「亡者の可能性」 (Mōja no Kanōsei)
“The Possibilities of the Dead”
I like to think that I pay sufficient attention to anime I watched. Especially for shows that I’m actively blogging weekly here on RandomC—I don’t skip ahead, I take notes, all so that the piece I eventually deliver to you, dear reader, will be fully informed. Also, more importantly, so that I don’t make an embarrassment of myself on the public stage; I will leave the success of that venture to the judgment of the reader. Point is, I like to think that when an episode starts flying over my head it’s not my fault. Unless it’s about names, of course. I’ll never remember any names, even delicious ones like Greenhough-Smith. That’s on me.
Although this arc of Dimension W was already double length, I couldn’t help but think that it may really have wanted another episode still. Not only is it heavy on the sci-fi mechanics, but there’s also a large extended cast, taxing our information retention abilities even more. There seems to be a full four groups after the Number, with additional players in the two versions of Sakaki Shujiro and their allies/relations. With so much going on and so many people running around, it’s unfortunate that we didn’t have much time to develop them. Kyouma and Mira are our protagonists, so we’re good with them, and Blondie is tied to Kyouma’s past so we can lump him in with them too. But Elizabeth Greenhough-Smith unfortunately served little purpose than to remind us that Loser is still doing his thing (just without his usual flair this time), and the other thieves were dispatched of so quickly I actually file them under ‘distractions’ rather than ‘characters’. Lots of people were involved, and lots of people died. That’s my takeaway.
On the sci-fi side, there are lots of little things I were unsure of, which creates further distractions in the overall narrative. Normally I’d brush minor technical points aside, but because the entire story was so busy I wasn’t immediately sure what was important or not. For example, the Enamoris—there was was one who was saved but lost her memory, and in the alternate world she died, so don’t we have an extra? Was the Dimension W version actually stuck in limbo as well instead of outright dead, or does she take form the same way Sakaki Shujiro does even he died? And while we’re at it, I understand the water ghosts with the weakness from Signs are tied to the water of the dam, but is that water from Dimension W or just water in the vicinity of the Number? And what about Dimension W gives you superpowers? Is it just the fluid-reality nature of that place? I don’t want to have to think about these things, but once I’m distracted my mind wanders. And there’s no question that a certain level of explanation of mechanics is needed to fully flesh the story. For example, Mira’s epiphany moment is a staple in all sentient-robot stories (and one that inadvertently cracked me up, because Luck and Logic), but I wasn’t even aware that she could be reset, or what that really means for her, or even the ways Dimension W is dependent on perception, so the scene lacked strength for me.
I may have rather critical so far, but I think I still enjoyed most parts of this episode; it was just put together a bit haphazardly without enough mortar between the bricks due to the time constraint. It was actually quite the ambitious story, all things considered, a traditional sort of ghost story with a full set of sci-fi upgrades. The quantum physics nature of the alternate-dmension plot must have been awfully complicated to write about, let alone adapt into an anime, so I suppose I should give credit to even the semblance of coherency. I suppose as an introduction to the full power of the numbered coils (as opposed to the pure eldritch horror of episode 02), it was functional, and at the very least our main characters got development. I was highly amused by Kyouma getting his karmic comeuppance for always unfairly bullying Mira; we’ll likely see him be less malicious as we go. But we won’t really see a real character shift until the reason behind his hatred of coils is revealed. That will probably form the crux of this series at some point. I hope Dimension W will be able to take its time at least for that.