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Yumekui Merry – 02 »

Yumekui Merry – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「Daydream Syndrome」 by 藤原鞠菜 (Fujiwara Marina)
Watch the OP!: Download, Streaming ▼

「夢現」 (Yume Utsutsu)
“Half Asleep & Half Awake”

Hello ladies and gents. Look at Madoka, now back to Merry, now back to Madoka, now back to Merry. Sadly, it isn’t Merry, but if you ignore the Shinbou and SHAFT and purely look at the story, it could be like Merry. In all seriousness, they’re obviously both completely different shows. However, one thing does link them, and that is the theme of dreams. Dreams can make interesting concepts, and if you’ve never imagined such a thing, a certain movie proved it can be quite the plot device. Yumekui’s spin on it might not be as mind bending, but dreams becoming reality can be a scary thing.

So how can I sum up Merry’s first episode in one word? Intriguing. Potential. Cute. Atmospheric. That’s more like a couple of one word descriptions summed up together, but that’s the general gist of it. Yamauchi Shigeyasu is the keyword here, and may be the sole reason why you felt the scenes were just a little desolate, a little depressing, and a little “out there.” I didn’t think the Casshern Sins feel would carry over so much, nor did I know this might actually just be his “style,” but it’s a very subtle influence that I’ve never created much of an opinion on. That said, it’s not actually misguided for the plot, as there seems to be a darker element in the works, and with a depressing tone of voice at the preview, I’d say those are flags for exactly what’s to come. Due to the “seinen” nature of the manga, a more mature story can be expected, but it’s not exactly the first time J.C. Staff’s adapted one.

The show seems to like Merry Nightmare (Sakura Ayane). A lot. Good thing I like her too. Just not as much. Yet. Merry suffers the obvious, “holy crap she’s a girl and deserves as much design attention as possible, so let’s stuff ribbons, hats, fluffy coattails, striped stockings, and some tattoos on her face for extra measure.” Don’t get me wrong, I love her look, love her face, love the multiple shadings of her navel, and I love her voice, but she sticks out like a sore thumb against other characters. Still, the show is named after her for a reason, and opposite to her is Fujiwara Yumeji (Okamoto Nobuhiko), a well-adjusted teenage boy with a well-adjusted power to see colors of dreams in other people. So far, it’s completely pointless except as a trick to show his friends, who were quite the characters. An emotionally reasonable childhood friend who obviously likes him, a teasing tomboy, and a bishie writer, whose habit of writing short two sentence poems down and signing them actually makes me laugh every time. While a tad generic, none of them are annoying at all, and I particularly like Tachibana Isana (Kayano Ai), for she actually doesn’t resort to exaggerated violence when confronted with her feelings. I coin her, “mellowdere.”

Girl comes out of nowhere, meets guy from random chance, guy from random chance has dream powers, his dreams deal with cats, and cats know who girl is. Vicious circle, but it all makes sense, maybe because it has to. Nonetheless, the story unfolded quite well, and with enough mystery to care about the next episode. Problem is they didn’t tell us jack squat, much like the other first episodes this season (or every season), and it’s incredibly difficult to judge whether or not it’s a winner. Characters are introduced, story is gisted at, mystery is brought up, and random nobodies are shown for a couple seconds as “foreshadowing.” Who is Merry? Why is she so cute? What’s with those pointed ears? Nakata Jouji, a leader of cats? Awesome. But what does it all mean?

So here’s where I’m going to tell you people who don’t feel like watching the show to see how good it is. The characters are refreshing (there’s that word again) and fun to watch, the story shows potential, and you get to see Merry’s brilliantly reformed umbilical cord repeatedly. Her face is also drawn consistently cute at any moment, and every time her face is on screen, the director made damn sure she looked moe in some cute pose (it happens quite a lot, which explains why she takes the majority of these screencaps). Also, what’s with the almost out of character scene with her crying and the animation that came with it? More cuteness of course. Watch it for the Merry, stay for the Merry. Plus, she kicks serious ass to boot. Now, the animation wasn’t as top notch as it seemed from the PV, but the nicely animated scenes are all there (and the fight was AWESOME). The show is generally animated with a pretty low FPS, meaning they skip frames and animate maybe only 7 frames per second rather than the typical 24, since it’s a cheap way to animate these days to save money and time. I don’t have a real problem with this, though it does give the show a slight feeling of stiffness. The background art was rather varied, aptly changing from scratchy urban city, to solid normal school, and then sketchy watercolor dream world. It was sort of jarring to see different art styles depicting the backgrounds, but I suppose it’s just there to create more of the atmosphere Yamauchi likes so much. *shrug*

If I were to judge Yumekui Merry from the first episode, I’d say it didn’t give us enough. Now if it were an OVA, and we had to wait till next year for the next episode, then yes, that might have put a damper on my mood. But guess what, we’re going to see it next week, and we’re going to get more midriff than you’ve ever wanted in your entire life. Yamauchi, just don’t follow J.C. Staff’s reputation for disappointing endings.


ED Sequence

ED: 「ユメとキボーとアシタのアタシ」 (Yume to Kibou to Ashita no Atashi) by 佐倉綾音 (Sakura Ayane)
Watch the ED!: Download, Streaming ▼

Merrylicious opening, fantastic visuals, and I liked the childhood versions of Yumeji and Merry playing together. Not too particularly fond of the song, but I’m picky. I like the ED song a lot more, and it’s even sung by Merry. Interesting idea of petals slowly drifting away from her, but it’s nothing special. Slick animation of the petals though. I think I’m Merry-washed.


January 7, 2011 at 12:26 am
  • January 7, 2011 at 12:30 ambeeboobeeboo

    “Hello ladies and gents. Look at Madoka, now back to Merry, now back to Madoka, now back to Merry. Sadly, it isn’t Merry, but if you ignore the Shinbou and SHAFT and purely look at the story, it could be like Merry.”

    ^I lmfao’ed at that :D

  • January 7, 2011 at 12:37 amHiisuke

    Merrybutton.. GETTO DAZE!

  • January 7, 2011 at 12:52 amAlvord12

    Intresting storyline but animation seemed a bit dull in between and Chaser John Doe resembles Hei, a bit. Is the seiyuu for Merry an AV actress, because most of the Google search results seem to indicate that.

    • January 7, 2011 at 12:55 amvirox

      It’s her first anime role

  • January 7, 2011 at 1:05 amArabesque

    Ahh Old Spice parodies never get old. Now then Kiiragi, all whats left is for you to show us all a picture of you on a horse 8D

    As for the actual show … well, I was certainly dreaming. Yeah it was boring, but meh, it could be light fluff much like that previous JCStaff show about the 7 companions something.

    Might watch just to read your posts if more old spice shows up (or a picture of you on a horse. Either one)

    • January 7, 2011 at 1:08 amKiiragi

      I believe the correct conversion would be, “I’m in a dream.”
      And well, I can’t show you that.

      • January 7, 2011 at 4:01 amArabesque

        You hurt me Kiiragi :<

        Okay, so a dream horse then. Which I guess for you would be a Unicorn with a hot rod paint job.

      • January 7, 2011 at 4:27 pmSuppa Tenko

        So… Ima guess that Inception seriously influenced this season of anime?

  • January 7, 2011 at 1:14 amvirox

    >they skip frames and animate maybe only 7 frames per second rather than the typical 24
    This is becoming a bad habit of J.C.Staff, I think it started with ToraDora. It even affected Shana in some scenes. Well I hope it’s not as bad as discribed, because I haven’t seen the episode yet. I love the look of the cats!

    oh and

  • January 7, 2011 at 1:35 amAshan

    I take it Kiiragi is a fan of Johnny Awesome ;)

    • January 7, 2011 at 1:43 amKiiragi

      Sorry, I don’t play WoW.
      I’m more of a fan of the original commercial.

  • January 7, 2011 at 1:50 amXziled

    so… much… midri-cough i mean merry…cough

    i liked the way you typed this out kiiragi, made laugh the entire time i was reading it through lol

  • January 7, 2011 at 1:53 amsolarguardian

    I fell in love with Merry’s design since I first saw it but now watching the show, I really wished they toned it down a bit. She surely does stick out. And almost all the side characters are really your generic “let’s give these guys some wacky personalities” kind of side characters so they don’t feel boring. Truth is, it’s kind of annoying and just takes me out of it all. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut, it wasn’t as annoying as it would’ve been.

    I freaking love every character design, I love the background art, I love the voice acting, I love the music, I love Sakura Ayane’s voice, I love Merry. Will be watching.

  • January 7, 2011 at 1:57 amSirMuffin

    I can’t say I enjoyed it too much… But I’m holding out for the cute fangs and the excessive amount of bellybutton shots!

  • January 7, 2011 at 1:58 amClick

    Those were some pretty fish skeletons.

  • January 7, 2011 at 2:01 amP0NCH

    The “where is my hat?” scene made me laugh XD

  • January 7, 2011 at 2:31 amReborn

    The teacher or whoever he was, I get a bad feeling about him. I wonder if there is more to him than means the eye.

  • January 7, 2011 at 2:44 amSiege

    I like how it has a halloween look, sorta like what soul eater had. as for merry, shes pretty cute and adorable.

  • January 7, 2011 at 2:54 amHenDarou

    Seemed like a pretty good first episode to me. The premise seems interesting, the characters are great, it’s very atmospheric and Merry is freaking adorable. I can’t complain.

  • January 7, 2011 at 3:33 amewok40k

    fighting with myself over whether to watch this show… Merry is sooooo daaamn cuuute
    *as a belly button?
    still, after watching Paprika all shows concerning dreams pale in comparison

  • January 7, 2011 at 3:47 amtomoyostar

    Man, her pupils are freakishly sheep like.

  • January 7, 2011 at 3:53 amZaku Fan

    So far the storyline looks average. I wonder if it will become more interesting.

  • January 7, 2011 at 4:11 amSaika

    Yeaaaah :D

  • January 7, 2011 at 4:16 amcutemi2

    look how Merry Nightmare can kick the enemy down

  • January 7, 2011 at 4:20 amAvenger

    Frilly touhou hats and excessive midriff shots. I think I’ll give this show a shot.

  • January 7, 2011 at 4:39 amgary

    she’d look better without the tattoos /agrees on too many design elements
    merry was more loli in manga but I cant complain

  • January 7, 2011 at 5:23 amvirox

    Anyone else noticed that Merry looks like a sheep? :) I will be counting Merrys to fall asleep tonight ~

    • January 7, 2011 at 7:19 amZannafar

      Oh, someone who noticed it^^
      The artist wrote on a character sketch page in the manga that her design motif is a sheep.

  • January 7, 2011 at 5:25 amkaitokitou

    Looks like I got a new anime to watch this season!!!

  • January 7, 2011 at 6:10 amSnicket

    For a second there i thought BONES was producing this, when i saw the ‘cold opening’. Then i saw SHAFT was behind it and was still ok with it.

    For a first episode, this was actually pretty good. Some more conversions between the MC and the supporting (other then the dream detector thing) would have been nice. Unless there gonna be ‘just there’ then i guess it was ok.

    Cant really pass judgment on this series yet, but after a next few. Most of us will be able to determine if its worth checking out.

    If you’re unsure if a series is worth watching. Just watch it for 3 or 4 episodes. Usually by then they have already established a plot or have fallen into a patter. Making it easy to decide if it’s worth checking out.

    • January 7, 2011 at 6:59 amvirox

      Not SHAFT, J.C.Staff

      • January 8, 2011 at 5:01 amSnicket

        oops, my auto correct fails again

    • January 7, 2011 at 9:14 amKiiragi

      I’m sure I’ll be watching it all the way through. I’m just unsure for others to be watching it further than the first episode.

      • January 8, 2011 at 5:03 amSnicket

        Yeah i know. I was just sharing the sharing the system i use to determine if an anime is worth watching or not.

  • January 7, 2011 at 6:47 amgawrshness

    Is it me or Merry looks like a combination of Index and Mikoto?

  • January 7, 2011 at 6:52 amKaiser

    Lovin’ the art and music so bad, I guess this season will be a really awesome one!

  • January 7, 2011 at 6:59 amProoof

    Doesn’t seem all that special from the first ep but who knows.

  • January 7, 2011 at 7:16 amZannafar

    Good first episode and great opening and ending.
    This show might be one of my favourites this season.

    On the note of Merry’s design: The author and artist of Yumekui Merry also is the author and artist of the Touhou doujin Advent Cirno. Merry’s clothes (especially her hat) seem to be an allusion to that. Also her and the other nightmares (something which was missing in the anime: Merry referring to herself and John as monsters and nightmares) like Chaser John Doe are supposed to stick out when compared to the characters from the real world.

  • January 7, 2011 at 7:42 amthenewhorde

    the moment I watched it, I had to rewatch the opening like over 10 times.

    It was powerful, artistic, stylish, and most of all, expressionistically surreal. If any of that made any sense whatsoever. I have never felt so strongly for a show since in years, and I think this year is headed to a amazing start if I can be this much absorbed into your “stick out like a sore thumb” character design.

    the contrast in the childhood scene going to a wet merry with greenish blue dark waters was so strong it really drove it home.

  • January 7, 2011 at 7:58 amAndré

    Better than Madoka but still avarage like Madoka. ;(

  • January 7, 2011 at 8:14 amTrejon

    Hello there.
    I enjoyed the first episode and i like how merry is, but why she has frog eyes??? this is the first time i see frog eyes in either manga or anime besides naruto when he is in saga mode.. O.o. and those pointy ears… maybe she is an ELF!!

    • January 7, 2011 at 1:57 pmvirox

      That are sheep eyes. She resembles a sheep, doesn’t she-ep?
      Me-e-e-erry Nightmare. What animal is the best to be connected with dreams and sleep? A sheep!

  • January 7, 2011 at 8:19 amgroove

    what an ugly hat and overall character design. seriously.

    • January 8, 2011 at 12:03 amlzanagi

      prepare yourself for massive trolling.

      Also Haters gonna hate XP

  • January 7, 2011 at 9:34 amFlamingYu

    Merry feels kinda like Shana.

  • January 7, 2011 at 9:45 amrosmant

    i had pandora hearts vibes while watching this, i dunno why

  • January 7, 2011 at 11:26 am♕Croosboy♕

    I got this feeling “Is this princess tuto” in the very beginning.
    I havent read the manga yet though but the anime is good(even though it has a child animation flavor).
    I have yet to watch this so as to understand Some concept.
    I only felt Cute and atmospheric though.

  • January 7, 2011 at 12:11 pmsunsona

    Chaser John Doe? lmao

  • January 7, 2011 at 12:16 pminnerchihiro

    Could be good.
    They love the midriff shots huh…

    • January 7, 2011 at 12:40 pmaloneinwonderland

      Do I sense a 2011 cosplay hit?

  • January 7, 2011 at 12:43 pmewok40k

    watched it, and I like Merrys fighting style…
    on the other hand she has nothing of the “haughty tsundere” like Shana when outside combat
    the childhood friend is not a “brutal tsundere” as usual
    so I am interested just for the unusual characters
    off too sleep, counting Merrys…

  • January 7, 2011 at 1:14 pmSummelBaerli

    The best thing about this episode was your review of it xDD

    Merry is presented so obviously cute and loveable that I don’t even find her adorable anymore .___. The childhood scenes of the opening have me interested for now though…

  • January 7, 2011 at 1:21 pmXanathos

    Personally, as long as it’s interesting plotwise i’m fine. Like the first episodes of One Piece… they weren’t incredibly well animated, but they were great.

    I don’t want to call for something great knowing anime industry is trying to overcome a crisis right now…(well, like the rest of the world)

  • January 7, 2011 at 2:04 pmPhosphatide

    Advent Cirno author means good stuff, naturally.

  • January 7, 2011 at 2:24 pmThe Big Guy

    If you understand what the word cinematography means, you can understand why this is going to be the best show this season. The directing is absolutely fantastic, and the settings and camera work provide layers of depth for the story and the characters after only a single episode. The top notch cinematography will make this really good as long as it stays at this quality.

  • January 7, 2011 at 2:32 pmPoiira


    And that part where she lands with her knees practically next to each other and her feet all splayed: shouldn’t that have broken her legs!?

    Er, sorry. I’m picky about these sorta things, lol. They just don’t look natural.

  • January 7, 2011 at 3:28 pmrazi

    Him: “Merryyy” Me:”Christmas!” :D
    and it happens everytime, looks like I wont be able to take this show seriously…

  • January 7, 2011 at 3:28 pmAnon

    Golden formula: Normal boy with some weak goofy powers meets cute kick-ass girl and goes on adventure. Worked for Shana, worked for Pandora, gonna work for this too as well.

  • January 7, 2011 at 4:10 pminnerchihiro

    The way he says “Merry” is sort of ridiculous sounding. “Mmmmeeeeerriiiiiiiiiiii.”
    Also, I think she looks more like a cat, but I can see the sheep thing.

  • January 7, 2011 at 6:01 pmDude

    A hell of a lot more interesting than Madoka, I have to say. You can keep your visuals ad your crayon characters, I’ll take Merry and this setup any day, because it definitely looks great. Can’t wait for next week.

  • January 7, 2011 at 6:09 pmMatroid

    The plot reminds me of… “E.T. goes home!”

  • January 7, 2011 at 7:10 pmDavid Herbert

    Merry can really kik some butt……though her eyes remind me of a frog’s for some odd reason.

    Good episode can’t wait for next week.

  • January 7, 2011 at 9:15 pmboop

    Interesting show. I have to agree with you the animation felt stiff.

  • January 7, 2011 at 9:17 pmNinja Penguin

    My biggest disappointment with it is the action – or LACK of it. There were 2 chase scenes and one fight scene, so imho the show should have been filled with action but wasn’t. Maybe in Winter 2011 I’ve just been spoiled by the action scenes in IS and Madoka. Time which potentially could have been used to show Yumeji running away from evil cats is instead used for close up shots of a tin cans and 3D fishheads. I disagree with Kiiragi’s review that the fight was awesome, imho it was boring almost DBZ style “freeze frame” fighting. I like my anime fights to have fluid movement.

    Overall feels kinda average and low budget for me so far, I’ll give it a couple more episodes before deciding whether to follow it.

    • January 8, 2011 at 12:40 amKiiragi

      J.C. Staff is funny that way. They’re kind of like SHAFT, in that they attempt to make their animation seem better than it actually is, and usually run out of budget, leaving inconsistent scars across later episodes. SHAFT is much worse at this though. Personally, I appreciate the skill that goes into making it seem pretty awesome, while still saving cash. Perhaps they’re saving up for future eps.

  • January 7, 2011 at 9:39 pmcshin9

    I wasn’t really looking forward to this, but it turned out to be interesting.

  • January 7, 2011 at 10:27 pmYuumei

    Never really heard of this before, but I enjoyed it. Moreso than Madoka Magica. Looking forward to watching this.

  • January 8, 2011 at 12:00 amamado

    I have feeling that chaser john doe will still become one of the main characters, which I hope im right cause I find him pretty interesting for a bad guy in the first ep.

  • January 8, 2011 at 12:10 amlzanagi

    Foreshadowing: Blond long haired girl has unique eyes and therefore maybe another dream aspect.

    Theory: Merry was a childhood friend of Yumeji, but was sick or something and got possessed by a dream aspect.

    Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong. However, the op makes me believe that the show might go along those lines.

  • January 8, 2011 at 12:58 amDawn

    Surprising, of the new shows (not counting kimi ni) this is my favorite at the moment. And I’m not sure why. This is a good sign.

    Kiiragi is right, it has atmosphere. I want to know more!

    I’ve got a good feeling about this one.

  • January 8, 2011 at 2:36 amoutcast

    Those poems were they those syllabel poems? The ones samurai used to make under cherry trees or something.

  • January 8, 2011 at 3:49 amRyanime

    I noticed at the beginning of the episode, there is a guy who writes something by just swishing his brush over the paper, not bothering to actually draw out the characters.

    So far it’s interesting.

  • January 8, 2011 at 10:40 amsealouse

    Well this was a big surprise. I loved the BGM and the atmosphere and Merry. I liked the villain’s comment about Deja Vu being the crossroads between dreams and reality. That actually happens to me sometimes.

  • January 8, 2011 at 12:56 pmKaioshin Sama

    Bellybutton The Anime!

  • January 8, 2011 at 6:00 pmShirt

    Oh yes. I can see this hand sign catching on.

  • January 9, 2011 at 1:33 amGoblox


  • January 10, 2011 at 1:33 amrainstrife

    I really like the first impression on Yumekui Merry – 01, Kiiragi. Good read.

  • January 11, 2011 at 9:28 pmleon

    This anime reminds me of Black star shooter…

  • January 12, 2011 at 2:27 amSkins Thunderbomb

    Very cute and lively so far, but so very predictable. I hope the storyline becomes nice and deep to offset the cliche.