「夢の中でアストレイ」 (Yume no naka de asutorei)
“Astray in a Dream”

You know, I remember how exciting shopping with my parents was when I was younger. Picking up random stuff to get, wanting to push the cart, or just riding in it. One of my favorites was carefully placing myself in between the bottom area of the cart, where you usually shove low heavier items, and get super psyched because of how low I was to the ground while still moving. Since my parents took pretty long to shop, I spent almost forty minutes in that position one time, and what a blissful forty minutes that was. Merry’s innocent excitement over what has become the most mundane task ever for most people drew some nostalgia for me, and I’ve once again realized how much fun being a kid was. Sometimes, experience just isn’t worth the outcome, and frankly, it’s why I am so far underwhelmed by Merry’s story.

There’s a real sense of “not much happening” that seems to plague Yumekui Merry, and I can’t shake the feeling that it won’t really change. But here’s the thing, and it’s that enough developments occur that I shouldn’t feel this way, yet I still do. Merry is seen getting more accustomed to human lifestyles, revealing she’s been here for ten years, and thanking Yumeji for giving her purpose. She then meets another dream demon that has a more stronger presence than previous ones, who proceeds to finally unveil the “fact” that Merry’s actions so far were meaningless and that there is no way to return to the dream world. Merry receives mental shock, Yumeji gets pissed, and of course, gets hurt in the process. Next episode: Merry goes through the typical stages of crying, angry at others, angry at self, then redemption, and finally transcendence. I don’t want to say “typical” is the issue here, but it’s also a problem. The emotions and development are just too simple for me, as well as the problems presented. For another perspective, I feel like I’m watching a dumbed down Mushi-shi. *shrug*

Relative to the show only in itself, this was one of the best episodes so far. The attempt to actually animate a lengthy battle this time was unexpected, but it was certainly welcome. The fight between the two had some odd floaty bits to it, but it fulfilled the needs. It’s not like I expect extremely edge of the seat inducing fight choreography, but this seemed like it was almost at that point, so it felt almost like wasted potential. Still, it’s a lot better than the usual, but I really hope they didn’t actually blow their budget on this, as that would be pretty disappointing. I think Gainax animators are the best at dynamic fight scenes, which makes me wish they would do more action shows, but I digress. The way the episode played out was better done than the last episode, and they really did reveal a lot about things, giving some nice needed tension that actually fits in the constant depressing atmosphere the show keeps heavily pushing. Yumeji also continues to prove to be the best male character to grace my screens this season, and I seriously wish other mains would be more like him.

John Doe returns next week, and it seems the story will retouch bases to complete the resolve the characters need to continue on with the bulkier plot. Well, at least I think there will be a bulkier plot. Maybe Yumeji doesn’t wake up for a while, and she has to go inside his dreams to defeat John Doe since he’s now available to be possessed or something.

 

Preview

54 Comments

  1. Though I feel like it’s an effort to actually watch an episode of Yumekui Merry each week, I don’t feel like it’s time wasted. It’s standard fare that probably won’t be remembered as anything significant as it plays out in a format that we’re already use to. Still, it works for a 1 cour series and it’s interesting to watch.

    Shadiic
  2. Next episode has John Doe. Can’t wait.

    As for this episode, pretty good, but as Shadiic said, it’s somewhat of an effort to watch an episode of this show. Although i do enjoy it.

    Norwegium
  3. the angel demon didn’t get killed off this episode 🙂 though Yumeiji gets hurt is not nice…
    John Doe comes back? Maybe we will get to see more about the “boss” the angel spoke about as well…
    and nice association between being a kid and Merry shopping, Kiiragi XD

    jrj
  4. too good fights to drop, plus I am really interested in the whole dream and reality interactions… are nightmares possessing their host aware that they are not going to be able to return? why are they so fascinated with reality?

    ewok40k
      1. well, there are people in reality fascinated with drems 😛 so I think it balances out…
        I am really interested about motives of those intrepid “realitynauts”, seems some want to explore and meet new friends, while others like the angellike swordswoman from last episode have more complex motives…

        ewok40k
  5. thats not the only bad thing that happens when you defeat a dream demon(nightmare, in the manga)…
    yumeji is vulnerable at the state he is, john doe will admit that next ep.

    (dont worry, I wont spoil too much and just give vague hints)

    amado
  6. Don’t see anything that bothers me in this serie’s. Sure they could have explained thing’s a little better then they do. But I don’t really care about that. All I know that I’m really liking watching this.

    Pera
  7. I don’t want to put spoilers so I won’t but next episode is where all the exposition comes out. We’re finally delving into the ‘plot’ of Yumekui Merry as opposed to its ‘story.’ Sadly I feel like the episode after that will be the beach episode (is that a bad thing? Merry in a swimsuit.) but then we get into who the main bad guy really is. (I don’t think these are spoilers…)

    I liked this episode a lot but it did feel …off? I think it’s the tension level. I watch YM after Madoka every week so maybe that’s why. Madoka has this incredible ability to make every scene tense, and while the fight scenes aren’t great (they’re just really good) they feel tense. Merry doesn’t feel that way at all. I think this is a seinen but J.C. Staff should think more about the fights to make us feel that tension that the characters are feeling. Then again I could be rambling and not having any idea what I’m talkig about. 😛

    Buuuuuuuuuuuut, the real thing I wanted to say was Engi is cute. I loved the Yui-transforming-into-Engi animation. And next week we see just how awesome John Doe is.

    Solarguardian
    1. Oh thank god it gets better. I thought this show had potential in the preview so I was pretty disappointed with the first few episodes. I like that they bring back John Doe, too, it takes away from the monster of the week format a bit.

      Plus I miss his cat minions. 😛

      Poiira
  8. What a neat and sincere reminiscence you have depicted. I’d wish everyone would know and never forget what does “pure blissful fun” means. Fun not for purpose, any of. Fun without any “because of” or “for the sake of” or 為, but that immaculate and true child-level of fun.
    Your post made me nostalgic.. In a good, pleasant way.. Thanks Kiiragi!

    tg8
      1. I think that the ones that have taken a vessel (like Cris last episode) cannot return and thus they are killed when defeated, but the dream demon in ep 3 went back because she didn’t successfully take over anyone. Of course it’s also the fact that what she’s been working for was said to be meaningless, too. But considering the flashback here, I’m sure she also feels bad that she might’ve actually killed one.

        drsypher
      2. no. chris, in the manga, didnt get killed or sent back.
        after they get out, when the prez was wondering about it being a dream, she gets a text message from chris again. yumeji even comments later that if he hurts her again, he will get it.

        amado
  9. It’s not easy to turn a story that’s over 6 volumes long into a 12-13 episode anime, so I forgive a lot of Merry’s shortcomings.

    I’m not too sure why you consider Yumeji to be so special, he’s a bit better than the typical shonen protagonist, but he still spouts way too much cheesy dialogue per episode. If we ever see an intelligent and assertive protagonist who isn’t obsessed with selflessness and honor in anime, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    caramel_cod
    1. ‘an intelligent and assertive protagonist who isn’t obsessed with selflessness and honor’?

      Sound like Level E’s Prince Baka (I seriously wish more people would watch that show… Now, that’s an anime that defies all the usual anime norms.)

    2. What you ask for is almost impossible these days, so this is the best I can enjoy. lol. Interestingly enough, selflessness and honor is an integral part of Japanese culture, reminiscent of the bushido code. It’s also prominent in almost all action adventure stories, but it’s not like it’s exclusive to Japanese plots either.
      What you describe is a character more fit for a seinen targeted series, like Guts from Berserk, or Kei from Gantz. That’s why it’s weird that this series is considered seinen. But the plot might just be slow, so who knows.

    3. Or at least not have a genetic trait that forces him to make progress with women at the speed of a friggin car driving on squares!
      I wouldn’t mind have more douchy lead roles like that guy from AIKI.
      Infinite Stratos’ main protagonist the very ESSENCE of what I hate in male roles!

      Omegan
  10. I like this show. I really think that this anime has potential, if not, I can settle for the interesting characters. I hate when I go brain dead and can’t write properly.

    Avalanche
  11. Hmm… well I don’t know, but I really like this show. I don’t think it’s an effort to watch at all! It’s really good, nice animation, and the characters are just epic!

    Of course, that’s just one person’s opinion.

    Velcro
  12. How come no one ever mentions the best part of this show, i.e the music. Maybe i’m the only one who appreciates something other than crappy jrock, but in what other anime do you get to hear a bassoon?

    Jah'Rakhal
  13. The show is becoming more mundane each passing week and Kiiragi, I’m ever so slightly baffled that Hourou Musuko has been dropped whilst this hasn’t… There’s just so much more in Hourou Musuko compared to this bleak anime… I say all this, but I’m still watching it for the sake of completion. Haha. I’m just trying to say that it’s just not very blog-worthy I guess…

    SirMuffin
      1. Indeed it is and I am certain that no level of persuasion coming from me will be able convince you to drop this distinctly average show and pick up Hourou Musuko instead since your mind is made up. Of course, just because I’m not enjoying it doesn’t mean that you or the others aren’t. In the mean time, I’ll keep at Yumekui Merry until it’s done and follow your posts on it. It’s just a shame from my perspective… That’s all…

        SirMuffin
  14. the animation during the fight scene was a bit sketchy imo. they put too much detail into Merry and having to simplify the animation for the fighting made her look like a rough sketch.
    seems like they blew this weeks budget on the wheat field backgrounds lol
    i’d really like to read the manga though, i have a feeling it will be much better than the anime.

    sto
  15. Hey look the story got better! The main draw of this show has been the cinematography thus far, while the story has been secondary, but this gives me a little hope for it to get better. If it continues, this show is going to be amazing.

    The Big Guy
  16. I´ve been reading the manga and until now it´s been a fatefull adaptation, but I do hope that Yumeji will dt some kind of extra powers. Seen the aura of people is really useful but not so much in a battle, especially when you apear to be slash in haft by a vengeful psycopat. Next week seems to be an encounter with John Doe, that looks promising.

    haseo0408
  17. Man, some of you people are so difficult. Little details become flaws and expectations are nothing short of a masterpiece. Just relax and appreciate things for what they are. Not like you’re paying for this, anyways.

    BallisticDreams
  18. Well Merry at last is moving up a notch in terms in interesting. With it being overshadowed by Madoka, Level E, Zombie and Fractale, i would put it below Gosick and Freezing even. Still its definitely above Rio and maybe Dragon Crisis (if i ever get the energy to watch eps 2 and above)

    Zaku Fan

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