Yumekui Merry – 5

The series that gives the expression “navel gazing” new meaning takes another interesting turn this week and joins in with this season’s overall theme – moral uncertainty.

I’m really struck by the way this show manages to feel radically different every week. Some of it is attributable to the fact that the BGM changes from episode to episode, and we also see some pretty distinct animation and directorial style. It almost puts me in mind of Noein or TTGL in that sense – and it reflects a real originality and sense of fun from the creative team behind the show.

Of course, some things remain the same – we still seem to be in a “Muma of the Week” format. And so far, interestingly, all of the vessels have been young girls. I don’t know if that’s a rule, as the wonderfully named “Three-Act Play” asked Yumeji if he was Merry’s vessel, but it’s interesting. Her story was fairly standard – use the body of a kawaii high-school girl to invade our world – but she did introduce a major new element, the notion that Merry and Yumeji are not merely sending muma back to the dream world, but actually killing them. That casts their past and (more interestingly) future actions in a new light.

We got a nice dose of the slice-of-life that this show does so well in the first act this week, too. What makes this show work, ultimately, is how likable Merry and Yumeji are and how good they are together. Merry (navel and all) is in some ways this season’s Ika Musume – she’s just an irresistible little thing, impossible not to love. But Yumeji is an outstanding male lead, too – whimsical and snarky and pretty much fearless. The blend here is good – the humor and serious mix well and the total package is quite enjoyable. There’s nothing outrageously original in the premise, but I admire the fact that the show is willing to take some chances in terms of style.

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