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Yumekui Merry Anime Series Review

ym001anime action girl yumekui merry dream eater heroine japan series sexy midriff

Our heroine, Merry

Prelude

I’ve watched literally hundreds of anime in my 30-something years of existence, and it’s only now that I had the gall to write my own review. There’s a really interesting story behind it.   It just so happened that I was watching this series, Yumekui Merry, when I was visited by Archangel Duriel, with a glowing spear in one hand and a shield with the emblem of the Holy Spirit on the other, telling me that Saint Isidore, with the blessings of the prophet Habakkuk, wishes me to start writing anime reviews as a way to atone for my many sins on earth.  Despite my awe, I asked Archangel Duriel what genre I should review: yuri, yaoi, harem, or ecchi.  Upon hearing my query, Archangel Duriel scratched his head (still covered inside his supposedly mithril helmet), and swung his shield at me, causing me much pain after which I lost consciousness.  When I came to, I was alone in my room but found myself filled with the desire to write anime reviews of ALL genres to atone for my sins.

So my verdict for Yumekui Merry: 3/5 happy dreams, so somewhere around the middle as anime series go.  Not ground-breaking, but still a solid, entertaining series of 13 episodes, a decent title to pick up for casual watching.  Please read on for more juicy details.

 

ym001anime action girl yumekui merry dream eater heroine japan series sexy midriff

Merry in the battlefield.

How I Interpret the Story

Yumekui Merry, or translated as Dream Eater Merry, is a Japanese manga turned into an anime produced by JC Staff and originally televised in Japan from January 7, 2011 and April 8, 2011.  The heroine of this tale is Merry, a dream demon stuck in our reality.  She realizes she had lost her memories and that her only desire is to go home to the dream realm.  She has roamed our world for what seemed to be ten years, wandering aimlessly, looking for other dream demons like her in hopes of discovering clues that could lead her back home.  She then encounters Yumeji, a boy who strangely could predict what kind of dreams a person will have.  As their paths cross, they discover that more and more dream demons are crossing over to reality, and that the balance between the two worlds is in dire jeopardy as they uncover something more sinister than dream demons possessing people, and people losing their ability to dream.

 

ym001anime action girl yumekui merry dream eater heroine japan series sexy midriff

The series does have its touching moments.

Strengths

Yumekui Merry’s biggest draw is the use of dreams as the focal point of the story.  The show is able to engage the audience in the dream world it wishes to portray, a world inhabited by sentient beings curious about humans and their ability to dream, hope and imagine.  These inhabitants, dream demons, are as varied in appearance, values and temperament as people.  A brilliant light has appeared in the dream world that attracts dream demons to our world.  As dream demons need humans as vessels when venturing into our world, the viewer is presented with the many fascinating relationships that have developed between humans and dream demons.  There are pairs founded upon mutual respect and love, to pairs motivated by vengeance and justice.  The dreamworld too is made interesting by unusual and bizaare landscapes, which vary from decrepit ghost towns filled with humanoids cats and eerie flying fish bones, to golden wheat fields perpetually illuminated by a large, bright moon.

Merry’s character is a strong point of the series as well.  More than anything else, the viewer keeps watching hoping that the plot will reveal the answers behind the mysteries that surround her, a dream demon who lost her memories and is desperately trying to find her way home.  One can empathize with her sorrow and despair of being alone, clinging bitterly to hope, any hope, of salvation.  One can feel the change in her outlook in life as she gets to know about people and their dreams.

The artwork for the series is not particularly exceptional, but they serve their purpose.  For a show that features a dream world, the backgrounds are mostly bright and vibrant.  The staff had placed  focus on lighting, so that a wheat field at night is illuminated by a large full moon, the insides of a decrepit building are bathed with a warm afternoon light from a broken window, an otherwise hidden pool is showered by pale rays of sunlight.  There is noticeable effort in the depiction of some backgrounds, like the gritty texture on graffiti-stained concrete walls, rust on metal steps and railings, and detailed, vibrant bamboo trees.

The music used for the series wasn’t particularly spectacular but help convey the mood in each scene.  I do like the opening song, Daydream Syndrome by Marina Fujiwara.  It’s a rock ensemble with powerful guitar riffs and haunting female vocals that I have learned to like when watching each episode and sets up the gritty and unearthly feel of the show.

The voice acting was reasonable; no one really standing out and none that were particularly annoying.

As for fan service, there generally is none, which I would have to commend.  Nowadays it’s easy for anime studios to fall into the trap of showing tender, bouncy, underaged flesh or gratuitous panty shots just for the show to become popular very quickly.  Well, there’s lots of bellybuttons to be seen though, mostly from Merry.  She bares her midriff a lot.

 

ym001anime action girl yumekui merry dream eater heroine japan series sexy midriff

Some backgrounds are detailed, which is a nice touch.

Weaknesses

I really wanted to love this show, but sadly the anime is incomplete.  What I said earlier as the strength of the series—Merry’s character—never gets fully revealed and developed.  This series is based on a manga that is still ongoing, so the studio created a different story so they can have an alternate ending by the end of 13 episodes.  The mysteries surrounding Merry are never fully explained so, to our dismay, we are left with an unsatisfying ending.  Perhaps in the future there will be a sequel, or maybe it’s a ploy to have people read the manga, which in any case is beyond the scope of this humble review.

Another weak point would be the supporting cast.  They all end up being bland and mediocre.  They are mostly anime clichés, just in different, cute packages.  They don’t really stand out, have terribly trite back stories, or are just plain hard to sympathize with.

The fight scenes were not directed nor drawn well.  Just not exciting enough for a show that’s supposed to be under the action category, but then again it’s harder and harder to astonish viewers nowadays.  Merry uses quick, close-range moves that, while reasonably realistic or efficient, won’t really make you say “Wow!” or *Gasp* or “Awesome 79 hit combo!”  Well at least she doesn’t call her moves and shout them, like, say, “Merry Kick” or “Merry Punch” or “Hidden Miracle Special Finishing Technique: Nightmare Before Merry Christmas.”

And I’m sorry if I can’t help but nitpick:  Merry’s outfit is just plain strange.  Never mind if her clothes defy the laws of physics, she just looks like a reject from a goth loli convention.  It’s such a waste because her character design is just so cute, with the whole wild child look going on and that cute little fang.

 

ym001anime action girl yumekui merry dream eater heroine japan series sexy midriff

Merry looks forward to meeting everyone.

Conclusion

Yumekui Merry starts out with a great premise and an awesome heroine.  What hurts it the most is that it’s made into an anime too soon and that we are not allowed to know more about Merry, which I suppose, defeats a large part of the purpose of the show.  We want to know what happens to Merry, and we want to know if her loneliness and desperation will give way to salvation.

My grade for this series?  3/5 happy dreams, because after watching 13 episodes, Yumekui Merry feels like a nice dream that sadly could be forgotten after waking up.  A good series that should have been better.