Yumekui Merry Episode 13 (final)
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here.
Series Premise: Yumekui Merry, a.k.a. “Dream Eater Merry” is a 13-part weekly television series that aired between January and April 2011, based on fantasy manga series by Ushiki Yoshitaka. Since an event ten years ago, Yumeji has had the ability to see others’ auras and predict their dreams, but has also been tormented with the same dream involving cats. One day a dream demon named Merry falls on top of him; and while she searches for her own way back to the world of dreams and nightmares, they must also prevent nightmares’ attempts to enter the waking life of the real world.
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Episode Summary: Yumeji’s attack against Mystletainn fails. Leon sacrifices himself to form a bullet for Chizuru to attack, but that fails as well. Merry gets trapped in a Bud of Despair, until Yumeji realizes that his strength comes from his ability to control dreams. Sensing that Yumeji believes in her, Merry is revived and successfully defeats Mystletainn, saving Isana and her dream. They return to the real world, Ijima leaves, Yumeji vows to continue to find a way to return Merry to the dream world, the end.
My Impressions: In some respects, Yumekui Merry is a perfect microcosm of the entire Winter 2011 anime season: It started out as an interesting idea with quite a bit of promise, but squandered its potential, lost focus, and ended up with a weak, muddled finish that was largely a disappointment.
About 90% of the final episode was nothing more than the big, climactic battle between Mystletainn and everyone else, and it all played out just about as you would have expected. Was there ever any doubt that the Good Guys would end out on top, and that Mystletainn would be vanquished? It was not a question of “if”, but a question of “how”, and the solution was predictable as it was unsatisfying: Yumeji comes to the realization that through “lucid dreaming”, he has control over the daydreams. Bah.
Ultimately, this was not so much as a conclusion as it was a “stopping point”, almost as if we’ve cleared the first level of a video game after defeating the first “big boss”. The main reason for the show itself — namely, Merry getting trapped in the real world — is still just as unsolved as when she was introduced in the first episode. The mystery of Yumeji’s unique ability remains a mystery, just as the unexplored previously hinted relationship between a younger Yumeji and Merry.
Another thing that stood out like a sore thumb on this final episode was the substandard animation quality. I had bitched about it in the very first episode (mostly about how choppy it was), but didn’t really talk about the subpar effort since then. But in this final episode, for some reason, the crappy animation really was painfully obvious — probably because it was the final big battle and I was expecting them to “step up”. I try not to rag on animation quality (I’m much more of a “story” guy), but when it is bad enough to affect the viewing experience…well, it’s hard to ignore.
FINAL GRADE: C-. I only became more disappointed with Yumekui Merry as it progressed, and in retrospect I probably should have dropped this show halfway through, and probably would have been more entertained by some of the other Winter 2011 shows I dropped along the way, such as “Is This a Zombie?”. The story suffered greatly from a lack of focus, it wasn’t clear who the real villain was until near the end, it wasn’t clear what the direction the story was taking, it wasn’t even clear what the character’s motivations were until halfway through. It started out okay, but ended up repeating the same story elements in multiple episodes without any value added with each iteration, and in the middle when they threw in the fanservicey beach bikini episode, I knew this was not destined for greatness, to say the least. But I soldiered on, and in the end, Yumekui Merry ends up with a deflated C- grade, not worth watching. And if there is a second season, unless there are major changes (as in new studio, new director), I cannot imagine recommending that, either.
And that, my friends, marks the very final episode of the Winter 2011 season for me. After all the shouting, exactly *two* television series were worth watching (Madoka Magica and Hourou Musuko); as I said earlier, big-time disappointment. But I’ll say more in my interim “Where Things Stand” status update coming up shortly.
For more information:
- My earlier reviews:
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, and Wikipedia
- Licensed for distribution in the United States by Sentai Filmworks, but no scheduled release date yet.
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “That’s it, kids. The Power of Hopes and Dreams and Never Giving Up, as you might have expected, saves the day. And the memory of breezy outfits that provide air to the boobs and high visibility to the stomach will forever live on in our hearts.” – Sea Slugs!
- “This series always had a rather interesting atmosphere, filled with mystery and intrigue. Unfortunately, it never capitalized upon the unique atmosphere to this series, and not to mention, the characters could have used much more development. The dream world, and the dream demons themselves, had some complexity to them at times, which I did appreciate to an extent. In the end though, this series turned out a bit on the mediocre side. Grade: 7.6/10.” – Emory Anime Club
- “Yumekui Merry started out strong with the first few episodes, until they dragged Mistitlenn’s character on through roughly seven episodes. That’s about where this series began to lose steam, the story was decent the idea of dreams was a great idea! Just wish it was planned out more.” – Metanorn
- “Simply put, this episode alone did not do the entire show justice. It was full of plot holes (umm, where’s John Doe and Pharos), corny dialogue, and badly choreographed fight sequences. I mentioned before around episode 11 that the episode at that time probably could have been scrapped without too much of a consequence to the entire series. Well, this episode is another to add to that batch.” – Jrafanan
- “Sure, it doesn’t have the most original plot or the best dialogue, but its excellent execution helps to make up for that. The visuals and music are both fantastic, especially for the scenes in the dream world. Grade: 7/10.” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
- “Do bother to check out the first half if you have the time, though. It’s a wonderful little series with excellent characterization. It’s always nice to see Shigeyasu Yamauchi’s unique style of directing, but I do wish that he had been put on a story that… actually had the potential to show itself off. Grade: 80/100.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “The thing is, this show does an awesome job with slice-of-life stuff, it’s really great, and you can’t feel but like the characters. But, this being good on it’s own, really takes away from the seriousness and tension of the main plot in my opinion.” – Darknives
- “Yumekui Merry could have been amazing, it could have become a cult phenomenon (disregarding the navel fetishes that have sprouted across the nation). Still, a nice distraction from the drudgery of reality.” – The Otaku’s Blog