English: Dream Eater Merry
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Jan 7, 2011 to Apr 8, 2011
24 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.151 (scored by 31737 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisSometimes daydreaming can get you into trouble, but what do you do when it's other people's dreams that you have to watch out for? Yumeji Fujiwara has the unique ability to predict what kind of dreams other people will have, but lately, his own dreams have taken a bizarre turn in which he's being pursued by armies of cats. Stranger yet, Yumeji learns that the leader of the dream cats needs his body to access the Real World.
Finally, the strange becomes downright weird when a beautiful girl suddenly drops on top of him and announces that she's a Dream Demon looking for a way back to the Dream World! The fabric that separates reality and fantasy is torn to shreds, and Yumeji has a lot of sleepless nights ahead of him as he has to deal with both the dream stalking and a dream walking!
(Source: Sentai Filmworks)
Related AnimeAdaptation: Yumekui Merry, Yumekui Merry 4-Koma Anthology
Characters & Voice Actors
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. read more
There are many ways to interpret the definition of a dream. Is it the manifested world of our imaginations? Is it the parallel world that we live in while we sleep? Or is it the final goal, the end of the path that all of our goals and motives lead to? Yumekui Merry implicitly engage us in an intriguing tale of dreams; of dreams that are reached and dreams that are shattered. Of friendship and contracted promises, and of betrayal and wily deception. Yumekui Merry narrates a scenario that can be enjoyed by all people alike, by people with dreams that may have come true, or of people with dreams that lie in wait for the day that they may be manifested.
-= --- Story --- =-
From the producers of Blood + and Dragon ball Z, Yumekui Merry starts with bang. Yumekui Merry is certainly not one of those animes that lags around in the beginning; rather, grabs our attention immediately by giving the protagonist an unexpected disaster from above that ends in a very special acquaintance. All in all, Yumekui Merry narrates the pivot point of the life of Fujiwara Yumeji, who can see the inner atmosphere of the people around him, and can predict the type of dream the person will have that night based on this inner aura. The story pivots sharply as Yumeji meets a strange girl called Merry Nightmare. The story is one of the most original plots that have been made yet, incorporating concepts of that not unlike the movie “Inception”. In addition, the plot goes through many interesting twists that keep us guessing the next turn of the plot.
-= --- Animation --- =-
I found the drawings of Yumekui Merry extremely interesting and contrary to the usual graphics of contemporary anime. Although Yumekui Merry incorporates essentially the same type of portrayal of the outward appearance of characters as other animes, with the same background in the “normal” world, the graphics of scenes in the dream worlds are wholly different. Not only do objects not follow the laws of physics, what we would normally conceive as the effect of one action differs completely from the actual effect that is shown. Despite others who argue that the art of anime is not particularly appetizing to watch, I see it as part of the twists that make Yumekui Merry the attracting anime it is, that’s quickly rising through the board.
-= --- Sound --- =-
The soundtrack of Yumekui Merry is also part of the twist that makes up its personality. One of the aspects is that it defies the basic rule of using clashing dissonance of die-hard rock music and screaming guitars; instead, Yumekui Merry surprisingly chooses to use the romantic building sounds of a group quintet orchestra consisted solely of violins and violas. This effect makes the fight all the more enjoyable. From an unexpected transcribing, the fight shifts its position. As the music builds into more intense chords and arpeggios, the fight climbs to its climax. The experience is particularly exhilarating as the violins play in sync together in a strangely baroque tone to build up the rising action as the fight leads to its climax. I found that other reviewers also criticize the producer for giving the anime such an unfitting soundtrack, but as we will see while watching Yumekui Merry, the experience proves otherwise.
-= --- Character --- =-
There character development is the one weakness of the anime. Although it is clearly marked that a few characters progress and change throughout the anime significantly, the relatively minor characters (not to say that they aren’t important) do not have such a change. Although there exist flat characters, we grow to be fond of the protagonist and cheer them onwards throughout the anime. The protagonist Merry is especially lovable due to her engaging character and her nonchalance and ignorance to everyday things such as video games and groceries. Besides the protagonists, the minor characters, despite that they remain the same throughout the anime, are very interesting. I especially appreciated the character of Takateru Akiyanagi, the boy who constantly expresses his feelings and thoughts as through haiku; this shows an extremely keen sense of creativity that is parallel even to Angel Beat’s T.K.
-= ---Enjoyment --- =-
Yumekui Merry is especially enjoyable. Not only does it make the everyday aspects of school life as interesting as it can be by creating character development, but it also has many enjoyable fighting scenes that gives ecstatic feelings of greatness. As the anime progresses, we will be enthralled by the ever thickening plot as we try to guess the next possible action that the protagonists will take.
-= --- Overall --- =-
Yumekui Merry is an extremely underrated anime, not because it lacks charm and glamour – it has an abundance of those – but very few people know of its existence. Do not be motivated to skip this opportunity of inspiration just because no one recommended it. Yumekui Merry is actually a very interesting anime, and it does not take long to find out.
Reviewer’s note: Thanks you VERY much for reading this especially long review. I purposefully did not add ratings to this review. I feel that reviewer’s ratings never appeal to the reader, and who even cares about how I feel about the anime right? Regardless, I tried to revise this (my second) to create an effective review that will not only encourage the reader to watch Yumekui Merry, but also have a realistic idea of Yumekui Merry. If you did not like this review, please give me advice so that I can improve my horrible writing skills, and write a better review next time.
Alice is similar to Merry. Both are rude, they like sweets, they look like cats, they have strong characters, but they can be weak. They both have an unknown past.
Abyss and Dreamworld are similar worlds.
While there are some parallels between the plot lines and characters, the most striking similarity between these two shows is in the atmosphere. There is good comradery between the the characters and a gentle kindness that eminates from the protagonist of both shows. However, despite that there is a nagging creepiness which hangs in the background and a sense that all is not quite as it may first appear. The definitions of good and evil, write and wrong, seem to become complicated an lost in the varied perspectives of the characters.
Similar in art styles and fantasy concepts as well as the 'normal boy, mysterious girl' concepts. Same charming animation and plot.
The setting and characters are similar
both anime have a similar feel
Merry and Alice are both unsure of their past and from another world.
The anime have a similar feel (though yumekui merry has less humour)
both have another world
In both Yumekui Merry and Pandora Hearts, the male lead who is fairly useless in combat makes a contract with a strong and amnesia-stricken tsundere female lead, and both shows have a surreal, dreamlike atmosphere.
They both are very fantasy related with an alternate world and creatures other than humans. They have very similar male main character, Oz is similar to Yumeji
PH: The Abyss and creatures called Chains
YM: The Dream World and Dream Demons
Both main female characters lost their memories. Both animes have another world that have powerful creatures. Ironically, both female characters are ridiculously strong in my opinion.
Both the main female character are similar in characteristics and the main male characters are also similar in a setting where is built with their imagination.
Opening Theme"Daydream Syndrome" by Marina Fujiwara (藤原鞠菜)
Ending Theme"Yume to Kibou to Ashita no Atashi (ユメとキボーとアシタのアタシ)" by Ayane Sakura (佐倉綾音)
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