Boulevard Of Broken Dreams: Dream Eater Merry

What lies at the heart of a dream?

If you lose your way, who will save it?

Yesterday was my birthday, and my family and friends gifted me incredibly well this year. I got stacks of anime and manga, and even a Black Butler wall scroll and cell phone charm! My loved ones are the best! ❤

And now, on to the review:
Well, I must admit, Dream Eater Merry actually got better. Not “Omg, I’m running out and buying this RIGHT NOW and rewatching it!” better, but more like, “Huh, okay. I’m kinda digging this,” better.

Merry and Yumeji: like ships in the night.

Here’s the gist: Merry Nightmare is a dream demon. Usually dream demons can only visit the real world by using a human vessel. However, Merry somehow crossed over, sans vessel, and is now trying desperately to get back to the dream world. Cue a high school boy named Yumeji Fujiwara. Yumeji has some strange dream-related powers, and one of them is the ability to see when a dream demon has taken over a human vessel. He and Merry meet one day and team up to fight off Yumeji’s recurring nightmare come to life. (Their initial encounter is described in more detail in my First Impressions post regarding episode one.) After their success, they decide to team up. Yumeji will use his ability to find dream demons in human vessels, and Merry will then fight the dream demons and send them back to the dream world. She hopes that somewhere along the way she’ll figure out how to get back to the dream world herself.

Kickin’ it old school.

However, things get complicated very quickly (which is one of the bonuses of these short twelve- and thirteen-episode series: they get down to the action pretty fast). It seems that there is a powerful, evil dream demon called Pharos Hercules who is building an army of dream demons. His goal is to use the dream demons to take over human vessels and from there, take control of the real world. And the answer to defeating him isn’t as simple as just killing off the dream demons: something sinister happens to the vessels if a demon that has manifested itself dies. On top of this we meet a dream demon called Engi Threepiece with a major vendetta, her sweet human vessel named Yui, and a fearsome dream demon known as both Mystletainn and The Ocean of Trees who mercilessly takes out vessels and demons alike with great relish.

Peek-a-boo! I see your dreams! Oh, er. Oh dear. Never mind. Everything will be great! Yeah…

This series remains cute but gets slightly darker as it progresses, especially with regards to the villains. There was one episode in which I was so taken off guard by the violence that I gasped. It was tame violence in comparison to, oh, Highschool of the Dead, but rather unexpected nonetheless. The music gets kind of Eighties at times, which is fun. The animation itself is good; not as stylized as Soul Eater but not as crisp and detailed as Night Raid 1931. I’ll say this: the animators l-o-v-e Merry’s belly. I don’t know which I saw more of, Merry’s face or Merry’s belly button. However, that and some violent dream encounters are the extent of the fan service, which is pretty tame overall.

Who can resist donuts? Om nom nom!

The characters were okay, though kind of one-note and without much depth. Merry is cute but bland (they gave her the “cute quirk” of loving donuts, which isn’t groundbreaking but is just that, cute). Yumeji is your typical do-gooder protagonist. We never get the full explanation about Yumeji’s powers or how Merry came to be in the real world, which was disappointing. The details of the story were a little confusing at times, but the basic story arc is understandable enough. The whole thing ends rather abruptly, in my opinion. It’s kind of satisfying, but it leaves tons of room for a second season (which I wouldn’t be opposed to watching). That said, I don’t think that season one has a lot of rewatch value for me, other than perhaps watching it one more time (now that I know the extent of the story) to catch missed details or clear up earlier confusion. While I was never in the mood to watch each new episode, once I did I was always glad that I kept going. There’s a sweet message at the core of this action fantasy about following your dreams (sometimes literally!) and the series got a lot more interesting than I at first gave it credit for. Dream Eater Merry wasn’t my dream anime, but this was certainly no nightmare to watch.

Just your friendly neighborhood dream demon!

Rating: ★★★ A decent anime with an interesting storyline. Could have used more details to flesh out the characters, but overall not a bad one to watch.

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