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.
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.
Yumekui Merry's story is centered on the appearance of "Muma"--denizens of the dream world--in real life. There are good Muma and bad Muma. The former, when they make a human their "vessel," cause said human's hopes and dreams to flourish. The latter destroy human hopes and dreams.
The show's main character and namesake, Merry, is a good Muma. Unlike others of her race, however, she does not require a human vessel to move about in the real world. Merry is also afflicted with some measure of amnesia and has been wandering the real world for some time. She meets Yumeji, a high school boy with the ability to see what kind of dreams someone will have when they next sleep. A bond inevitably forms and Yumeji promises to return Merry to her own world--which is what she wants more than anything else.
So there you have it. The story is fairly good in all aspects, except for the fact that it feels incomplete. Perhaps there will be a sequel somewhere down the road to answer the multitude of questions I had at the end of the show. One of the benefits of a series of this length is the lack of filler episodes. Every scene is important to the story, though some are more so than others. I cannot say, however, that the action intensifies significantly near the end of the series. Also, there are a few twists along the way.
As an extremely recent series, Yumekui Merry has superb animation. The colors are vivid and varied; the environments are beautiful to look at; the character designs, while relatively simple, are pleasing to the eye. Each of the dream worlds visited during the course of the series has a different feel, which I felt the artists took advantage of.
My only gripe with the animation is that the combat could be difficult to keep track of at times. That is to say, they chose rather odd angles which made it hard for me to tell what was happening at times.
I can only praise Yumekui Merry's soundtrack. The composer obviously has a strong Classical background, and it comes through in each track. I actually thought they were playing a selection of Bach during the first episode. The scenes are always well complemented by the background music.
The Japanese voice actors were also quite good. No one annoyed me and no one sounded cheesy. Kawanami Chizuru's voice actor didn't quite her personality in my mind, however.
The opening and ending songs were also quite good.
I greatly liked several characters in this series: Merry, Mistleteen, and Heracles Pharos. Merry reminded me of Haruhi from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, only somewhat less bossy. Her personality is quite endearing. Mistleteen and Heracles--the villains of the series--also impressed me. They were neither idiotic nor prone to endless monologues. Mistleteen's sadistic personality and odd relationship with her human vessel also interested me. I only wish that Heracles Pharos was more involved in the story. The details of his plan are never examined during the course of the show, though they may be saving this for a sequel.
Summary (8/10--very good)-
I've been wanting to watch Yumekui Merry for some time, and I was not disappointed. The show has superb animation, beautiful music, and an interesting plot. I give the series my hearty recommendation.
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.
I'm mainly inclined to rate this highly because of how low others have rated it, but that doesn't change the fact that this was a great anime right up to the end. What especially drew me into the story was the fact that ethics were always blurred -- a trait all too rare among the myriad of melodramatic animes out there. While the alignment of each individual character is rarely drawn into question outside of the normal suspense tactics (we don't see who it is that's working with the villain of the series until well into it, but that's not rare), every decision the characters make is riddled with downsides. While the Dream Demons they set out to exterminate may very obviously be evil themselves, the vessels they've taken over are at risk when their Demons are cleansed, creating an ethical dilemma for the characters that makes the plot a lot more interesting and involving and a lot less predictable.
Unfortunately (and this, I assume, is why this anime has a relatively low rating), the anime ended rather unresolved. Many questions were left unanswered and even one of the two main villains remains at large (indeed, we've hardly even encountered him) when the anime closes. This was as a result of deviating from the manga (which I definitely intend to read), meaning there's a good chance the series will be remade or continued with the manga's story preserved, and I certainly look forward to that.
EDIT: After having read the manga up to where it's currently translated, I do like what they added with the anime, but of course it hurts that much more that the anime had to end where it did. Hoping a full anime will come out when possible.