ef – a tale of memories – 11
Chihiro surprises Renji one day at the train station by giving him her finished novel, but she doesn’t consider it complete until he reads it. Renji is curious about how she ended the story, so Chihiro tells him to read it, however she doesn’t want him to do so while she’s around because she feels that it’s embarrassing. She then changes the subject to how she wants to thank him because she couldn’t have written this by herself; she feels that he created the opportunity for her to realize her dream. Renji decides to ask her for a date, and though Chihiro agrees, she stipulates that they’ll only be lovers for one day. She also wants him to put off reading the novel until after the date. Chihiro then heads to the church, and Yuu comments there on how she resembles a certain someone. She thinks that it’s the person Yuu is waiting for, but when he doesn’t reveal anything more, Chihiro asks him about what it feels like to love someone. Yuu describes it as something that, when you realize it, it’s already too late.
The next day, Renji and Chihiro meet for their date and go to see a movie first. Chihiro doesn’t want to see a romance because she thinks it’ll leave her crying, so they decide on a comedy instead. As it turns out, Chihiro ends up crying anyway, particularly because of how the story ended happily. The two are walking through town afterwards when Chihiro becomes fascinated with a UFO catcher at an arcade. When she tries it though, she fails to get the prize she wants. Seeing how sad Chihiro is, Renji takes her back to the machine and succeeds in getting for her the stuffed animal that she wanted. Chihiro then spots a purikura booth and has her picture taken with Renji, though she only wants one of the stickers to put in her diary. As the day winds down, the two hold hands and go to the beach where they have a lot of memories together. At one point, Renji expresses how he’d prefer for tomorrow not to come, but Chihiro makes it a point to say that tomorrow might be better than today. She then gives Renji the key to the rooftop of the school that Yuu had wanted her to pass on to him, and the two decide to go use it.
The view from the school’s rooftop is amazing, and Renji uses the opportunity to tell Chihiro that he loves her. One thing leads to another, and the two end up sleeping together, with her telling him that she loves him too. As it gets dark, the two go to the library, and Renji watches as the clock strikes 10. He expects Chihiro’s memories to start disappearing soon, so he holds her in his arms. At midnight, Chihiro passes her novel to Renji to have him read it while she goes to the rooftop to read her diary. In the novel, the girl who was god sees two people moving and laughing in her painting, but the painting became blurred. The girl didn’t understand why and tried over and over again to repaint, however she got the same result. And so, she decided to burn everything – the paintings, the castle, and her memories. In the end, the god threw away the one remaining piece of garbage over the cliff. This sad ending surprises Renji, and he heads to the rooftop to tell Chihiro. To his shock, Chihiro disagrees and explains that this was the happiest ending for the girl.
Chihiro claims that the girl represented them, and she wishes to break up with Renji. He is of course opposed to this, so she reminds him of the story of the chained sheep. For her, the length of the chain is the 12 years, and no matter how much time goes by, she can’t go out to the outside world. Writing the story was her dream, and she felt that when she finished, everything would be over. That’s why she decided from the very beginning that she’d disappear in front of Renji when she finished her novel. Chihiro loves Renji and was very happy with him, but for that reason, she doesn’t want him to disappear from her heart, so she wants to break up while she can still say she loves him. With everything he’s done for her, including how he suffered and cried for her, she now wants him to be happy, and she thinks that being together with her will only lead to more pain for him. None of this makes sense to Renji and he refuses to let her break up with him, but before he can reach her, she takes some sheets of paper out of her pocket and throws them into the wind. These are the pages of her diary, and she did this knowing that the her that knew Renji will disappear. She won’t be able to remember him anymore, so it’s a true farewell.
For a Chihiro and Renji episode, I really enjoyed this. I feel like the episodes do a lot better when they focus on one side instead of being split, though that might just be because we’re near the end of the series where the story is climaxing. Like last week, there are some very well placed background music pieces this episode, including some I haven’t heard before. What happened wasn’t horribly surprising, but it was done pretty well.
I say it wasn’t surprising because as soon as Chihiro wanted to only be lovers for a day, warning flags went up in my head, and with the way she kept wanting Renji to put off reading the novel, I was pretty sure this wasn’t going to end well. The two managed to have one day of happiness (I was more amused by this than shocked by this), but Chihiro’s memory problem was always looming in the background, so I was just waiting for it to rear its ugly head. Now that Chihiro has thrown away all the pages of her diary though, I wonder how they’re going to have a happy ending (or if there will be one at all) unless Chihiro magically cured of her condition. And they can’t spend a lot of time on it since there’s only one episode left, and that one episode probably also needs to spend time tying together the storylines. Still, the show has overall done a good job exceeding my expectations up to this point, so I’m looking forward to the ending.