Mar 30, 2016
lawlmartz (All reviews)
If there's one anime this season that went unnoticed, unhyped, and maybe even unfairly underrated, it's Dimension W. While not the flashiest, and certainly not the most outstanding anime- DimW has one thing going for it: it's original. Sidestepping the trappings and tropes that seem to permeate modern anime, and instead embracing a groovy sci-fi near future with androids, flying cars, giant robots, and more- this one was a definite breath of fresh air.

Produced by Studio 3Hz, apparently a very new studio, with literally one credit to their name, the animation and art aren't anything special, but neither are they completely uninspired. It's a bit on the low budget side compared to some modern shows, but fluid and frenetic action coupled with some stylized CG made it very watchable. Similarly, voice acting is handled competently, and the music fits well, adding accents or enhancement to the mood when necessary.

The nearly infinite, but unstable energy source that the show is named for takes a front and center position in the plot- weaving a narrative around the creation of "coils", which as essentially batteries that can access the 4th dimension, a plane of existence where possibility is endless, and is tapped into as a source of energy. Everything takes coils: the robots, cars, computers, and nearly the entire world run on this limitless supply of energy.
Kyouma Mabuchi, our main character, is essentially a luddite in this techno world of Dimension W. He works essentially as a mercenary, collecting special types of highly unstable coils which can create massive rifts in space/time, and generally screw up everything, including sucking people into the energy black hole it forms. In return, he gets paid in things like gasoline (a scarce commodity in this future-world) and parts for his "antique" cars.
Kyouma's dislike for coils, robots, and essentially anything technological puts him at odds with the technologically obsessed world he lives in- in a sort of "born in the wrong generation" way. His rugged, tough guy, and often rude demeanor are offputting to most people he meets, but he's dependable to get stuff done when it needs doing.

The premise of the show is a fairly basic revenge tale, but this isn't immediately apparent, even through the first half of the show. The first section with Kyouma taking various jobs from his boss serves mostly as a semi-episodic adventure, introducing all the myriad characters, and then neatly segues into a long term plot. Without saying too much- there's a very collectible coil situated in a very dangerous area out in the Pacific ocean- one that is worth a lot of money, and none of the "collectors" (people like Kyouma who hunt coils for a living) can pass up. In a sort of "Mewtwo Strikes Back" kind of way- this alluring prize on an island in an old lab turns out to be more dangerous than any of the collectors can handle. They gather, each with their own goals and reasons for doing so- whether to use the money to help a decimated country, for personal greed, revenge, or just to satisfy bloodthirst, and this sets the stage for a battle royale of wits and wills. At times though, the show seems to lose sight of what it was going for- getting sidetracked on what are seemingly one off adventures that mostly end in Kyouma questioning something about himself, but not actually creating any new development.

The show has quite a large cast to be as short as it is, but this isn't all great, as many characters are relegated to first string bench warmer status, and play little to no role, especially later on. It does, however, do a fair job of returning to important moments from previous scenes, and wrapping things that seemed like dead ends up.

Kyouma's motivation for his job and raison d'etre are both explored at length. Finally, a show with a non-insert main character who actually has both tangible goals and reasons for why they do what they do. In his own angry-at-the-world way, Kyouma struggles against his inner demons, for love lost, his survivor's guilt, and the purpose of his continued existence in a world he no longer cares about. Cynical, hardened, and rather rage-filled, he makes for an interesting character who doesn't need anyone but himself, and honestly doesn't really care if people around him get hurt or killed. While not entirely heartless, he's a pretty cold and stoic character focused almost solely on his revenge. This isn't revealed immediately, but as we learn more about the character, we slowly begin to understand the obsession that eats at him.

In finishing, Dimension W was a nice change of pace this season- with a very action oriented show that wasn't preachy or pretentious in presentation, satisfying, and most importantly: unique. It's not a mystery, and it's not a pure shonen battle- it's got just the right amount of spice to keep things interesting, moving, and fresh. I don't think there are too many anime that couldn't benefit from longer to flesh out their ideas and really explore characters and plots, but Dimension W is just about right at 12 episodes. Any less would have felt extremely rushed, and any more would have unnecessarily dragged it out. A shallow anime that's enjoyable enough? Sleeper anime of the season? That's for you to decide.

As always, come rage at me, or say something nice. I don't care.