Infinite Dendrogram follows Sword Art Online and Log Horizon into the VRMMORPG type of isekai with a slight difference: this time, players are not prisoners in the game, and NPCs are sentiently, making it challenging to identify them. It is all about many people having a grand ole time online, with some taking it more seriously than others. The anime is still pretty new since it ended in 2020.
Does this mean that Season 2 can be around the corner?
What Happened So Far In Infinite Dendrogram
Infinite Dendrogram is released on the market to much fanfare and hailed high and low as the first full-dive MMORPG. The game promises players a world full of endless possibilities and exclusive features breathing life into their adventure.
Two years later, Reiji Mukudori, a college freshman, finally buys the game. Supported by his partner-Embryo (Nemesis) and his more experienced brother Shu, Reiji starts playing, following his belief that Infinite Dendrogram should not be treated as just a game, but more like reality itself. Reiji will start making new friends and allies in this new world, but new enemies, all clashing against each other’s goals and ambitions in the game.
What Is Going On With Studio NAZ?
After thirteen episodes, infinite Dendrogram premiered on January 9, 2020 and ended on April 16, 2020. The anime is directed by Tomoki Kobayashi, written by Yuuichirou Momose and Kenji Hiramtasu composed the score.
At best, Infinite Dendrogram is a painfully generic anime. At worst, it is a mass of what-should-be-good-ideas thrown together in a rushed way, with the hope that the viewers would get invested in that game that the anime is trying to pass as reality.
The ideas ARE interesting: the class system introducing unusual jobs, the Embryo, the NPCs’ individualism influencing the outcome of different situations, the jargon, and so forth. However, the anime cannot execute its premises accurately. It commences at a rushed pace and is used to marked checkpoints. Those being the fights against big enemies, representing some end-level boss. Those fights are where the good guys will get sudden power-ups, where you might finally see some skills because in general fight scenes are just rehashing the same moves and where you know that the story is about to progress further. By rushing to get there, the show skips a lot of details that would benefit its world-building. Which, in retrospective, is utterly ridiculous considering how much Infinite Dendrogram insists on the realistic nature of the game and its mechanics.
The story follows a narrow view by giving more focus on the events themselves without using them to build its world more in depth. The show has thirteen episodes and is trying to dump in five whole volumes of the light novel: of course, one would end up with butchered content. Regardless, there are challenges in the execution of maintaining a consistent pace.
And that is the introduction to the second point: Infinite Dendrogram keeps destroying the few good moments it can craft with bad storytelling. The anime takes great pleasure to explain thoroughly what we are supposed to be shown, instantaneously obliterating the viewers’ interest and attention. No one needs a long-winded explanation full of numbers about HP, status effects or counters. It looks like the show does not trust itself and its audience. Marie smashing potions in Reiji’s face explained everything there was to know about healing your allies and taking damage and not only did it not require a whole tutorial, but it also served as comic relief. If only it could be like that 24/7 with Infinite Dendrogram. It certainly does not add to the already existing lack of tension or impending doom since the characters are not trapped in the game, nor are they in real danger. If they die, the game will lock them out of the game for 24h. They are not dying in the real world or ending up comatose.
Another example would be how it is acknowledged that Reiji and Nemesis are powerful and pretty unique, but instead of giving us an overpowered protagonist crushing everything, the anime expresses the nuance: Reiji is strong for a newbie as stronger players will be introduced throughout the season to compare him to. He is shown appreciating working with his team, something that is quickly forgotten as he is seen taking care of an enemy all by himself literally seconds after his “gosh darn, it sure warms my heart to be fighting alongside my allies as a team”. The show can barely follow through with its own thematics.
At certain points in the story, the cast will start pondering the blurry line between reality andthe virtual world: is it ok to kill the NPCs when they act and think exactly like human beings? Even if it’s a game, is it ok to act in a way that is ethically despicable? What is the real nature of Dendrogram? All those questions will be introduced for one minute before being forgotten and reappearing again one day in a rinse and repeat cycle. A missed occasion to elaborate properly on why the characters play the way they do.
The cast of characters is nothing to write home about. So much of the focus is on Reiji that the other characters can only get the scraps. A confusing decision considering the fact that Reiji is utterly boring. He is the good protagonist with a big heart, the righteous paladin that everyone loves for really blurry reasons; those being that he sees Dendrogram as something real, but other characters with the same vision are not that appreciated), with the cheesy monologues about peace, love and justice. Reiji will not loot an enemy: it is blood money. Reiji will not accept the reward for his actions: it is someone’s money and his allies should get his share.
So, why are you playing a bloody RPG, Reiji? Since you keep rejecting elements central to the gameplay. The fact that the show decides to leave the other characters in the background to give him more spotlight is a mystery no one is willing to solve. His own Embryo, Nemesis, is almost ignored halfway through, her lines and contributions significantly dwindling. Cheshire quickly disappears right from the start. Rook, Marie and Shu are only used when necessary for the plot armor and forced conveniences, and so on. The show tries to redeem itself by using flashbacks to show those characters’ backstories and reasons, but they are so short and shamelessly dumped on us as easy exposition that they change nothing to the blandness of the cast.
The main villain, Franklin, is a walking cliché. The evil scientist with evil goals because he’s evil after all. His reasons are so poorly thought out and explained that he could fit in a Hanna Barbera cartoon. Even then, cartoonish crazy scientists have way more layers than him at this point. And that is valid for the individual in and out of the game.
The animation is rather average. Some movements look awkward and there is a lack of fluidity even during ordinary scenes. Fights do not take any risks and while they are not boring per say, they are also extremely basic. The background art and landscapes are typical RPG stuff and pretty much look the same. Same forest, same streets, same plains. That shows the lack of world building, because not only do they all look the same, but you have to remember that they actually travel through different countries. The character design is average. A shame, since the character design in the light novel is pretty appealing.
Studio NAZ is not working on a specific project at the moment, however, we know that they intend to adapt the manga Thermae Romae Novae in the future.
What Do We Know About Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 So Far?
The show has not been renewed for a second season as of yet.
It is difficult to predict whether or not it can get one because the light novels are doing well for themselves, but the anime is not fully conveying that. If they intend to continue using the same formula for the show, there is really no point for NAZ to continue.
What Are Fans Saying About Infinite Dendrogram Season 2?
With Infinite Dendrogram, it is clear to see that most of the fans started with the light novel and newcomers jumped into it after the anime. It shows that the novel is the product with the more considerable appeal for the fandom. The anime is talked about as much, and you will barely see any conversations about Season 2.
The reasons could be firstly be that, the light novel is doing great and released regularly and secondly that the anime was too generic and skipped way too many elements that even the fans were a bit disappointed. Infinite Dendrogram has an active subreddit, a Discord serve, ands generating posts on Twitter. Mind you, most will be about the light novel. There is an official account for everything Infinite Dendrogram. The anime did not score well on MAL, IMDB and AniList.
Will There Be Infinite Dendrogram Season 2?
The light novel started serialization in October 2016 and is still ongoing with sixteen volumes out. It is written by Sakon Kaido and illustrated by Taiki. It is popular enough in Japan and is often in the top 10 ofOricon’se weekly Light Novel Rankinn.
It has been adapted into a manga that now has nine volumes and is illustrated by Kami Imai. A spinoff manga was released in May 2019. It is written by the original author and presented by La-na. The spinoff is also ongoing and has four volumes. J-Novel Club licensed the light novel and the manga in English and will maybe do so for the spinoff in the future, who knows.
Funimation released the complete series on Blu-ray in May 2021. Infinite Dendrogram has an excellent selection when it comes to goodies (figures, badges, coin cases, posters, t-shirts, and so on) and it is a mix between the anime and the light novel. On Google Trends, the graph shows that over the last twelve months people have actually been searching information about a second season.
However, if they were constant after the airing of the anime, they tend to be more dramatic later on, switching between zero and seventy-five. Surprisingly, the period around the release of the Blu-ray is pretty low. In Japan, the title is comfortable. Considering the fact that the light novel and the manga are actually successful, it comes as an obvious conclusion.
When Will Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 Be Released?
A new season is not in the works at the moment. On the other hand, Infinite Dendrogram as an anime is still pretty “young” and it is a bit too early to start worrying about Season 2.
What Can We Expect In Season 2 Of Infinite Dendrogram?
Season 2 will commence with Reiji having to consider his schedule since college is starting, and even if his campus has a Infinite Dendrogram club, his time there will be limite. More characters will be introduced, some encounters in real life could happen and a big revelation will be made about…pregnancy?
Although the chance to see all that adapted into an anime is really thin: Season 1 was a promotion tool for the manga and the light novel in that it allowed itself to omit essential elements and details to keep enough material to convey the core of the story and stimulate curiosity.