I'm not the only one who can't sing! Yumekui Merry #04: "Dream Eater Merry"
If you were to gauge the reactions of most of the anime blogging community (or whatever it is they call themselves, there's probably far too much in-fighting and pride between people to ever consider themselves a cohesive or integrated "community!") the general response to this episode was fairly tepid. People thought the pacing was off, some of the scenes were predictable and generally it was a yawnfest. Do a Google search and see for yourself.
I remember Bakemonogatari was accused of the same things around the forth and fifth episodes. Too much purple! Firstly, there's no such thing as too much purple. It's my opinion purple is the greatest colour ever. I never used to tell people this because… well, in certain circles such a colour comes with a lot of social baggage. Assumptions are made about your sexuality. And so on.
Wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah, many of the Bakemonogatari viewers/readers thought the once fresh and original idea of the series started becoming formulaic. The spirits that possessed people were all starting to become generic and the way in which they'd be fought and dealt with started following a predictable pattern.
Mmm, coffee! Isono was very nice to take Chizuru under her wing despite her transfer-student reservedness. It seems she and her dad operate the cafe, and that judging from the lack of foot traffic after school they must not get that much business. Or its just easier and cheaper to animate empty ;).
Anyway, needless to say I didn't agree with those Bakemongatari viewers/readers/people and I don't agree with the same things people are saying about Yumekui Merry! Well, mostly ;).
While I felt this episode was a tad more predictable than the previous three and was certainly paced a little slower, I still enjoyed it a lot. I felt there was some valuable character development (some people don't care for this) and Merry herself had the epiphany or realisation or whatever you want to call it that will be continuing her through the series. I don't know about you, but something like that to me seems fairly important ;D.
No wait, before you go any further, I know why the fans were upset. This episode had the fewest midriff shots like this of any so far. NOW I understand! Of course while we have this shot here… after an epic battle she's still unscratched compared to Yumeji who obviously has been injured. I suppose dream daemons don't need protective clothing.
One thing I will admit it has in common with Bakemonogatari other than the use of purple and dealing with general issues of spirits, possessions, dreams and such whatnot, it seems now each episode has a focus character. Today's was the meganekko-moe book club president Mei Hoshino whom Yumeji and the writers club convinced to go karaoke with. It seemed as though she was more interested in texting away on her Japanese flip-phone [that my sister desperately wants], but she caves in and agrees to.
Go the antenna hair! Hey, that's kind of a pun. Phones… antennae? Never mind.
In another anime cliche moment though, of all the high schools in Japan Merry camps out in front of the very one that Yumeji happens to be attending, asking for dream daemons which obviously nobody understands. Either she was completely out of ideas and took a shotgun approach, or she thought she'd use it as an excuse to meet Yumeji again.
Anyway they all go to the karaoke club (KTV in Singapore/Malaysia parlance ;D) and we learn that being able to perceive the colours of people's dreams doesn't have any bearing on singing ability, nor does being a dream daemon ensure knowledge in the operation of a karaoke booth! We find out though that Mei has been messaging a boy this whole time, which flusters her a little ;).
After leaving though, Yumeji puts two and two together and realises Mei is actually possessed. That's not bad grammar, I'm referring to her not myself. They journey into a daydream and he tries his best to tackle the dream daemon that's been haunting her and sending her those messages, but obviously mere mortals aren't a match.
That reminds me, that's a bit of a plot hole isn't it… couldn't mere mortals like us merely imagine ourselves with giant weapons to tackle evil people in dreams? Or better still just imagine enemies out of existence? Its the problem I had with the Inception movie, couldn't they just do anything in the dream worlds?
Merry comes in and saves the world though with this enemy flavour of the day. Okay I can start to see what the critics are saying, this is a bit formulaic. But I still love the witty banter they get up to before she launches into a highly choreographed fight in a miniskirt that would make the scouts from the Sailor Moon franchise blush. In the name of the Moon, she shall punish you! The graphics are infinitely cooler though, just saying.
She also uses her nickname "Dreameater Merry" that Yumeji came up for her for the first time… aww ;).
Of course victory is theirs, and we close the episode with Merry agreeing to move in with Yumeji, Isono and Epic Dad. Of course because the family business is a café, this gives the animators an excuse to dress her up like a maid; I mean, she has to earn her keep right? I let it slide given it was surprisingly modest, at least by anime standards!
As you've read if you've been following my reviews of this series so far, I do think Yumekui Merry has fallen into plenty of anime clichés and overly convenient circumstances, but overall I still am really enjoying it. The art and colours which drew me to it in the first place are still just as gorgeous as ever, and despite what others are allegedly feeling I'm really starting to empathise with the characters now. I'll keep watching.
Lots of rain this episode, which was appropriate given it was pouring with rain in Sydney today. They performed Inception on… the weather here? Am I pushing this metaphor too far?