Yumeji Fujiwara, a high school student with the ability to give insight into one's dreams, has been forced into battles and misfortune caused by the nightmares that live inside people's dreams. Trapped inside his own dream, he is forced to fight against an army of cats lead by a dream demon who goes by the name Chaser John Doe. When Yumeji meets Merry, another dream demon who suffers from amnesia and is fighting to return to the dream realm, the two decide to become a team. Together they battle foes and gather the answers needed to try and send Merry home.
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 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 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 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 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 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 Hey, I used the words lifeless and boring so many times, I don’t even need to explain this part. VERDICT: 5/10 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 that2) 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 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: http://randomc.net/2011/04/08/yumekui-merry-13-end/
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