Review by: Eduardo Zacarias
Publisher: Sentai Filmworks
MSRP: $69.98 US
Running Time: 325 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
Some dreams are worth fighting for even if it’s not your own dreams.
Strange, fascinating and occasionally frightening, dreams are intriguing mental imagery created by our own mind where anything and everything can happen. So what if these two “worlds” were to collide in a way that you find yourself awake one moment and then walking into a dream the next. This is but a small taste of what you can come to expect from the Complete Collection of Dream Eater Merry as a boy with a special ability and a wild young girl who walked out of a dream come together to protect their friends and help find said girl get back to her world.
You see, Yumeji Fujiwara may seem like a normal high school student but he possesses an interesting talent that involves dream whether it’s seeing what type of dream a person will be having as well as experiencing vivid dreams that feel very little. In one of those dreams, he is fighting off a group of angry cats looking to clobber him over the head with sticks and each attempt to hurt him feels real. Then, something happens that changes Yumeji’s life and that something is meeting a cute Dream Demon named Merry Nightmare who is trapped in the Real World of the humans instead of the dream realm.
Yumeji feels indebted to Merry who comes to his rescue when he is somehow pulled into a waking dream that Merry calls a Daydream. The boy is attacked by a Dream Demon named John Doe who is the one who sent all the angry cats after Yumeji but, thanks to Merry’s impressive fighting abilities, she is able to put John Doe in his place. To show his gratitude, Yumeji offers to take Merry into his home. As it turns out, Yumeji lives with his classmate and childhood friend, Isana Tachibana, and her father who just so happens to run a lovely little café. The good news is that Isana (who has a secret crush on Yumeji) loves the idea and her father thinks Merry is absolutely adorable.
However, Merry feels out of place living with Yumeji and Isana as she tries to find her own way back only to realize that Yumeji might actually be the person who could help her and seeing as he is so determined to help Merry get back home she actually believes in him. Meanwhile, we come to discover that Merry isn’t the only Dream Demon in the world of the humans. In fact, we also learn that these Dream Demons have formed a sort of alliance with a single human using said human’s body as its “vessel.” We meet a young girl who has formed a contract with a Dream Demon named Serio as the pair are viciously attacked and it is here we find what happens to a human whose Dream Demon is killed.
In the meantime, Yumeji and Merry go up against a Dream Demon that isn’t a friendly as her or Serio and manages to defeat it as well as earn a nickname … Dream Eater Merry. Merry believes that she doesn’t have the power to kill but rather send a Dream Demon back home. Meanwhile, Yumeji discovers that one of his friends, the Captain of the Literary Club named Mei Hoshima, who is about to meet a pen pal she is romantically interested in dating. As it turns out, the pen pal turns out to be Dream Demon who is trying to hijack Mei’s body by force.
Yumeji and Merry encounters another girl named Yui Kounagi who does have a special bond with her Dream Demon named Engi ThreePiece who appears as a beautiful warrior with wings. Merry and Engi battle it out but it becomes clear to her that Engi is actually one of the good guys who pleaded with Yui to use her as her vessel for the purposes of getting revenge on a dangerous Dream Demon called Pharos Heracles. Meanwhile, Isana tries to befriend the new transfer student named Chizuru Kawanami who isn’t very sociable but Isana is the type of girl who doesn’t give up and slowly gains Chizuru’s friendship.
In-between the chaotic moments, Yumeji and his friends get a chance to go to the beach (yes, just an excuse to see the girls in bikinis) and calm moments with his friends as they hang out and show Merry the simple pleasures in life. However, things change when Yumeji realizes that his close friend Isana has been targeted by a Dream Demon. Knowing what is at stake, Yumeji asks Merry, Engi and an unexpected ally to help extract the Dream Demon from Isana without killing something important in the girl.
Speaking of the unexpected, the real threat to Isana makes his appearance as does his Dream Demon that turns out to be the deadliest and most psychotic Dream Demon walking the human realm. We meet Mistltein who is also known as The Ocean of Trees and she gives Merry and her friends a real challenge. On top of the shock of discovering the identity of the human behind the attacks, both Yumeji and Merry decide to launch their own attack that leads to an epic final battle.
Dream Eater Merry doesn’t exactly start off as good as its second half and this is part of what holds back the series considerably. It’s not that the first five or so episodes are intriguing, it’s just that Merry and Yumeji’s relationship doesn’t really develop until later. On top of that, the characters in the series are never really given a chance to be developed enough to be characters we really care about by the end of the series. This is too bad considering the second half is filled with exciting moments and a great twist towards the end. I can’t say I’m thrilled about the ending but at least it isn’t horrible.
Then there’s the animation that isn’t original but still looks good and even more so when it comes to the Daydream sequences as well as the intriguing character models for the Dream Demons that have their own unique appearance. The voice acting in the series is also excellent whether you prefer the Japanese voice cast or the English dub. I certainly enjoyed the English dub thanks to some solid performances by Monica Rial, Luci Christian, Chris Patton and Vic Mignogna. However, Blake Sheppard (as Yumeji) and Hilary Haag (as Merry) are just as good as the Japanese Seiyuu.
The Complete Collection of Dream Eater Merry has a weak beginning but when it picks up it picks up in an exciting way that you cannot help but get swept along by the story. While the series has its weaknesses that hold it back, you will find more than enough to like about Dream Eater Merry such as the second half of the series that pits Merry and her friends up against the most unlikely foe. This is certainly the case of a good series that could have better a lot better but still well worth checking out.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Trapped in the Real World of the humans, a Dream Demon named Merry encounters a young man named Yumeji who happens to have a very rare talent involving dreams. Together they not only develop an interesting relationship but they also deal with other Dream Demons that threaten the human and dream world. Gaining new allies along the way, Yumeji and Merry must defeat the mastermind behind a plan to shatter both worlds forever.
VIDEO QUALITY: B+
The animation in the series is easy on the eyes especially when it comes to the Daydream sequences and the Dream Demon character models. While Merry wears a daring outfit, the series – thankfully – doesn’t feature much in terms of fanservice.
AUDIO QUALITY: A
Besides the lovely original score that plays throughout the series, the opening and closing theme songs are decent enough to be considered catchy tunes. However, the best audio feature has to be the voice cast for both the original Japanese and the English dub that features the talents of Hilary Haag, Shelley Calene-Black, Blake Shepard and Vic Mignogna just to name some of the impressive voice actors involved.
There’s very little in terms of extras in this release but you will find the clean opening and closing animations as well as a few Sentai Filmworks trailers.
While the series is far from perfect, especially when it comes to the first few episodes, the Complete Collection of Dream Eater Merry has its riveting moments that will not fail to keep anime fans entertained. I’d even go as far as saying the series could have been something special if it hadn’t been for the early episodes that don’t really allow us to get to know the characters better. Still, this one is certainly worth watching.
Review copy provided by Sentai Filmworks