Posted by SuperMario on 25 March 2018 with categories: 2011 Anime Retrospective, Yumekui Merry

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Here’s psgels’ original review of Yumekui Merry (he hated Working’s guts, which is fair enough)

Now, to the main meal:

Working’!! (A-1 Pictures)

Fans from the first season (like me) will have a lot to like in this second attempt of Working. The comedy is pretty consistent throughout its course, some are even sharper than the first. As Working is a character-driven show, the humor works mainly because they always stay true to the characters. Even they manage to get way with humor that has creepy and unsettling details (a groper or a kidnapping for example. What cut the edge is that those accusations are probably true), and even repetitive gags still provide good laugh because they’re well-timed. This second season also works better as an ensemble cast. I don’t enjoy that much when the last few episodes of the first season focused on Souta and Inari, for example. Here each member of the main cast receives a spotlight, they make a good use and explore one of the cast’s main trait (my favorite is how useless the manager is). Moreover, pair them up and any random pair has their own appeal. If you wonder the chemistry of between some unlikely pairs (like Souma and Inari, Satou and the Manager) would be like, you won’t be disappointed here.

The settings of Working are even more minimum this time. Except from couple gags from Souta’s house and certain alley on the street, all the events happen within the space of this family restaurant. There are some new members (3 and a half to be exact) and each of them add their own weirdness, in other words, charms to this likeable cast. My favorite new addition is the cameo Otoo’s wife. Short but sweet. She’s the nuttiest case of all. Souta’s family members, while in the first season feel like they are from different show, become an ingrate part of this season, especially whenever they appear at the restaurant or meet with the other employees.

But the most drawback aspect of Working still lies in its format and structure: it’s a middle-season sitcom comedy. I’m glad that there is a strict continuing to the plot, but I can’t say the same to the relationships’ development. The cast is still at the same place they start off the season, and when Working actively stall some plot progression (like the encounter of Yamada’s siblings), it feels rather irritating. My feeling is that they’re playing too safe with these relationships that afraid to break the status quo. How about progressing those relationship and make the cast deals with it? Furthermore, the humor don’t work when the show pushes too hard. Like I mentioned earlier, I still feel uneasy with the way Souma tries to separate Aoi and her brother, or when Aoi forces Otoo to sign the adoption paper. In the end, all of its issues have more to do with the structure. It’s the middle of the pack so understandably, plot doesn’t move much forward. Aside from that though, the quirky characters still rule the day and the humors still as sharp as ever.  This will be one of a rare franchise that I’ll be sad to see it ends.

Rating: 78/100

Yumekui Merry (J.C. Staff)

Well, I might be the only one who thoroughly enjoy this, considering how lukewarm Yumekui Merry received in its run (the director himself even admitted so). Straight to its most impressive parts: the visual direction is pretty awesome. The background arts for each of the dream world is distinctive, varied and has a lot of personality. There are plenty of creativeness in shot selection and the fight sequences, although limited, are animated fluidly. The characters are expressive and while those character designs fall into the tropey side, at least here they stand apart from each other. I guess those shot angles can be a hit and miss for other viewers, but for me I can feel the staff putting their efforts to make something different. The eye-popping visual reminds me a fair bit of Flip Flappers, which I absolutely adore. The score, however, remains unconventional and while sometimes it works well, other times it feels too alien with the screen. All in all, the visual presentation of Yumekui Merry is more experimental than your usual anime dose, but with so much love, skill and attention put into it, it remains gorgeous, distinctive and inventive.

Yumeikui Merry deals with dream as its main theme, but don’t expect any serious exploration to the nature of dream and such. It’s more concern with fighting the dream demons who use human as their vessel; and explore many interesting cases around that. I enjoy the way the show builds its characters. Those pairing between the dream demon and its human host have their chemistry, and I also prefer the way the show keeps using these characters after their case is done. The cast, consist of two mains and several friends surround them, have time to build up their characters slowly and gradually by the final arc I am pretty invested into their development. The main duo, namely Merry and Yumeji, have great deal of development (especially the former) and their chemistry together holds up as the story progresses. I don’t really like the depiction of some of the villains, however, especially the last bosses since the show makes them overly heartless and psycho without fleshing them out.

Now, the most criticism this show has lies in its original ending. As of its airing, the manga was still running (it’s still running NOW), so the anime creators figured that it might be a better idea to have their own way of to end the show. The reception of this ending was poor, citing the lack of conclusive ending, rushing towards the plot and plot holes as the main issues. I have a different opinion. Sure, it could’ve been better, but just like how I feel about the anime-only characters and its original ending in Blood Blockade Battlefront, this one I can see how the show properly builds up its arc towards the ending. Take an original anime character Chizuru for example, her characteristics are clearly defined, she supports the plot well and in the end her arc aligns with the climax pretty well. I can see some plot threads left unexplored (like all the development regarding Yumeji’s literature club members), and it is indeed rushed, but I am satisfied with the way this show wraps up. My overall feeling to Yumekui Merry is the same as Princess Principal from last year: brilliant in parts, stylist and excellent art and animation, but having a lacklustre closure that hopes for the next season that never come.

Rating: 82/100

Again, I’d like to hear your thoughts about those shows. The next one gonna take awhile, since I want to spend some time to catch up with those Netflix shows, plus the next season coming up means that realistically, the next one will be up after the First Impressions period. Next post, I’ll investigate a show about a bunch of faceless aliens and a show about a cute little rabbit, yep, the IDOLMASTERS and Bunny Drop will be up next. See you then, folks.

6 Responses

  1. Avatar Firechick says:

    Faceless aliens? I take it you’re not a big fan of idol shows?

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      Nope, not really a fan of idol shows, and I’ve watched a fair share of them. I don’t really hate them thou, and I’m interested to see how the IDOLMASTERS will fare, since it aill regards as the proud big sister of the genre.

      But I can’t deny that idol shows are making its waves in Japan. I remember when I travelled Japn back in 2016, the most popular show at that moment (that featured everywhere, even on a bus – I think I took a picture somewhere) was, unsurprisingly, Love Live Sunshine.

  2. Avatar mezzoguitar says:

    Yumekui Merry is one of the worst anime I have ever had the displeasure of watching. And this is coming from someone who hasn’t read a single chapter of the manga. The first few episodes were fun and cool, but when the anime-original plot started rearing its ugly head the drop in writing quality was palpable and the actual last episode was downright insulting to watch.

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      That seems to be a general reception as well so I guess we just agree to disagree on this. I personally think the original plot blends well with the rest of the series. If I didn’t know they used anime-original ending beforehand, I wouldn’t have noticed.

  3. Avatar Kuroneko says:

    I enjoyed watching all seasons of Working but I agree with your criticism of this season. I loved the quirky characters and the scenes of Souta’s house but the lack of relationship progression was frustrating. Unfortunately I couldn’t get passed the first episode of Yumekui Merry but reading your review makes me want to give it a second chance.

    Looking forward to the next Anime Retrospective because I loved Bunny Drop!

    • SuperMario SuperMario says:

      Thanks. Working is still great and it’s a type a show that I can watch all day. They’re all nutcase here. Otoo’s wife cameo steals the thunder for me and the Yamada proves once again that foolishness indeed run in the family.

      Bunny Drop stole my heart the first time I watched it a few years back. It’s interesting to see if the show’s holding up for me, especially now since I’m about the same age as Daikichi.

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