Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera is a show that has turned its fair share of heads this season. The first episode was insane, to say the least, and it only gets crazier from there. I personally think this show is awesome. Other people, not so much. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers bash this show for a number of reasons, whether it be the lack of any plot development, its overuse of certain jokes and gags, or its overload of fanservice. In a way, they are absolutely correct. It’s a show that I would normally despise, for those very reasons. Why then do I find myself enthralled by this show? I guess if one were to fully appreciate this show, one must first appreciate what it represents.
Remember that one scene in Paranoia Agent? The scene where we see the detective lamenting how the world has left him behind? How in today’s society, there is no longer a need for old fashioned policemen because the criminals no longer need motive, reason, or character? In that scene, we see the detective’s “dream world.”
This is his dream world. What does it look like? Well from what I can tell, it’s basically your average Japanese rural village, most likely from his childhood. I can sort of attest to this as I’ve been to parts of rural China before.
He dreams of this because it was time where society was so much simpler in terms of good and evil. Gone were the piles of paperwork. Gone were the long interrogation sessions. Gone were the “shonen bats” of this era’s society. Everyone seemed to be going about their daily lives with a smile on their face.
I loved Paranoia Agent, and I particularly loved that scene. That one sequence was masterful in how it depicted the times of the past. A time before Evangelion, before Gundam and Real Robots, before even Raideen and Ideon. A time where perhaps things really were “simpler,” both in the real world and in the world of fiction.
Dororon Enma-kun is basically that scene from Paranoia Agent. It’s a show highly reminiscent of a time that has long since past. It’s a show that doesn’t take itself seriously nor its critics seriously. It’s a show that portrays its characters in a manner unfitting for today’s culture, both in anime and other forms of media, and gets away with it. That’s the beauty of it all. Perhaps I’m being overly dramatic here, but I think we are all romanticists to some degree.
Likewise however, as the dream world from Paranoia Agent is a mere illusion, so is Dororon Enma-kun. For better or for worse, it has no place in today’s meta-culture. Trying to review it as a contemporary piece on an objective scale is nigh impossible. It is merely a homage, a snap-shot, if you will, of classic anime storytelling and how it contrasts with the anime norms of today. Overall, I enjoy it immensely, and I hope others will too. Amongst the myriad of good shows and bad shows every season, it’s always nice to get that one Enma-kun to put it all in perspective.