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 31971 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
Watching Yumekui Merry was like riding a jeep down a long, bumpy road spanning several steep hills. When it was good, it was pretty compelling. When it was bad, it was almost impossible to slog through. Though the good outweighed the bad enough to not make me dread the next episode.
Now, I don't expect anyone was especially thrilled to see another show that used every shounen trope to its fullest extent, with a bland male lead, an unstoppable and infuriating lead villain, and a plucky tsundere sidekick.
The story, which isn't properly divulged in the synopsis, is as such: Yumeji is your standard shounen protagonist with the ability to read peoples' dreams by making a circle with his thumb and index finger. He meets a mysterious and flamboyantly dressed woman while experiencing a trippy dream sequence, and the two build a friendship that withstands any and all obstacles. That's about it.
In the beginning, there's nothing at all wrong with the story. The problem with it is, quite a few plot threads are introduced, toyed with for an episode or two, and never brought up again.
Just a warning, possible spoilers ahead. If you want this to remain as spoiler free as possible, skip down past the dotted line.
The first plot introduced is Yumeji's conflict with a dream demon who wants to use his body as a vessel. Okay, that's a good plot. And the demon can infiltrate his mind at anytime and plunge him into that dream state. Alright, that works. And the girl who he meets in there one day tries to help him out. Okay, excellent. Sounds like a good, semi-compelling series. But nope, a few episodes later it's dropped and only paid lip service less than halfway through, where it's resolved in an incredibly anticlimactic manner. And for the rest of the series, this entire plot is forgotten, which makes the synopsis utterly useless.
Not a problem though, because a second plot is brought up by Merry, the plucky sidekick. She's also a dream demon, but all she wants is to return home to her world, and for that she needs to vanquish a few demons and use the portals that send them back to send herself back. Not nearly as interesting as the first, but it's still serviceable, and would allow for more freedom with character development. And thankfully character does develop... right up until the last third.
Unlike the first, this isn't forgotten, but just completely shoved aside for the standard plot.
The main plot, of course, being the need to vanquish an unstoppable evil through the power of friendship. You all know how this is going to go, so nothing needs explaining.
The story is somewhat redeemed by a twist at about the halfway mark, and another at the two thirds mark, that's somewhat unexpected and casts what Merry does in an entirely new light.
It would've been decent if they had just stuck with the main plot, without introducing all those abandoned subplots.
The characters are, for the most part, bland and uninteresting. Merry's the only one not of a cookie cutter design, but her personality is as standard for tsundere characters as it gets. Really, there's nothing here you haven't seen before. Heroes are likable, if somewhat dimwitted, and the villains are despicable in a way that you like them to be. Again, standard fare.
Sound-wise, Yumekui Merry employs a somewhat catchy OP and a pretty good ED, but otherwise unremarkable music. The characters are usually appropriately voiced. Not much worth mentioning either for or against the music or VAs.
Aside from the boring character designs, I must admit that the art of the various dream worlds used is quite excellent. Each world is haunting and surreal, from a moonlit wheat field swaying gently in the twilight breeze, to a warped town bathed in a bluish-green glow, surrounded by levitating fish skeletons. Otherwise, it gets the job done, and nothing more. The animation is fluid, the fights are fun to watch, and I was never left bored during the action scenes.
Yumekui Merry breaks no ground, preferring to tread water under pseudo-philosophical debates and questionable handling of the story. I understand that 13 episodes limits the schedule somewhat, but if the subplots were going to be underutilized like that, they should've been left on the cutting room floor.
Otherwise, it's more than watchable. Just don't expect to be wowed or walk away having felt richer for the experience. It's stupid, short fun, and sometimes that's what you need in life. read more
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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