Infinite Dendrogram: The Hope They Left Behind

By Sakon Kaidou and Taiki. Released in Japan by Hobby Japan. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Andrew Hodgson.

Way back in the first volume, when I had no idea what sort of series this was going to be, Ray was introduced to Liliana, a Royal Guard member, and I assumed that she would be the first in a long line of girls in Ray’s orbit who would fall for him. Since then, while there HAVE been a bunch of girls in Ray’s orbit, with the exception of Nemesis they have shown very little interest in him romantically. This just isn’t a harem series. That said, here Ray meets the first princess… or rather her “secret” alter ego, Azurite, a disguise that fools absolutely no one except Ray. She’s far more of a love interest, despite their confrontation when they first meet, which has her going off on Ray due to his “villain” outfit (complete with a new set of armor to make him look even more villainous, the best running gag in this series.) But is Ray interested?

“Not really” seems to be the answer to that. As I said above, this isn’t a harem series, or even a romance, and Nemesis’ occasional feelings of jealousy is as close as we ever get. There’s even a “walk in on the girls naked in the bath” scene here, which the author says has apparently been in the plans since the beginning of the series, but Ray, while acknowledging that Nemesis and Azurite are beautiful, does not seem particularly sexually aroused at all. The series has different things on its mind. Things like building up the world of Dendrogram itself, and its past history, which, as Ray observes, is so blisteringly realistic that it doesn’t feel like “backstory” added by game developers, but something that really happened. This is not a “trapped in a game” series, and players can and do log out (B3 is not around in this book as she has to do a tea ceremony in real life, a detail I liked), but clearly there’s more to this game than just realistic writing and NPCs.

The premise of this book involves the kingdom of Alter discovering a new ruin at the edge of their territory, which could mean fantastic new technology to help them… or could also mean horrible monsters and weapons waiting to kill them. In fact it’s both, and Ray and Azurite, who meet by chance on the way there, have to team up and try to do something about it. We see a few master developed, such as Tom, who wears a cat on their head all the time (the picture here was great), and the guy with the evil traveling band who fought Marie a while back, who still has the band but is not on the clock so is less evil. Always trust a guy who has to blow off a dungeon crawl to play music for an adorable bedridden orphan. The “villain” of this arc, if he can be called that, is a man named “Dr. Mario”, who speaks in a fake Italian accent to match his name but clearly has hidden depths, and his identity rapidly becomes obvious to the reader (but not Ray, whose denseness is pointed out multiple times, usually by the princess in disguise he doesn’t recognize).

The volume ends with a cliffhanger, and we’re caught up with Japan. That said, I think the next book comes out there in February, so it shouldn’t be too long a wait. Till then, let’s prepare for the battle and wonder what piece of horribly villainous clothing Ray will get as a reward next time.

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  1. Are you sure you’re not mixing Altimia up with another character? Ray has never met her before.

    • Sean Gaffney says

      Yeah, she’s not Liliana, I screwed up. I’ve rewritten the entire first paragraph. Thanks for letting me know, sorry for my shoddy memory.

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