#1 Reverse Freddy Kreuger
Rem Ayanokoji is a young girl who operates a detective bureau with a curious specialty. Instead of dealing with regular crimes like robberies or murder, she deals with matters related to dreams. Unbeknownst to many, monsters, demons, and evil spirits can invade your dreams and cause serious harm. Fortunately, Rem is there to put a stop to them. Violently.
Rem has the means to literally enter and manipulate people’s dreams, after which she seeks out the nightmares and inner demons that haunt them and proceeds to murder the shit out of them. She may be small, charismatic, and intelligent, but when lives are on the line Rem prefers to let her Colt .44 Magnum do the talking. Additionally, in the world of dreams she can transform into a warrior princess and she has a variety of other weapons when her magnum proves insufficient. Sometimes, you really feel sorry for the actual monsters in this story.
Rem is a kickass little go-getter of a protagonist and, honestly, kind of an underrated anime hero. I was having a great time with this show and wanted to see her solve more cases and murder some more evildoers.
#2 Neat ghost stories
Each mystery Rem has to resolve deals with a new villain attempting to use the world of dreams to bring harm to people. One story is about a school where the prettiest students are mysteriously dying overnight, another about a headless horseman tied to the legend of an ancient, Japanese village.
The stories often incorporate well-known and obvious tropes, sometimes outright using famous fairytales as a basis, but always gives them unexpected twists to keep surprising the viewer. These mysteries and the villains at the heart of them are always entertaining, it’s impressive to see how compelling the writer could make these stories while also making sure they fit in a single OVA episode.
Each episode has interesting characters and a good mystery, there is always action & horror in them, some fun development for the cast. It’s a well-rounded show all-around.
#3 Violent action
With a story about entering dreams and a cute girl as the protagonist, it’s not unreasonable to expect Dream Hunter REM to be lighthearted and fun. The opposite, as you may have noticed from the pictures above, is true. Old-school OVAs were famous for their violence and sex, and while nudity is sparse here, the series has plenty of violence to compensate for that.
The victims of the villains get the worst of this, as they often end up brutally murdered in graphic ways. People are cleaved in half, impaled, set on fire, beheaded, it’s brutal stuff. Even Rem can’t always escape a similar beating. Not only is it cool to see, it also gives the villains a real sense of threat; These aren’t nightmares that’ll just mildly inconvenience you, these are madmen who will choke you to death with chains. Proper horror stuff.