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.



  1. “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 😀

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

  4. >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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!!

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

  14. 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…

  15. 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)

  16. 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.

    The Big Guy

    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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

    Ninja Penguin
    1. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.


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