Rem is an ordinary woman in our world but, in the world of dreams, she becomes a dream warrior, defending humanity from the evils there. When dream demons reach the waking world, she fights them with the help of her pets which transform into a tiger and wolf.
Dream Hunter Rem was originally supposed to be a hentai OVA, but the first episode proved so popular that the following two episodes were released for the general market, with episode one being redone as a non-hentai "Special Version," with the sex scenes removed. The original, hentai episode one was never released on LaserDisc or DVD.
Its been a while since I've watched this anime and it ain't up on the net anymore so here we go; based on memory
Story - 8
The premise is unique for a magical girl anime; our young teen heroine is a long line of dream hunters, people able to enter others dreams and combat the demons that lurk within those vulnerable to their influence. The parallel story arcs concerning the real world and the dream world and the transitions between can get quite interesting. Otherwise, the anime takes a lot of elements from fantasy anime (Valis style magic swords vs huge monsters), magical girl, horror (Kruger
style killed in your dreams) and spiritual/supernatural/mysticism (Monks, exorcism and demons). The anime even has cute little interludes where a Chibi REM gives you a crash course lesson about dreaming! Plot arcs usually involve evil/spiteful spirits/demons that seek revenge for their brutal murder, want to cross over to the real world and just plain like killing people in their sleep etc.
Also beware some nip slips (since skimpy battle armour), horrid death sequences (cause you don't really die if you die in your dream; usually) and some 'I've seen enough hentai' moments since Dream Hunter was intended as a hentai first before being rereleased in its more commercially viable form.
Art - 9
This is one of the more well produced retro OVAs I've seen, featuring a nice array of colours and some very well choreographed action sequences. Art design goes anywhere from feudal to gothic to 80s fantasy anime which is all well; 80s anime settings weren't always drawn the best but they sure looked nice and had a lot of thought put into the design.
The characters designs are also nice (but 80s character designs always are).
Sound - 7
This had mostly pop synth and rock as background music, rather interesting and a nice Japanese take on 80s style synth music. No problems with SFX or VA either. New Dream Hunter Rem had far more kickass synth.
Character - 8
Dark green is a nice shade of hair colour for our heroine, Rem. She may look like a cute girl but she's just as capable as any heroic, selfless 80s action girl. Packing a huge revolver outside of the dream world and a trusty sword in the dream world, you know she can kick some ass. Her allies include a transforming dog and cat and a monk and a police chief who make for a interesting contrast and work well together. The main villain is given the deranged serial killer backstory who disturbingly, continues his work, even in death (key character trait, the bastard just wont die as we see in the New OVA series). Looks wise he's the clichéd evil guy in top hat and a cane, but given the two face treatment to make for a character who looks as dangerous as he is evil.
Enjoyment - 8
I liked this one a lot, very dark and violent at times but you were always rooting for Rem to come out on top. It always gave you a hope that things would end up fine. Besides, there's a car filled with more missiles than its own volume.
Dream Hunter Rem was originally released as a hentai OVA. It seems it was successful enough to inspire two non-hentai sequels, and a general market re-release of episode 1 with the sex scenes removed. (MAL includes the hentai release of episode 1 in its entry, which is why there are 4 episodes listed rather than 3).
Episode one seems to be an anomaly among the three episodes (which is funny considering it was the originally the hentai one) in that it tries to tell a somewhat coherent story with an open-ended but understandable ending. It was morbid, but it wasn't disgustingly absurd or offensive. Rem
seemed to be a character that wanted to use her dream entering abilities for some sort of good, she seemed to be a human being who at least cared about her role.
Sadly, all of this seems to have been forgotten in the second and third episodes. Rem is still cute, but that's really all you'll get. The plot strings one absurdity after the other with zero tonal awareness. It's still morbid, but now almost sadistically so. It also seems the writers have forgotten that Rem is supposed to be a 'dream hunter,' because now all of the ridiculous stuff is happening in the 'real world.' She spends almost no time inside dreams, instead she battles a giant robot clock tower in her bikini armor, for real, because there's no way that could happen in a dream.
Rem herself has almost no redeeming qualities in the second episode. She is hardly a character at this point and more of an excuse to allow the unraveling of a nonsensical chain of events. Rem has no problem with people dying horrible deaths around her, that is, unless the writers decide that she should care for whatever reason. For example, Rem becomes friends with an obviously troubled girl who is comfortable enough with Rem to confide in her. She tells Rem, despite the danger, about how her twin sister was murdered after her schoolmates whipped her and locked her in a clock tower because she was too pretty (brutal right?). But, don't forget about the sad backstory of the killer, whose mom left her when she was a child, causing her to trip and fall. Now, Rem's reaction to hearing this is not of sympathy and it doesn't contain any human emotion. Instead, Rem decides what is important is to defeat the pissed off evil spirit of the sister, who (understandably) wants revenge. The episode then ends without any hint that Rem will tell the hundreds of cops who showed up about the girls who murdered the 'friends' sister. Instead, everyone, and those girls especially, smiles as they watch the spirit of the sister fade away into the sunset. The episode doesn't even seem to understand that anybody did anything wrong, or that anyone should be concerned about the fucked up school that spawned this behavior.
So, what do the writers want us to think? I have no answer to this. If the show wanted to be dark, it certainly could have been. But doesn't edge require some sort of seriousness? It's hard to take a tennis challenge to the death as seriously as the characters seem to take it. But next to that, we have hints of bullying and repressed emotions at an all girls school. And given the ending it might be that the writers thought they were giving us a glimmer of hope, or something. It shouldn't be a surprise, but it fails. On the flipside of that, absurdity in general can usually be excused for comedic reasons. However, there's nothing genuinely funny about what happens. All it does is leave a bad taste in your mouth. So, I'm not sure what this OVA wants to do. I can't understand it as comedy and it certainly isn't a horror. It's just a mess. The only way to describe the writing is dumb, and there's nothing entertaining or charming about its stupidity that might salvage it.
Episode three follows the same formula as episode two. Dumb things happen one after the other, and Rem finally solves the problem, but only after the evil spirit racks up a large body count. Oh, and don't forget the random homo-erotic scene between a monk and cross-dressing psychopath.
The sad thing is, this OVA has tons of good ideas. The concept of a cute girl dream hunter armed with a magnum is an interesting one (it's why I watched it in the first place). She drives around in a cute light blue car that shoots missiles and she battles vengeful spirits and dream dwelling serial killers. The individual episode synopses themselves aren't bad ideas either, but the writers seemed to have gone to great lengths to write them as stupidly as possible. All of these things are cool on paper, but that's all they are. The informative 'Rem's study corner' was kinda interesting I guess.
Maybe someone with a different sense of humor, or someone into ero-guro could get more out of this. But for me it's a total failure.