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Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two is a two-part visual novel series, consisting of Ef: The First Tale and Ef: The Latter Tale, developed and published by Minori. The two games were initially released as eroge titles for the PC with the The First Tale being published in 2006 and The Latter Tale in 2008. Eventually a compilation of both games was released in 2010 by Comfort for the PlayStation 2, which removed all of the adult content from both titles. MangaGamer published an English version of Ef: The First Tale in 2012 with an English edition of Ef: The Latter Tale being released the following year.
During the late 2000s a Canadian fansubbng group called No Name Losers began work on an unofficial fan translation of both Ef: The First Tale and Latter Tale. After several years of work and the release of a demo patch, No Name Losers received a cease and desist letter from Minori just as they had finished their translation. However despite the C&D NNL ended up releasing their patch for both The First Tale and The Latter Tale on April 30, 2010. The group received a second C&D from Minori when they announced plans to translate Eden*, another Minori game, which lead to a negotiation between the two parties. The exchange, surprisingly, lead to No Name Losers and Minori creating a partnership with MangaGamer to publish an official English release of Ef and to potentially localized other Minori games in the future.
Each installment is broken down into a prologue and two chapters which follow a different protagonist each time.The story takes branching pathways and work towards the conclusion of one of four overarching story conclusions- one for each girl.
ef - the first tale.
- The Prologue takes place a year after the events of the game, and bookends each chapter with the conversations of a dapper gentleman (Yu Himura) and a nun (Yuko Amamiya) reminiscing of the events in upcoming chapters
- Chapter 1 revolves around the protagonist Hiro Hirono- an established manga author and highschool student, and his interactions with schoolmate Miyako Miyamura
- Chapter 2 takes place a few months after the events of the first, and focuses on a friend of Hiro's named Kyosuke Tsutsumi- a budding filmmaker infatuated with a mysterious girl and fellow student he catches a glimpse of one Christmas night.
ef - the latter tale.
- The Prologue once again opens with Yu and Yuko, this time speaking of the events of the first game. Once again, their conversations bookend each chapter, revealing more of the story as it progresses
- Chapter 1 follows a half-German/half-Japanese man named Renji Aso, who meets and falls for Chihiro Shindo- a quiet girl with an eyepatch while sitting at a quiet abandoned train station
- Chapter 2 introduces us to Shuichi Kuze- an older man, and professional violinist who has recently returned from studying abroad in Germany. He is the neighbour of the previous protagonist Renji Aso
The story has been adapted into a series of manga, and novels, and has been re-imagined with 4 Drama CDs, a 12-episode Anime, and 2 Internet Radio Shows.
- Famed director Makoto Shinkai, who is known for films such as 5 Centimeters Per Second, created the opening animation for Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two. The game's music was also composed by Tenmon, who has worked on all of Shinkai's film soundtracks. Shinkai animated the opening videos for all of Minori's novels up to Ef, which was the last game he worked on, and Tenmon continued to work with Minori on Eden*.