Yumekui Merry (2011)

I had heard of the name of Yumekui Merry on several boards around the internet about a year ago. I had never really looked into it or even read about it in the aforementioned boards. But, the name somehow just stuck with me.

Then, a couple of days ago, a person I know recommended this anime to me after I had asked for a random recommendation meeting the criteria of ‘it just has to be interesting’. Well, I just watched it and his suggestion really delivered. That was just that, though. Yumekui Merry is only interesting.

Now is that a bad thing? Definitely not. But is it enough? Absolutely no. The concept of Yumekui Merry was pretty good. It was really slow at first but it had me hooked in its strange world by the third episode. What I am saying is that the execution was bad. So, to explain my qualms with this anime, I’m going to have to spoil it a bit.

Here’s the synopsis from MyAnimeList: Yumekui Merry begins with Yumeji Fujiwara, a seemingly average high school student. But ten years ago, Yumeji gained the ability to see the dream auras of other people around him. This ability allows Yumeji to predict what type of dreams people are likely to have next. The dreams of others may not be a mystery to Yumeji, but his own dreams have recently left him puzzled. In dream after dream, Yumeji has been pursued by an army of cats lead by John Doe, who claims he needs Yumeji’s body to enter the real world.

These strange occurrences get stranger when Yumeji meets Nightmare Merry, a dream demon seeking to return to her own world. Using his powers, Yumeji decides to assist Merry in getting back home. But Merry’s very presence in the real world means that the barrier separating dreams and reality has been broken, and not all of the dream demons intend to come to Earth peacefully…

Yumeji is your average high school kid. Well, not completely average. He can read people’s dreams. He is not a super cool fighter or an extreme genius. OK, that’s good. He’s rather upbeat. That’s nice. One day, when his life is in danger while he’s trapped inside a ‘day dream’ (think of it as a battle arena in 3D fighting games), he meets this supernatural girl called Merry. She saves his life. Pretty soon, after some childish complications I will not go into, they become friends and try to get Merry back to the Dream-world.

Ah, the Dream-world. Well, that’s the place where Merry, along with many other characters, hail from. In Yumekui Merry, there is the Human-world and the Dream-world. Humans exist in the Human-world (obviously) and they can also visit the Dream-world when they go to sleep. Nightmares (Merry and the gang) live in the Dream-world. They can go to  the Human-world but, they need a host if they wish to remain there. Well, not wish. They can’t go back to the Dream-world once they cross over. And that’s the overall plot here: Merry somehow crossed over and she wants to go back. Can she? I don’t know. Even if I disregard spoiling Yumekui Merry, I still can’t tell you. This is because the show is incomplete. It needs another season or two which we will never get.

Now let’s talk about Merry (the one in the header image). She’s an amnesiac Nightmare. Talk about cliches. It’s a good thing I don’t mind cliches because I don’t believe in originality but that still doesn’t mean I’m not irked by this. After 13 episodes, I still don’t know just what KIND of Nightmare (plot-point) Merry is. In fact, she doesn’t even regain a single memory over the course of the show. I get it, season one. Incomplete story. Yadda-yadda-yadda. But, this is not how you make shows. Apparently, the fault lies with the director and the animation studio because the Yumekui Merry manga (ongoing) has gotten much better scores and reviews.

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Merry loves donuts. Speaking of which, it was Donuts Day yesterday! I think…

And I hope that the manga is, indeed, better. This is because at this point of the review, I’m supposed to talk about the side-characters. But, I can’t do that as none of them were memorable. I’m not joking. I just watched this anime a few hours ago. The only somewhat memorable character is Yumeji’s blond school friend who plays no actual part in the plot. He spouts haikus and talks like a bishi (super handsome homo man). That’s it. What’s worse is that he became rather annoying to me in the latter half part of the anime. How low can this go?

But, HEY! The world presented is interesting enough for me to not drop Yumekui Merry. Merry and the other Nightmares kick some serious ass. The fight scenes are fluid and roughly animated but, that actually adds a neat flair to it. It’s kind of hard to describe. Merry wants to go back to the Dream-world. She kicks the asses of other Nightmares to send them back and free their hosts with Yumeji’s help. OK, I guess. This is how most of the fights go. There is an added tension in the last few battles due to a plot twist that what Merry is doing is actually very very wrong but that just makes the fights worse for me.

The plot-point of emotional death for hosts when a Nightmare is defeated had surprised me but, it was kind of in poor taste. It didn’t really any impact. After some initial concerns, Merry and Yumeji are left to just deal with it. “Oh, we believe what we’re doing is not bad at all. There’s no point in spending more time in looking for an alternative method”. Well, OK then.

 

Outside of the fight scenes, the animation is pretty standard for it’s time. There’s nothing unique about it. It sometimes fluctuates in between scenes but I have no problem with that.

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The art style drastically changes sometimes during comic scenes. It’s cute.

Voice acting is pretty normal as well. Nothing to comment on there.

Now, the music. I have to say that the background music is gorgeous. It reminds me of the old cartoons with their cheery orchestral music. So good. I’m already downloading the OST as I am writing this. I didn’t like the Opening song, though. Even the visuals of the Opening was bad – too damn dark and brown. What is this? Gears of War?! The Ending song is lovely.

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Me whenever the battle music started.

Overall, I have to say that Yumekui Merry is only an interesting show. It’s not good nor is it really bad. It could have been done so much better.

Is it interesting enough for me to read the manga? Sadly, no. So I’m going to give it a 7 out of 10. It’s not a 6 because… dat suondtrak!

Should you watch Yumekui Merry? Sure, if you’ve got the time.

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