Ef - A Tale
Number of Episodes: 12
Production Company: SHAFT
Fansub Release Viewed: Nuke
Likelihood of US Release: Low
Based on a Japanese adult game about a poor boy who draws shoujo manga.
The beginning is narrated by a boy named Renji, as he walks around different environments, his favorite places. He talks about an abandoned train station, which is the perfect place for someone who wants to read in peace. But when he arrives today, there's someone there already - a pink-haired girl wearing a bandage over her eye. She appears to be waiting for a train, but he tells her that none will come. It's their first encounter, lasting a mere 45 seconds.
In another apartment somewhere, the main character - Hiro - is working on a manga page. He ends up breaking his pencil lead. He gets an email from his sister about a Christmas party, so he leaves. The town is alive with Christmas festivities, and a blonde guy named Kyousuke is taking video of it all. Suddenly he sees a pretty girl, but when he goes to film her, a truck passes by and she vanishes. The girl that he's with scolds him for looking at another cute girl.
In another apartment, a purple-haired girl (the one seen in town) comes home with a Christmas cake for a blonde girl named Mizuki. They're waiting for Hiro to come and join them. Meanwhile, Hiro goes to a church in town to gather more material for his manga, and meets a beautiful girl who might be some sort of nun. She wishes him a merry Christmas. When he goes back outside, someone rushes by on a motorcycle, followed closely by another girl who borrows his bike to give chase. As he's running after, he gets a phone call from his friends who are waiting for him to come to the Christmas party. He reaches the bike thief, who is passed out on the street next to his now-broken bike. She wakes up and says that her purse was stolen and that she has to go after it because it's very important.
Eventually they give up and sit around in a park. It turns out that her wallet inside the purse didn't have any money in it anyway, and her phone only had her grandma's number. Hiro follows the girl and tells her that she'd better get help in case she's injured. Then it starts to snow which adds a decidedly romantic mood to the situation. Then she invites him back to her place. In actuality, her keys were in her purse, so she decides to follow Hiro around rather than spend the night outside unable to get in.
After an interlude where Renji goes to the church to talk with an older guy about career advice, we're back at the train station with the bandaged-up girl. She asks if they've met before, which they have. She says that her name is Chihiro, and that she's not attending school. After they talk a bit, he offers to take her home, but she wants to hang around longer. They agree to meet again. The next day, Renji goes back to the train station and tries to talk to Chihiro, but she doesn't remember him (as I found out from reading about the show, she has a condition where her memory is shot -- she can only remember back about 13 hours). She rushes over to him, and starts spouting stuff that doesn't make a lot of sense. Then she asks him to be her friend. And she's moved to tears when he says yes.
This show is absolutely gorgeous as far as its color palette. I have absolutely no complaints about its look. But I find it to be incredibly boring. I had such a hard time trying to summarize the episode, because I just didn't care all that much about anything that was going on. There wasn't any reason to care about the characters other than "these are obviously the main characters".
I was actually hoping that this would be the show to turn me around on the whole "dating-sim" genre, because the preview I saw was so well put-together and paced so well that I thought it had a lot of potential. But upon seeing the episode, I still couldn't get into it, which is disappointing since the show has been getting very high user ratings on Anime News Network. I'll assume it's just me.
Because of the genre, I doubt that this show will see a license, though with its online popularity there's always a small chance.