There’s Something About Merry

Yumekui Merry began on the fence for me.  Uninpressed, was I, of Yumeji’s personality and his whole ability to see dream colors through his thumb and index finger.  Merry, however, was the life of the series.  She is a visitor in a world very unfamiliar to her as she searches for clues of her past and a way to return home.  Her resolve seemed simple but interesting enough to drive the series forward and make a pretty good anime.  I figured I would finish the series, rate it a pedestrian score, and move onto another series once the Spring season began.  But there’s something about Merry, or rather, Yumekui Merry, that has grown on me these past few episodes.  And it has grown into one of the better animes this season.

For one thing, Merry is still as mysterious and electrifying as ever.  Her character certainly is the driving force behind the series and not just in the form of the storyline.  Merry brings out the best in the characters around her.  Characters around Merry seem to be more animated and alive.  Merry’s genuine interest in the real world also provides some cute scenes with some insight to her true personality.  And the fights.  The fights are still fantastic.  Instead of relying on some magical or mysterious weapon to drive the Dream Demons away, Merry uses her own burly strength to punch and kick them back to the dream world.  That’s worth some praise for a character.  By and large, Merry is certainly the best character in the series and one of the best characters of this season.  Still, that’s not to say none of the other characters have improved as well.

Let’s continue on to Yumeji.  My first impression of Yumeji was that he was a shallow character whose only trick was that he could see colors on people that represented dreams.  It was a little unfair to judge him so harshly after the first episode but Yumeji has improved.  His ability certainly is useful as he can draw out Dream Demons without having to enter a dream through the traditional method.  Here I was thinking that only these fights in the dream world would occur when characters were sleeping.  The ability certainly speeds up the action in the series to a respectable pace.  Yumeji’s personality is getting better, too, but his progress is slow.  He has that stereotypical ‘friendly-to-all, protects-his-friends, concerned-for-others, clueless-about-love’ approach that many male leads are cloned with.  Still, his determination to stalk Merry, even after she rejects him a few times, is rather interesting.  It shows he has some backbone to his resolve and isn’t willing to let this girl go even though he can’t do a whole lot for her.  Usually after the lead female learns that of the lead male’s ‘unique ability’, they immediately pair up and continue on an adventure together.  Either that or the lead female comes back to the lead male later for help.  The situation in Yumekui Merry is the opposite of those clichéd circumstances.  The fact that Yumeji continues to pursue Merry after he several refusals helps promote some uniqueness to his character.  Yumeji hasn’t been great but to say he hasn’t improved would be a lie.

The Dream Demons are another strong factor in the series.  The design of the Dream Demons is outstanding and the dream worlds they inhabit are stunning.  The range of their diverse motivations for contacting the real world keeps each one fresh and appealing.  Each one has its own goals for reaching out to humans.  Each demon has been a remarkable character, even if they only appear for one episode.  Their dream environments are also equally engaging.  The worlds complete the atmosphere set up by the storyline.  Each world has had its own distinctive style.  They all have created a mysterious environment for the characters to interact in, which has always been a focus of mine.  Despite not seeing Chaser John Doe since the first episode, I’ve been satisfied with the new Dream Demons introduced in the past few episodes.  And I’m sure I’ll be content with the next Dream Demons, as the series progresses.

The other characters have had more screentime and are more likable, but there is not a whole lot to say on them yet.  I’m guessing we’ll be treated to an episode to explore the dreams of each.  Still, for now, there isn’t a whole lot to say on them, especially since I don’t know their names.  Well, that’s not entirely true… Saki, Taka, Mei.  But that’s it.

Yumekui Merry certainly has grown on me and done so quickly.  It is the cream that’s risen to the top of this season, only sitting behind Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Kimi ni Todoke this season.  It might not remain there when the season closes, especially with Fractale catching up, but the series has improved its standing and added its own flavor to this winter.  Yumekui Merry has a healthy blend of action, comedy, and mystery with vibrant characters and a gateway to unbelievable and wonderful settings.  I can only hope that Yumekui Merry continues on this pace and remains one of the stronger shows this winter.

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