God Damn You Tou-chan-Yumekui Merry 4

You just had to go comparing Yumekui Merry to Shakugan no Shana. I hadn’t seen it at all back then, but apparently you’re a fucking prophet.

Yumekui Merry 4 was a very distressing episode. It was not a death-inducing one. There’s plenty of reason to hope that what happened in this episode can be turned around. I don’t want to believe that it will follow this path, but in a worst case scenario, Yumekui Merry could actually take on the biggest fault of Shakugan no Shana and become yet another series that Tou-chan and I spend years wishing was good.

So what happened? For a long stretch of the episode, a shitload of nothing. This wasn’t the Shana-like part, though it was pretty aggravatingly boring. The strange directing style falls apart when the episode slows down, because instead of instilling the sense of strangeness and mystery that is it’s redeeming quality, it just looks messy and frankly hurts my brain.

That stuff I can more or less deal with if I’m liking what I get out of the show, and for approximately one minute of this episode, I did.

During this scene I kept switching between enjoying the visuals and wanting to beat the shit out of Yumeji.

That one minute was the beginning of the president’s daydream. First of all, when Yumeji found her (possessed by Chris), the dialog immediately suggested that Chris was a much more interesting character than the last dream demon. He’s calm, relaxed, and it feels like there’s a purpose to his being there.

As Yumeji (oh god I just realized how close that name is to Yuuji, GET OUT OF MY HEAD) entered the dream, he berated Chris with accusations about being evil. It’s abundantly clear that Chris didn’t harbor a shred of ill intent. If there had been someone to speak on his behalf, I’m sure that Yumeji would’ve felt ashamed of himself, but Chris was the kind of passive spirit that would be willing to die simply because someone wanted him to.

And so, all our problems began. First of all, I don’t even understand what Yumeji was so pissed about. Was violence to the point of exile/death really a proper response to Chris accidentally standing the president up? Yumeji rants on and on about the nature of hopes and dreams and how Chris crushed them, and not a single word of it made any sense to me. It was honestly just racism—Yumeji making the assumption that all dream demons besides Merry are evil bastards.

The thing is, no one was there to stop him. Yumeji said all these things, Merry showed up and agreed with him, more than happy to destroy Chris even though A: she wasn’t sure if he’d actually go to the other side, and B: there was no real benefit in it for her (so much for that tough talk earlier in the episode). Chris couldn’t get a word in edgewise because Yumeji was blinded by hate. A reasonable human being would’ve heard anything Chris said and thought “hold on, there’s more to this guy than meets the eye,” but Yumeji ignored and refuted everything he said angrily and without a second thought.

I wanted someone to prove Yumeji wrong. I wanted either Chris to speak up, or the president to speak up on his behalf, or something. Even if he had to die, that he was killed with such malicious and unthinking brutality is almost frightening.

But far more than that, what pissed me off was Merry falling in line with Yumeji’s ideals so easily. She clearly let him infect her mind without thinking for herself in the slightest. When she showed up in the dream world, she and Yumeji repeatedly patted each-other on the back, and Merry blushed in admiration of Yumeji.

Nothing—NOTHING pisses me off more than seeing a female protagonist clinging to the coattails of her male counterpart, and the show glorifying this. Yumeji was wrong in this situation, and if Merry can’t think on her own to recognize that fact, then she’s as wrong as he is. This is exactly what pissed me off so much about Shana. She started off a driven, self-assured young lady, and then she let Yuuji infect her with his moral bullshit and ruined her autonomy. I cannot watch a strong female character fall in love with a queef and walk in lock-step with the moral guidelines he imposes on her that she honestly had nothing to fucking do with until then.

However,

Yumekui Merry doesn’t have to follow this path, and I have at least a little confidence that it won’t. I don’t think they’d focus so heavily on making Chris clearly not-evil if there wasn’t a lesson to be learned at some point. The next episode preview seemed to imply a realization on Merry’s part, most likely that she’s actually been killing the dream demons she fights, as was implied in the fight with Chris.

Where can this lead us? Will Merry learn a lesson independently of Yumeji? Will Yumeji learn the lesson and Merry fall in line with him again? Or will she be the one to teach him this time? I want this moral conflict, and I want it badly—the execution will decide if we get the sweet donut of character development, or the moldy melonpan of lame-ass Defrosting the Ice Queen tropes.

Further Reading: How I identified this problem as the reason I can’t bring myself to enjoy Shana.

Fuck these (3) Comments.

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  2. Mitch H. says:

    It wasn’t the standing-up he was objecting to, it was the Grand Theft Me, I think. Still kind of overwrought, though. I think we’re about to find out that there’s no such place as Dreamworld, though. I’m sensing that Dream Demons are emergent, not essential, which means banishment is death.

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