Dimension W Vol. 1 - Manga Review

In a world where the energy crisis has been solved, Kyouma Mabuchi crosses paths with a mysterious girl named Mira during his latest job collecting illegal “Coils” for the New Tesla company. This fateful meeting starts off a series of events which bring them closer to the secrets of “Dimension W”.

The Lowdown

The year is 2072 AD. The world’s energy crisis has been solved thanks to the discovery of cross-dimensional electormagnetic conductor called “Coils” which harvest energy from a fourth dimension known as “Dimension W”. New Tesla is the company which discovered Coils and now has a monopoly over the world’s power supply, sending out agents known as “collectors” to find and recover illegally made Coils. Kyouma Mabuchi is one such collector, but he is known as an eccentric because of his refusal to carry any Coil-based devices on him as well as his love for old cars. While on a job, Kyouma saves a robot girl named Mira but after her home is destroyed by New Tesla’s Dimension Administration Bureau (D.A.B.) he is instructed to teach her about becoming a collector.

Who Is It For?

Dimension W is a dystopian sci-fi adventure that will be of interest to those who like futuristic yet gritty series. If you enjoyed a series such as Psycho-Pass, you’ll find a similar tone here.

How Was It?

Dimension W starts strongly thanks to a compelling setting that anchors the rest of the story effectively. Right off the bat, we are introduced to a world where renewable energy has been achieved for everyone thanks to the efforts of the New Tesla company. While there is a short montage at the beginning of the volume to set the stage, I enjoyed that more information about this world was integrated into the story. This is primarily seen through the eyes of illegal Coil collector Kyouma Mabuchi, who is an eccentric widely known to despise Coils despite working directly for New Tesla. Kyouma’s first job is used to explain the particulars of this world effectively rather than bombarding readers with information all at once, and because of this the setting felt more naturally developed than I’ve seen in other series. While this world isn’t dystopian upon first glance, we quickly see that there is a sinister undertone to New Tesla’s actions that provides a strong and compelling mystery that the series centres itself upon.

Drawing upon this strong setting, Dimension W’s story sets up an interesting mystery-thriller as Kyouma undertakes a routine job tracking down bandits holding illegal coils. Along the way, he saves a robot girl named Mira from the bandits, quickly becoming stuck with her after she loses her home. This is conveyed clearly without bogging down the pacing, providing just enough drama while retaining a central focus on establishing both the setting and the characters. After Mira’s mysterious history comes to light, the two embark on a quest to discover the origins of the illegal Coils, closing out this volume by tracking down a famed art thief called “Loser”. This segment was also very well done, creating an exciting cat and mouse chase between Kyouma and Loser that was action-packed while helping to characterize Kyouma just a little bit more in terms of how he goes about his job as a collector. With a strong driving mystery as well as plenty of action interspersed, Dimension W’s story was a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to this world.

Although Dimension W’s sci-fi setting is perhaps what stands out the most, I thought that the characters were pleasingly characterized in this volume. Kyouma is an appropriately cynical and world-wearied lead for the mystery story this volume sets up, and his interactions with other characters are fun to watch thanks to his sarcastic demeanor. I enjoyed the way his observations added to the way I perceived the overall setting, portraying him as a more textured character with an actual life outside of hunting down Coils for the purposes of the plot. A scene early on showing Kyouma working in his garage on a car (long since obsolete thanks to the development of Coils), subtly did this without hitting readers over the nose with “THIS GUY IS EDGY” signals, giving context to allusions made to his personality later in the volume. Additionally, scenes such as this provide some more context for how this society operates, and I appreciated smaller moments such as this which made the world feel just a little more fully-developed without resorting to exposition.

On the other hand, Mira is established quickly as more hopeful but still willing to stand up for herself as she learns more about the world. This created an enjoyably sarcastic dynamic when she and Kyouma later team up, lightening up the proceedings significantly. This kept the series from becoming too grim, and the banter between the two was especially well-done when the two chase after Loser. I also liked that the series quickly showed them becoming more of a team, and I’ll be interested to see where this partnership goes in future volumes as they chase down the illegal Coils.

Yuji Iwahara’s art work is visually distinctive, creating an appropriately rough feel to go along with the lightly dystopian vibes the story gives off. Iwahara relies primarily on line work to provide detail, and although this led to characters looking a little flat at times this was a well-realized style which fit the overall aesthetic of this series quite effectively. This volume isn’t short on action scenes to complement the central mystery, and these scenes were all conveyed clearly and without any clutter. One of the things Iwahara did really well was creating a sense of quick motion to make these scenes feel frantically paced. This was well utilized in a scene where Kyouma chases down Loser, with quick cuts between smaller panels emphasizing their smaller movements conveying a sense of uneven speed and movement to the reader. This made this chase scene more exciting and one of my favourite parts of this volume.

Final observation: it’s also worth noting that Yen Press went all out and put two sections of colour pages in this volume!

Final Thoughts

Dimension W Vol. 1 is an enjoyably action-packed start to this series, selling me on a compelling world to anchor this mystery-thriller. I thought this volume did a great job introducing Kyouma and Mira, characterizing them in context with the world without making them feel one-dimensional. This gave the story an extra bit of weight going forward and makes this series a solid recommendation for anyone looking for a new sci-fi thriller.


Dimension W, Vol. 1
By Yuji Iwahara

Dimension W Vol. 1 was translated by Amanda Haley and published by Yen Press on February 23rd, 2016. Authored by Yuji Iwahara, the series is currently ongoing in Square Enix’s Monthly Big Gangan magazine with 9 volumes currently released in Japan. The series also has an anime adaption airing this season by Studio 3Hz. Volume 2 will be released in English on May 24th, 2016.

Verdict:

B+

Date of Publication: February 23rd, 2016

Translator: Amanda Haley

Author: Yuji Iwahara

Publisher: Yen Press