Dream Eater Merry has left me in the middle. I don’t know if I either liked or disliked it; it felt like one of those shows that has potential but loses it by the last episode. Its flaws range from small to huge, yet I didn’t hate it in the end, since there are also positives to the show.
This show was animated by J.C.Staff (Shakugan no Shana, Nabari no Ou) and was directed by Shigeyasu Yamauchi (Casshern Sins, Blood+).
The anime introduces us to Yumeji Fujiwara, a high school student who has been having strange dreams of cats, although after the weird dreams everything seems normal. Yumeji is a part of the writing club at school and is surrounded by energetic friends; he also has the ability to tell fortunes. One day he bumps into the mysterious Merry Nightmare, who currently has amnesia and has nowhere to go. After this encounter,Yumeji is suddenly transported to the dream he had the night before and is greeted by the masked John Doe who wants to defeat Yumeji and use him as a ‘vessel’. However Merry comes into this dream world and stops John’s plan. Yumeji is transported back to the real world where he and Merry properly introduce themselves and we learn a lot about why this happened and why it’s happening to a lot more people.
The plot of the show has some very interesting ideas behind it and the dream world is well explained, so I really dug the show’s premise. I’m also very thankful that most of the main characters that are introduced are developed enough that I kind-of liked them. Yumeji benefits from this; he’s got this very motivated personality and he’s not perfect all the time and it’s refreshing to see a main male character like that. Merry Nightmare’s ‘Amnesia’ might be way too generic for some anime watchers but she is likeable as well and starts to change during the show, so some of the main basics of story and characterization are done well.
However as the series progresses and reaches the end, the plot-holes become laughably noticeable. The show builds up two main antagonists; one of them is a very strong demon who is the main focus in the second half, the other antagonist (the bigger enemy) only shows up once and is never seen again. To explain it would go into spoilers but it was frustrating; things like why does Yumeji have the power to tell these fortunes, why does Merry have amnesia, why is this romantic relationship between two of the clubroom members never explored, by the end of the show, it never feels like it ties most of these plot threads, which is very annoying.
I also noticed that the show never avoids the usual anime tropes in the first half, like Merry wearing a maid outfit, guy accidentally walking into a shower with girls inside, a character is bored so why don’t we have a beach episode! Things that never really needed to be there.
Another big gripe is the soundtrack. I rarely talk about music in my reviews unless it’s the Opening or Closing (both of those are pretty decent actually), I’m talking about the background music used in scenes and I would nominate it to be one of the worst scores I’ve listened to. The tracks never seems to fit the mood; some are out of place in a scene, some are supposed to sound mysterious but sound simple. It feels like a soundtrack where little effort was put into it, and is something I had to mention.
Back to positives. I really dig the art designs of the multiple dream worlds, the character designs in them, and the action plus the animation that was put into them; these are probably the best things about Dream Eater Merry and I looked forward to seeing which one came next. On the other hand, the CGI is noticeable (and sometimes bad like the floating fish bones) and the real human world had pretty generic art design overall.
Basically, I felt like the production team ran out of episodes and just abandoned the show. I wouldn’t have minded if a sequel was hinted at, but that never happened, which made me feel more empty than angry; that’s how I truly felt, for, even with these big gripes, I still enjoyed the series because of the things they did right.
The OP (Marina Fujiwara – Daydream Syndrome) makes an impact with a thumping guitar intro and ends up being a decent intense rock theme while the ED (Ayane Sakura -Yume to Kibou to Ashita no Atashi) is a more bubbly electronic J-Pop theme which is all right as well.
Extras include Textless OP and EDs and Trailers (Note: In this review copy, there are trailers for Toradora and Arakawa Under The Bridge, both have not been licensed by MVM by the time of this review).
Even with its massive flaws, Dream Eater Merry is still worth watching due to its dream world premise and its characters.