As I watched the first episode of the series, I thought to myself "this could be a really great anime. It has everything there." Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to these expectations; it was, by no means, a terrible anime however. The concept of dreams and how they are displayed in this series is rather interesting, and many things that are slowly revealed throughout the series are extremely interesting. Anyways, on to the story.
This story is well done, but it had potential to be a lot better. A few things that they mention throughout the series which are mentioned, they just kind of leave alone. If they had ran with a few of these ideas (which they may do in the off chance that there is a sequel) could have made this an excellent story. Unfortunately, they just dropped a few hints that could have helped, and leave them at that. However, even with that, the story is pretty good. They do a good job of making a world with moral ambiguity. This gives the story a good deal of depth and reality. I did not see any major plot holes, which is always a plus, but the story has some, smaller, more predictable parts in it.
Being a JCStaff series, you have fairly high expectations for all of their animation and designs. Unfortunately, it's pretty obvious that their B-team is on the case here. Index II seemed to take all their funds, and it shows. Especially in the earlier episodes, the action is... lacking and the character designs tend to be subpar. This is fixed, more or less, by the end of the series however.
This series has a GREAT soundtrack throughout, having good, up pace orchestral pieces for many battle sequences and a wide range of background pieces for the rest, often setting a great mood throughout. They do a great job using a lot of unknown voices to get the job done. Merry's voice actress has a very similar voice to a few different, more famous voice actresses, but is kind of hard to place. She does the ED, which is fairly good, and OP is strong as well.
The series has some good characters and some clichéd characters, but some of the more interesting characters never get the attention they deserve. It lacks any character that really is just amazing, and, because of this, doesn't deserve an overly high score.
This series is definitely worth watching. While it could have been great, it settles for good, unfortunately. But that isn't all that of a bad thing. It is definitely a solid series worth looking into.
This is a total edit of my review that was here.
The first episode of this anime was amazing and I thought it was going to be similar to sould eater's awesomeness. It had a certain similarity to it. After watching it further, I no longer compare it so much to soul eater. Whether its quality is as good as soul eater? I would say almost, but not quite. But off of soul eater.
Some good things about this anime were the character looks (their eye shapes for example) and story. The story has so much potential, but seeing as what went on in the last episode... I cant really tell if there will be another season or not. Although the characters looked wonderful and in some ways were interesting, they are mostly typical. Their feelings of love, friendship, and 'never give up' clearly exist. To top it off, the enemies had no clear goal of why they wanted to possess people or whatever it was their goals were, and if the goals were clear, then they really didnt make sense in a way that would make you support them or go against them. In a way that is good, since i liked some of the enemies, but then again its hard to support the main characters because their motives are ignorant/retarded.
Something that goes along with that 'unclearness' is that Merry keeps killing dream demons not knowing for sure where they are going, and her and yumeji keep 'believing'. Im getting tired of that shit. Reality isnt so nice, and when you see this in every anime it gets childish. I can understand that when they are in the dream realm, believing in order to control the dream is realistic, but thats not the problem.
I really liked john doe chaser. He was probably my favorite character in this anime, and he wasnt shown very much. Depending on whether there is another season that favors him more... well... If there isnt I can then say, wtf were they thinking not putting him in there more.
The music for this anime was very good, and the sound in general was at least ok. I especially liked the intro song.
The animation was ok. The scenes and the characters were great looking.
The Final verdict?:
Some things like the looks and music were well done. Some things about the characters were lovable, but in the end I cant help feeling like the mental satisfaction was thrown in the gutter. Inconsistancies/contradictions, plot holes, childish mentalities that make the good points of the characters not makes sense anymore.
Personally I think its worth a watch, but some dont. Here is another review that I found that may be useful:
Quite possibly the greatest let down of the winter 2011 season. Yumekui Merry had potential to be so much better than it turned out to be. Though I'm saying this series was awful it was still actually one of the bettter shows of the season.
Story: The main plot of Yumekui Merry is that these beings known as Dream Demons want to come over from the dream world to the real world by taking a human vessel and as such basically taking control of that human. Then introduce the two main characters Merry who is a dream demon who wants to go back to the dream world but is stuck physically in the real world and Yumeji a high school student who has the ability to see what kind of dreams a person is going to have. Who take it upon themselves to fight the dream demons that have taken human vessels in hopes of finding a way to send Merry back to the dream world. Throw in some tough choices and a big bad boss waiting for the heroes at the end of their journey and that basically describes the entire story of Yumekui Merry. While the story is interesting and there aren't any really huge holes in the story come the final episode they leave enough unanswered questions and topics that are forgotten that really somewhat drag the story down, but I suppose that creates a good opening for a second season.
Animation: While the animation might not have been the worst that I've ever seen it still left a lot to be desired especially since it was done by JCStaff. Though by the time the later half of the series comes around things to begin to look better to an only slightly noticable degree. But I will say that I rather liked the way the characters were done and each of the dream demons worlds all looked fairly interesting and seemed to fit each of the demons rather nicely.
Sound: The sound was definitly one of the better things in the series. With some rather nice orchestral pieces used for the fights and a good variety of background pieces for the rest of the scenes that did a rahter good job in setting up the mood for the scenes when required. The voice actors all do their job wonderfully and do a good job in fitting their characters personality.
Characters: Really this series had a rather wide variety of characters. I simply loved Merry if for no other reasons than how cute she looked. Yumeji just had some personality traits that really tick me off no matter what series we're talking about. Though the way he's willing to confront the problems he is faced with is a lot better than the characters who always whine and complain about everything. Then theres is Isana who I also rather liked for some of the same reasons as to why I liked Merry. Though Chaser John Doe is probably one of the most interesting characters out of the bunch.
Overall while Yumekui Merry was something of a let down it is still a fairly good show and a show that anyone should give a chance to. Especially if they're into these kind of shows.
They say that variety is the spice of life, but if that's true, then why is there such a lack of it in anime and manga? Part of the problem stems from the fact that there seems to be a certain number of themes that can be considered the "bread and butter" of the industry, but the subject of dreams is surprisingly not one of them. This is more than a little odd as Eastern folklore is littered with stories about dreams, and one has to wonder why such a rich and varied theme tends to be ignored.
So what is a dream?
There are those who believe they are nothing more than one's subconscious mind doing a bit of "housecleaning", whilst others claim that there is a supernatural element that can be defined and translated to provide a message to an individual. Many people believe that dreams are simply flights of fancy that occur while one is asleep, and almost everyone has used the term in reference to personal goals. The common misconception though, is that while they are often weird, and maybe a little unnerving (this includes some real life ambitions), they are also harmless. What people tend to forget is that a nightmare is also a dream.
But what happens when dreams and reality merge, and just how important are they to a person?
Based on the manga byYoshitaka Ushiki, Yumekui Merry (Dream Eater Merry), tells the story of Fujiwara Yumeji, a high school student who has the ability to see auras around people that allow him to predict what kind of dream they will have. Unfortunately his own dreams involve him being chased by armed cats, but all of that changes when he meets the mysterious Merry Nightmare.
The story features several interesting dream related elements that offer some food for thought, and while there are a few rather lacklustre attempts at comedy, the series manages to retain a reasonably serious atmosphere. That said, the cliche manner in which the two leads meet does a good job of negating the generally forthright approach to character introductions, and shattering the illusion of seriousness. Granted the two have to meet in some way, but did it really have to be that?
In addition to this the plot contains several typically shounen themes that act as a foundation for development of the story, which is a bit of a shame as while there are some explanations on offer about certain events, there are also a few glaring omissions that can leave viewers wondering how everything fits together. Yumekui Merry also suffers from the fact that all of the action takes place in a particular area, and generally involves people in a particular age range, which immediately raises several questions that are never answered.
The design poses an interesting dichotomy as on the one hand the series adopts a very typical formula with regards to characters and environs, yet on the other there is a degree of imagination and innovation on display, in particular where supernatural characters and otherworldly realms are concerned. While this is obviously a purposeful move to highlight the difference between reality and dreams, J.C. Staff haven't really made the effort to break new ground (and seem overly addicted to Merry's navel), and because of this Yumekui Merry retains a humdrum quality that makes it difficult to take seriously.
As for the animation itself, the series does achieve a very high standard, especially during a few action set pieces, but there's no real consistency to the quality so these high points are more the exception than the norm. There are many scenes where things could have been timed better and movements could have been sharper, so it's somewhat annoying to find that the effort hasn't been made to raise the bar in any way.
The opening sequence features the typical character introduction montage blended with some action that never appears in the anime proper, all against the J-rock/pop stylings of Daydream Syndrome by Fujiwara Marina. That said, the ending theme attempts to keep things simple with a boppy little J-pop track (Dreams And Hopes And The Me Of Tomorrow by Sakura Ayane), set against an image of Merry that is gradually being revealed from underneath flower petals.
Unfortunately one of the biggest problem areas is the background music as there are a number of tracks that don't seem to mesh well with the on screen action or appear to be completely unnecessary. In addition to this there are also issues with the levels, and all too often whatever track is playing will lay the foundations of a veritable cacophony when large audio effects kick in or characters begin speaking loudly. Unfortunately these issues could have been easily rectified during the recording process, so one has to wonder if there has been a poorly executed attempt to enhance the atmosphere of particular scenes, or simply a continuous oversight during production.
That said, there is some decent performances from Okamoto Nobuhito (Fujiwara Yumji), and Sakura Ayane (Merry Nightmare), but this is only in comparison to the rest of the cast. A large portion of the acting is nothing more than lines by rote which can be attributed to a script that's more than a tad juvenile, and this truly is a shame as the cast are a talented bunch for the most part.
Yumekui Merry features a variety of personalities that one might find in any number of highschool anime, yet while there is a certain amount of depth applied to several prominent characters, this never really feels like true development. It seems as though the producers have decided to follow a method that attempts to define the characters rather than make them grow, which is unfortunate as this approach can only really yield good results when there is a decent amount of characterisation from the start.
Sadly, there isn't.
Aside from the generic looks and routine personas, it's only Yumeji who appears to have any sort of detail at the start of the story, and part of that stems from the manner of his introduction into the tale. While one might argue that Merry's introduction also constitutes definition of sorts, nothing substantial is done with her until the latter half of the series. Most of the characters are apportioned a certain amount of screen time to tell a highly abbreviated version of their personal history or future goals, but there's very little emotion involved in this and the story can sometimes feel like more of a writing exercise than anything else.
Even with the flaws there's still something to this anime that manages to raise it from mediocrity, and that's the interesting ideas it can spark about dreams and how important they are to a person. While the explanations of cause and effect are a bit on the simplistic side, they can also be somewhat original and unusual, and this helps to retain the viewer's interest in the story. In addition to this the main thrust of the narrative is well conceived, even if the execution is lacking, and the generally serious tone of the story helps to offset the fact that Yumekui Merry can be a chore from time to time.
One thing that should be pointed out is that the series has a very clear "kids versus adults" mentality that seems more a convenience for its own sake than an outright declaration that everyone over a certain age is "evil", which makes it pretty obvious who the target audience is for this show (as if the highschool wasn't already a dead giveaway). The ending also lacks a degree of substance due to its slightly hurried nature, and many of the concepts in Yumekui Merry aren't fully realised, but given that the manga is ongoing it will be interesting to see where things go from here. While the series barely manages to hold it's own against the likes of Yume Tsukai (which isn't really all that impressive to be honest), there's an earnestness that appears from time to time that really should have been more prominent as it would have offset the lethargic productions values.
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.