A First Impression: Yumekui Merry (Dream Eater Merry) Episode 1

She kind of looks like a Touhou girl who fell through a Soul Eater Machine. I like it.

Yumeji is plagued by really strange nightmares every night – in which he is in a bizarre land full of creepy talking cats that try to kill him. Whether this has anything to do with the ability he has in the waking world – to see the ‘colour’ of the dream someone had by looking through his fingers, is uncertain, but when he looks at himself like that through the mirror it’s always the same.
Meanwhile, a strange girl named Merry Nightmare who clearly doesn’t belong in this world seems to be lost. When she runs into Yumeji, who is now targeted by creepy evil cats who want to use his body as a vessel to get into the waking world, it’s found that on the contrary she wants to get back to the dream world, but can’t for some reason.

....This teacher guy. I like him.

Premise-wise, Yumekui Merry has promise and could actually be an engaging show, which was pretty surprising to me actually because when I  read  the preview-premise (“Yumeji can see dream colours! He has a dream with cats! A weird girl falls on him!”) it sounded totally stupid. Because of that, my expectations were incredibly low for this one which is why I was so pleasantly surprised by how things turned out. I just would have been a lot more pleasantly surprised had the writers….been decent at actually writing. They use that tired old device of revealing things very slowly and deliberately confusing the hell out of the viewer without giving anything away. Do this right and you build suspense. Do it wrong and it just becomes a pile of incomprehension. Yumekui Merry is somewhere in the middle…I’m not completely turned off, and the silliness of the cats (they have mickey mouse gloves for crying out loud) and Merry Nightmare’s design alone would make me want to check out at least a little more. It’s just that things really could have benefited with some more cohesive writing, especially when first episodes are all about first impressions.
Writing aside, this show has a pretty good visual style and quite nice animation, and the subdued background art looks appealing in a way. The surrael dream world especially is pretty visually interesting with its flying fishbones everywhere. I also like Merry’s design…especially her rather unique, horizontal-pupil eyes.
In the end this is a series that I really, honestly, have no idea what to make of at this stage because it could go anywhere from here. I think at least another episode would be required to make a proper judgement.

I also really like the name Merry Nightmare. Kitschy, but memorable.

Out of 5,

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