Dream Hunter REM

Tagged: TV

Japanese Original Video Animation (OVA) (1985-1992; vt New Dream Hunter Rem). Original title Dorīmu Hantā Remu. Sai Enterprise, Zain. Directed by Seiji Okuda. Written by Seiji Okuda, Hiroki You and Yō Yūki. Voice cast includes Show Hayami, Shūichi Ikeda, Naoko Matsui and Tamio Ōki. Six short films of 21-58 minutes. Colour.

Teenager Ayanokouji Rem (Matsui), alias Dream Hunter Rem, is a private detective fighting the demons (see Gods and Demons) that turn people's dreams into nightmares. Her trusty assistants are the kitten and puppy Alpha and Beta, who are larger and fiercer in dreams. Further support comes from the Monk Enkou san (Hayami) and from Kido san (Ikeda), a "brilliant Scientist ... he fights our enemies with the power of science"; actually he is a parapsychologist (see Imaginary Science; Psi Powers). When Rem enters another's dream (see Dream Hacking) she can transform into a scantily clad, sword-wielding magical girl warrior should the need arise. Though Demon-forged nightmares can kill the dreamer, Rem is strong-willed enough to survive such attacks. She carries a Colt .44 Magnum and her car has missile launchers, ready for any demonic Monster that enters our world.

Antagonists include serial killer Dr. Shinigami (Ōki), who sold his soul for eternal life. When shot he escapes into the dreamworld where he continues to prey on women whose deaths manifest in our world; for example, a schoolgirl is decapitated in class. Another tale references Snow White: when a demon asks her mirror who is dreamworld's fairest, she is upset at coming second to Rem. Her plot to absorb Rem's youth and beauty involves a bomb disguised as an apple (laboriously disposed of by Enkou and Kido, who steal a model aeroplane, attach the apple with gaffer tape and fly it into the harbour). Japanese history intrudes when a doll of Rem's twelfth-century ancestor is borrowed by Kido for scientific study – whereupon his laboratory is wrecked by a headless horseman (see Supernatural Creatures), filled with 800 years of anger and sadness. Its influence allows the encroachment of the dreamworld into ours: however, Kido explains that the magnetic field Enkou creates can be used to form a time-tunnel (see Time Travel) to return the ghost. In another episode Rem battles a giant Robot.

There is much blood and Horror such as face-melting, ageing into a skeleton and a scene lifted from Edgar Allen Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum" (in The Gift, anth dated 1843 but 1842). Thematically this Anime often revolves around beauty, but does not deeply engage with the psychological potential of having dreams made real and manipulable; though fun, the longer stories can overstay their welcome. Some OVAs include a brief lecture on the science of dreams by Rem.

The first episode was originally released as a short pornographic (see Sex) OVA: the story proved popular, so further, less sexual OVAs were made and the original re-released and expanded with new material replacing the more explicit scenes – though Fan Service is still frequent. The last two OVAs were released as New Dream Hunter Rem. There were also Manga and novels. [SP]

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