In some ways this was a fairly low-key episode of Yumekui Merry. It was a beach ep for starters, with all the trite fanservice moments that implies. But as it so often does, it manages to spin things just far enough off center to make the conventional feel surprising.
It’s worth nothing that this was one of the less fluffy and predictable beach episodes for a while. Starting from the fact that the heroine’s swimsuit was hardly revealing – how ironic that Merry shows more skin in her street clothes than her swimwear – it was clear the tone would be different. And indeed, things had a generally melancholy feel to them. There were certainly lighter moments, like Tachibana-san’s man-thong. But most of the attention centered on Merry’s building depression over what Three-Act Play had told her – that instead of sending muma back to the dream world she’s been killing them. Yumeji plays the gallant and tries to cheer her up as the two of them fill the role of teetotalers at a binge party. Neither knowing how to swim they sit together under the umbrella, munch squid and muse over the meaning of what they do.
Our major misdirection this week starts off looking like comic relief. Hero Squad parodies seem all the rage lately (Mitsudomoe, Shinryaku Ika Musume, and Level E have all had fun with them within the last year) and Yumekui Merry jumps in with the filming of an episode on the beach, ~degeso. Turns out Yumeji is a big fan of the hero, Sprain, who injures a different body part every time he defeats an enemy. But a bolder fan is the little boy who has Sprain sign his mask. The boy had a muma companion, Delga, who helps him pursue his superhero dreams. But his daydreams are invaded by a muma named Treesea, a nasty girl with overwhelming power. She dispatches Delga rather easily and leaves the boy as the others before him were left, listless and zombie-like with his dreams gone. It would have been impossible not to believe Yumeji and Merry might swoop in to save the day before all this happened, but that didn’t come to pass – an example of the surprising darkness this show is willing to plumb.
We still don’t know why Ijima-sensei, Kawanami or Saki are acting so suspicious all the time, but the various hints are certainly building that they have connections to the dream world. There’s certainly enough good stuff happening here to keep me interested in finding out just what’s really going on, and even if there wasn’t a decent plot the chemistry between Yumeji and Merry would probably be enough to keep me watching. They’re great together, romance or no – and it’ll also be interesting to see whether that side of the story gets any traction at all.