ok, so I know that the numbers up there dont really add up. However the criteria above do not cover everything necessary for this to get the 6 that it got. I will explain.
Story: The story was compelling and the anime has made me decide to read the manga. The story was very very different and I love to see that in animes, the best ones stand out.
Animation: The animation was great, especially from a studio that ive never even heard of. It was right on par with most today. I was suprised considering the low ratings it has.
Sound: bleh, now im going to cover several parts, voice acting, music, ambient sounds and opening and ending. Ok so this was meh at best. The opening and ending themes were good and I liked them, they seemed to fit and they were catchy. The ambient sound was actually very good, much like the animations. The music. . . . was aweful. They had like 2 sound tracks, but that isnt the worst part. The worst part is where they decided to place these songs, they were so out of place it almost brought me to tears. PREPARE FOR EPIC FIGHT SCENE, QUE LAME @$$ MUSIC. Voice acting. Some characters did awesome, and if you didnt know most of the voice actors are actually from Angel Beats too. They are GREAT voice actors and I love them, but a few character and parts were simply not well put together for the voice actors, but I dont blame the voice actors for this.
Characters: I loved the characters, almost all of them including many of the minor characters were totally lovable, even the bad guys. It was great I want to read the manga just for the characters and the story.
overall: now this needs some explaining;
1) the series was NOT COMPLETE, big ouch in my book. I hate that
2) there was an overall strangness, I guess the best way to describe it is that the studio that made this anime didnt really have a good feel for the world this story was in, or what it was about. they didnt have a good grip on any of it.
3) not exciting really :/ while the animations were fine, the fight scenes were really really lame. You could tell that corners were cut.
and those are the reasons that this gets a 6, in other words, I wont recommend you to watch it. That doesnt mean Im telling you not to watch it (like I did with pumpkin Scissors :P), just that Im not going to tell you that it was worth watching.
This anime is great at affecting the viewer with its premise. If he/she likes it, it feels like watching a dream. If not, you are just falling asleep. For me it was the later.
Yumekui Merry is a highly fan-catering show that is not using pantsu or nude to sell; something which is a surprise coming for a studio such as J.C. Staff which thrives on it. It still goes for more indirect eye-catching techniques such as moe girls, bishonens, a childhood female friend, dreams and hopes, and a lot of other otaku stuff. As far as looks go, it does a great job at making you go wander in some fairyland where everything is ideal. On the other hand, it has some of the most dreadful story-writing I have encountered in the past decade. I was literally falling asleep while watching the slow plot, unexplained motives, vague objective, chopped motion scenes, and a general lack of focus. What was this show about anyway?
Its major problem is not inspiring motivation to the viewer. You are literally not given a reason to watch this show; it is all one big blur, like you just woke up and have no idea of where you are or what you are doing. Its very atmosphere is empty of actual tension and you end up watching like a mindless zombie at a screen where stuff happen for the sake of happening.
ART SECTION: 7/10
Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 2/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 1/2
On paper, the show looks great as it has a huge variety in locations, each one with very distinctive artwork and colors. It feels like a huge picture book full of fairy tales and it’s really dreamy while staring at the pretty pictures. The characters are all drawn to be moe, with accompanying uniforms and so you end up looking at them as well just for that. Beyond that, they don’t look special or memorable; in fact they are quite stereotypical. Merry is the only distinctive character amongst them; all the rest are generic stock characters when it comes to looks. The animation kind of ruins it too because there is good motion only in battles and everywhere else it seems everybody is frozen or moving in a tired, sleepy way. You see someone running for example and it is not exciting but boring. The visual effects are also poor because they are noting but simplistic filters or light rays. They also fail to excite you with what is happening.
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 2/4, Sound Effects 3/3
The voice actors did a good job in making the characters sound perky but that didn’t help the mostly aimless dialogues to become any better. The script felt terrible; 90% of everything they were saying had no life in it or it was random things they were saying without a proper line of thought. The OST is nothing special, just some rather sad tunes I forgot after a few days. The BGM and sound effects are definitely great for maintaining the atmosphere of the show at the sleepy dream state you are supposed to have while watching it.
STORY SECTION: 7/10
Analysis: Premise 2/2, Pacing 0/2, Complexity 2/2, Plausibility 2/2, Conclusion 1/2
The story is interesting on paper. It has to do with creatures from the world of dreams trying to get into reality by possessing humans. The lead male, Yumeji, has the ability to predict the dreams of other people and uses that to save them from bad dream demons and also to help Merry, a girl from dreamworld, to find a way to return there. It is not that simple as there are many sub-stories about demons who just want to help their human hosts by being inside them, plus there are many different reasons each one of them wants to come into reality in the first place. The problem is in the way the story is told; it feels completely boring. Not only it is slow, it also seems to lack excitement. How about the whole setting where Yumeji has a female close friend who grew up with him and meeting Merry when she drops on him out of the blue before she saves him from a daydream that came out of nowhere? There even is a generic beach episode thrown in here. All that are generic stereotypes and tropes you can find everywhere and which take away a lot of novelty from the otherwise interesting subject. Most events seem to play out as stand alone missions and everything lacks the much needed motivation to keep being interested. Stuff happen for the sake of happening, many events feel minor and pointless, and you are left to wonder if you should even care to keep paying attention. The show does eventually explain all that and gives motivations to its characters, but even then the dialogues are so dried up and lifeless, you just don’t care.
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Presence 0/2, Personality 1/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 1/2, Catharsis 1/2
Despite the moe looks everybody has, they are still based on archetypes that make them feel generic in the longrun. Except for Merry, chances are you will forget their appearances in a few months. In a similar way, although they all have personality which is looked upon and leads to development and a form of catharsis after each battle, the whole thing plays out in such a terribly boring and sloppy way that all that go to waste. For example, what is good about Yumeji? Isn’t he the archetypical shonen lead with a super power who wants to protect his friends from demons? What does he have that makes him any different than the rest? How about Merry, for whom all her history is just that she has amnesia and wants to go back in dreamworld? This is barely the minimum to begin your main characters. Eventually they do mature further than that but even then it happens very artificially and predictably to care.
VALUE SECTION: 2/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 2/4
It has nothing much to deserve a second view and it will be barely remembered for any special reason, but its dream-like atmosphere makes it rather special on its own. Too bad it’s not the only one with such features.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 2/10
Analysis: Art 1/1, Sound 0/2, Story 1/3, Characters 0/4
Hey, I used the words lifeless and boring so many times, I don’t even need to explain this part.
The dreamy visuals and the interesting concept of the story are the only things that maintain this show at average status. All the rest could have played out great as well but they ended up being … you know. In case you wonder what I consider lively and interesting, I direct you to Satoshi Con’s Paprika movie, which also deals with dreams. As for the whole tripy feeling of the show, most SHAFT series have done a similar job. Madoka Magica feels pretty close too and it also aired at the same time as this show.
Take The World God Only Knows (TWGOK), remove anything good about it (which wasn't much) and make it about dreams. Who green lights this stuff?
Story - 3/10
So the premise of the show doesn't start off that bad, a young boy has the ability to see the future of other people's dreams, where does he go with this? Saving people from their nightmares, helping people control their dreams? Nope, the fact he can see these things factors into very little of the series, maybe once or twice when he notices someone has a dream demon and then fails to do anything about it.
Enter Merry, a dream demon trying to find her way back home. After appearing in one of Yumeji's nightmares, Merry informs him of her role as a Dream Demon, now the two will go off together fighting other dream demons and trying to return her to her home….dimension? (you know the plot of ten thousand other anime series)
The problem is thing sort of trail off we're stuck listening to five minute long speeches about what's going on, instead of just including that in the story itself, as most forms of entertainment would.
The show also pretty much has episodes repeating format and story over and over again in order to try and introduce new characters that play a role in the dream world.
In the end the show just appeared to be an introduction to a longer series that never happened. Instead of just giving us a show, they spent too much time shoehorning in abstract concepts that they made up and then having to hash them out in detail before our eyes.
Animation - 4/10
The tone for this series' animation is set within the first few minutes, as we're inundated with horrible CGI graphics, probably some of the worst drawn and implemented that I've seen. Things don't get better from there, with the overall animation quality jumping drastically from scene to scene, to the point where it doesn't look like the animators were even bothering, probably just trying to finish a last few frames before the work week ended. There are some nice facial animations during close ups, but those are few and far between.
Backgrounds are basic and at times barren, with other times looking like they decided to haze/blur things to hide how bad they are. Other times they just aren't well made, as in one scene towards the end they tried to have a character split between a foreground panel and a background panel, but instead it looked as if he body had been chopped in half and she was floating around the reeds.
The character creation is also underwhelming. Our leading man Yumeji is your cookie cutter male high school student. Merry is a recovered version of Elsie from TWGoK, with a hat that looks exactly like Elsie's raiment. Chaser John Doe is basically every villain from every dark anime, heck even his mask is very familiar (though who it looks like escapes my mind) The worst of all though has to be the cats that inhabit Yumeji's dreams, because they are almost carbon copies of Macha from .Hack//Sign. Parate is Vivi and the other black mages from Final Fantasy IX, or possibly Orko from the Master of the Universe Series.
Another design choice stolen directly from TWGOK are the disciples of Chaser John Doe, who wear giant adornments in their hair that resemble his face…..exactly as Elsie and the other soul catchers did of their leader, Dokuro Skull.
Sound - 4/10
There wasn't much music of note in the series. The opening theme sounded like a female version of Linkin Park…..so basically what Linkin Park sounds like. The ending theme had very nice vocals, but they were unfortunatly sung over an 8-bit midi soundtrack.
The in series music was average, if not mostly underwhelming. Most of it is what we've come to expect from these series being churned out without real quality, just a person holding down a single button on a synthesizer and changing the "attack" or the sounds of a pianist tapping two keys, at eight second intervals, repeatedly. There was one song that had a very Nobuo feel to it that would play in the dream world. It fit perfectly and was a pleasant surprise in the series' soundtrack.
English VO wise things are on par with every other one of these Sentai Film Works dubs. They get a very good cast with voices to match the characters and they try to have a huge group of background voices so you're not stuck with hearing Greg Ayers or Bob Papenbrook do every other voice, as was common in the late nineties early aughts of anime.
Characters - 2/10
Our two main characters are as unoriginal as you can get. Yumeji brings very little to the table that we haven't seen from every male high school character in anime, well besides his ability to read people's dreams by looking through his fingers. Similarly Merry is your ever present lost girl with special powers who in the end defeats the big evil character…. so again Elsie from TWGOK, Solty from Solty Rei, or basically any character from AKB0048. From the first minute you could predict her character arc with stunning accuracy.
The schoolmate characters are also for the most part carbon copies of those we've seen in dozens, if not hundreds, of series. Takateru is the male best friend who does anything to pick up chicks (pretty much Yasunobu from Suzuka to a T, including the character design) Chizuru is the mysterious and brooding attractive girl, who is without a doubt hiding some major secret. Hoshino is the reserved nerdy girl who they always create a beach or hot spring episode for because behind that nerdiness is a giant chest (though I did enjoy that they made fun of the fact they were doing a stereotypical beach episode.) And Saki is the cool headstrong female who really likes one of the boys, but can't say so because thats not cool.
The bad character ripoffs don't stop at the school children. Yumeji's uncle is not far removed from Kamon of FLCL fame. The superhero show watched by a few of the characters, is helmed by Guricho, who looks and acts like the Daitenzin fighting force from Excel Saga.
Then we turn to the names of the dream demons. Clearly the creators were watching tons of YuGiHo episodes or playing with the cards, because that seems to be where they got these random garbage names from. When they actually did have the chance to name people, such as Isana's Father, we get nothing, but for the demons they can go with "Garden Engi Three-Piece" or "The Ocean of Trees" maybe that time should have been spent on creating an original storyline.
Overall - 3/10
So it's clear most of my gripes with the show come from it's blatant unoriginality. Now if you watched this before TWGOD you probably wouldn't have much of a problem with that part of series, even if it did come out in Manga and Anime form a few months to years later. Aside from the copy paste job they did, the story and character development just lacked anything special. There was no reason to connect with these characters because we learned so little about them and the girl far away from home plot more or less spun in circles with little happening.
It's ironic that this series was about "people losing their dreams and aspirations for the future" when the creators dreams and aspirations were apparently just to hit a button on a copy machine, maybe he should have encountered one of these dream demons.
Flawless! I just wish they continued on with it instead of stopping at the Mistletainn arc! You just don't stop there on a masterpiece like this! I especially would've loved to see the Heracles fight in action!
I love this anime, it's the best one i've watched. I do reccomend watching it, and I think you should give it a try :D but of course you don't have to tho. I thought what was really great about this anime is that 1. No romance 2. Awesome music 3. Great storyline :) I reccomend it, and that's that! I think it's super duper really awesome!