Dimension W – 05

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If you’re grading your anime by volume of stuff, Dimension W would have to come out on top.

Dimension W - 05 -1Dimension W certainly gives the viewer plenty of stuff to chew on, that’s for sure.  It looks and sounds great for starters (and any show that can look as good as this one does in a Funimation encode starts out at a very high level).  There’s a ton of plot crammed into every episode, much of it cryptic at best, and old-school fanservice up the ying-yang.  A fast-paced action episode like this one takes the equation right up to the edge of sensory overload, but I think it manages to stop just short of it and stay in the “exhilarating” zone.

Dimension W - 05 -2I won’t deny that I was pretty confused about what was actually happening for a good portion of this arc, but I think when Iwahara finally decides to lay his cards on the table everything comes together remarkably well.  To be blunt, this is really the difference between a writer with serious talent and one who just throws stuff together half-assed, hoping quantity of plot will override the lack of quality (which is sadly what we see in a lot of mystery/thriller anime).  When the big picture is revealed Iwahara has actually strung together a rather elegant tapestry here, even if it wasn’t necessarily possible to see all the connections beforehand.

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As you know if you read my coverage on Gangsta, I’m a big fan of exposition that comes about slowly and naturally (a trait of good seinen, it must be said).  While the Yasogami Dam tragedy was a very good story in its own right, it also continues the process of adding pieces to the larger puzzle – the numbers, the nature of Dimension W, the background of all the major characters.  There’s also some rather interesting musing on identity here, too, both through the lives of those trapped in an alternate version of reality and Mira’s introspection over who and what she is.

Dimension W - 05 -6Mira is an interesting character here, and potentially a troubling aspect of Dimension W.  There’s no question she’s the subject of an awful lot of fanservice moments that sometimes border on the fetishist – clearly, if you know his work you know this is something of a trademark of Iwahara.  I don’t see maliciousness in it, but it is relentless enough to be a little troubling (and I’m not sure I would have said that before this episode).

Dimension W - 05 -7The other aspect of Mira’s character that’s a little troubling is the way Kyouma treats her, though I also appreciate the fact that Dimension W doesn’t feel the need to turn him into a teddy bear.  Mabuchi is a badass, but also one irascible son-of-a-bitch, a tough guy to love.  And I’m beginning to suspect that in addition to his visceral hatred of coils (the source of which we’ve only seen a fraction of) he must also have a reason for a particular dislike of robots.  Maybe he’s just a Luddite generally, but I suspect there’s something more specific at play here.

Dimension W - 05 -8There are several intriguing elements that reveal themselves once the Sakaki Shijurou mystery is fleshed out.  It can now be said for certain that Albert and Kyouma were once teammates, and still retain a certain bond with each other.  The maid at the hotel is the daughter of the man Sakaki killed on that fateful night 21 years earlier – will that prove an important plot point later?  And perhaps most interestingly, the butler at the hotel was Loser in disguise – and Elizabeth calls her “Papa”.  Sharp eyes will have noted that the character of Loser’s “son” in Episode 2 was never credited (which is why I never linked the seiyuu info as I usually do).  I think it’s nearly certain that he and Elizabeth are the same person, though which one is the “real” identity (and why the need for such a deceit) I couldn’t say for sure – but it seems self-evident that it would be easier for the son to disguise himself as Elizabeth than vice-versa…

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9 comments

  1. This was just…stupendous. No other word for it in my opinion. I also loved the super dense story writing here and thought it was executed really well.

    I do agree that Kyouma really is just as you describe him, just one of those difficult sorts of people to get along with. But in a sense perhaps some aspects of Mira are a good fit for him (among which is the favt that she is made of metal – I nearly spewed my coffee all over my screen when he punched her and hurt his hand and she stood there unfazed).

  2. s

    There is a straight-forward explanation to what happened in this ep (looks like my explanation last week was pretty spot-on) but i like how there is still quite some things to interpret. I think what i like most about how this series operates is how every episode unravels just a bit about what dimension w is. It doesnt outright drop all that info to the viewer; good stuff here

  3. g

    I didn’t like it, I think I’ll drop it. I think it crammed too much information into the episode and had pacing issues. It was weirdly cut in some places and action hopped here and there. And I think one of the problem from the start has been some an awkward exposition and it isn’t seamless at all, especially bits about Kyouma’s past, where characters went to his face not once with “Well, it’s time to tell you little about you and your life! You clearly don’t remember, who you are… with your vivid nightmares and all that PTSD’s flashbacks. (And frankly, we don’t trust our viewers at all.)”.

    And I’m not that interested in characters even after 5 episodes. Especially Kyouma has slowly started to irritate me. The older I’m, the less patience I have for characters, who are jerks with a flimsy excuse of the traumatic past. His behaviour toward her it’s not cute nor funny, you can’t call it a banter between them, because they aren’t even partners, he clearly dominates here. But the last drop was “sexualized in defeat” trope. I hate it tremendously.

    Frankly, I’m baffled Enzo, you let it slide like that, when you criticized Hai to Gensou no Grimgar being too trope-y and lightnovel-ish in the area of fanservice. This kind of trope goes even further in objectification and sexualize not only a non-consensual voyeurism, but discomfort, pain and fear of a victim. For the duration of an one episode we saw two different assaults and the one torture of three different characters (two female and one supposedly “female” characters), which were sexualized and you excuse it by “non-malicious intent”. They could showed their good intentions by not using panning shots of Mira’s bust from every possible angle, while she was tortured, for starters. And don’t excuse themselves at the same time she’s just a robot. Bleh.

  4. And I’m baffled by your definition of “let it slide”.

    Look, the hard truth of it is, if you disqualify anime over the kind of stuff you see in this series you’re going to disqualify about half the seinen and shounen ever aired. I have issues with this ep – I pointed them out. But for me there’s a qualitative difference between fanservice like this and what Grimgar does. That’s much more insidious and destructive – it trivializes girls in every sense of the word.

    You dropped a show, I dropped a show. People are entitled to their own point of view. I’m happy to leave it there.

  5. g

    Well, there is some misunderstanding here. I guess, it’s my fault being not clear enough. So let me say it. I don’t like Grimgar too and I’ve dropped it by the episode 3. I don’t disagree with your opinion about it and I’ve thought the casual sexism in it was disgusting. So it’s NOT a case, where I defend my favourite show by attacking one of your favourite show. I repeat, it’s NOT the case. I’ve just ended in a reality, where I don’t like both series.

    Second thing. I’m sorry if my words have offended you. I guess they were too strong. I’ve just thought comparing to Grimgar your opinion is much more tame, when both of the shows brought the same amount of discomfort and are equally off-putting for me. But I’m sorry, again.

    I guess it’s the case, where the things you liked and they clicked for you outweighed the bad elements and it didn’t happen for me. I’ve had my concerns after episode 1 and hesitated for long, because a potential was there but elements didn’t want to fall in good spots and this episode added the trope I hate very much. I’ve harshly judged Dimension W because I expected little more from it than from some light novel adaptation and I really wanted to like it.
    I was wary of Grimgar from the start, even if it looked good (it still looks very good, water colour backgrounds are marvellous little pictures) and didn’t have harem or ecchi tags (I have 0 expectations for these genres and as a trio with light novel tag it spells for me as a D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R most of the times).
    I was hungry for some good s-f too, even if would be a light one, because Gundam: Orphans Version has disappointed me little, and I’ve started to be bored by it (BTW it’s my first one, because I hadn’t had an access for the franchise and when I had I was overwhelmed by sheer numbers of titles and I didn’t know where to start and now I hesitate to reach for different Gundams, especially when I’ve heard weakly written female characters are one of Gundam’s traditions).

  6. Maybe I’ve read too much Berserk but how Mira was depicted didn’t bother me one bit. Generally my stance is that most Seinen manga appeal to guys anyway, so as long as the females stay true to character and the author doesn’t take the stance that abuse is right(which I think is happening in this case, partly because of how Kyouma’s punch backfired) I’m quite okay with it.

    The mystery is a little overcomplicated I’ll admit, feels like a lot of manga material was covered.

  7. s

    I agree; it’s a seinen (adult content)…there’s going to be nudity….the end. I mean no one seems to complain about nudity in an R rater film or in game of thrones. It’s not like the camera goes zooming into mira’s lady parts and focuses primarily on them like other distasteful anime would. Mira’s “fanservice” has always been in context of what she does or what’s happening. Mira’s got an adult female body; if she’s being restrained like she was in this ep and the camera is panning across her body, of course we may see some cleavage or two. Again it’s not like the chains wrapped around her tits and the camera went ape shit on that moment

  8. Just a word of advice regarding funi rips: the 1080p rip has a much higher bitrate and looks much, much nicer than the 720p rips. Color issues with funi rips should also be fixed so they’re actually some of the best quality video for shows these days.

  9. Thanks, I’ll consider that. It’d still be hardsubbed of course…

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