As someone who absolutely fell in love with Infinite Dendrogram after being introduced to it through the Light Novel Club, the series’s anime adaptation was easily the show I was most looking forward to this season. And it doesn’t disappoint. While not without room for improvement, it was a strong introduction.
If you don’t already know, Infinite Dendrogram is the story of protagonist Reiji Mukudori’s (or Ray Starling, as he’s known in game) adventures in the VRMMO of the same name. The first episode achieves a nice balance in terms of introducing the world, hitting most of the essential details about the setting while avoiding long-winded world-building exposition. We meet Ray, his elder brother Shu, and a couple of important NPCs in Liliana and Nemesis. Ray is a very kindhearted character, and the episode does an effective job of demonstrating the compassion and conscientiousness that will end up spurring him to keep playing hero as the story unfolds. The episode also managed to hint at some of the big questions underlying the entire series, regarding the nature of reality, personhood, and the truth of this so-called game.
The show does feel a little unpolished. The animation is serviceable but unimpressive. Some of the character voices are…not what I expected, though I think I’ll get used to them. Nemesis’s introduction is rather abrupt; in particular, the Vengeance Is Mine special ability she grants gets no explanation at all despite being key to the episode’s climax. And while the subtitles are mostly fine, they do a beary clawful job of conveying Shu’s delightful (maddening?) ursine puns. Overall, episode 1 was a pretty faithful adaptation of the novel’s opening events, and I have high hopes that this series will capture the magic of the light novels.
Infinite Dendrogram can be streamed on Funimation.