Friday, April 22, 2011

Series Review: Yumekui Merry

Yumekui Merry-Most watched belly button of winter 2011Yumekui Merry (aka Dream Eater Merry) ended up being a fun ride of a anime series.

Which actually surprised me a bit.

Here's a confession, I almost dropped this series after the first episode.

You see, I wasn't that enthralled with the concept as described in the previews for the season. I mean, the summary describes this show as thus:

Huju-wara-kun is your ordinary adolescent boy , but 10 years ago he noticed he had a power to see multicolored auras surrounding the persons body which he looks upon through his fingers. Every so often Huju-wara has dreams about a war with cats , but one day a girl fell on top of him …. what will happen now with his incoming feline enemies?

Not a whole lot going on according to that blurb. I was truly unimpressed, and downloaded the first two episodes, as that's standard behavior.

Even still, the first episode wasn't that great of a thing, and it was a few weeks before I watched the second. At which point I realized that, yes, they had actually bothered with a story here.

Now, was this a perfect outing?

Sadly, and despite how much I enjoyed it overall, I'm going to have to say no.

Mainly, because we're left with a few gaping holes for plot lines. Which one can  hope that will be resolved with (at least) a second season or OVA. But that's in and of itself is not a bad thing. The real problems with this series were some issues with consistency. Every episode was paced and toned wildly differently from one another. And even the fights would leave one with a feeling of "huh?" on occasion.

Which really isn't the thing one hopes to feel in the midst of the climactic battle of the entire season.

Now, what makes this such a fun ride is the characters. A lesson that Hollywood really, really needs to learn (yes, I'm looking at you, Skyline).

Especially in regards to the main characters (Merry and Yumeji).

Merry, for all the animators obsession which drawing her stomach, is a great character. She's funny and strong, while at the same time shows hesitance, a longing for home and a need for acceptance (which is part an parcel of that longing for home). 

Yumeji though, is a standout character just for the fact that he's not the typical indecisive, non-masculine, non-descript male leads that are often show cased in anime. I'm not sure if it's just a difference of my Western POV of man-hood, versus what's expected in Japan, but sometimes the…. indecisiveness of male leads irks me to no end.

But, it gets really notched up a level when the two of them are working together. Think of Temperance Brennan and Seeley Booth from Bones or even (and possibly even a better example of this) Maddie Hayes and David Addison from Moonlighting (at least prior to episode 314 of that series).

Did they mine old '80s dramady's for inspiration?

Of course, now I'm wondering if I should lead in the Moonlighting reference. That does seem to show my age a bit, but I digress.

Anyways, as I stated at the start, I liked this show as a whole, a lot. One can hope that they'll give the underlying manga a year (or three) to create some more plot, and then give this a second season to finish some things and answer those questions they left around for us.

And if they do, I'll be waiting and willing to watch. Which is more than some shows have gotten from me.

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