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Dream Hunter Rem

Now here are a set of OVAs that will turn people’s heads. This is the sort of anime that throws caution to the wind and does whatever it wants. Well, maybe not whatever it wants, but close. The show is based on a series of hentai and these OVAs were an attempt by the producers to create a more mainstream, accessible version of Dream Hunter Rem. While sexual encounters have been thrown by the wayside, they’ve been replaced by plenty of gory deaths, and some scenes that come straight out of left field. This is a show where it’s tempting to go into more detail about these things, but that would necessitate a lot of spoilers. In order to avoid that, just have some faith that the deaths are spectacular and there are moments that will leave viewers bemusedly scratching their head why the scene was added.

Dream Hunter Rem follows the adventures of a girl named Rem Ayanoukoji, who runs a paranormal detective agency. As the name of the show suggests, she specializes in fighting demons that enter people’s dreams. With that in mind, one can see that this parallels A Nightmare on Elm Street with regard to people meeting gruesome deaths while they sleep. Rem would usually be asked for help by Inspector Sakaki from the police department when he caught wind of particularly strange deaths. This would lead to Rem hopping in her cute little convertible, complete with rocket and missile launchers, as she rushed to her latest case.

Rem’s encounters with these beings would take place both in dreams and the waking world. She has the power to fall asleep next to a victim currently being tormented by a vengeful spirit or what have you and enter their dreams. From here she would confront the being, a fight would usually ensue, and when it looked like Rem was about to get the upper hand, the spirit would escape the dream into the waking world. From there, Rem would usually finish off the creature with all of those rockets and missiles she keeps in her car. It’s a very straightforward story every time, but what keeps it exciting are the violent deaths (copious amounts of decapitations are just the tip of the iceberg here), and bizarre scenes that come out of nowhere (it is so tempting to spill the beans here, but readers really must see these for themselves).

Visually, Dream Hunter Rem is typical of the time, leaning more towards an overall cutesy art style (although it occasionally suffers from cases of huge chins). Rem has a variety of costumes she wears during the show ranging from her detective outfit, to spandex and leotards that she puts on for no apparent reason, to bikini armor when she transforms to fight demons. She’s also accompanied by her pet dog and cat, Alpha and Beta, adding to the cuteness. The soft, gentle approach to the art creates a strong juxtaposition against the gory deaths strewn throughout the series.

The show’s spectacle is what makes it worth watching. It came out in 1985, a good few years before OVAs really started getting violent, so it’s a bit surprising to see so much gore here. If someone went simply by the box art on the cover of the VHS, they’d have no idea what they were in for in Dream Hunter Rem. In any case, it’s a very enjoyable trio of episodes that make for a bizarre, gruesome good time while not wearing out its welcome.

- IroIro
June 18, 2019

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- Maryuu Senki Review
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Directed by: Seiji Okuda
Studio: Sai Entertainment
Released: 1985-87
Episodes: 3

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