Until I’ve passed the anime’s plot, I won’t be able to read Ushiki Yoshitaka‘s Yumekui Merry without thinking about its adaption. The anime disappointed me quite a bit, to the point that I ragequit near the end (I do plan to finish it sometime, though). The manga makes me happy and sad because it doesn’t suffer the same problems as the anime, which means it also shows how the anime could’ve been better.
The anime had a few major weaknesses. First and foremost was Yumeji, a boring and shitty protagonist. He was portrayed as one of those “Yuuji Everylead” guys, with a boring look and even more boring dialog. One of the first things I noticed about the manga is that Yumeji isn’t the same.
Yumeji in the manga is actually portrayed as a pretty cool guy, getting in as many stylish and fun poses as Merry…
but more importantly, he’s really hot-blooded and full of constant energy.
He reminds me of a traditional shounen manga protagonist (sorta funny since this is a seinen manga).
Yumeji was never this fun in the anime, and a lot of it is because of his seiyuu. Okamoto Nobuhiko gave a totally bland performance as Yumeji. Can you imagine how different (and how much better) things would’ve been if Miyano Mamoru played Yumeji? It’d change the whole dynamic from a show that you watch “because you like the main girl” to a show that you watch “because you like the characters.”
The second problem isn’t all problem. I like the style of directing and visuals in the anime, without which the trippy dream worlds would’ve had way less impact. The trouble, however, is that the show’s style made the story always feel mysterious and dramatic, yet the events in the plot could never live up to that feeling.
Otou-san noted the way the show tried to get serious but wasn’t very good at it, and I think it’s because the series’ nature isn’t very serious. Rather, the anime failed to properly convey the non-serious nature of the story, resulting in a confusingly mixed bag.
The final issue of the adaption was, of course, being based on a still-running manga that isn’t very long yet (though fwiw there was more than enough for a 12-ep show). I’ve heard that the manga and anime differ, but as I’m only on chapter three so far, I’ve yet to see how. What I do know is that the manga moves *much* faster than the anime, which at times was painfully fucking slow and not well enough covered up by the atmosphere.
All in all, I’m enjoying the manga a good bit. I don’t resent the anime’s existence, because it’s not like it was a bad show, and it gave some great visuals and truly awesome fights (below), but I think I’m going to enjoy the manga a lot more.
(Images taken from Bakayarou‘s scanslation.)