ef – a tale of memories – 10
Lying in bed with Hiro, Miyako comments on how he cherishes her and how she only wants to be involved with people who do so. She feels that it’d be better for her just to be alone and to have never met someone if she’s going to disappear from their hearts. Miyako also wants Hiro to look at only her and doesn’t want to let go of someone precious to her. When Kei shows up, sees Miyako naked in bed, throws her crutch across the room, and runs out, Miyako begs Hiro not to go after Kei. However, despite her pleas, Hiro promises he’ll be back soon and leaves. Kei meanwhile trips, and is sitting crying on the ground when Kyousuke tries to comfort her, but she slaps his hand away because she thinks that he just wants to film her. This leads to Kyousuke calling Hiro up and meeting with him so that he can punch him. After questioning if Hiro is going out with Miyako and about Hiro’s relationship with Kei, he punches Hiro again for always being half-assed about everything, whether it is studying or his job. Kyousuke then accuses Hiro of always running away, and he asks if Hiro sees Kei as family or as a woman. Hiro’s answer that Kei is Kei only angers Kyousuke further, and he blames Hiro’s vagueness for Kei’s tears. Calming back down, Kyousuke feels that only Hiro can save Kei’s feelings.
Hiro returns home to find his apartment completely cleaned up and Miyako gone. She calls him right as he’s thinking about her, but to his dismay, it’s to break up with him. She feels that Hiro’s heart won’t ever belong to just her, and she wants to break up before she disappears from his heart due to it being filled with other stuff. Miyako hangs up before Hiro gets a chance to protest, and he can’t call her back because she had been using a pay phone. He instead walks around town looking for her, and he happens to run into Mizuki who asks him how Kei’s sandwiches were. She reveals that Kei had asked her how to make them because Kei had wanted to for Hiro, though Mizuki did get compensated for it in the form of a subscription card for a monthly manga magazine. It is because of this that Hiro learns that Mizuki is a fan of Shindou Nagi – his pen name – but he also finds out that she hasn’t found Shindou Nagi’s work to be interesting recently. This reminds Hiro of what Kyousuke had said about him being half-assed with everything, and Hiro feels that he already knows about this. He then decides to go to school, but to his surprise, the door to the rooftop is already open, and Yuuko is on the other side.
Yuuko tells Hiro that there’s a difference between knowing and understanding, but she also recognizes that everything is precious to Hiro. Nevertheless, she feels that he’ll eventually have to give up on something for the sake of not giving up what’s most important to him. Indecision will cause him to lose everything, and though she knows that throwing something away is painful, she feels that you can’t run away from the pain as long as you live. Yuuko then wonders if they can endure it, and Hiro feels that even if they can’t endure it, they can’t run away. When Yuuko comments on how Hiro had decided on an answer from the very beginning, he replies that even if he knew the answer, he didn’t have the courage to understand its meaning. He now feels that he can see the color that he’s been searching for. As a result, he goes to Kei’s house under the pretense of bringing her back her crutch. She doesn’t want to see him, but he stays outside her door anyway and thanks her for the sandwiches. After telling her about what Mizuki had said, he reveals that he’s decided to quit school and focus on being a mangaka.
Hiro admits that this has to do with Miyako, but he stresses that it’s something he thought about on his own. Hearing that he’s made up his mind about his, Kei comments on how Hiro always decides to go ahead by himself. Hiro then recalls how he started drawing manga for Kei and Chihiro and how the three of them had argued about a manga ending. This leads to Kei noting how a sudden ending is more real, and she reflects on how she dreamt like an idiot until everything suddenly fell apart. She had thought that she could be his sister and then his lover, and when Hiro confesses that he had felt similarly, Kei realizes that she noticed too late. She still decides to tell Hiro that she loves him, but she then reveals that she wants to go back to being together with him as her brother. Hiro feels that they can do this and he goes as far as to call Kei his sister – someone precious to him. Kei eventually opens the door between them and, seeing Hiro’s tears, she tells him that she’ll be definitely okay with some time. Meanwhile, Yuuko finds Miyako ready to run away again and tells her that she won’t get anything from doing it. Yuuko finds this all regrettable because she had wanted to see the dream of someone like her becoming happy.
With the remaining minutes on her phone card, Miyako decides to make one last call to Hiro. Hiro first wants to know where she is, but she refuses to tell him and instead explains that she’s leaving. Miyako admits that she had been testing him to see if he’d be someone who cherished her, and in the end she found him to be more than she deserved. She doesn’t want to disappear from his heart though, and she tells him about her parents and how she hoped to find where she belonged. However, there wasn’t anywhere she wanted to go and nowhere she could return to, so she felt alone in the world. This gets Hiro angry because he doesn’t want to hear her talk like that, and he feels that she should have told him sooner. He vows to become that place for her, denies that he’d ever hate her, and proceeds to answer every single one of her worries. Hiro is just about to confess that he loves her, but it is that exact moment that Miyako’s phone card runs out. This leaves Miyako feeling that she’s sunk back into a colorless world, but to her surprise, Hiro finds her and finishes in person what he started to say on the phone. After the two embrace and kiss, Miyako asks him never to let go of her again now that he’s caught her. When Hiro points out that she hadn’t wanted to be bound to anyone, Miyako explains that a person’s feelings can change.
Well I’m impressed. Not only did the episode concentrate entirely on Hiro/Miyako/Kei/Kyousuke, there was an incredible amount of emotion, especially in the Hiro and Kei scene. The countdown from 100 to 0 to indicate phone card time was also an interesting way of doing things (a good way to save money on animation too since it took up a good quarter of the episode), though it was pretty obvious that it’d run out right at something important. The episode also shined in its use of background music during both of the critical scenes – I thought it was absolutely wonderful for both moods.
I assume the story is now more or less completely done with HiroXMiyako. Kei and Kyousuke still might get another episode or half episode worth of time, but I would guess that the rest of the series gets devoted to Chihiro and Renji. I’m not incredibly excited about that, but maybe it’ll turn out better than expected.