This episode only affirmed the strengths and weaknesses of this series. It was a build-up for the finale (this series will have 13 episodes, by the way. It’s officially announced now), but it still showcased its rock-solid characters, excellent acting, and unfortunately not very ambitious backstory.
This episode revealed the backstory of some of the side-characters and while it definitely was interesting, it also felt like they were having a contest of who could have the saddest past. one girl’s parents died in an accident, another guy grew up with his younger sister in the hospital. Twists like these are powerful, but they shouldn’t be used gratuitous.
In the end, by far the biggest mistake that this series made however, was not making John Doe the villain. He’s a much more interesting antagonist than Elcres or Mistletain, who currently are trying a bit too hard to be mysterious and therefore not giving any of us the chance to connect with them. John Doe and his army of talking cats: you could have built an excellent story around that, while still using the unique setting of this series.
I’m a bit harsh on this series compared to others, but I am comparing it to much higher standards than usual. After all, Yumekui Merry is good, but still nowhere as good as Casshern Sins. It also doesn’t help that it airs right after Madoka Magica, which has some similar elements here. I’ve said before that series with a simple plot can be just as awesome when executed well, but here we have a series whose plot just has too little interesting twists and turns that really prevent it from being a masterpiece. Sana about to be kidnapped… I’m sorry, but I’ve just seen that a few too many times by now and this episode just spent too much time on trying to build this up, and it still hasn’t happened yet!
Anyway, enough with the negatives. I mean, Chizuru did get some much needed backgrounds, and she is really promising to be a key part in making plot of the finale less dull, standing somewhere in the middle of Yumeji and Merry and Mistletain and Elcres. And I also remain convinced that Yumeji is a great main character for a guy his age. Instead of doing nothing but angst, whine or look helplessly, he looked for ways to save Sana, and yet this episode also showed him preparing for the worst-case scenario of Merry having to send her dream demon back. Seriously, dream demons holding the dreams of their vessels hostage is something that this series overall used really well.
Rating: * (Good)