ef -a tale of memories-: Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

March 17, 2012 by  

A captivating and emotional storyline, “ef -a tale of memories-: Complete Collection” an anime series that captures love, heartbreak and growth in a relationship. Definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of ©2008 Minori, EF2 committee. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: ef -a tale of memories-: Complete Collection


DURATION: 12 Episodes (300 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen, English and Japanese 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks


RELEASED: January 31, 2012

Directed by Shin Oonuma

Series Composition by Katsuhiko Takayama

Music by Eiichiro Yanagi, Tenmon

Original Character Design: 2C=Galore, Naru Nanao

Character Design by Nobuhiro Sugiyama

Art Director: Kohji Azuma, Toshiro Kohama

Chief Animation Director: Nobuhiro Sugiyama

Anime Production: SHAFT

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kenji Hamada/Illich Guardiola as Shūichi Kuze

Kouichi Toochika/David Matranga as Yū Himura

Mai Goto/Hilary Haag as Mizuki Hayama

Shizuka Itou as Nagi Hirono

Tohru Furusawa as Akira Amamiya

Yumiko Nakajima/Carli Mosier as Yūko Amamiya

Motoki Takagi/Clint Bickham as Renji Asō

Natsumi Yanase/Monica Rial as Chihiro Shindō

Sayaka Aoki/Tiffany Grant as Sumire Asō

One Christmas Eve, Hiro Hirono helps Miyako, the victim of a purse snatching, and discovers that she goes to the same school he does. To the dismay of his childhood friend, Kei, Hiro starts hanging out with Miyako. But Kei isn’t about to let a new girl in Hiro’s life take him away from her, and sets out to prove that she’s the only one for him.

When Renji Asou meets Chihiro Shindou at an abandoned train station, he doesn’t notice anything unusual at first. But he soon discovers that she suffers from a rare form of amnesia and can only remember things for thirteen hours. Chihiro dreams of writing a novel, but her amnesia has made it an impossible task. Renji is determined to help her fulfill her dream.

A story about growing up.  A story about making tough decisions.  A story about love.  “ef – a tale of memories-” is a story about moving forward with no regrets.

The “Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two.” series was one of the popular adult visual novels from software company Minori. Originally released on PC and DVD in 2006 and followed by a sequel “Ef: The Latter Tale” in 2008, the series was was actually born from a manga serialized in “Dengeki Comic Gao” in 2005.

The popularity of the video game and manga series would lead to a light novel serialized in Kadokawa Shoten’s “Comptiq” in 2006 and in 2007, a 12-episode anime series known as “Ef: A Tale of Memories”. This is inspired a second season in 2008 titled “Ef: A Tale of Melodies”.

In 2012, both series were released by Sentai Filmworks in the United States.

“ef -a tale of memories-: Complete Collection” is a story directed by Shin Onuma and focuses on two stories.

The first involves Renji Aso, a young man who meets Chihiro Shindo at an abandoned train station.  Each time Renji visits the train station, he ends up seeing Chihiro there and the two become good friends.

Unfortunately, when Chihiro was younger, she was joining her twin sister Kei and their friend Hiro Hirono but was hit by car.

She lost an eye (thus she wears an eyepatch) and she is suffering from anterograde amnesia, a condition in which she cannot remember anything past 13 hours previous, aside from events that have taken before the accident which she can recall perfectly.

But despite her condition, Renji begins to fall in love with Chihiro.  But her big brother Yu Himura does not want Renji to hurt Chihiro, mainly because she can’t remember a thing about him, only but what she writes to herself on her diary to her future self to constantly remind of what took place prior.

But Renji understands how difficult this will be and continues to want to get close to her, so he tries to help her with her dream of becoming a writer.  At first, Chihiro doesn’t feel she can because of her condition but Renji is dedicated in helping her out.

But the more he spends time with her and knowing that each day she will forget him, can he continue to live with that pain daily?

The second story revolves around a love triangle involving Hiro Hirono, Kei Shindo (Chihiro’s twin sister) and Miyako Miyamura.

Hiro is a young manga artist and his parents are unaware of his secret life of working for a major manga company.   And because his life is so busy, he is often ditching school, which causes concern for Kei Shindo, his childhood friend.

Kei has taken care of Hiro and she also has loved him for the longest time…but she had never announced her feelings to him.

One day while Hiro was leaving to attend Kei’s Christmas party, a teenage girl takes his bike to pursue a robber that had stolen her purse.  But Miyako gets into an accident when she crashes and Hiro ends up having to take care of her.  This leads to a new relationship as Miyako becomes interested in Hiro.

But when Kei finds out that Miyako is also pursuing Hiro, this leads to Kei telling Miyako that she will do everything she can to make sure Miyako disappears from his life.

For Kei, having grown up and always love Hiro, she can’t have anyone declaring their love to him before she does.  And as for Miyako, having come from a dysfunctional family where no one talked and her parents literally forgotten her, she can’t bare the thought of Hiro forgetting her.

Which girl will Hiro pick?


“ef -a tale of memories-: Complete Collection” is presented in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen and in English and Japanese 2.0. It’s important to note that this series will be coming out also on Blu-ray, so if you want the best picture and audio quality, definitely go for the HD version on Blu-ray.

First, let’s get into the discussion of this anime series. I have to commend SHAFT for really going all out in creating an artistic anime series with vibrant to dark imagery. The series has wonderful visual presentation, lighting shading effects and the artists had done a wonderful job in creating this world and how they take on various situations, no matter how deep and dark, they continued to make thing look artistic and even surreal at times. This type of presentation is not typically seen in an anime TV series, so I was pretty pleased with the results.

As for audio, audio is presented in stereo. I did listen to both soundtracks thoroughly and both are well-done.


“ef -a tale of memories-: Complete Collection” comes with the clean opening and closing animation.

When it comes to romantic anime films, love triangles and such… “ef -a tale of memories-: Complete Collection” is a wonderful and short anime series that will surely entertain those wanting a deep, romance drama series.

I have had the chance to watch “ef -a tale of memories-: Complete Collection” and its sequel “ef -a tale of melodies-“.  Both are related as the first season focuses on Renji and Hiro’s storyline, the second focuses on Yu and Kuze’s storyline, but the second has more of a sci-fi element and artistic and creative drive and also answers the question of who is Yuko (the character that tends to talk to the characters of the first series when they are down).

It’s also important to know that the first is focused much more on the building and yearning for romance and doesn’t go into the natural disaster which leads to the creation of two exact towns which is prevalent in the second series.

“ef -a tale of memories-: Complete Collection” features a storyline that is reminiscent of Adam Sandler’s “50 First Dates”.  Everyday, it’s a new day for the character of Chihiro but unlike the romantic comedy, she awakens to find herself older, wearing an eye patch and having no memories of her life. Her only way to keep living day-by-day is for herself to write in a diary and remind her new self the day after of what had happened.  A document of what took place that day and her experience despite each day, no one having any memory of it.

No doubt that this storyline is somewhat depressing.  We know that Renji cares for her, we know that she cares for him.  But each day of forgotten memories, the pain of having to start over can take its toll.  And her guardian Yu Himura wants to know if he can continue this relationship with her, otherwise…end it, if he can’t and spare himself the pain.

So, we get to learn how these two characters grown with each other and if they can have a future if possible or impossible.

The second storyline is the love triangle.  Two women like one guy, which one would he pick.  This works well for the video game as the character can decide which girl he can go after, but for the anime series, it’s a rather tough situation put on the character of Hiro because he is pursuing his dream of working in the manga industry and despite being in high school, no one knows how much work is expected from him.  He doesn’t live the high school life that others have.

But he loves spending time with both Kei and Miyako but this love triangle is heading for a collision and only one will be selected.  Who will Hiro choose?

The first season is much easier to follow compared to “a tale of melodies”.   For one, there are no sci-fi elements and the sequel tends to go back and forth from past and present and it does get a bit confusing.    So, storywise “ef – a tale of memories-” is much easier to follow and it’s a straightforward, easily accessible series.  But I will say the second season has an artistic touch to it which I enjoyed as well.  But both series are recommended.  They both can be watched separately but there is a significant tie in as characters of both series make appearances on “memories” and “melodies”, especially the connection to the character Yuko.

“ef -a tale of memories-” is an anime series that about love and relationships but also growth from these relationships.  The second season is similar but deals more of how the past can affect the present.

Overall, “ef -a tale of memories-: Complete Collection” is a captivating anime series with characters that you feel compassionate for.  It is a slice-of-life type of anime series that I’m certain that people can relate to.  It’s also accessible and entertaining and is not drawn out for the sake of having more episodes.  Animation looks absolutely wonderful and the voice acting for both the Japanese and English are well-done.

If you are an anime fan and are looking for a romantic, deep and emotional story on Blu-ray or DVD, “ef -a tale of memories-: Complete Collection” is recommended.  And after watching this series, I recommend also checking out the the second series, “ef -a tale of memories-: Complete Collection”.

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