji’s world (or if they’re the same world). Chihiro and her sister Kei seem to connect the two settings, as does the apparent waiting of both Yuu and Yuuko at the church. I get the feeling that this stuff won’t get explained for a while, but this series will only be 12 episodes, and it probably won’t take that long.
Even with the disjointed format though, I thought Shaft did a wonderful job on the animation, and the episode was filled with their stylistic touches. It ended up reminding me a lot of sola, not only because they share the same character designer Nanao Naru, but also because there were a lot of shots of the sky in this. Overall, I’m still not 100% sold on the show, but there’s a lot of promise in the story, and if Shaft can keep the quality consistent, then there’s no reason this couldn’t turn out to be good.