Infinite Dendrogram: Blue Blood Blitz

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

First off, it has to be said: that is a deeply ludicrous and yet amazing hat and cloak combo that the Princess is wearing while she’s out secretly saving the world – though it seems the only one who doesn’t figure out who she is is Ray. I’d mentioned in my last review that the Princess is set up as a sort-of-but-not-really love interest for Ray, and that holds true here: Ray continues to be almost asexual, and it’s made clear that his role in Altimia’s story is to get her to trust Masters again so that Altar might actually be able to defend itself in the upcoming war. That said, she and Ray do make a very good combo team, and I’m sure we’ll see more of her eventually. Also amusing in this volume is Ray and Nemesis taking down an extremely cliched villain from the “This-this cannot be!” school of acting, and the revelation about who he is in real life fits 100%.

The girl on the cover is another of Ray’s new weapons/abilities/allies, but in terms of this story she shows up, demonstrates her FIRE PUNCHING, then goes away again. More interesting are the revelations about Tom Cat, the clone-making adventurer that we met in the previous book. His actual identity is more of a surprise than I expected, but works well in the context of the series/world. It’s still unclear how much of Dendrogram is “this is an unusually complex game with a deep deep backstory” and how much is “this is an actual world that we have somehow made into a game”, but the author is enjoying making us try to figure it out. Hopefully next time we will have fewer doomsday weapons. That said, I did very much enjoy the weapon having slept for 2000 years and no longer able to recognize what humanity is till it sees something that is reminiscent of its former time. It was cheesy but very effective.

There’s an anime coming soon, and I really do wonder how a fandom that’s not familiar with him is going to deal with Ray. His chuuni tendencies aside (and we do get some more making fun of his Evil Overlord Outfit), he really is the ridiculously OP hero that most fans of fantasy works profess to hate. He has an easier time than he’s had in the last few books here – he may be pushed to the brink once or twice, but there’s never any real sense he’s in trouble, and it helps that he’s found out that his magical robot horse is also doing cool (if mysterious) stuff to save his life. Without the usual Altar masters around to show that there are people even better than Ray, he gets more of a big fish in a small pond book here. It works well for this book, but I hope next time we see him either in real life or the game getting shown that he has a ways to go.

Dendrogram is always fun to read, and this volume is no different. At times I can’t follow the worldbuilding (a wiki of some sort is likely needed), but it’s still definitely recommended.

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