Monday, October 27, 2008

ef melodies -- the most beautiful anime ever?

Well, that's a bit over the top. But it is very beautiful and extremely visually inventive. Many images in episode four were just entrancing.

The plot, characters, music, and visual and dramatic rhythms are pretty special, too. In my opinion, director OONUMA Shin continues to outdo his master, SHINBO Akiyuki.

This post is just about the images. There are dozens of great ones. Here are five (click to enlarge):

For a complete summary and more images, see the Subculture Anime Blog.

For another beautiful fall anime -- of a completely different kind -- check out Kurozuka.


NegativeZero said...

Most beautiful anime ever? I generally would reserve that sort of praise for Makoto Shinkai's work, not ef. Ef is very pretty, but most of the prettyness is due to the backgrounds. Shinkai is one of the main members of Minori, the company who made the ef games, so you'd expect the anime to have nice art too, and it does, but Shinkai's own work is a cut above.

I also don't agree that Shin Oonuma's directorial work is as good as his mentor's. A lot of the time, the shots look like they're being artistic for the sake of being artistic. Shinbo's work feels far more deliberate in its construction, the way that he frames things, the use of colour and odd angles and stuff are all designed very specifically and methodicaly to have a certain effect on the viewer. Ef has moments like that, but they're not anywhere near as often. If anything, I'd say that the style reminds me of Shinbo's earlier work such as Soultaker or Yamamoto Yohko, but with prettier backgrounds. He's certainly a director to keep an eye on though.

I will admit some bias though, in that I never finished ef as despite its artistic direction and general prettyness, I couldn't get past the horribly generic character design and tired plot. :P

hashihime said...

@negativezero -- Well, I did retract my statement in the first line of the piece, lol. I actually can't think of a more visually lovely TV anime, but I agree wholeheartedly about Shinkai. His work is more than poetry. It's a spiritual experience (like classic haiku) for me.

But I don't agree about Shinbo. I like the visual aspects of his work, but not as much as Oonuma's. If you don't get the plot and characters, perhaps you don't have the right referents to see how the outlandish images work to reinforce the spirit and flow of the thing.

Shinbo's are the anime I can't finish, probably for similar reasons to you: I don't find the matter as interesting as the manner. To say ef memories' plot was "tired" completely baffles me. Melodramatic, perhaps, but unique in my experience. And the character design works perfectly for me. "Generic" never occurred to me. "Classic," perhaps.

Ivy said...

It is generally pretty. Some frames are awe-aspiring, for a TV show the scenery is probably up there with one of the best. Shin Oonuma's directing doesn't lose of track of the characters and plot, as Shinbo tends to do. Oonuma takes every character and infuses them into the plot, peppering the show with odd touches of artistic melancholy, which did get out of hand at some point but have been toned down considerably. Shinbo's shows for me seem to be a little too crazy for their own good. The unique coloring and imaging don't have an underlying poetic meaning, they're just there acting very intrusively. Plus the shows he directs don't have that flow that Oonuma seems to inject into his own.

Apparently having nonsenical plot with crazy characters is the status quo for Shinbo, as I abhor both Pani Pani dash and Negima! He needs to find the middle-ground if he wants to create something meaningful, artistic and profound all at once. Oonuma might've seemed like an amateur at first, but hes shown that he has immense potetial. I'll have to agree with Negative the character design do scream cliche, but once you get over that you'll find yourself enticed into the story wanting to know where it will all go.

NegativeZero said...

Maybe I should give the show another chance. I left it a few episodes in, as it never really grabbed me. And I stand by my assessment that the character designs were generic - it doesn't help that they started life as the cast of an eroge.

Shinbo's work I think is a love-it-or-hate-it thing, as he seems to like doing certain types of shows. He's very much an otaku, I think, and tends to do the type of shows that appeal to him.

hashihime said...

I have to agree with something ivy mentioned: the voice-acting is not all that hot. But Oonuma baffles me with footwork -- i.e., the images, music, and plot -- so that that doesn't bother me, somehow. I will certainly look at the charades in a new way, now, since you both agree, even from different viewpoints.

I wouldn't go as far as ivy in criticizing Shinbo. I've always admired his work. It's just that I find myself tuning out after a few eps, for whatever reason. I mean, Tsukuyomi was one of the shows that introduced me to this wonderful world of anime, and I adored the wtf glory of Petit Cossette. I enjoyed the half of PaniPoni, quarter of Negima, and bits and pieces of Hidamari that I have watched. But Hidamari was the first show where I realized that I could sometimes get all a series had to offer me in a few episodes, without having to think it was anything but a good show.