ef – a tale of memories – 09
With Chihiro still crying, Yuu hands her the diary to read so that she can regain some of what she’s lost. Speaking privately afterwards, he reminds Renji that he warned him not to get too involved with her. He thinks that Chihiro will return to how she was, but he also knows that this will happen again, and the more time passes, the more that the pain from the memories disappearing will grow. However, he’s not talking about Chihiro – he’s talking about Renji’s pain. That’s why Yuu warned Renji in the beginning, and he gives Renji the option of turning back and disappearing from Chihiro’s life while she still doesn’t know him. Renji gets angry at this and briefly pins Yuu against the door, but he then falls to his knees and cries. He ends up staying with Chihiro, and after reading the diary for a bit, she angrily throws it at him because she feels that things would be the same whether she reads it or not. She questions if she should continue on since every day is the same and thinks that she should end that self of hers. With blood now running down his face from being hit by the diary, Renji stays silent because he has no answer for her.
Kyousuke meanwhile gets called out by Kei, and after listening to her problems with Hiro, he reveals that his mother was an actress and that she really shined. He had seen that in Kei too, but she doesn’t have the same sparkle now that she had when he first saw her. That leads her to admitting that she feels far away from everyone who has found what they want to do, including her own sister. Across the city, Hiro finds Miyako sitting in a phone booth and learns that she’s using a phone card now instead of her cell phone. The two of them head to the beach together where Hiro apologizes for standing her up on Sunday, but she claims not to be angry with him because he’s here now. He then reminds her to go turn in her future aspirations sheet, and when she asks him what he wrote on his, he admits to having put down college for the time being. This leads them to talking about freedom, and Miyako feels that her own freedom is empty whereas Hiro’s is chosen for the sake of something he wants to do. He disagrees and thinks it’s more like the opposite of that, so she suggests he throw everything away, explaining that it’s his freedom to choose so it’s also his freedom to throw everything away.
Miyako then proposes that he run away with her, but Hiro rejects the idea because he knows that choosing makes one responsible. He nevertheless thanks her anyway for allowing him to feel that it’s okay to relax. Miyako responds by saying that she feels at ease with him too, and she surprises him by kissing him. He’s speechless afterwards, and since Miyako thinks he’d have something romantic to say since he writes shoujo manga, he eventually just kisses her back. The two end up sleeping together, and she asks him to look at only her because she doesn’t want to disappear from anyone’s heart ever again. Back at the church, Renji speaks with Yuu about what Chihiro said and admits to being scared of her, but Yuu thinks it’s natural. Yuu explains loneliness as something you know for the first time after happiness, and happiness is truly felt for the first time after unhappiness. The one piece of advice he gives Renji is to seriously face the story that Chihiro has written and to think about why is she writing such a story.
Chihiro slowly returns to normal with the way she acts towards Renji and with how she wants to write her story. At one point, she even says that she’ll love him like she used to and is surprised when he’s embarrassed. She admits that it had been painful for her to read the parts of her diary where she was stopped and unable to do anything, but things brightened after she met him – she had felt happy just by reading it. Later, when talking about personality changing with memory, Chihiro suggests that her old self died when her memory of the past four years disappeared. In tears, Renji rejects this notion and affirms that she’ll always be the Chihiro that he knows. He tells her that what she thought was impossible, yet after they part ways, he runs to the beach and finds the sand castle still there. Renji frustratingly questions both why it remains and if Chihiro’s memory is more fragile than sand, and he insists to himself that Chihiro is the Chihiro he knows. Chihiro meanwhile returns to her room and faces her novel again.
As for Kei, she and Kyousuke arrive at Hiro’s apartment, but she screams and runs out as soon as she sees Miyako naked in bed with him. Kyousuke chases after her on his bike and rushes to her side after she trips and falls, but he’s shocked to see her crying uncontrollably.
I don’t know whether to feel sorry for Kei or to feel that she deserved this after what she did two episodes ago. Probably the latter, though at least now this clears her up for happiness (maybe) with Kyousuke. I admit though that I was a bit surprised to see Hiro in bed with Miyako so quickly. More than anything, it most likely reflects Miyako’s desire to do whatever it takes to keep Hiro from forgetting about her, and from the looks of it, it worked. At least now the ED sequence with Kei running makes perfect sense.
I was rather disappointed though, that for an episode with such a critical Hiro and Miyako part, they still spent more time on Chihiro and Renji. Instead of concentrating on those two so much, maybe they could have spent a bit more time developing Hiro and Miyako before throwing them in bed together like that. Conversely, the episode could have been devoted entirely to Chihiro and Renji, and more time could have been spent on Chihiro’s recovery. As it was, it seemed remarkably fast that she went from throwing a diary at him to being in love with him again. On second thought, that’s probably a bad idea since I still don’t particularly enjoy watching them compared to Hiro/Miyako/Kei/Kyousuke. I do wonder how that relationship is going to end though. It doesn’t seem like there’d be a truly happy ending unless Chihiro somehow magically regains the ability to keep her memory.
On a side note, I half expected Miyako to start singing dango dango dango dango dango daikazoku at this point. I assume it’s an intentional reference to Clannad since they’ve already included one to School Days.