Yumekui Merry – 3

Three episodes, three very different personalities for this one. It’s a fascinating journey so far but I wonder whether this series is going to find a groove and settle into it or simply shift in tone from week to week.

Episode 3 was not nearly as frenetically paced or content-driven as last week’s superb episode. The focus shifts to Yumeji’s efforts to find Merry. The link between them is a little girl named Minato. She stumbles upon Merry, gains her eternal loyalty by splitting her doughnut with her and shortly thereafter kicks a can into Yumeji’s head. Minato considers herself a friendless outcast – friendless apart from her mysterious playmate Ichima who only comes out at night. One of Ichima’s demands is that Minato make no other friends, but that proves problematic as she very quickly bonds to Yumeji and Merry. Yumeji pulls his dream prediction routine and discovers Minato is about to be visited by a muma – who turns out to be none other than Ichima. Merry saves Minato from becoming Ichima’s vessel, but the most interesting part of the battle is that Yumeji is able to waltz right into Minato’s dream world – something a human shouldn’t be able to do. Merry’s “What are you?” to him seems the great unanswered question of the series so far.

This was a much more light-hearted effort, as witness the charmingly wistful BGM that played throughout the episode. It appears we may be in for an overarching plot intermixed with a “Dream of the Week” scenario where Yumeji and Merry cross paths with those caught up in the dream world. That could work – the last two episodes have both featured likable enough victims – but the best part of the action so far is definitely the interaction between Merry and Yumeji. I’m still not sure just what we have here, but it’s definitely interesting. I admire the fact that the series is willing to take chances and surprise the audience, but at some point in order to be successful it’s going to have to focus on what it does well and give us a deeper dive into the psyche of the main characters. Last week was wonderful but unsustainable – there was simply too much happening to keep up that pace. This week might have gone too far in the other direction, with not much real plot progress at all. Hopefully the next step is find the sweet spot in the middle.

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