I was wondering whether Dimension W was going to be episodic in nature, like the original Darker than Black, or whether it would focus immediately on an overarching myth arc. There are advantages to both approaches. While the latter has always been a strength of anime—the idea that a series of anime is a complete story from start to finish (even if not every anime always works out how to finish well)—a more episodic format is useful for world building, since the show can then just tell whatever short tale about the world every episode and link the individual pieces at a later interval. For speculative fiction, as Dimension W, world building is arguably one of them ore important tasks for the narrative and, in my opinion, also one of the more interesting parts. In this vision of the future, I want to know how people live, what they enjoy, their changes in culture. That’s just me, of course, but if you’re the kind of nerd who finished reading The Lord of the Rings and then keep going on to the appendices, you’ll likely enjoy this kind of stuff too.
Dimension W attempts to do a bit of both episodic and series-wide story, and to this end immediately introduces a new character, Loser (Nakamura Yuuichi), who both does his phantom thief thing as well hint at an overarching conspiracy with his search for numbered coils. For the most part, I was impressed with how much Dimension W got done in a single episode. The heist itself was entertaining, with some good action sequences, but at the same time I’m guessing that the action wasn’t really the point, or else the killer robot twins would not have been dispatched with so little fanfare (that said, battle droids with glowing, red weak spots seem like a flawed design). Obviously the main takeaway was supposed to be New Tesla’s past transgressions and—WOAH, what was that? Nothing like a sudden art shift into something from Fullmetal Alchemist to wake one up. Well, if you didn’t think that these coils were seriously bad news before, you probably have no doubts now.
The problem with packing so much into one episode (remembering that Darker than Black was more comfortable with two per arc) is that the end result is somewhat heavy on the exposition, in particular the kind where people talk a lot. Loser tells Kyouma’s own backstory back to him. Mira narrates everything she does. In general there was a lot of telling and not a lot of time for showing. I understand that Dimension W is in a hurry to impart a lot of information, and they didn’t actually do things badly but perhaps there are things that we really don’t need to know right now? To demonstrate, I consider the climatic scene quite effective despite not really being told what the blazes happened to the poor wretch. I think we can infer that a Bad Thing went down, and in any case a bit of mystery is good. We’ll find out more about it later. And in the same way, they’ve already shown me that Kyouma is a badass, so I don’t really need to know right now that he was once the only human in an army of
Contractors robots. Better yet, they can show flashbacks of his soldiering days when it becomes relevant later. I’m sure that will be a good watch too.
Overall, though, still quite a good episode. I’m just afraid that Dimension W will be pressed for time. Many shows would enjoy two cours instead of the now standard one, and I suspect that Dimension W is one of them. So while the pace of this episode was taut but not actually rushed, I look to the future in the hopes they can maintain it.
Looking ahead ~ why isn’t anybody dead yet?
I wonder if this Loser fellow is going to be a recurring character. He’s pretty fun, and did some relevant things, but now that he’s said his piece and got his whatever I wonder if we’ll see much of him until perhaps the very end when more of the conspiracy has come to light. If this were Darker than Black, which I reference far too much already, he’d already have been killed, and then I wouldn’t have to think about it. Well, even that Albert fellow is still alive, despite getting exploded last week, not to mention this episode’s nominal villain (though fates worse than death exist) so perhaps this just isn’t a high body-count show.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending which side you stand on for this, Mira wasn’t called up as much for her cheesecake duties this week. Instead, she’s absolutely adorable which, while enjoyable in its own way, only makes me think that something horrible is going to happen to her down the road. At the very least, her quest to retrieve illegal coils does not seem safe in the slightest. The cryptic instructions of dead people are never to just pick up some milk on the way home. It’s always mortal danger. That’s just unreasonable, if you ask me.