So, recently (at the time) marathoned through Dimension W on July 4th & saw Your Name this past weekend at a friend’s place. Inb4 “Ur L8 2 the gaym,” thanks, Captain Obvious, but still gonna give a quick review anyway >_> Also, lol at “quick”, so much wrong with this show it wound up being super long ~.~
First we have Dimension W (since this got so long, saving Your Name for its own post)…
Some backstory: this originally was being aired on Toonami back in 2016 &, although I started watching it, never got a chance to finish it. Cut to now where I finally purchased the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack for $20 off eBay & since I was off on July 4th (God bless gov’t holidays), decided to marathon this sucker.
That being said, put simply: this is a hot mess. Like, for the most part, I liked the concept of Dimension W; loved most of the characters, especially Kyouma & surprisingly even Mira (it’s not uncommon for lead female characters to drive me insane; maybe because she was actually useful & not absolute dead weight); liked the character designs; & a few other things, but the plot is…all over the place & there’s definitely a noticeable point in the series where you can feel the creators ran out of ideas of where to go with the ‘mystery’ of Dimension W. For starters, it seemed like it would be ripping off a lot more from Blade Runner, which honestly would have ultimately made it way better if not still forgettable, but instead it decided to go with…the most mundane, boring, “safe” way to approach everything.
Below I’m going to basically list off all my issues/critiques in a stream of thought fashion. Honestly, since it’s been a hot minute since I’ve seen it, some criticisms I had are somewhat fuzzy, but I’ll do my best to recollect everything. Also, beware of major spoilers:
- The first episode had me hooked, the 2nd one also kept me interested…then the 3rd episode happened…where the most unnecessary kid characters are introduced (who literally never appear again till the end credits of the last episode). They only existed to: (a) show you how much Mira cares for others…’cause it’s totally not like the show won’t keep reinforcing this every g.d. episode; (b) namely with the blond girl, ultimately there to introduce the COO of NTE of Central 47, establish her connection with Albert Schuman, & explain away why no one from the company (or elsewhere for that matter) is hunting down Kyouma for possessing Mira, the last major thing created by the Founder of NTE & pioneer of Dimension W related things. Honestly, the episode only serves to further establish the type of relationship dynamic between Kyouma & Mira…& what I mentioned above, all of which make up maybe 10 minutes max of the entire episode, otherwise, there is very little point to it & is extremely superfluous. Also notice how I have this much to critique & we’re only on episode 3 of 13…goody.
- Episodes 4 & 5? Basically ripping off The Shining…poorly, with added bits to make it relevant to the whole Dimension W tech. For starters, the plot for this 2-parter is needlessly convoluted & can somewhat be hard to follow due to the sheer amount of b.s. it tries to throw at you all at once. As far as it being convoluted & hard to follow?
- In short: these episodes introduce the concept of a “ghost world” that exists as one of the many ‘potential possibilities’ of the events that occurred 21 years prior in that area, in which a lot of people died due to torrential rains, flooding, & the dam being tampered with to sabotage a project a team of students & their mentor where working on in the area involving coil technology. Anyway, the “ghost world” is then further explained as essentially being a timeline/dimension where “no one died” (even though you can clearly see the people that manifest, at best, are zombified ghosts that still have their sentience) that is stored in the Coil associated with an experiment happening in the area at the time that causes this ‘layering of dimensions’ to happen whenever there’s fog in the area & this mysterious short white haired character is asleep…
- This 2-parter alone is why I’d recommend watching it, just because even in full context of the related episodes, or if I “explained it better”, it’s still super obtuse & convoluted…& takes the whole ‘applications of Dimension W & coil tech’ in a whole new bizarre direction. Like episode 3, these episodes had no purpose in the grand scheme of the series. In the 2nd episode alone it introduces the horror that happens when Coils ‘collapse’ as they basically cause multiple realities/possibilities of the affected individual to manifest at once & can create this grotesque body horror of nightmare fuel & just exists as a poorly contrived way to hand-wave things that occur at the end of the series. To be put bluntly, things that happen in this 2-parter have no real effect on the rest of the series as a whole & can almost be treated as filler.
- Then you have episode 6. Even though it arguably started as soon as episode 3, 6 is where the series starts to nosedive into “we have 0 ideas left but we need to end the series somehow, some way” territory. From here on out is where I noticed this series’ obsession with introducing every other new character as potentially being nefarious or shady…only for them to totes not be a bad guy & they’re actually Jesus, or something of the like. If a show does things like this, it’s just teaching its viewer to never take it seriously when it introduces a new person in a “maybe they’re evil..?” kind of way & can grate on their nerves…hmmm, but then when the show introduces the “real” villain (literally in the final act of the series), they’re so obviously evil it hurts my soul. I don’t know, man, I just feel like the terrible lazy writing really reveals itself here on out. Lastly, this is also the time where you realize how many different plot points they introduce, only to go absolutely nowhere with them but I’ll get to that later.
- Anyway, episode 6 alone was already pushing my buttons because this is the first time the show introduced major dark complexioned PoC characters (there’s, like, one other character but they’re a background minor character at best)…& they are either an @$$, a doormat (for the one PoC woman), or whiny & somewhat annoying…-_- Before you think I’m going to go on a rant about PoC characters being represented poorly in anime, I’m not. Even though this was the only thing I could think about the entire episode, it didn’t ‘ruin’ it for me…& is the least of this series’ problems. Heck, with one of the new major characters introduced, Prince Salva-Enna-Tibesti, it continued this show’s habit of introducing a new character as potentially being shady as crap…only to go nowhere with it &, oh, btw, they’re a super goody-goody good guy. Besides this issue; i.e., “totes not suspicious characters introduced as being suspicious af”, there is the whole ‘challenge to the collectors’ thing, which reveals why it’s problematic as the series continues, & introducing the new piece of info that due to lazy writing trope #147 & #148 ([#147] mysterious war in the past that [#148] is the genesis of ‘everything’), which leads into the next episode.
- In episode 7 the main bothersome thing is how old Kyouma looks compared to how much of a child Miyabi, who you discover was his fiancee. Like, he looks every bit of early 20s, Miyabi looks like she’s 12 at most…could she not have looked older??? I think her character design is the main one I have problems with because whenever the series would show a supposed to be touching moment between the 2, it just came off as creepy since she looks like a child. I know ultimately the reason for this is to justify why the other androids (Mira, 4, Prince Lwai-Aura-Tibesti, etc.) have small frames since her body was the basis for all of them after crap hit the fan with her surgery…but surely this could have been written better. Like, use someone else/another reason as the origin for the small frames of all androids, skip past it entirely & not have that as a plot point, have generally taller characters so you could have a taller character as the basis, something. Just not this lazy crap…which of course sets up why Kyouma even bothers with Mira despite hating coil-powered tech (the series mentions this, namely Miyabi’s body being a base for androids, later but I might as well do it now). Oh, & this is the first attempt at even trying to explain this b.s. poor writing point of their being some mysterious war, namely the end of it, The Easter Island incident…which I guarantee by the end of the series they never properly explain. Arguably the show reveals enough about its events but for how much it was referred to, you’d think they would show the full event & spare no details about everyone involved.
- Episode 8 onwards, besides confirming that, yes, Prince Salva totally isn’t a bad guy, makes the really stupid mistake of introducing multiple new characters (the other Collectors) which are barely characterized, only have 1 or 2 identifying traits to “recognize” them, & ultimately serve to only act as deus ex machinas or hindrances as the plot deems necessary. In particular you have 1 character whom I call America, since he’s the stereotypical boisterous (kind of) blond hair/blue eyed pretty boy of a manly man…’cause all Americans look like that because this country has 0 racial diversity (-_____-), who literally exists only to hinder Loser (yes, there’s a character (nick)named that) & then die unceremoniously…& he isn’t the first example of that. Oh, how could I forget by last episode this glowing ball of wtf is now occasionally blinking in & out of reality & is causing any male it comes in contact with to pass out…because. Lastly, they keep saying the “island fell into the void due to the incident that happened years ago at the end of the war”, but that’s misleading. The island “didn’t fall into a void”, it’s actually stupidly complicated & convoluted: some areas are in a ‘void’ of sorts where Coil tech doesn’t work but, like, an android would still mostly be functional, other areas literally are in a void & no living thing can really exist within it for too long + Coil tech ceases to function, you find out later on a huge chunk of the island literally now exists in a pocket space in Dimesion W…because that’s a thing that can happen, but, more importantly, you can still access at least some piece of this island without too much of a hassle…annnnddd this is another one of many examples throughout the series of things that may have sounded cool on paper but poorly executed at best.
- Episode 9, there’s a lot happening that needs to be critiqued (like how now Loser is just being a total jerk to Kyouma for seemingly no reason) but the main thing is this is when the show felt it necessary to introduce their main villain…episode 9, & as stated before obviously evil & has no redeemable characteristics & is basically just being an @$$ just because. He’s literally one of the most 2 dimensional, lack luster, poorly designed main villains I’ve seen in quite some time, but there’s also the lunacy revealed that he has the ability to see people’s memories, modify them, etc. all with the help of Dimension W…because it’s revealed either next episode or episode 11 that Dimension W = everyone’s memories. In other words, Coil tech & any tech for that matter relying on Dimension W is essentially powered by human memories…I don’t even know where to begin with how stupid or “…how the crap even???” this is so I’m not even going to try.
- Also forgot to mention the reason the Collectors are going to the island & why Salva was funding this whole adventure is to find the MacGuffin that basically is the sweetest most awesomely powerful Coil in za wordo & he needs to have it…because (you find out by the end of the series why he needs it but it’s a moot point). Honestly, due to the fate of said MacGuffin & the fact it functions in the capacity you would expect a MacGuffin to function in any given story, just calling it that for now, but basically it’s the most powerful Coil ever created that would allow the possibility for teleportation & the like.
- Episode 10 does the same thing of having the just introduced characters pull shenanigans & potentially get left for dead/killed, which is annoying because the way the series ends it’s completely possible they left those 2 on the island, tied up (the other unconscious/potentially dead). It’s just really unclear & annoying the show even bothered with having these characters but this goes back to my stating that all the characters they introduced either serve to help or hinder at the convenience of the plot. You also find out Prince Lwai is “all android”, has multiple android bodies, & the ‘real’ one is practically comatose & hooked up to a device that allows him to control the android bodies. This in & of itself is fine, it’s just this is another moment where the show spends hyping up how Prince Salva is such an amazingly good person…but prior to that it basically went through this montage of his backstory that sets him up as the prototypical overly ambitious type. It’s at this moment that the show seems to be going the “all ambition is evil” tropey route, only for them to seemingly change their mind at the last minute & treat him as the second coming of Jesus..? I don’t know, this show is bipolar in terms of how it represents where his morals fall.
- Then there’s 11 & 12, where all the b.s. plot points pile on top of each other to form one hideous mountain of excrement. Like, it’s a fairly disappointing ending for the series, but at least it’s conclusive…more or less. Anyway, episode 11 was mainly about giving backstory for the event that happened at Easter Island, why the MacGuffin was important/its purpose, Loser & his other colleagues, how Kyouma factors in, & several other things. There’s a lot brought up in this episode to critique, but I’m just going to mention a couple things, namely Seameyer being one of the dumbest villains ever with a piss poor reason for his descent into madness. I can see being so upset that he continued to work on experiments with the MacGuffin even after everything was shut down, I don’t understand the “going insane” part. Really wasn’t good enough reasoning given by the show to justify that. More like a whiny brat didn’t get what he wanted so he threw a massive temper tantrum & now everyone has to suffer.
- The second thing is that, as mentioned earlier, a majority of the island was sucked into a pocket dimension -with Seameyer on it- but now he’s able to interact with the main world because Dimension W tech is able to function more on this island now after years…for a reason I don’t quite understand (because it was poorly explained if at all). Finally, you have the last episode which introduces the b.s. that the MacGuffin was actually destroyed since the Easter Island venture…which effectively makes the last 5 episodes absolutely pointless. Remember: they’re only on this God forsaken island to find that & without it, several of the main characters can’t do anything towards whatever fancy smancy project they want to get started based off this coil. However, that’s chump change compared to the biggest b.s. of Mira somehow not dying because, get this: even though he died, right before her Coil implodes her “Father” gives her a new Coil beyond the grave & she’s able to live to see another day.
- Now, I believe the episodes that basically knocked off Stephen King’s The Shining were supposed to be the backdoor to basically explain how something like this isn’t a total nonsensical cop-out, but within that 2-parter, anybody that died & “came back” (kinda sorta) died in that area due to an event that affected the Coil involved with the whole event at the time. Shido (founder of NTE & Mira’s ‘father’) was nowhere near this island in his death nor was he present during the incident that happened years prior…so how on earth was he able to, not only temporarily ‘come back’, but give Mira a new Coil??? Also, how & where did he acquire that? Did he bring it with him to the afterlife? Did he pull it from another “possibility”? It makes 0 sense & is one of the biggest @$$pulls I’ve ever seen.
- There’s also an OVA episode that’s essentially the “bath house” episode, but I don’t care enough about the series to watch more than the main story line.
- Other things I didn’t mention:
- In case you couldn’t tell, this show has terrible pacing;
- Of all the things to make Dimension W (the actual scientific discovery), you go with memories..? I would have found it more interesting if Dimension W had denizens & using its energy actually is slowly but surely killing all the sentient lifeforms there, or you know…anything else but memories, especially since they didn’t really do anything interesting with it;
- This is probably just me, but I felt Elizabeth, Loser’s daughter, was going to be revealed to be an android herself because with the way they set up Loser’s backstory, it didn’t seem that he had any kids when the Easter Island event happened, so I was waiting for that reveal…but, no, she totally is a living breathing human…who added very little to the overall story & was arguably completely unnecessary;
- There are random moments (more like whatever is convenient to the plot at the time) where characters are total jerks to others when it seems completely uncharacteristic for them. Like when Loser just goes full jerk & refuses to tell Kyouma his role in the events of the Easter island incident. Wouldn’t it be advantageous to the both of you if you helped him remember? It doesn’t seem in his character to be that callous to the key to figuring out what happened to the MacGuffin is all I’m saying, especially since he’s helped him in other ways prior to that;
- Or, moments where characters are unforgivable jerks to others just cause. Kyouma constantly beating on Mira because “he doesn’t like androids” is an example. Wasn’t really funny or endearing to begin with, but I basically had a “What the hell, hero?!” moment when he wound up to basically Falcon Punch her for something trivial. Yeah, he hurt his hand in the process (which also doesn’t make sense because slapping her super hard is OK, but punching her hurts your hand..???), but why in the 9 realms would you think it’s OK to do that??? Even though she’s an android, she’s shown multiple times she can clearly feel pain & the like, again, why would you do that??? Or when Mira is practically screaming in Kyouma’s face when he’s clearly having a full-blown mental breakdown/PTSD episode…or when multiple characters from the cast forgets he has what is obviously PTSD &/or constantly forcing him to remember things he forgot due to trauma/partial amnesia. Never mind as a part of the whole “maybe Salva is evil!!??” go nowhere plot point, he did multiple jerkish things but all is forgiven…I guess…
- They had a terrible villain with meh motivation & even worse MacGuffin. The show could have done light years better with either. For example, instead of Seameyer, one of Kyouma’s compatriots could have been sucked up into the pocket dimension instead & could have gone villainous due to having a mental breakdown from all the stress of being in a different dimension affected by everyone’s memories all at once…or, you know, slowly molded Loser into being a villain due to essentially having a mental breakdown/going insane from using so many Coils at once as well as side-effect from being teleported. Heck, could have even made Loser’s wife a villain for similar reasons I mentioned for potentially having one of Kyouma’s compatriots be one. As far as the MacGuffin Coil is concerned, they could have done more with it in general: introduced it to the plot earlier, show other technologies that benefited from its existence, etc. but like the villain, you don’t know about until after a majority of the series is over;
- Oh yeah, the whole “introduce a super important plot device & main villain near the end of the series” thing. I can pass on the MacGuffin being mentioned so late in, but the main villain though? Basically, the whole series was pointless until they got to that point, since he’s the main reason blah blah blah;
- Furthermore, the mysterious war in the past for that matter. That ultimately led to the events of Easter Island as well, but nary an explanation is really given as to why there was even a war to begin with;
- Additionally, hate the exciting “Where’s the MacGuffin?!” mystery ends with “Oh, Kyouma destroyed it >.>” Like, at least give me a Kuchiki Rukia (Bleach) scenario where it was hidden inside him. Originally, I imagined this would have been the reason why he had such fighting prowess & great recovery, but no, due to nondescript war that’s why he’s so bad@ss & the MacGuffin was a wasted potential ‘infinite possibility generator.’
- Similarly, I was hoping from the get-go the show would go more Blade Runner knock-off & Kyouma would be an android, but I guess that’s asking for too much…
- As far as a go nowhere plot point: Mira’s importance. Being the last android/thing made by the Founder of NTE & all Coil tech, you’d think she’d be really important (she was hinted at being such throughout the earlier parts of the series) but then nothing. Same difference if Kyouma just had a random android assigned to be his partner just cause, because who she is has 0 effect on the overall plot;
- I felt Salva & Lwai were wastes of potential since they both seemed really interesting & engaging, alas, they were really just background characters. Lwai got some use in the plot but ultimately the series ends in more of a “it’s about Kyouma & Mira & no one else” fashion so you don’t get to see them again
So, ultimately the show had bad pacing, is supremely lackluster, & a lot of wasted potential but the character designs were mostly interesting & I loved the main character & even Mira. I would say this show is worth it to watch if nothing else to see how it fails, otherwise, it’s pretty forgettable & glad I didn’t pay more than the $20 for the series.