「辿りついた未来」 (Tadoritsui ta Mirai)
“The Future Reached”
At last, Dimension W has reached its finale, but before then, our hero needs to mope. It’s a fairly common routine, really, in stories like these, especially where amnesia is involved—it’s one last chance for the hero to question his motivations, and then hopefully find new resolve to continue on. I’m not always very sure how I feel about scenes like these; on one hand, it’s important for the hero to have an internal struggle as well as an external, but on the other hand it can mess with the flow to just have the hero crash like this, and may risk character assassination if the angst seems too contrived, and the hero too melodramatic. In our case, I suppose we at least get some pretty symbolism out of it. And I also think the scene was as much for Mira’s sake, as it was for Kyouma’s. It makes for a good test of their relationship. Kyouma evidences a trust in his partner by allowing her to jack his brain (even after she flashes a painful looking instrument; where’s that supposed to go?), and also serves as a nice bookend to the series with the Kyouma-slapping gag.
And it’s only after Kyouma has sorted out his baggage that the story can truly end. How does it go? Well, Kyouma’s story fleshed out okay, but I’m afraid it may have been at the expense of everyone else’s. Loser gets his revenge for his poor wife and makes his peace, but despite his high-end gear, has relatively little impact except to lend Kyouma his cool toys. Salva is awfully content with having come all the way to Easter Island to accomplish basically nothing, and we still don’t have an explanation for why he treated his cyborg-lady-retainer like a douche. And the villain turned out to be just another crazy nihilist in the end, though I suppose that’s the kind of character that’s very satisfying to finally beat up.
So, yeah, despite all of Dimension W‘s many threads, Kyouma’s story had to carry a bit. I was overall satisfied with it. In particular, I was glad they managed to work Miyabi into it, giving her a more active role than just being her husband’s albatross, unlike Loser’s wife. With the theme about possibilities, it’s important that Miyabi and Kyouma made a choice together to destroy the One Ring. And, hey, I like Miyabi, so it’s good to see her being a positive influence on her hubbie until the very end.
While Kyouma’s story may have been the stronger portion of the finale, it’s not like the rest were not wrapped up. We clearly know who lives and who doesn’t (I’m just going to assume that K. K. croaked, because I don’t care about him). Easter Island is fixed. And Elizabeth apparently becomes the Batman (conveniently, she already has the motif). And, perhaps most importantly, Kyouma finally acknowledges Mira as being ‘alive’, and also by her name, which is a long way from how he treated the pile of junk at the beginning of the series. Everything is tied up neatly with a bow. Is it too neatly, though? Was Dr Yurizaki showing up at the end a convenient deus ex machina? Well, yes. But it wasn’t pulled out of nowhere. I think it was fairly clear by this point that the good doctor wasn’t ‘dead’ per se, and his green coil was one of the last remaining loose ends of the story, so it was good to see it being used. What’s it actually for? Dunno. That’s going to be one of the open questions left behind by Dimension W, along with what Mira feeling a heartbeat on witnessing Elizabeth mourn her father, and the implications about the brain not being able to house the soul. After all the talk about ‘possibilities’, perhaps it’s appropriate to leave some thing open like this. I’m not saying we’re necessary going to get a sequel, but the mere possibility is nice to think about.
Full-length images: 04.
It’s inevitable that there will be those that there will be those that will compare Dimension W with its manga source and be disappointed. I can understand their grief. I haven’t read the manga, but I’m told that much was cut from it to create this anime. Such is the fate of pretty most adaptations in this day and age. A manga basically has as many pages as it wants to tell its story, so long as there are readers, while a one-cour anime like this one is confined to a mere 12 episodes. Even for a series that is based on a finished and not particularly long manga, like Boku Dake ga Inai Machi playing this same season, fitting all the available material is simply not possible and judicious cutting is required. In fact, the strength of an adaptation very often rests on a director’s skill with a knife. Sometimes, the cuts are seamless. Sometimes, there is left obvious scars.
Since I, again, haven’t read the manga I can’t really access adaptation decisions, and even if I did I still would have to ultimately judge the Dimension W as its own creature. The former is an interesting decision, but the latter is what matters in the end. Did I enjoy watching Dimension W? I would say a definite yes. It had style in its designs, it had entertainment value in its action and the turns of its plot, and it had substance through its sci-fi, examining technology’s affect on human limitations, and both the existence and removal of those limitations on individuals. It turned out to be much more of a personal story than sweeping societal commentary, but the substance was there, and elevated Dimension W from being just another action romp.
Some may criticise Dimension W for going too fast, and on some level I agree, but I didn’t really have a problem with it save for in episode 03 and 04, in the dam arc. This is a different issue to the one about things being cut out of the adaptation compared to the manga—I can’t really comment too much on that one, save to say that I didn’t really miss anything. Sure, there were many angles that i wanted to be explored more—I love my worldbuilding in speculative fiction—but those were things I wanted, which is not the same as things I missed. If I couldn’t get them, that would be a shame, but they were not critical. A one-cour series has to have a very set scope. The real issue is whether the material they chose to include was rushed, and my judgment was that the series was compact, but functional. I know some have had problems following along or found things confusing, but I didn’t have those issues personally—it may partially because I’m fairly willing to mentally gloss over technobabble. And I actually think that Dimension W ultimately shouldn’t be too easy to understand, because on some level it is philosophical, even spiritual. It doesn’t reach the same level of murky examination into the human condition as its spiritual predecessor, Darker than BLACK, but some ambiguity is still required.
Maybe Dimension W‘s relationship with DtB, which I was very fond of, made me go easy on it. We certainly don’t get enough cyberpunk-ish anime like Dimension W, and any that manage to tell its story competently from beginning to end has my seal of approval, and I daresay Dimension W did better than that. Even though this season of it has more or less been a complete product, I hope it does well in sales to indicate a certain level of interest in this kind of show that will prompt the production of more of it or its like. A third season of Darker than BLACK will probably never happen, but more Dimension W will be a nice alternative.