Am I going senile? When did Yumeji injure his ankle?
This was an… interesting ep. Somewhat schizophrenic. The story is splintering into a few different subplots, ostensibly with the goal of tying everything back to Elcreth Pharoh or whatever the heck his name is. This show and its completely nonsensical names is driving me insane.
On one hand, Isana’s hopes and dreams of being a good wife are derailed when she gets pulled in by “I’m not a bad guy, I totally am” Ichima sensei into a life counseling session. During their session, a glum Isana finally reveals her dreams of becoming a professional painter with someone besides her other possessed friend. Interestingly, it dawned on me that we have not seen Isana paint at all during this whole show.
With how often Ichima seems to talk about hopes and dreams with his students, I can’t help but think that he’s serving as a screener for Elcreth or Moetree to find the most interesting people to use as dream demon spawn.
On the other hand, Merry taking an injured Yumeji to a unsuspectingly random doctor’s visit. After being ruthlessly overclothed by last week’s suzumiku, Merry’s back to showing some skin and cuteness, as she buzzes around with her arms stretched out like a little airplane. I’ve always been a sucker for that specific action. Something about it just seems incredibly cute and carefree.
But Merry becomes distracted from her duty (of both accompanying Yumeji to the clinic, as well as finding a way back home) by the magical power of donuts. Honestly, I realize the dreamworld is her “home”, but I haven’t actually heard any reason why she wants to head back there. Did she leave family and friends behind? Is it a super cool, exciting place where you get fed grapes, donuts and indulge in orgies? Is her mortgage going unpaid? Although she may have been a homeless roamer for the past ten years, it seems like she’s enjoying this real world quite a bit.
The other major plotline is the Engi’s revenge and Yui’s role in assisting her. I like Yui a lot. She’s cute, smart, takes action, has courage. I also really like her voice. Tomoko Akiya should get more roles. Yui also has a good relationship with Engi – although I’m not exactly sure what Engi’s doing for her. Seems like she’s heavy on the taking side. But the two have a much clearer purpose than Merry and Yumeji seem to have. Perhaps that’s the virtue of being a side character. You only need to show up when the story calls for you to show up. But Engi seems much more driven to get revenge for her fallen sister than Merry is to go back home.
All this comes to a head when it turns out Yumeji’s quack doctor is Yui’s grandfather and quickly leads to a funny scene where we get a sense of Yui’s family issues. They must be really chomping at the bit to marry her off, because grandpa and papa were all over potential grandson Yumeji. As her dad and grandpa argue about the most embarrassing way to marry her off, Yui takes Yumeji out back to chat, when Engi recognizes Yumeji and apologizes for nearly killing him. The two then chat, as Engi provides a little backstory on why her sister was killed, while Yumeji challenges her notion that dream demons have no way to return.
Fast forward, Yumeji meets Merry at the donut shop, but as the two leave, a very motivated slacker teen (instantly suspicious there) decides to pick a fight with Yumeji and Merry. And again, here, I wonder about the mechanics of how this daydream takes place. In Shakugan no Shana, the fuzetsu is an easy way to explain how the rest of the world stands still while fights occur around them. In Yumekui Merry? Most dreams last a few seconds, but some can last minutes. Maybe a few second glitch in the real world is unnoticeable, but what if these are longer dreams. Are Yumeji, Merry and Slacker Teen also standing staring at each other blankly while this dream battle is going on? I’d be curious to see them clear that up. Because they went out of their way to make sure the meaning of the “shapes in the eyes” was clear as day after this episode.
Anyway, the episode lands on a cliffhanger with this dream demon, Lance Armstrong, or whatever the hell its name is, trying to get Merry and Engi to come over to the dark side. When they resist, Lance sends in the clowns.