Warning: Here Be Spoilers
Manga Review: Dimension W, Volume 2
Missed volume 1? Check out my thoughts here!
With Kyouma caught up to him, it seems like Loser’s theft might not go to plan afterall. However, the art thief quickly reveals that he knows the truth about Kyouma’s mysterious past – and his identity as the sole survivor of the anti-coil group, Grendel. Loser has lost about 60% of his body, and his wife, to a coil-related incident, and now is in search of what he calls numbered coils, alongside his young son.
The museum director is quick to cut off the police, thinking that he can only trust himself to stop Loser’s mission. It quickly becomes clear that he has at least two cyborgs powered by illegal coils, ready to kill intruders and thieves. Kyouma comes to the rescue just in time and, while the incident does still end in tragedy (as well as another look at Dimension W itself), both characters walk away alive.
Before departing, Loser announces that no one knows where illegal coils are manufactured, but that he’ll find out. Needless to say, it’s an action packed beginning! All of this results in Mira being classified as a collector and becoming Kyouma’s roommate.
Despite the serious background, Kyouma and Mira’s relationship is full of little shenanigans. Given how quickly this series could (and probably will, but I’ve only been following the US manga release, so that’s just a guess on my part) turn dark, I appreciated that there’s still a good amount of fun involved, as long as it doesn’t devolve into a sitcom.
In this volume, we also learn a little more about the future, including that children grow up into lives determined by their permanent records. A points system determines which school students can go to, and points can be docked for seemingly harmless things – such as a group of young kids hanging out around Kyouma’s junkyard. When some cars fall over and almost crush the students that like to visit Kyouma, Mira rushes to their rescue, just about blowing her cover. The father of one of the boys, Jin, says he will press charges against Kyouma. Meanwhile, Jin discovers his butler Suzukiyama has a dangerous secret.
Suzukiyama’s story was my favourite part of this volume, so I was disappointed that it was so short. The incident wraps up fairly quickly (and Kyouma even gets his bonus points for doing a genuinely good deed). The score concept is an interesting addition, and helps set up the social hierarchy of the world a little better, but with the episodic nature of the first two volumes, it seems like it will be brushed away fairly quickly.
Dimension W’s second volume closes on the beginning of a new mystery in what looks to be a remote mansion.
I’m really interested to see where this series will go over time, especially since a lot of this volume seemed like filler. The chapters featuring Loser focused on the bigger plot of the story – the illegal coils, the ruling system, the dangers of the new world – but the rest was more of a background plot. Kyouma did have some character development, especially with his reactions to the children and their scores. Overall I’d like to see volume 3 turn back to the bigger mysteries at hand. Even with such a great concept, episodic manga can sometimes be too much of a distraction from the overall plot.
Dimension W volume 3 is expected on August 30th, and will hopefully bring some answers with it. For the meantime, it can still be counted on for an enjoyable sci-fi experience reminiscent of mid-2000s Adult Swim series (think Cowboy Bebop, various Gundams, etc).