The story of ef moves onward, as does the developing relationship between Mizuki and Kuze, as the two spend another day together by Mizuki’s initiative. Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, the long awaited past between the pragmatic Yuu and elusive Yuuko finally begins to unfold, slowly bringing to light the elements that bind the two of the more mysterious characters of this story.
Without wasting any time we jump to the aspect of the story that many have likely anticipated the most – the connection between Yuu and the seemingly never-aging Yuuko, as well as the truth behind these two characters. These revelations lead us to a relatively distant past – childhood of these two characters, who happened to meet in an orphanage run by a church.
Apparently the childhood of these two characters has not been the most happiest one, but both being orphans doesn’t seem to be the only problem they had to face. Another one is Akane, a name previously unmentioned, who is revealed to be Yuu’s sister that had perished in a house fire, right before his eyes, calling out to her brother for help, who could only helplessly watch his sister being burned alive. As fate would have it, Yuuko seems to resemble Akane a fair deal, which makes it very difficult for young Yuu to face her without being reminded about his sister, putting a strain on their relationship.
It seems that memories of Akane haunt Yuu even through his school years, a broken watch she wore during the fire as the only object Yuu has to remember her by.
Back at school, while Yuu and Kuze are occupied by their usual antics, Nagi seems to be rather displeased with her previous self-portrait and throws it away (Which i would like to think of as frustration towards Yuu for not appreciating it, nor the ‘view’ :)) and starts working on a new one. (I got to hand it to her – she sure is daring).
Meanwhile, Yuu doesn’t seem to be in a position to get some peace of mind as Yuuko is relentlessly following (stalking?) him. Having his question of whether she doesn’t remember his words not to get close to him countered by a rather spunky response that she can do as she pleases, Yuuko catches Yuu by his arm and invites him to accompany her to the rooftop, to which she has a shadily obtained key.
As Yuu ultimately once again tells her not to remind him of those times and is about to leave, an unexpected line of how he should just forget stops him in his tracks, which leads Yuuko to conclusion that he is indeed still seeing those dreams.
Back to present point in time, Kuze is happily dreaming of himself playing a violin, when his blissful reverie is blown away by the harsh sounds of reality, produced by a combination between a doorbell and his newly acquainted bundle of positive energy known as Mizuki…
… Whose first order of business seems to be raiding Kuze’s collection for her outfit of the day, after which she has Kuze accompany her on what she claims is a laundry day. (And for the unbelievers – the conversation they have along the way indeed confirms this is taking place in Australia).
As they arrive home, the two are greeted by a zombified Renji crawling down the stairs, apparently having gone without sleep because of studying. (Which i refuse to believe and think it has to do with Chihiro instead!). In fact he is so sleepy that manages to completely miss Mizuki’s unorthodox outfit. Seeing she is about to do laundry anyway, Mizuki asks of Renji to hand over his clothes as well not to waste time, which he refuses to comply to (Thats a very Mizuki way to get angry :)), leading to Mizuki pouncing Renji and stripping him of his outfit, who runs away quickly afterwards, covering by a towel which apparently materialized from the 6th dimension.
The conversation between Kuze and Mizuki eventually drifts to what influenced his decision on a violin path, and Kuze mentions his first love. Mizuki seems a bit interested, but Kuze reveals to have been talking about a Metronome, which causes Mizuki to pout… which doesn’t last long, as Kuze proclaims that a slightly angry Mizuki is cute, flustering her and throwing her off-balance, and she uses the signal from washing machine to vacate the scene.
Kuze stands up to follow her, but his vision suddenly gets blurry and he collapses, losing consciousness. Mizuki immediately rushes to his side and quickly tries to call ambulance, but much to her frustration the emergency line doesn’t seem to work. (I am sure it would have …if only Mizuki had remembered she is in Australia now, instead of using Japan’s emergency number out of reflex …poor Mizuki). She calms down after Kuze seems to be just sleeping and breathing peacefully, and decides to drag him to the nearby sofa. The side effects of said attempt include Kuze having his head bumped against every object along the way, which leads this writer to believe that heart problems won’t be his only issue at this rate.
Though it is all not that bad, as he gets to rest his head in MIzuki’s lap while asleep (Happy yaro). He barely awakens momentarily and seems fairly out of it judging by his tone (See! Head bumping shows!) and mumbles he can’t sleep alone, as he would have a bad dream. Mizuki, being the kind soul that she is, reassures him that she will be right there, and Kuze drifts off to dreamland (or loses consciousness for the second time because of head bumps, take your pick) again.
Only to awaken when it is already almost dark outside and walked to his door by Mizuki, promising to make it up to her for having slept the day away, even though he was supposed to accompany her. As they are about to say their goodbyes, his stuffed mailbox catches Kuze’s attention.
He doesn’t seem to care much for the contents though, as he seems intent to giving up all of his human connections, so he just proceeds to burning the letters and is soon joined by Yuu. Much to his surprise, there is a letter from Nagi among the pile, which leaves Kuze wondering how she is doing. Yuu seems interested in what she has to say, but Kuze burns the letter without opening regardless, as he has decided to throw away all human connections.
While Kuze is busy being emo, we take a step back in time to look at chibi Yuuko (cute!) and Yuu. The later is having obvious issues with Yuu, often seeing visions of Akane for brief moments when looking at Yuuko, and can’t mentally stand being called “onii-chan” by her. This leads to Yuu snapping at her and Yuuko being uncertain at how to approach him, but eventually she settles on Yuu-kun, and he doesn’t seem to mind that one.
As Yuu seems to be pretty talented at drawing, at some later point Yuuko asks him to draw her, which he agrees to but finds himself unable to do so as the image of Akane keeps haunting him, so Yuu says its impossible, as he is out of paper. (Which is almost true, as his sketchbook was on it’s last page).
At a later point in time, Yuu notices Yuuko absently leaning against a tree some distance away and starts drawing her. The action draws Yuuko’s attention soon, and she rushes over to Yuu who is trying to hide his work. Unexpectedly distraught, she asks if he truly doesn’t need a little sister, which causes Yuu to snap back at her and yell that his sister is already dead. Saddened, Yuuko runs away and that is the last Yuu had seen of her, as it appeared that a distant relative of hers had come to pick her up from the orphanage. This only further inspired Yuu to live a life of relative solitude, as partings are as inevitable as meetings in life. He tears out the page he had drawn Yuuko on, makes a paper airplane out of it and launches in towards the sky.
Back to their rooftop conversation, Yuu wonders why Yuuko keeps following him. She says she is glad to have met him, and asks if Yuu understands why is that. As the later obviously has no idea, Yuuko comments he is thick-headed as always, and that she will just have to tell him then. (oh, the suspense …i wonder whats coming …). Yuuko then reveals what everyone (except Yuu) likely had expected – that he was her first love, and that her first love isn’t over yet; a revelation that leaves Yuu quite shocked. (You better be, you weren’t all that nice to her back then!). Yuuko steps forward, landing her head against his chest and says she will make him forget all the painful memories. What comes of this declaration remains to be seen, but it is clear the seeds of their upcoming relationship has been planted.
And if this isn’t a symbolism of someone watching the scene, i don’t know what symbolism is. At present point in time, my bet would be on either Nagi or the art teacher from episode 1 who shares a family name with Yuuko (and i don’t like him one bit from his entrance, set off a lot of my warning bells) as the only persons who might find this development relevant, but i guess we are going to find that out eventually.
Back to Kuze in present point in time who has finished burning all his letters (or has ran out of candles to burn them with) and has turned to having visions of two masked persons of himself (there has to be something wrong with that) commenting on his life slowly ticking away like the ticks of metronome.
His quiet moment gets interrupted by none other than his newly acquired neighbor Mizuki, who claims to have been unable to sleep. The two have some tea under the star filled night sky, and Mizuki comments on Kuze’s music she had listened to earlier, and reveals it has left an impression on her.
As she is about to leave, Mizuki declares she has something sudden to say — she moves to the small gate in the fence and facking Kuze announces she has likely fallen in love with him, after which she quickly dismisses herself with a hurried “see you tomorrow” and quickly shuffles away, leaving Kuze in initial shock. After a moment Kuze lies back in his chair, covering his face with a hand and looking like he would wish to laugh bitterly at himself, the two messengers of his inevitable demise still plaguing his mind.
This time around we are treated to an ED, which appears to be completely Mizuki centric, save for one image featuring her together with Kuze holding hands (noteworthy cringe material for those who still hold on to the delusion of them never happening no doubt), and the very last image showing a photo of Yuu, Yuuko and chibi Mizuki standing between the two. Could this cheerful girl with bright personality possibly be the key to tie together the past events with the present point in time ? Who knows, but we are eventually finding that out.
Overall a pretty nice episode, bringing forth some long expected answers regarding Yuuko and Yuu, setting in motion the oldest of ef storylines. Seeing the present day Yuuko makes only sparse appearances and doesn’t seem aged one bit, i am not expecting it to be a happy ride, nor a happily ever after.
On the other hand, what seemed like a fairly uneventful episode for Mizuki and Kuze ended with some rather unexpected development in form of Mizuki making a confession. I can’t help but feel this development slightly rushed, but will see how they go about it. Never the less, this should make a pretty interesting impact on their relationship, especially with Kuze trying to cut bounds with humanity.