Yumekui Merry is a ★★☆☆☆︱There Really Are No Hopes or Dreams

The tagline is Merry Nightmare’s famous catchphrase, and it hold true to the source material. In the world of Yumekui Merry, dreams and reality are one and the same. Originally created by a 東方Project dōjin artist (known for creating the somewhat-famous comic, “Advent Cirno”), the story has a fresh take on the Japanese lore of dream demons, known as muma (夢魔); and the trickling string of fate that ties them to the entire human race!

⚠️ This review has light spoilers ⚠️

—Story/Characters

Synopsis: Yumekui Merry begins with Yumeji Fujiwara, a seemingly average high school student. But ten years ago, Yumeji gained the ability to see the dream auras of other people around him. This ability allows Yumeji to predict what type of dreams people are likely to have next. The dreams of others may not be a mystery to Yumeji, but his own dreams have recently left him puzzled. In dream after dream, Yumeji has been pursued by an army of cats lead by John Doe, who claims he needs Yumeji’s body to enter the real world. These strange occurrences get stranger when Yumeji meets Nightmare Merry, a dream demon seeking to return to her own world. Using his powers, Yumeji decides to assist Merry in getting back home. But Merry’s very presence in the real world means that the barrier separating dreams and reality has been broken, and not all of the dream demons intend to come to Earth peacefully…

This series starts off strong, with the introduction of Jōji Nakata’s character, “Chaser” John Doe! This character is enigmatic and has the presence of a roaring lion. The introduction to him, using the dreamscape, is a running-start to the series. But, despite the intrigue and hype that this character creates, he is only shown briefly (very briefly, I may add) two other times in the series! 

Part of me wonders what the point of even introducing the character was; wait, oh! I know, it’s to lure the audience into a series that is as poorly thought-out as a 60 meter dive. Every character that gets a cameo from the source material is poorly rendered or built-up to be something (especially in the case of “Mystletainn,” often translated as “※Mistilteinn“), but ideas are as adhesive as water in this disaster of a production!

※the literal translation is “Ocean of Trees”

The story starts out strong with a world set, on a stage full of colorful characters. The lead heroine, Merry Nightmare, is an ingénue, despite her goat eyes and gothic attire. The protagonist, Yumeiji Fujiwara, starts out the story by being a tactful guy, with other-worldly abilities. His insight into peoples’ aura and dreams, gives him a metaphysical chessboard to solve issues both in the real world and the dream realm. 

Yumeiji and Merry’s blossoming relationship is genuinely captivating, but everything get capsized, as more and more characters get introduced. It would be impossible to tie together every loose-end, by the end of the single-cour TV series. Unless you were a savant at a making everything come together, in a way that appears to make sense, which Mr. Yamauchi was unable to do.

What made things worse is the increasing decline in quality, the visuals became absurdly bad in the final three or four episodes! It was hard to keep track of all of the intersecting side-plots, and Merry’s significance is gradually outshined by Mistilteinn; a character that is played up to be horrendously over-powered, but then sinks as quickly as the Yamato battleship did, during World War II.

—Technical

Luna’s Favorite Works by Each Respective Creator = ✅

Shigeyasu Yamauchi (director, episode director, storyboard), notable works:

  • Casshern Sins
  • Digimon Adventure 02 (Part 3, in the English version of the film) ✅
  • Dr. Slump
  • Dragon Ball Z (※eps 200-291)
  • Dragon Fist 
  • Han yori Dango
  • Inferious Wakusei Senshi Gaiden Condition Green
  • Kimi no Iru Machi
  • Kōchū Ōja Mushiking: Mori no Tami no Densetsu
  • Magical★Tarurūto-kun Movie
  • Motto! Ojamajo Doremi: Kaeru Ishi no Himitsu
  • Ojamajo Doremi Sharp Movie
  • Saint Seiya: Kamigami no Atsuki Tatakai (Movie #2)
  • Saint Seiya: Saishū Seisen no Senshi-tachi
  • Saint Seiya: Shinku no Shōnen Densetsu
  • Saint Seiya: Tenkai-hen Josō – Overture
  • Street Fighter Zero The Animation (“Street Fighter Alpha: The Movie”)
  • Xenosaga The Animation

※End of the World Tournament saga and the entire Majin Bū saga. He also directed many of the movies: #3, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, and #13. Along with the “Saiya-jin Zetsumetsu Keikaku” OVA.

Commentary: Not the biggest fan of Mr. Yamauchi’s style. I am a fan of the Neo Human Casshern series; leading to me attempting to watch Sins and then dropping it several times, before trying to pick it back up again. And Yoshihiko Umakoshi’s designs for that series are amazing; I mean, HeartCatch PreCure is still one of my favorite shows! I also was one of those children (back in the day) who watched Dragon Ball Z, loved the Cell saga, and then dropped off around the Majin Bū arc. 

Someone close to me was upset with his handling of the adaptation of Kimi no Iru Machi, too; though, I’ve personally never read the manga and have only seen the first episode of the anime. I cry every time I watch the Digimon Adventure 02 movie, but I think that has more to do with the character writing, than the actual cinematography… I remember there being a few awkward moments in that film, despite the high budget and eye-catching scenic shots.

In the case of Yumekui Merry, the action scenes are barely animated. The visual direction more contorts the faces of the characters, rather than attempts to convey the illusion of two characters duking it out. Like Casshern Sins, the screen is darkened in the final few episodes and the character poses/movements are very uncomfortable to look at. They basically amble around—while loud, orchestral, bassoons blare in the the background.

Mr. Yamauchi would later apologize for the sloppy animation and choreography, by stating that he “had a difficult time blending the moe style with action scenes.” Gia Manry from Anime News Networks describes the series as a “poor man’s Soul Eater with its definite sense of style over substance.” That quote basically sums up how I’ve felt about Mr. Yamauchi’s filmography, over the years.

Hideki Shirane (script, theme song lyrics, series compositions, screenplay), notable works:

  • Android Ana Maico 2010
  • Binzume Yōsei
  • Boku no Kanojo ga Majimesugiru Sho-bitch na Ken (“My Girlfriend is Shobitch”)
  • Cross Game
  • Date A Live ✅
  • Date A Live III
  • ※Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka (“Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?”)
  • Futari wa Milky Holmes
  • Hayate no Gotoku!!
  • Hidan no Aria
  • Hundred ✅
  • Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari
  • Kaitō Tenshi Twin Angel: Kyun Kyun☆Tokimeki Paradise!!
  • Kill Me Baby
  • Last Period: Owarinaki Rasen no Monogatari
  • Maburaho
  • Mameushi-kun
  • Monster Musume no Oishasan
  • Nozo x Kimi
  • Ōkami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi
  • Ōkamikakushi
  • Ōkiku Furikabutte (“Big Windup!”)
  • Queen’s Blade OVA
  • Doki Doki School Hours
  • Shijō Saikyō no Deshi Ken’ichi (“Ken’ichi: The Mightiest Disciple”)
  • Tenchi Muyō! GXP
  • Tenchi Muyō! Ryōōki 4th and 5th Seasons
  • The iDOLM@STER ✅
  • Yami to Bōshi to Hon no Tabibito
  • Zettai Shōgeki: Platonic Heart

※Mr. Shirane also did the scripts and series composition for the OVA, Sword Oratoria, as well as for the second and third season of the series.

Commentary: This script writer is a hit or miss, but they mostly miss the trajectory entirely. The best work that they ever did was the four episodes they wrote for The iDOLM@STER series, their contribution to the Data A Live franchise, and their script for Hundred. It seems like they really didn’t know how they wanted to adapt “Dream Eater Merry,” they introduced so many characters, and yet not many of them (if any) got a meaningful conclusion. The screenplay in this anime is a really big head-scratcher, I mean, what was the purpose of having Yui play an imaginary trombone in the very last scene. Was it supposed to be a deep allusion to the interstice between reality and the world of dreams? You can’t randomly try to make a series deep, if the rest of the cast isn’t fully developed.

Ayane Sakura as Merry Nightmare (as well as performed the opening theme, “Daydream Syndrome”), notable roles:

  • Yotsuba Nakano, 5-tōbun no Hanayome (“The Quintessential Quintuplets”) ✅
  • Rise, Alice or Alice
  • Maia Tsukigane, Aquarion Logos
  • Tomoka Kase, Asagao to Kase-san. (“Kase-san and Morning Glories”) ✅
  • Prinz Eugen, Azur Lane
  • Shizuku Hanaoka, Ballroom e Yōkoso (“Welcome to the Ballroom”) ✅
  • Ran Mitake, BanG Dream ✅
  • Subaru Wakaba, Battle Girl High School
  • Ochako Uraraka, Boku no Hero Academia ✅
  • Pheona, Chain Chronicle ✅
  • Nao Tomori, Charlotte ✅
  • 9’δ, Darling in the FranXX
  • Dorothy, Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai ✅
  • Kokoa Hoto, Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka? (“Is the Order a Rabbit?”) ✅
  • Tōka Shishigaya, Grisaia: Phantom Trigger ✅
  • Akari Mamiya, Hidan no Aria AA
  • Gasper Vladi, High School DxD ✅
  • Hotaru Takegawa, Hotarubi no Mori e ✅
  • Bort, Hōseki no Kuni ✅
  • Marii Buratei, Joshiraku
  • Niwatori, Jūni Taisen ✅
  • Hina, Kamisama ni Natta Hi (“The Day I Became a God”) ✅
  • Shimakaze, Nagato, Sendai, Naka, Jintsū, Mutsu, Tama, and Kuma—Kantai Collection (“KanColle”) ✅
  • Asuka, Kimi no Iru Machi (“A Town Where You Live”)
  • Hasuki Komai, Kishuku Gakkō no Juliet ✅
  • Miyabi Kannagi, Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imōto ga Iru! (“My Little Sister Is Among Them!”)
  • Shinji, LayerD Stories Zero
  • Yuiko Enomoto, Love Lab
  • Arisa Ayase, Love Live! ✅
  • Felicia Mitsuki, Magia Record: Mahō Shōjo Madoka☆Magica Gaiden (TV)
  • Sōta Kishibe (“La Pucelle”), Mahō Shōjo Ikusei Keikaku (“Magical Girl Raising Project”) ✅
  • Haruka, Military!
  • Yū Mizue, Mō Hitotsu no Mirai wo.
  • Rin Asano, Mugen no Jūnin: Immortal
  • Gisele Adjani, Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse ✅
  • Haru Onodera, Nisekoi ✅
  • Natsumi Koshigaya, Non Non Biyori ✅
  • Ryōka Narusawa, Occultic;Nine ✅
  • Solution Epsilon, Overlord ✅
  • Rinne Ibara, Pretty Rhythm 
  • Aina Ardebit, Promare
  • Mika Shimotsuki, Psycho-Pass ✅
  • Nagisa Nanami, Ragnastrike Angels
  • Yū Ōsawa, Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san (“Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles”) ✅
  • Rena Asteria, Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars
  • Hijiri Kuina, Rō-Kyū-Bu! ✅
  • Ai Yashajin, Ryūō no Oshigoto! ✅
  • Silvia Lautreamont, Seikoku no Dragonar
  • Hikari Tsuneki, Seiren
  • Yuzuki Kurebayashi, Selector Infected WIXOSS (series)
  • Tsubaki Sawabe, Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (“Your Lie in April”)
  • Sakura Amamiya, Shin Sakura Taisen the Animation
  • Hayato Hayasugi, Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion the Animation
  • Moa, Show By Rock!! ✅
  • Nana Sunohara, Sunohara-sō no Kanrinin-san ✅
  • Saiko Yonebayashi, Tokyo Ghoul:re
  • Levi Kazama, Trinity Seven
  • Ryōko Kaji, Tsurezure Children
  • Kaisei Ebisugawa, Uchōten Kazoku (“The Eccentric Family”) ✅
  • Urūru and Saraana, Utawarerumono: Itsuwari no Kamen (“Utawarerumono: The False Faces”) ✅
  • Akane Isshiki, Vivired Operation ✅
  • Iroha Isshiki, Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru (“My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU”)

Commentary: Her role as Merry Nightmare is rumored to have been Ms. Sakura’s break-out performance. Despite the clunky presentation, Ms. Sakura’s role as Merry is very compelling. When Merry gets upset or is unable to convey her feelings to Yumeiji, it is clear how deeply it ails her, with just the subtle inflection or noise from the seiyū’s mouth. It’s kind of weird how much the camera pans over her midriff and belly button, throughout the span of the 13-episode series, but Merry is still the best girl because of Ms. Sakura’s powerful performance!

Nobuhiko Okamoto as Yumeiji Fujiwara, notable roles:

  • Io Otonashi, Acchi Kocchi (TV)
  • Obi, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (“Snow White with the Red Hair”)
  • Shin-ah, Akatsuki no Yona ✅
  • Karma Akabane, Ansatsu Kyōshitsu (“Assassination Classroom”)
  • Rin Okumura, Ao no Exorcist (“Blue Exorcist”)
  • Gear, Aoi Sekai no Chūshin de
  • Arata Hinohara, Arata Kangatari
  • Yoichi Karasuma, Asu no Yoichi!
  • Eiji Niizuma, Bakuman. ✅
  • Kiyoharu Hyōdō, Ballroom e Yōkoso (“Welcome to the Ballroom”) ✅
  • Katsuki Bakugō, Boku no Hero Academia ✅
  • Hikaru Asahina, Brothers Conflict
  • Layfon Alseif, Chromed Shelled Regios
  • Rei Ōgami, Code:Breaker
  • Daichi Shijima, Devil Survivor 2 the Animation
  • Ryōsuke Kominato, Diamond no Ace (“Ace of Diamond”)
  • Asagi, Double Circle
  • Bete Loga, Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka (“Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?”)
  • Mikoto Mikoshiba, Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun (“Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun”) ✅
  • John Brown, Ghost Hunt
  • Akatsuki Ōsawa, Hagure Yūsha no Aesthetica
  • Yū Nishinoya, Haikyū!! ✅
  • Murasama, Hakkenden: Tōhō Hakken Ibun
  • Masasahi Miyanomori, Hanayaka Nari, Waga Ichizoku: Kinetograph
  • Kotarō Izumi, Hybrid Child
  • Jurai Andō, Inō-Battle wa Nichijō-kei no Naka de (“When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace”) ✅
  • Usagi, Jūni Taisen ✅
  • Takumi Usui, Kaichō wa Maid-sama!
  • Aguero Agnes Khun, Kami no Tō (“Tower of God”)
  • Mizuki, Kamisama Hajimemashita (“Kamisami Kiss”) ✅
  • Genya Shinazugawa, Kimetsu no Yaiba ✅
  • Kaname Asagiri, Mahō Shōjo Site ✅
  • Takumi Tsuzuki, Mayoi Neko Overrun!
  • Kyōka Izumi, Meiji Tokyo Renka
  • Zero Kurogane, Metal Fight Beyblade Zero G
  • Shinya Momotsuki, Momokuri
  • Ikta Solork, Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyōno Alderamin
  • Yoichi Saotome, Owari no Seraph
  • Shin Kanzato, Persona: Trinity Soul
  • Gladion, Pokémon
  • Takeru Fujiwara, Prince of Stride: Alternative
  • Bernard Octavius, Ryū no Haisha
  • Knight Kijima, Sacred Seven
  • Isaac Foster, Satsuriku no Tenshi ✅
  • Luke Ainsworth, Seiken no Blacksmith
  • Shōta Kisa, Sekaiichi Hatsukoi ✅
  • Ryō Kurokiba, Shokugeki no Sōma ✅
  • Leicaster Maycraft, Shukufuku no Campanella
  • Yorita Morimiya, Sola ✅
  • Ivan Karelin, Tiger & Bunny ✅
  • Accelerator, Toaru Majutsu no Index (series) ✅
  • Dale, Uchi no Ko no Tame naraba, Ore wa Moshikashitara Maō mo Taoseru kamo Shirenai. (“If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord”)
  • Josef Kou Hiraga, Vatican Kiseki Chōsakan
  • Rindō Fuke, Wave!!: Surfing Yappe!!
  • Nero, Yume Ōkoku to Nemureru 100-nin no Ōji-sama: Short Stories
  • Makoto Kashino, Yume-iro Pâtissière
  • Hizamaru, Tōken Ranbu ✅

Commentary: Mr. Okamoto is usually type-cast as either the romanticized bishōnen (“pretty boy”) archetype or plays psychotic characters; no doubt, because of his memorable and bombastic role as Accelerator (“Toaru Majutsu no Index”)! In this series, there’s a slight harem dynamic, so his character is both “that” kind of character, while also kind of resembling an idyllic, shōnen protagonist. The character, Yumeiji, is shown to be both energetic and insightful. Though the character is very likable, I would say that Ayane Sakura still steals the show with her performance. But, of course, Merry Nightmare is the titular character of the series!

Ai Kayano as Isana Tachibana, notable roles:

  • Akari Kawamoto, 3-Gatsu no Lion ✅
  • Futaba Ōki, Amanchu! ✅
  • Mikono Suzushiro, Aquarion Evol
  • Anya Dostoyevskaya, Aria the Avvenire
  • Kaga and Atago, Azur Lane
  • Hana Mutō, Captain Earth
  • Kanade Ōe, Chihayafuru ✅
  • Ponoka, Choboraunyopomi Gekijō Ai Mai Mii ✅
  • Anna Clément, Code Geass: Akito the Exiled ✅
  • Mikan Tsumiki, Danganronpa 3
  • Maihime Shirayuki, Dokyū Hentai HxEros
  • Mimi, Flip Flappers ✅
  • Megumi Sakura, Gakkōgurashi! (“School Live”) ✅
  • Saori Takebe, Girls und Panzer ✅
  • Moka Hoto, Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka? (“Is the Order a Rabbit?”) ✅
  • Nana Hayashida, Golden Time ✅
  • Inori Yuzuriha, Guilty Crown ✅
  • Yuyuko Saigyōji, Hifū Katsudō Kiroku: The Sealed Esoteric History ✅
  • Diamond, Hōseki no Kuni ✅
  • Mayaka Ibara, Hyōka ✅
  • Emi Kaidō, Infinti-T Force ✅
  • Aoi Sakurada, Jōkamachi no Dandelion ✅
  • Hibino Shiba, Kamisama Dolls ✅
  • Akane Mahōgasawa, Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara (“If Her Flag Breaks”)
  • Kanae Kochō, Kimetsu no Yaiba ✅
  • Juliet Persia, Kishuku Gakkō no Juliet ✅
  • Lalatina Dustiness Ford, Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! (“God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World!”)
  • Millia il Velch Cutrettola Turan, Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam ✅
  • Mogana Kikaijima, Medaka Box ✅
  • Zenna Zabi, Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin ✅
  • Chisaki Hiradaira, Nagi no Asu kara ✅
  • Shiro, No Game No Life ✅
  • Ai Fuyūmi, Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru (“Oreshura”) ✅
  • Erika, Pokémon Masters ✅
  • Chizuru Hishiro, ReLIFE
  • Muginami, Rinne no Lagrange
  • Akane Kajiya, Romantica Clock
  • Utaha Kasumigaoka, Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (“How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend”) ✅
  • Kokomi Teruhashi, Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan ✅
  • Mashiro Shiina, Sakura-sō no Pet na Kanojo ✅
  • Leila, Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarō (“Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms”) ✅
  • Hitoe Uemura, Selector Infected WIXOSS
  • Kirika Akatsuki, Senki Zesshō Symphogear ✅
  • Yomi, Senran Kagura ✅
  • Ruki, Senryū.
  • Lucy Yagami, Servant x Service
  • Meili Zhou, Shin Chūka Ichiban!
  • Rinko Ogasawara, Shirobako ✅
  • Ryōko Sakaki, Shokugeki no Sōma ✅
  • Haru Estia, Soul Worker: Your Destiny Awaits
  • Karila Hatsuse, Stella Jogakuin Kōtō-ka C³-bu
  • Mei Tachibana, Sukitte Ii na yo. (“Say I Love You”)
  • Mako Saitō, Super Seishūn Brothers
  • Alice Zuberg, Sword Art Online ✅
  • Alisha Diphda, Tales of Zesteria ✅
  • Kanae Mitani, Tamayura
  • Yuyuko Saigyōji, 東方 Niji Sōsaku Dōjin Anime: Musō Kakyō ✅
  • Mamako Ōsuki, Tsūjō Kōgeki ga Zentai Kōgeki de Ni-kai Kōgeki no Okaasan wa Suki Desu ka? (“Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?”) ✅
  • Sumire Kisaragi, Twin Angel Break
  • Kasumi Takamiya, Witch Craft Works
  • Anna, Yakusoku no Neverland (“The Promised Neverland”) ✅

Commentary: I don’t usually say this about voice actors, but Ms. Kayano has an absolutely angelic voice and presence on-screen. Her casting as Isana is perfect in this series; the immutably, clear-hearted childhood friend. She was a really close second for best girl, I thought I would like Engi more, but Merry and Isana were (by far) the greatest characters! The context of their cute friendship/rivalry in this series is enhanced, when you realize that they both play Koko and Moka in Gochūmon wa Usagi Desu ka? (“Is the Order a Rabbit?”)! Too cute!

Other notable seiyū roles include the legendary Jōji Nakata (as “John Doe”), Kana Ueda (as “Chizuru Kawanami”), Aya Endō (as “Engi Threepiece”), Rina Hidada (as “Minato Kisaragi”), etc.

In the end, I have rarely seen something with such a high potential to be good—blunder, in such terrible way! The series had me, I absolutely adored: the aesthetic, the character designs, the concept, the personalities, the seiyū talents! Everything about this series should have been great. Perhaps, everything would have come together better in a 26-episode series, rather than a story compressed into 13. Who can really say? Yumekui Merry gets a 3/10, while I shake my head, in the fashion of a disappointed old geezer.

—Side Note: I’m going to check out the manga, as well as the spin-off/prequel: “Kagefumi Merry.” Despite the faults of the anime adaptation, I still find the world and the concept really interesting. And Merry is waifu material.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Published by eggheadluna

H.E. Rodgers is the author of the Juniper's Tree series, also known as the 真柏Project. MyAnimeList: https://myanimelist.net/profile/Egghe... Twitter: https://twitter.com/EggheadLuna #真柏Project #JunipersTree

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