ef ~A Tale Of Melodies~

July 11, 2009

After a great first season, it is no doubt that I greatly look forward to watch its sequel, ef ~A Tale Of Melodies~. But unlike in most sequels, I won’t say this particular season is an exact direct of its predecessor. For those who have watched the first season, you will know that there are happy endings for the main characters of that season. Especially the story between Hiro and Miyako, Kei and Kyousuke, and Renji and Chihiro.
 
Thus in this sequel, the supporting characters in the prequel takes centre stage, reducing those stars in the first season to secondary characters who just make cameo appearances. Therefore for this particular season, the main storyline is between Himura-Yuuko and Kuze-Mizuki. Both stories are intertwining and take place during different time eras. With Himura-Yuuko story in the past whereas Kuze-Mizuki arc during the present. For simplicity to blog this series, I’ll blog on a time particular time era first before blogging the other because in this series as I have mentioned, both time eras are shown one after another instead of letting one finish first before the next. Get what I mean? Another thing that I noticed that it seems the Himura-Yuuko storyline is given more prominence and screen time as compared to Kuze-Mizuki. I felt it was like 70-30 to the former.
 
To start things off in episode 1, in present time as we know, Himura and Kuze are best of buddies and is seen talking to each other with the later requesting the former to attend some performance. Kuze is a violinist by the way. The scene changes when Mizuki is awakened by Renji in his house (she is Renji’s cousin, by the way) Sumire wonders if they’re getting along fine and teases that she should report this to Chihiro. Of course he tries to quell all this misunderstanding. After changing, Mizuki hears the beautifully play of the violin and learns that it’s from their neighbour Kuze. Mizuki decides to visit Kuze though Renji is against it. With courtesy of Sumire, Mizuki is introduced to Kuze and Sumire leaves Mizuki in the care of that playboy. She finds Kuze’s house almost empty as there are no furniture. It seems that he has cleared them out for a change in space. Kuze also allows Mizuki to come by anytime she likes. After entering a forbidden room (the one he has all the girl’s cosplay outfits! However she doesn’t mind), Mizuki requests for him to perform his violin but he replies that the violin is broken and gives her a CD instead. The duo then lay on the wooden floor as Mizuki notices several masks on the wall. Kuze says something about how everyone wears masks and the more roles one has, the more masks one has to wear. After Mizuki leaves, Kuze sits alone in the dark when he experiences a short piercing pain in his heart.
 
In the past, Himura is face to face with Yuuko on the school rooftop but he doesn’t remember her. So her reply is that she still hates him. I’m not sure if she really means it because her voice is quite gentle while saying that. Himura then at school meets a teacher, Akira Amamiya, who wants him to join the art club but Himura refuses. Later when Himura enters the art room, he finds a girl, Nagi Hirono, drawing a nude sketch of herself. Yup, a strip artist, I’d say. Later that day, Himura is given a sketchbook by Nagi but the latter notices Yuuko following them. When she asked if Himura knew her, he says he doesn’t so in Nagi’s annoyance, she leaves in a huff while throwing the sketchbook at him. After being asked if he’s dating Nagi, in which he denies, Himura remembers who Yuuko is and it has been 10 years since they’ve seen each other and that he is different now. But he tells her not to get close to him and doesn’t want to see her anymore when Yuuko called him onii-chan. He doesn’t want to remember those times again.
 
Episode 2 starts off in the past and we see that Himura and Yuuko met during their days at the orphanage of the church when both their parents abandoned them. Prior to this, Himura had a beloved little sister, Akane, in which died during a fire incident. And I think he is still keeping a badly burnt wristwatch as memoirs. In school, Yuuko continues to follow wherever Himura went even if he tells her to stop it. So she grabs his hands and heads towards the school rooftop (she got the key from a previous student who passed it to her). As usual, Himura tries to distant himself and not wanting Yuuko to butt into his life and doesn’t want to remember those memories but she says it is sometimes to forget them. So when Himura looks at the watch again, he remembers how bubbly Yuuko came into his life. She was infatuated with his sketch and started calling him onii-chan, much to his dismay. Yuuko suggested to draw her but because she has an uncanny resemblance to Akane, Himura refuses to do so. Of course he secretly sketched one of her and Yuuko eventually found out as she wonders if he needed a little sister, in which he vehemently deny of needing one. I guess having Yuuko as his sister will bring back more painful memories of his beloved Akane. Thus Yuuko ran away and that was the last time he saw her and that’s when he resolved not to depend on anyone. So back at the rooftop, Yuuko says that he is her first love and it isn’t over yet. She falls into his arms, shocking that guy, and vows to erase all his sad memories.
 
In the present, we see cheeky Mizuki teasing Renji by trying to take out his clothes and wash them, leaving that poor guy nearly naked! Later Mizuki posts several questions to Kuze like why he began playing the violin but realizes that she has been tricked when he says his first love is some ticking thing called metronome. So when Mizuki goes to do the laundry, she then finds Kuze collapsed on the floor. However seeing that he’s just sleeping rather than falling into a coma, she gives up calling for the ambulance. She lets him continue his rest by resting his head on her lap. Kuze is sleep talking about some scary dream of being alone but Mizuki comforts him. He comes to that night and apologizes to Mizuki as she is leaving and promises to make it up to her. Later he meets up with Himura over a drink and Kuze starts burning letters from his past girlfriends, even one from Nagi. Later that night, Kuze gets a visit from Mizuki who has trouble sleeping. She talks about the wonderful songs on the CD he lent her and before she leaves, she says how she may have fallen in love with him.
 
Episode 3 has Himura of the past once again bumping into Amamiya who wants him to join the art club. Then Yuuko comes by and greets her onii-chan but Himura finds out that she isn’t referring to him but Amamiya. Looks like when Yuuko ran away, she soon came to live under Amamiya as he took her in as his little sister. When Amamiya leaves, Himura notices Yuuko not wearing any shoes so he goes find a temporary one. Yuuko thanks him for his kindness. Though Amamiya questions Himura of his relationship with Yuuko, he learns that he isn’t as close as he thought they would be. Later Himura meets Kuze and asking advice on types of women. I don’t know why Nagi wants in. Feeling lonely? Nah. I guess there is some weird degree of friendship between the trio. Then they spot Yuuko’s shoes on top of the locker. As Nagi sits on Himura’s shoulders to get them, Himura panics to know that she isn’t wearing anything underneath that robe (hey, she’s just fresh from another strip drawing session). Himura goes return the shoes to Yuuko but is upset to learn that there are some nasty girls who doodled some bad words in her book. Yuuko however doesn’t mind all the bullying and abuse she gets. Then as they are about to go home together, they find a pair of burnt shoes in Yuuko’s locker and Himura is totally angry and wants to go find the ones responsible but ever gently Yuuko stops him and says how humans are like that.
 
In the present, we see that Kuze wakes up from another dream and it’s like he has several mean split personalities of himself wearing those masks. Meanwhile Mizuki goes to the church only to see Himura, who ironically sounded like an atheist because it made me wonder what is he doing in a place like this if he doesn’t believe in the existence of God. In the end, Himura warns Mizuki not to get involve with Kuze (just like that warning he gave to Renji about Chihiro in the last season, eh?). Fans of Chihiro will be delighted to see her making her appearance when Mizuki meets her at the abandoned train station. They both chat as Chihiro allows Mizuki to take a peek in her little diary. At the same time, Kuze meets Himura and the former says how he is going to erase everything tonight since he is going to die. Mizuki as she is reading Chihiro’s diary for more info on Kuze, gets devastated to know about Kuze’s condition and numbered days as Renji appears to explain how Kuze has a serious heart condition which made him collapsed during one of his performances. That night, Chihiro goes to inform Mizuki as told by Himura about Kuze’s final performance at the beach. Mizuki rushes there to hear his beautiful violin piece but is horrified to see him burn the violin once he finishes. In her instinct, she tries to put out the fire with her hands (why didn’t she just throw it into the ocean?). Shocked Kuze sees her scorched hands as she manages to put the fire out. Mizuki then says how it isn’t time yet as they’re still alive.
 
Back in the past in episode 4, Yuuko learns that Himura is aiming to be a top student and stinging on his meals so that he could save money to go to university. Because of so, Yuuko follows suit, which made Himura to buy some food for her out of guilt. The duo seemed like going out on a date together even if Himura disagreed. Then they visited the church during their orphanage days and they’re surprised to see Amamiya there. While distracting Yuuko to go pick a ball, Amamiya whispers to Himura that he better prepare himself if he plans to get involved with her. Amamiya leaves when Yuuko returns. Himura then learns that Amamiya too once had a sister and lost her during a fire incident. Deja vu? Himura meets Nagi on the way home and remembers she too has a little brother (Hiro) and Nagi is interested about his date with Yuuko. But since he’s just saying that they’re out to buy things, Nagi leaves frustrated. Later that night, Himura remembers his time with Akane when he looked at his watch. Himura noticed Akane staring at a watch from outside a shop and bought it for her although she denied wanting it. They were very close back then and Akane liked his drawings. But that night an earthquake caused a fire. Himura tried to call and find her but too late as she has perished. Elsewhere, Yuuko takes something from Amamiya’s drawer.
 
In the present, Kuze visits Mizuki who apparently is sick. He hears Mizuki mumbling "save me" so he holds her hand to comfort her. She then takes this chance to kiss him as a reward. The next day Mizuki and Kuze go out together and as they are sitting underneath a tree, Mizuki wonders if they could be a couple. Kuze mentions about his impending death and that he has cut ties and thrown away everything in preparation of it. This has Mizuki asking Kuze if he had any past lover. He admits and says he has broken up with her. Mizuki starts to cry and apologize. Himura spots the duo together and he mentions about how he is used to deaths when Mizuki wonders why he is so calm. Before Himura leaves, Mizuki requests him to do some priest thingy on them. "May the Force be with you"? Something way better than God, he says. That evening, Kuze wakes up Mizuki who has dozed off. He asks her what she wants in her future and her simple reply is to be happy. With that, Kuze confesses that he likes Mizuki, thus the reason he cannot answer her feelings and wants her to go home and never to appear before him again. So back home, Kuze circles a date which he is supposed to die. Also, we get a short glimpse of Hiro who is working hard to finish his manga as he gets a little help from Nagi while Miyako continues to attend school as she meets Yuuko on the rooftop, who notes how she has become stronger.
 
Kyousuke is still filming shots of Kei in episode 5. Even his ex-Girlfriend is helping him edit. While Kei is running outside, she briefly meets Yuuko. Kei then sends and SMS to Chihiro, expressing her wish to meet her and Renji. Though Kei is a little afraid at first, Kyousuke gives her the encouragement to go visit and soon Nagi appears and looks like she too will go with Kei to Australia. Now it makes sense why the prequel didn’t have both stories meeting each other. They’re at different places! Alas, finally both Kei and Chihiro reunite and Mizuki is surprised to see Kei here. Hmm… If I remember well, Mizuki did have some yuri fantasy with Kei. Maybe she’s all over Kuze now, eh? As Kei and Chihiro emotionally embrace, Nagi appears to tell Mizuki how because of Chihiro’s condition, the sisters had to be separated which caused them pain. But that is no longer a problem as they both could stand on their own feet and are truly happy. Mizuki thinks her own predicament with Kuze and wonders how she could obtain happiness like them. However upon finding out that Mizuki is referring to Kuze, she tells her to stop seeing him anymore because she is the one who is going out with Kuze. Poor Mizuki. Having to deal with one heartbreak and another.
 
In the past, Yuuko wakes up from a dream whereby Himura didn’t want her to become his little sister. At school, Kuze gives Himura and Nagi flyers for his upcoming violin performance. Kuze suggests Himura to bring Yuuko along but he denies of having such a compatible relationship with her. The trio then spot Yuuko coming out from the classroom when they heard the sounds of breaking glass. Himura is now furious as he rushes into the room and demands the culprit to show themselves but is restrained. Himura then goes to tell Amamiya about Yuuko’s bullying but that teacher seems to indicate that Yuuko was the one who started it. Himura storms off in a rage when Amamiya says that these problems are of Yuuko’s. Himura then finds Yuuko on the school rooftop and she notes how a kind person he is. Then as they walk home, Himura again notices her bag has been vandalised. Yuuko then wonders what happened to the boy she once knew and when Himura asked what did she expected of him, she replies that it is a secret.
 
Episode 6 is entirely on the past and has Himura taking up his sketching abilities once more as Yuuko says how much she likes him. Himura then notices Nagi not drawing anymore but she mentions that she’s just in a slump period. Kuze then comes to see Himura about the info he obtained about Yuuko’s bullying and it seems that Yuuko is the one who started them. Himura confronts Yuuko at the beach and they talk about believing in God as she confirms that she is hiding something. She kisses him and says she too didn’t believe in God because if He exists, this world would’ve been a much beautiful place. Later Himura sees Nagi at the art room and Nagi mentions that when their names are put together, it means "evening calm". Nagi feels that she is lonely because she thinks Himura and Kuze are leaving them. By the way, Kuze is having his violin performance as his farewell concert as he is going to Germany. Though Himura isn’t going anywhere in particular, I think what Nagi meant was that they are drifting apart in terms of friendship. Himura and Yuuko soon attend Kuze’s farewell concert and it seems that they along with Nagi are the only attendees. Nagi didn’t attend as she is busy trying to sketch her nude self. Kuze starts playing his violin piece (called A Moon Filled Sky) as Yuuko holds Himura’s hands. Yuuko then starts crying and rushes out of the room while Himura gave chase. At the rooftop, Yuuko mentions about Kuze’s honesty in his music but Himura thinks Yuuko is a liar. He then kisses her and wants to know if her feelings for him are true. In short, he confesses that he loves her. So he admits it now, eh? Tears stream down her eyes as she says how this is what she longed for.
 
At the church, Yuuko strips herself to let Himura know her true self. No, not another sex incident. I can only presume that the way they show it, Himura is horrified with the scars on Yuuko’s body. Yuuko wonders why Himura refused to accept her as his little sister back then. She goes on to explain that when she became Amamiya’s sister, she was more like a replacement for his dead sister. However Amamiya realized that Yuuko couldn’t be like his real dead sister and took it out on her. From painful abuse to rape. She’s endured it all without fighting back and each markings on her body have its own unique tale to tell. Then in true dramatic ef style, Yuuko expresses all the words of how she was abused and wanted to get free from it all in such dramatic speed (no fullstop! Gasp!) and in the end a girl Himura abandoned. Himura denies this and says he didn’t want to be like Amamiya but a demonic voice is heard calling him a liar and that his confession is 10 years too late as Himura could only let loose a scream of despair.
 
The past of Himura in episode 7 has him in a rage and wonders why Yuuko still wants to go back to Amamiya’s house. Well, she did mention that he abandoned her and that is the only place she can return to. Then Yuuko gives a dagger (the one she took out from Amamiya’s drawer) in Himura’s hands as she tells him that this dagger was given by Amamiya to her if she ever felt like killing him. Himura walks to Amamiya’s house and Amamiya is like expecting Himura to kill him. Plus, Amamiya is pretty cool and smooth in his speeches. He’s like playing mind games with him like the reason why Yuuko hasn’t killed him so far was because if she does, all this embarrassing things would be revealed and thus exposing her shame. Because Himura is indecisive, Amamiya strikes him back and repeatedly kicks hapless Himura on the ground, wanting him to hate him. He lets him off with an advice that the next time he comes, he must be prepared to kill him or else he will kill Himura.
 
In the present, we see Kuze taking lots of pills possibly to keep himself alive. I thought he was prepared to die. Kuze goes on saying about if something isn’t obtainable in the first place, it shouldn’t be desired. Also, something about being born for the sake of dying is pointless. Nagi questions his theory and Kuze says he may be able to spend his remaining time in peace. Meanwhile Mizuki wakes up from that same dream again. Then we see Nagi and Himura chatting and we learn that Kuze’s engagement was a lie to make Mizuki go away. Himura is surprised to learn that Kuze liked her during their school days but since Kuze knew she liked Himura, he never said a thing. Friendship over love? Nagi continues that Kuze won’t enter a fight he knew he’d lose and that he reminded her of herself. She wonders if Himura is dragging the game out from his past in which he replies, the game isn’t over for him. Later Mizuki goes to the church to find more info on Kuze from Himura but he tells her that he’s just a liar. But Mizuki begs to differ because if Kuze is a liar, how can he be not hated. Himura’s reply is that he is too honest that’s why they look like lies. Mizuki is at the abandoned train station with Kei, who mentions how Hiro is a fan of Kuze and sometimes it is tough to hold something precious in one’s arms. Later that night, Mizuki goes to see Kuze in his dark house. So I guess it’s Kuze’s turn to do what Yuuko did in previous episode as he spews questions after questions of why this why that while those sentences are ripped across the screen. Why oh why? WHY?! WARUM?! (That’s ‘why’ in German). At the end of it, Mizuki just left without a sound. Maybe she got tired of all that ranting. It is then that Kuze feels that piercing pain as he collapses on the floor while desperately struggling to reach for the pills. After managing to consume some, he states how he doesn’t want to die yet. Thinking of a u-turn? I guess it’s normal for one facing death to still fear it no matter how prepared.
 
Episode 8. The past. I think after getting beaten up by Amamiya, Himura calls Yuuko and suggest that they run away together, in which she agrees. Himura hasn’t got it figured out their life plan and such but he’ll take things one step at a time like getting a part time job to support them. Because they can’t get a place to stay, they take refuge at a shrine. A short chat before they kissed. The next day, they managed to find a little rundown apartment to stay. Then when Yuuko notices Himura’s burnt watch and sketchbook, she runs away to a cliff. Yuuko is upset because she thinks Himura views her as a replacement sister just like Amamiya and was a fool to believe him in the first place. Himura slaps her back to her senses and says that he didn’t see her as a tool like that teacher and vows to protect her. So back to normal. Back to their apartment. Having a decent meal and such. One evening while returning from work, Himura is surprised to see Amamiya waiting for him at the bridge. Himura clearly won’t hand Yuuko back to him but Amamiya says that this isn’t the case because Yuuko would still come back to him if she has nowhere else to return. Amamiya then claims Himura has been running since the day his sister died. Though Amamiya wished that he could die with his sister on that day, he was away and the reason he hates Himura is that he had a choice of dying with his Akane but ran away instead. Amamiya hands the burnt watch to him before leaving. Yuuko then notices that watch is missing and start to panic as she searches the town for Himura. She bumps into Amamiya and wonders if she should come home. Looks like she agrees. When Himura comes back, he is devastated to find a farewell note from Yuuko.
 
Back in the present, though Himura and Nagi find Kuze collapsed, they find him alright when he comes to. Kuze remembers how he told Mizuki not to see him again. Then outside, Kuze starts to panic when he realizes that he may not win this fight. Himura advices him not to give up before trying. Then it’s like Kuze has some sort of personality change as he changed into his nasty masked side spewing nasty stuff like how Himura shouldn’t be the one telling him this like how he isn’t able to see Yuuko anymore. This resulted in Himura punching him before leaving. Nagi says he shouldn’t say such things but Kuze gets nasty with her too by saying that she’s still on to Himura. Nagi leaves to let him cool his head. As Mizuki is in her room, Sumire comes in with a package to Mizuki. It’s a violin and a farewell-cum-apology note. Mizuki then realizes that it was Kuze has been broken all along as she tries to play his violin on the beach. Nagi then appears and though Mizuki feels at a lost, Nagi says she didn’t run away. Thus Nagi tells Mizuki that she is the only one who can save Kuze.
 
The past in episode 9 has Nagi noticing Yuuko back in school as she advices the latter not to bring misfortune to Himura. Both Himura and Yuuko are having that guilty feeling and regret that he didn’t accepted her as his little sister and the large amount of injuries Yuuko took in order to get her revenge on Himura for not accepting her she turned out to love him instead. Then Amamiya notices an unfamiliar wound on Yuuko and though he tells her that she is not at fault, he starts abusing her when he ponders why his sister had to die. Does this guy keep a catalogue of bruises on her?! Then Himura appears to explain their unlucky fates of their sisters. Amamiya continues to beat up Himura and when Yuuko couldn’t take it anymore, she takes out the dagger but Himura stops her. Amamiya then notices Himura’s sketchbook and takes a peek. He is then horrified of to see an image he could never perfected over the years. Himura and Yuuko follow Amamiya who rushes into his room full of faceless paintings of his dead little sister! This guy is obsessed! Amamiya is in a frenzy on how Himura could sketch such a perfect image as he tries to recreate the same. As Himura treats Yuuko’s wound in her room, she mentions how Amamiya’s inability to create her sister’s image has him crying every night. Then a fire breaks out from Amamiya’s room. Himura tries to save him but is stopped by Yuuko. The duo could only watch as Amamiya perishes in the fire with a sketch of his sister in his arms.
 
In the present, Kuze is biding his time and is resigned to the fact that he’s going to die soon. Mizuki is at the abandoned train station humming A Moon Filled Sky when Kei and Chihiro notice her sad predicament. They both give Mizuki a key they each own to Mizuki as a charm seeing that they no longer need it. Mizuki then requests for a page from Chihiro’s diary and starts writing on it. Meanwhile Kuze starts going crazy as he even admits that he is afraid of death despite throwing away everything. Then the doorbell rings and tears start streaming down from Kuze’s eyes when he sees a letter from Mizuki as he dropped to his knees when the door before him opens.
 
Episode 10 is entirely in the past and the colouring seems to be dull and monochrome shadings. Himura and Yuuko continue to live together in their apartment and it seems Himura has taken up drawing again. The funny part was when he requested to draw a naked pose of Nagi, she refused, citing that it’s embarrassing for someone to tell her to strip. So she suggests to draw a nude pic of himself and present him with a giant size mirror. Haha. Of course he refused. Himura has also changed his goal in life. Instead for aiming for the top, he now aims to move forward, together with Yuuko. As the duo chat in the chat, they hear sobbing of a little girl, Miki (looking very much like a young Mizuki). According to Yuuko who met her earlier on, seems that she is distrustful of people because her parents tried to kill her in an apparent family suicide. Though they died, Miki didn’t and has become traumatised by that incident. Yuuko continues to accompany Miki at the church while Himura goes to work. Miki says Yuuko is weak because she feels lonely and though Miki claims that she doesn’t need friends, she agrees to be Yuuko’s. So the duo spend some time together as Miki tells Yuuko of her fearful dream and Yuuko teaching Miki to sing A Moon Filled Sky. Ah, the trio seemed like a happy family, walking hand in hand and all.
 
At the apartment, Himura finds a letter from Kuze stating that he’ll return from Germany for Christmas. This has Yuuko asking about his plans for that day and though Himura says he has work, the good news is that he will be left off early so he could meet up with her, making her happy. Then as Miki wanders in the city, she hears Kuze playing familiar tune and goes up to him and expresses her love for the song. Kuze then gives his hair ribbon to hers making that little girl quite happy as she thanks him before leaving. As Yuuko is waiting for Himura that very day, she notices a ball rolling onto the street and decides to pick it up. Unfortunately, she is met with a car accident. Oh dear! As Yuuko lay next to a tree covered in blood, she laments how there are many things she wants to tell Himura but sadly she passed away. Gasp! Himura and Miki are happily walking together and all their happiness turned into sorrow when they see Yuuko’s condition. Himura carries her lifeless body in his arms as Miki wept continuously. Oh my. I didn’t see this coming. Perhaps this explains how Yuuko turned into some sort of angel in the present. Hey! What happened to the culprit who killed Yuuko! Never found, eh? Not even a mention. Just sped off like that?! Irresponsible. Just like Haruka of Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien’s case, huh?
 
With that over, episode 11 is all in the present. Himura hands Nagi a key in which Yuuko once gave to him as a present. A key to a place where everything started. Meanwhile the letter (a challenge letter to be exact) Kuze received contains has a key to the rooftop and he goes to see her there. Unlike a warm hug of embrace, Mizuki gives him a kick in the stomach (why did she say "Chest" instead? Too short?) since it was a challenge letter. Mizuki starts her lecture about a newly reincarnated Kuze and the feelings of love. In the end, Mizuki answers all of Kuze’s questions. Thankfully, they didn’t show her answering each one nor did she decide to actually respond them all. Her answer is simple: Because she loves him. Even if his time is limited, Mizuki at least wants to make the best use of his remaining time. Now that is positive thinking. Just as Kuze accepts her and as they prepare to embrace, Kuze reciprocate the favour Mizuki did earlier on. Yup, he avoided Mizuki’s hug and made her land hard on the floor. Ouch. Payback. But when he is going to embrace Mizuki for real, he suddenly collapses. Wow. Divine punishment, eh? Kuze undergoes operation at the hospital. Mizuki is told by Nagi and Himura that his survival chance is very slim and even if he were to survive. Mizuki tries to be strong and not cry when she is supported by Kei and Chihiro. Even she gets a call from Hiro. Then a short glimpse of how the main protagonist of the first season had Yuuko to thank because they found what they were looking for (they even played the opening theme and credits of the first season! Wow. Brings back memories).
 
Kuze lies in a hospital bed with Mizuki by his side. She wonders how long they can be together as he apologizes for all the troubles he has caused. At the same time, Hiro and Miyako meet Yuuko at the church as they introduced themselves. Before Kuze goes in for his big time operation, all his friends gather to show support. While the surgery is underway, Mizuki sings the full length of the A Moon Filled Sky as various memories of what happened in this and the previous seasons are shown. It seems that Kuze didn’t make it during the operation as his heart stopped but after that song ends, we see his heartbeat revived a little. A miracle, I’d say.
 
Episode 12 begins with Himura visiting Yuuko’s grave in present time. It’s Christmas Day and we see the happy pairs of Renji-Chihiro, Hiro-Miyako and Kei-Kyousuke together (ex-Girlfriend jealous?). Nagi visits Himura sketching the landscape from the church roof. She also learns that Kuze is doing well. Then inside the church, Kuze performs his violin while Mizuki sings A Moon Filled Sky except this time it has a happier tone. Later at the beach as Himura chats with Kuze, Kuze now has changed and sees life in a positive way. He intends of living longer even if it’s just a second. Himura tells him that he is to return to Japan so Kuze gives him a pair of those keys to the place where it all started. Recalling the reason why he decided to return to Japan to spend Christmas there was because earlier Nagi told him how Hiro had met with Yuuko. Back in cold winter Japan, Himura visits the church and encounters Yuuko. Their conversation is exactly like the one in the final episode of the first season, of how they are glad to see each other after so long. Himura hands her a bouquet of flowers as his Christmas present and when Yuuko says she doesn’t have one for him, he says that he already received his in advance, the scarf that she knitted. They chat together and Himura too has a change in character like he’s going to believe those around him. Yuuko mentions how she sort of had a job here to be kind to others (probably the reason she’s stuck waiting in this church) and was to sacrifice herself for the sake of others. She hints that maybe she was told by God to do so.
 
The duo then decide to go to the place where it all started, the school rooftop. Himura takes the chance to confess that he loves her but Yuuko corrects him and says he loved her. Oh yeah. She’s already dead. However Yuuko has to leave since her job here is finished and that she is happy. An emotional farewell as she tells him to move forward before she vanishes. As Himura stood alone, he notices a paper airplane which turns into a white feather as it floats down into his palm. Then back in Australia, Himura tells Mizuki that he is an architect who wants to protect this town so that no one will be lonely. Himura continues to be amazed by Mizuki’s positivism and outlook. She also says how she doesn’t have those scary dreams anymore. Finally when Himura learns of Mizuki’s name, she tells him that she was called Miki during her younger days. He notes what a good name she has. The end has the characters of the series narrating several lines of hope and never to give up.
 
Well, I guess the sequel isn’t that bad. Though it wasn’t as great as I hoped it would be, on the other hand it wouldn’t be fair to say so because I am partly guilty for having a higher expectation after watching the prequel. The story here is tied up nicely and mainly ends on a happy note. Except for poor Yuuko’s death in the past, that is. But she gets to be reunited with Himura in the end and that is a good thing. It is a pitiful thing for Yuuko to withstand all those abuses she gets from Amamiya. I guess many viewers would agree with me that there is no love lost in his death. We can also notably see the change in the characters especially Himura and Kuze. Himura is no longer the lone island who prefers to rely on himself because he is more open to others and freed from his past while Kuze has u-turn from a pessimistic death-anticipating violinist to a optimistic life-appreciating musician. And it is all thanks to both Yuuko and Mizuki. Hey, behind every successful man is a woman…
 
The drawing, art and animation is still very much consistent with the first season. Meaning that the beautifully and detailed rendered backdrops and sceneries as still one of the main reasons why I look forward to watch the sequel. Yes, they are still as breathtaking as ever. Also consistent with the first season are the view angles that are shown to dramatise the effect of the story. Albeit I felt it is much lesser but nevertheless it is magnificently executed. As for the next episode preview, you can still see colour sketches of the characters as they narrate but in keeping with the name for this season, this time it goes "Kikoemasu ka? Shinjitsu No Melody?" (Can you hear it? The true melody?).
 
If English was the language used for all those onscreen words during the previous season, this particular season uses German. That’s right. I’m not sure if they are taken from a particular storybook or song. Like how the mid-intermission has two lines of German sentences which feels like it’s from some storybook (I could be wrong). Even the opening credits is filled with them. Furthermore, in replacement of the Kanji-Hiragana writings that we see during the first season, this time the screen displays a certain number and a German word below corresponding to it (except for 1 episode whereby that Kanji-Hiragana style appeared). Though I haven’t tried it myself, I read that if you put all those words in order, it is supposed to be the lyrics for that A Moon Filled Sky song.
 
I can’t help but feel that the opening theme song by TENMON featuring ELISA, Ebullient Future, is like a variation of the first season’s opening theme. Perhaps it is the liveliness and the way the singer sings it which reminds me of so. Why is the song called so? That’s because I still think the producers have a thing for the words "ef", just like how many of the songs in the previous season or PC game was abbreviated to. Then there is an instrumental version of the song in 1 of the episodes. I read this caught many viewers by surprise because they thought that they had some problem with their audio hardware or software! Let’s sing along everybody! Of course there’s an English version of the piece but it serves as one of the two ending themes for the final episode. I was hoping to hear a German version since that language is quite obvious here but unfortunately, there isn’t. The animation for the opening credits may differ a little for each episode in the sense that in some animation, colours and shadings are added. I remember that there is one whereby the entire animation is flipped upside down! Just creative, these people.
 
As for the ending theme, Egao No Chikara by Mai Goto is often played as it is the theme for Mizuki. Perhaps to make up for the lesser story screening time? The other ending theme is of course Yuuko’s theme which is entitled Negai No Kakera by Yumiko Nakajima and I remember it only lasts for 3 episodes. Then the second of the two ending themes for the final episode is Ever Forever by Mai Goto, Yumiko Nakajima, Hiroko Taguchi, Junko Okada and Natsumi Yanase.
 
If you are the observant enough, you will notice that there is some play on words for each of the episode titles as well. For the first six episodes, the first alphabet for each title spells out to be "ERUTUF" which is future spelt backwards. Then the second half of the series, the same words are used to spell "FUTURE" in the correct order, except it just added "re-" in front. Like episode 2’s "Read" is "Reread" in episode 11, or episode 4’s "Turn" is episode 9’s "Return". Except for the last episode whereby it is "Forever" in contrast to the episode 1’s "Ever".
 
I wonder if they will make another sequel out of this since all of the protagonists in both seasons have been tied up. Even if they do make one with different characters in it, I will definitely go watch it without a doubt. When death affects us in many ways, it is best to see things in the most positive light. Because as we all know, it is one of the 2 inevitable things in life (those having financial background should know the other). You can’t bring back the dead and the most you could do is to remember the memories made with them. Thus the most important thing is to move forward in life. So I’m hoping to live long to watch all the animes I want. Yeah, that’s my true melody alright. Extremely Futile? Not with there’s hope around. Hey, there’s another "ef" word for ya’. End, finish.
 

ef ~A Tale Of Melodies~