「夢邂逅(かいこう)」 (Yume Kaikō)
Now, pay attention here. We’re going to have two separate boxes okay? Now take the cat girls and put them in your left box. I know it’s hard, but put them in there, we’ll get to them later. Yes, because today, the story makes a move.
The hole has been filled, the bridge has been built, whatever you want to call it, but the foundation has finally been made, and I am happy. Now we know about a mysterious figure that guides dream demons to reality, and that Merry is an anomaly, a product of this irregularity. Like humans, the dream demons come in different flavors of good and evil, and Elcres is the corrupt “bad influence” plaguing dream world. Some are neutral, John Doe, some are oblivious, Merry, and some are evil, the ones creating all the vessels. Although, Merry may have been a powerful demon turned amnesiac who chased after Elcres, but failed in the process. Or, she was always weak, was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and obtained crazy powers in the process. I’d say the former is more likely, since she held two rings of keys that was able to break down the daydream itself, effectively rendering any dream demon reliant on the setting useless. It’s far more likely this power was used to police the dream world, rather than a convenience enchanted on her. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe.
With everything rooted from Elcres, things just click in place, and issues finally feel like they have some weight in them. The vessels around are slowly increasing, other characters are starting to make their move, and random focuses on characters tell us they’re either evil or getting screwed soon, the bishie friend and the food eating sensei respectively (yeah I need to learn their names, but I doubt you remember them either). Regardless, there’s a sense of a goal in the story now, and they can finally move on with something concrete. Things can only get better from here on.
The relationship of the main characters in a duo story like this is rather important in order to succeed with pretty much any plot point later on. I’ve never felt that much between the two mains, as it seemed like they were pretty much doing their own thing the entire time, with nothing to really bond the two except Yumeji’s power. It simply wasn’t enough, but the last two minutes fixed it with Merry’s tears of compassion. The crying might not convince everyone that she has spent enough time with Yumeji to care for his well-being, but hearing her cry was pretty sad itself, so it worked for me (lol, I guess the seiyuu is a good/convincing crier). Whether it was by her sitting by the bed the entire time, the six episodes encasing her fragile nature, or just the lip trembling looks on her face, the emotions this time finally came together.
Okay, now you can move on to the other box. The attention to these lovely fetish fuels was so obvious, it was hilarious. J.C. Staff was trying to stuff them in every scene possible, and of various shots. I can just imagine Yamauchi going, “Real funny guys, I know you all love nekomimi, but seriously, who stole my original screenplay?! Dammit, I knew I should’ve stayed at Madhouse!” The absence from “demon of the week” helped by not having some super short forced emotional dorama, and the reveal of some actual background plot that should have been revealed 3 episodes ago made this show exciting again. Six episodes in isn’t too late, as long as they don- wait..beach episode? Sigh. It seems the tradition is too strong. Ah well, it shouldn’t be too cliche with this cast, having a 5:3 ratio of females to males, and you’ve got the “unfazed by feminine charm” Bromeji pointing out that Merry’s school swimsuit is a killjoy.
Also, the OP makes a lot more sense now.
And a possible heir of Chaser John Doe? Look at the composition of (un)intentional sexism! Bromeji was born for this.