ANIME REVIEW: “Dimension W” – Animation Scoop

ANIME REVIEW: “Dimension W”

Based on the manga by Yuji Iwahara, Dimension W is an oddly uneven series, alternately intriguing and muddled.

The story takes place in 2036, after the discovery of a fourth Euclidean dimension solved all of Earth’s energy problems. Power flows from this little understood dimension through a series of huge stations to individual battery-receivers called Coils. The entire grid is controlled by a single company, New Tesla Energy.

Alienated loner Kyouma Mabuchi (Christopher R. Sabat) is one of the last people to resist the new technology. He hates Coils, and still drives an old-fashioned gasoline fueled car. He dresses in traditional clothes, including a hapi coat, although he sports a trendy goatee and mini-ponytail. He fights by throwing slender daggers and cables. He’s a Collector: He seeks out illegal Coils for Mary (Stephanie Young), a blowsy matron who operates at the fringes of the underworld.

In the first episode, Kyouma heads out on a collecting mission and encounters Mira (Jad Saxton), an extremely life-like robot created by Dr. Shido Yurizaki (Jeremy Schwartz). Although he founded New Tesla and thought up a paramilitary unit called Grendel, Yurizaki disappeared after the murder of his wife and daughter. Mira was apparently a cyber-substitute child; Kyouma reluctantly accepts her as a partner in the ongoing hunt for illegal Coils.

The hunt often takes bizarre turns. A masked art thief known as The Loser stages an elaborate heist at a museum that Kyouma and Mira get caught up in. Aided by his young hacker son, The Loser is also after illegal Coils, including one hidden within a sculpture. The curator of the museum ends up merging with his automaton doll-servants, a messy visual that recalls the reaching tendrils behind the mysterious doors of life in Fullmetal Alchemist.

The pursuit of the Coils also brings Kyouma into contact with Albert Schuman (Eric Vale), a former friend who is now an agent for Tesla’s Dimensional Administration Bureau, a paramilitary research and enforcement group. Albert and Kyouma are both “Beasts of Grendel,” referring to their previous military service. They’re reluctant allies at best, as Kyouma doesn’t seem to like anyone very much. Their extensive training does them little good in a weird story about a murdered writer. Dimension W awkwardly shifts genres, from science fiction to supernatural mystery, as the ghosts of Lake Yasogami reveal their troubled pasts.

Dimension W boasts some interesting design work that recalls Blood Blockade Battlefront, but the filmmakers try a little too hard (and a little too obviously) to capture the brooding noir tone of Cowboy Bebop. Koorogi (Josh Grelle), Mary’s underage über-hacker is obviously modeled on Ed in Bebop. Like Spike Spiegel, Kyouma is haunted by a dark, violent past, but his character remains underdeveloped and less compelling. Spike complains, but he’d never disrespect an ally—even one he’s accepted against his better judgment—as a “piece of junk,” as Kyouma calls Mira.

Mira is a more problematic character. Too often, she feels like standard-issue sexy doll-bot. The filmmakers include lots of unnecessary fan service shots of her bathing, and the scenes of her being subjected to gratuitous violence feel like something to thrown in to appeal of fans of S & M roboporn.

Although it contains some interesting ideas, Dimension W never really coheres, and stubbornly remains less than the sum of its parts. Although the box says “Season One,” the series only lasted for 12 episodes. The Limited Edition ($61.89) somes with a set of art cards.

Dimension W: Season One
Funimation: $43.79 4 discs Blu-ray/DVD

Charles Solomon

Charles Solomon

Internationally known animation historian and critic, Charles Solomon has written over 15 books books including Enchanted Drawings: The History Of Animation, The Art of Disney's Frozen, and The Making of Peanuts Animation. Solomon's "The Art of Toy Story 3" will be published by Chronicle this spring.
Charles Solomon

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