You’re just gonna get an infinite number of shitty VR MMO anime instead. But fear not! I’ll still be watching and bitching about them anyways! That is until I get tired of them and/or tired of blogging in general. You know how it is. Hell, I built Moe Sucks mostly by ragging on SAO, and I couldn’t even finish that boring-as-hell Alicization arc. Shield Hero started off stupendously bad with the whole slave angle, but it too eventually settled into a familiar groove of mediocrity. So what chance is there that I stick with Infinite Dendrogram from start to finish? Probably zilch. But we’ll see. After all, I just came back from hiatus, so I should be full of pluck and vinegar for blogging, right? Hah. Anyways, what’s even different about Infinite Dendrogram? Judging by the first episode, not much. Like every other VR MMO-related anime, we go through an unexciting character creation process. Like every other VR MMO-related anime, our hero looks dull as hell even though you can choose to be a bear like his big brother (who also has a gatling gun for a weapon!). And most importantly, like every other VR MMO-related anime, NPCs here are just way, way too realistic. We’re supposed to hand-wave this off, though. We’re supposed to believe that with sufficient technological progress, you could create an incredibly realistic game where NPCs act like humans, live and die like humans, and generate spontaneous quests on the fly!
As soon as our hero Ray gets dumped into his starter city, he bumps into Liliana, an NPC frantically searching for her missing imouto. Or to be more accurate, she bumps into him and nearly kills him. Apparently, that can happen in this game. But let’s move on and talk about our hero’s very first quest. Popping one’s quest cherry is always a momentous occasion. Ray quickly meets up with his brother Shu, who then warns him that quests can automatically fail if you take too long to complete them. Well, I’ve seen that before. But wait! Quest failure might also result in permanent NPC death! Um, okay? Should I care? I don’t, but Ray does. Oh, he does care very much. We’re finally informed that these quests are quite rare. Shu has presumably been playing this game for a while, but even he has never encountered this quest! In other words, someone or something has the ability to generate infinite quests in this magical VR MMO, and this allows players to have unique experiences. Astounding. I guess that’s why the word “infinite” is in the title. We also go over MMO-related mechanics like the game’s death penalty. Luckily, Ray won’t die in real life if he dies in-game. Unfortunately, if you die in-game, you get locked out for twenty-four earth hours. Dude, what the hell? I wouldn’t play that game. Don’t tell me this has PVP, because that’s madness. Imagine being locked out for an entire day every time you meet a bunch of griefers. But of course it’s going to have open world player-versus-player (PVP) where individuals can freely kill each other. Practically every VR MMO anime has open world PVP in it despite this mechanic being niche in actual MMO games because… guess what? It’s fucking annoying. What can I say? Gamers are assholes. If given the opportunity to grief others, they will do so. But I digress.
The biggest way that Infinite Dendrogram tries to set itself apart is by introducing a gameplay mechanic known as an Embryo. I guess every player comes equip with this NPC helper that they can call upon. Naturally, Ray’s Embryo Nemesis (yeah, that’s her name) is totally waifu material. I mean, ‘cmon… you only get one shot at this… presumably. I wasn’t paying close attention during the character creation process, but I bet you are stuck with your Embryo because it has to match your personality or whatever. So needless to say, Ray probably got some super rare Embryo that no one else has because he’s just super special. Lastly, Nemesis becomes his sword in battle (hint: she makes his dick big), so even though his level 0 ass hasn’t gained a single point of experience, he can now kill giant monsters with her help. I mean, who actually wants to start off weak and level up? Haha. Nevertheless, Nemesis didn’t materialize right away. It seemed as though Ray had to find himself in a near-death situation to call upon his Embryo. Plus, he only found himself in this position, because he refused to let some random NPC — an NPC he had only just met… I dunno, ten minutes ago? — die. And why didn’t he want to let her die? Because like every VR MMO protagonist ever, hurr durr muh vidya games are just as important as real life. As a result, Infinite Dendrogram only tries to set itself apart, but it really doesn’t. Dude’s probably going to join or create a kickass guild and maybe come to rule his own country one day. Nemesis is gonna fall in love with him, but she’s just an Embryo but it’s okay because muh simulacrum is just as good. We need a regular NPC to fall in love with him. Make her a princess or something. And can we go even further? Can we have another real-life player fall in love with Ray as well? Time will tell.
Your moment of zen:
As a novel reader, your complaints are understandable as someone only watching the anime. It was definitely a flawed adaptation. While I disagree with your conclusion, in the end I can see how you reached it with the information you got.