Yumeria: Enter the Dreamscape (Volume 1) (DVD)

Life sucks, then you dream.

Yumeria begins when we meet Tomokazu, an ordinary 15-year-old living with his cousin. The night before his 16th birthday, Tomokazu has a strange dream. He finds himself somnambulating through an alien landscape, where he witnesses an armor-clad young girl battling a giant spacecraft. When he wakes up the next morning, that same girl, Mone, is in bed with him. Although he’s panicked, everyone else takes Mone’s appearance in stride, and she eventually moves in with Tomokazu and enlists in school with him.

The next night, Tomokazu reenters the same dream, and this time Mone joins him again, along with other girls he knows. There’s Mizuki, a shy studious girl who’s his best friend, Neneko, an amateur detective, and Kuyou, a family friend who just returned from studying abroad. In the dream world, Tomokazu somehow infuses the girls with amazing powers, which they use to battle the attacking spacecraft.

A fifth super-powered girl, named Silk, arrives and explains that evil nightmare creatures are slowly destroying the dream world, and only Tomokazu and his friends can stop them. So, Tomokazu settles in to a new routine. He struggles with grades and the five new ladies in his life during the day, and then they all battle monsters in their sleep during the night.

What we have here is the first four episodes of a series blending genres from all over. The big draw is no doubt the sci-fi action. Here are five hot babes clad in kinky-looking body armor who fly through the air and blast the heck of out of giant battleships. But it’s also a “harem” series in the style of Love Hina, where the young hero who’s nervous around the opposite sex suddenly finds himself surrounded by a group of outrageous girls. There’s also a lot of the crazed, over-the-top kind of anime seen in oddball series like Excel Saga. With so much going on, it’s a wonder that viewers can follow all the action on screen, but the creators do a good job of bringing the show back to reality just when it starts getting too crazy.

The action scenes are when Yumeria really shines, with all the high-tech gizmos, stylized motion, and big destruction that anime fans tend to salivate over. The humor, on the other hand, leans toward the lowbrow side of things. Prepare yourself for all kinds of mistaken identity jokes where Tomokazu accidentally ends up in a lewd position with one of the girls just as someone else walks in on them. The creators seem to have them mindset as their hero, because you can also expect several close-up shots of the girls’ behinds as they walk by, or of their thighs as they sit around in their short skirts. Although nothing “R-rated” happens, this is still not a disc for the kiddies.

The series hits its lowest points when the action moves to Tomokazu’s school. There’s a series of comedy bits with his frighteningly cruel principal, who has some sort of personal vendetta against Tomokazu. These scenes don’t appear to add anything to the narrative, and they are too silly and over-the-top, even for this series.

The anamorphic widescreen picture here is excellent, especially during the transformation scenes, in which the girls don their futuristic armor. How’s the sound, you ask? It’s loud. Really, really, loud. Even at a normal watch-the-views volume, the disc completely assaulted my ears. While watching, I had to make sure this wasn’t actually some kind of fancy DTS track. Not only does it push the speakers in terms of raw sound, but there are several directional effects at work here to. If there’s an award out there for best 2.0 track, this could get nominated. The only extras here are the usual textless opening and closing credits, and six trailers for other ADV releases.

As an action/comedy hybrid, volume one of Yumeria is fun, but forgettable.

The Verdict

If you’re interested, we recommend you rent before you buy.

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