Disclaimer: I’ve only seen the first season, A Tale of Memories, so this post won’t have anything to do with A Tale of Melodies. I would also like to ask people not to spoil A Tale of Melodies in the comments. Thank you.
If Denpa Onna was a surprisingly mundane-looking Shaft show but with quirky characters, ef is basically the opposite. The characters, right down to their designs, are painfully obviously made for a visual novel. The characters and their conflicts are in no way unique, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad. In fact, I found the show, as a whole, really enjoyable. The drama was really dramatic, and sometimes that’s all I look for in a show.
In retrospect, however, what stuck with me the most was neither the characters nor the story with all its drama. It was the visuals. Visually, ef is very experimental, and not just in a “Shaft is Shaft” kind of way. Some of the more memorable scenes contain very little to no character animation, relying instead on text on screen and voice acting to tell very dramatic stories. I’m not sure whether those scenes look the same in the original visual novel(if the scenes even exist) or not, but it would make sense considering they skimp a lot on animation, which is something that is limited in visual novels anyway.
Other than that, there were a few aspects of the show that stuck with me. Firstly, while the OP song in itself was not melodically interesting(it sounded like many other pop-rock VN OPs), the fact that it was in English was pretty interesting. Another thing that I liked was the fact that the world the show was set in obviously had a lot more going on than just the stuff that was shown in the show. Whether this was a vestige of the show’s origin as a VN or a deliberate decision, I don’t know, but I liked it either way. It made things more mysterious. Speaking of other stuff going on, I should probably watch the sequel at some point. I’ve been putting it off for way too long.