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Dimension W Limited Edition Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read

Dimension W PackagingThe more the world changes the more it stays the same.

What They Say:
In the near future, devices known as “”coils”” harness the power of another dimension. Seeking illegal coils, bounty hunter Kyoma Mabuchi spends his days resisting the use of dimensional energy. That is, until a very realistic and adorable robot, Mira, gets mixed up in things. Partnering with the reluctant Kyoma on his missions, together they uncover the truth behind the mysterious power.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo and an English language track done up in 5.1, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The show is one that works a good balance of action and dialogue material, especially since the action can get kind of wild at times and there are some very big moments to be had with some of the events. Placement is solid throughout with some really nice directionality, boosted up well with the English mix and its more immersive design, but both tracks handle it just right. Dialogue is a little more straightforward but there are some nice touches throughout and the track brings everything through in a clean and clear form with no problems such as dropouts or distortions.

Video:
Originally airing in 2016, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes are spread across two discs in a nine/four format. Animated by Studio 3Hz and Orange, the series has a really strong look to it overall that makes it feel like a natural outgrowth of the present but with the technology changes. That gives the encoding plenty of detail to work with in bringing it through in a sharp and defined way. It also gets to work a nice range of colors where it has some very vibrant pieces with the technology but most of the rest of the world is fairly standard, not muted but not overstated either. What we get here is definitely a strong visual design world and it comes through beautifully with the presentation here that will delight fans.

Packaging:
The packaging design for this limited edition release brings us a heavy chipboard box that has a really fun dayglo kind of green to it that works better than it should. The front panel gives us Mira in full power mode with a range of colors that normally don’t go well in selling a show like this but it adds to the surreal nature of things. The back panel is more muted with Kyouma as it’s set to the same kind of idea but with blues and greens and a darker look for him, especially with that heavily angled jawline. Within the box we get a digipak, something I haven’t seen for a bit from Funimation, where the back panels brings out more of the Japanese cover character artwork done with darker backgrounds that gives them all some nice weight. The inside part goes for the circuit board background approach with the dayglo green against the black that works well as it holds the four discs from both formats. Also included in this is series of really beautifully chosen art cards on some slick cardstock that’s definitely fit for framing.

Menu:
The menu for this release is fairly standard fare in terms of design as we get a good series of clips from the show that captures some of the fun and color of it all. The logo is kept to the center top position in a smaller form than I expected while the bottom is the standard large bar done in black with the text in white. The navigation itself is all the standard pieces that’s functional and easy to use both as a pop-up menu and during playback to check where you are in things. Submenus load quickly as needed and while it may not be an in-theme designed menu the whole thing works well enough for what it’s supposed to do.

Extras:
Funimation produced a good number of extras for this release that will delight fans of the English cast. While we do get a couple of commentaries here, we also get a number of production diaries and cast pieces from the original run of the show that features Funimation folk doing interviews across the board with it. Most if not all of these were streamed at the time but it’s welcome to get them all in one collection as part of the official release. We get the promos, sneak peek material for it, and the clean opening and closing sequences as well. We also get the short bonus OVA that came with the sixth Japanese release that goes for more comedy than anything else and the dance within it will be what most people remember, though the bath material will stick with some as well.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga of the same name by Yuji Iwahara, Dimension W is a twelve episode series that aired during the winter 2016 season. The manga kicked off back in 2011 following several other projects that Iwahara worked on over the years and is ongoing with twelve volumes to its name, which Viz Media is releasing in North America. This show got attention with Funimation being involved in the production committee, something that allowed them more making-of kind of access prior to its broadcast/streaming debut and during it so they could build up more buzz about it. It certainly made it a lot more accessible in the way that a lot of Japanese fans get to be with shows compared to English speaking fans.

The series takes place in 2017 where the world has changed in many ways since the discovery in 2036 of a new form of energy from a fourth dimension called Dimension W. It’s through devices known as Coils that the unlimited energy from there can be tapped and it revolutionized the world with devices on top of other existing changes in technology. Massive squat towers began appearing around the world to draw this energy and utilize it and illegal Coils are kept track of pretty effectively so that they’re not dangerous to law-abiding citizens. A lot of the world in general looks as it does now, there are no really striking differences in most ways, but we do get a level of robotics that’s pretty impressive and it’s certainly interesting to see how Coils can make even a water gun into a powerful weapon.

The focus is on a man named Kyouma that’s more interested in the past ashe runs a garage where he restores old cars from the now obsolete gasoline era. With gas running around $30 a gallon it’s no surprise that it’s limited but one can imagine a healthy collector’s market still being out there. While that serves as a hobby, he earns his money these days as a Collector, a hired gun of sorts to go after illegal Coils. This keeps him busy with interesting and varied jobs that also allows him to keep to himself for the most part. Kyouma’s a fairly quiet and withdrawn kind of guy and that’s due to the loss of his fiancee some years ago. With her having a terminal level disease he ended up working for special ops group known as Grendel, but that resulted in some significant personal losses as well after one particularly tragic battle – including his memories of it.

His job takes him into the presence of a younger robot looking girl named Mira, who is actually an advanced creation of the mind behind the Dimension W, Shido Yurizaki. She’s hunting illegal Coils herself for a project for him but he’s been discovered early on by the organization that deals with the Dimension W side of things, New Tesla Energy, and he sacrifices himself. This is all explored later in the season about the truth behind the dimension, its energy, lost souls, and more. It’s not exactly an info dump at the end but the meaty material is more weighted toward there and not all of it worked for me on a first viewing. A lot of what we get from that ending portion of the series will flow better on a second viewing where you know more of the truth of the world instead of it being a surprise. It does make for some big action moments along the way but the balance of the story just felt a bit off for me.

Mira’s a kind of open element that you spend part of the series waiting until her real function is revealed. And that means a good chunk of the show has her working with Kyouma as a Collector, or at least an assistant, and through this we get a decent look at the world at hand. There are a lot of one-off adventures early on so that we get a feel for the show and its environments and that’s enjoyable, but it’s also something that if you marathon it you really need to stick with it because it can seem a bit listless at times. What helps is that Kyouma, no spring chicken, gets some solid background exploration along the way thanks to the arrival of a villain that wears a mask and knows what kind of person Kyouma is. We also get some significant diversions into more heady plot points along the way as foundation pieces that includes using both Easter Island and Africa. There’s a larger story being told here but the placing of it within twelve episodes doesn’t quite work as well as it should, and almost feels like it would be better suited for a novel or a more decompressed manga than an anime. That said, the series does feel like it has a solid amount of closure by the end.

In Summary:
Dimension W is the kind of series that I think I’ll get a lot more out of the second and third time around, and those that aren’t marathon viewing will also get a lot out of. There are a lot of little details put into the world building that’s going on here that’s hard to get into without really going into in a huge way while trying to talk about some of the larger themes. Original creator Iwahara has a defined world here, one that expands beyond the usual environments, and feels like it’s more global in nature than a lot of shows. It’s got some great designs, very fluid animation in the big sequences and elsewhere, and is playing with some fun concepts through solid execution. Definitely worth investing some time in and expanding beyond it into the manga to get more of the world. Funimation’s release is definitely one they put a lot of work into with original on-disc materials as well as a very slick package.

Features:
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, OVA – Do Robots Dream of Bathhouses, W Gate Online – Rose’s Counseling Room, Production Diary, Episode 02 Commentary, Episode 09 Commentary, Promo Videos, Sneak Peak Textless Opening, Textless Opening & Closing Songs, and Trailers

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: May 23rd, 2017
MSRP: $84.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78;1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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