Dream Eater Merry (aka Yumekui Merry) is an interesting 13 episode show with a number of problems. It held my interest, just, through all 13 episodes but isn’t one I’m likely to rewatch in a hurry.
The core characters of Dream Eater Merry are the amnesiac dream demon Merry Nightmare who is trapped in the real world, and a male high school student Yumeji Fujiwara who can see the auras of people’s dreams.
The two form an uneasy partnership to help Merry get home, whilst fighting a plague of dream demons possessing humans. This uneasy partnership slowly developing into deep trust is the strongest part of Dream Eater Merry, and is most of what kept me watching to the end.
One thing that really impressed me in the early episodes was the design work: there is a gritty, almost decayed, feel to many of the real world scenes that is really effective. By contrast the various dream lands all have distinct flavours, and are often brighter than the real world.
In particular the school feels old, and grotty , and is a very nice piece of design work.
There are a number of tropes in Dream Eater Merry that really should have worked better than they did. There is a sequence where one of the dream demons, and her vessel, turn from enemies to reluctant allies and then friends.
However I thought it was clumsily handled. It was also overloaded with a trope about well meaning heroes not really knowing what they were doing, and it didn’t help that the “enemies” also didn’t realise the full truth of the matter.
Toss in the mysterious stranger who turns out to be an ally of sorts, and there’s a stretch from about episodes 8 – 11 where I was starting to just not care.
Dream Eater Merry is also only a partial adaptation of a much longer manga. Whilst the anime does have a definite ending, the real Big Bad is seen only briefly and plays no part in the finale.
There is a significant amount of male gaze and fanservice going on, particularly in the dreaded Beach Episode. Admittedly about half of the beach episode has actual plot and character development in it, which gives it about 40% more content than most examples of the breed. The otherwise impressive opening credits also have a few moments.
Dream Eater Merry is essentially incomplete, and not likely to be completed. Despite this frustration, and the other issues, it is worth at least one look to appreciate the design work and the core characterisations. Other than that I rate this as an eighty percenter: it could have been great but falls short in the crunch.
- Toradora (2009): First Thoughts (piratesobg.wordpress.com)