Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 release date: Infinite Dendrogram manga/light novel series compared to the anime

Poster for Infinite Dendrogram
The Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 anime will be based on a light novel series that is already far ahead of the anime adaptation. Pic credit: Studio NAZ

The Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 anime will have Ray Starling and his embryo Nemesis continuing their adventure in the VR world. But when will the second season of Infinite Dendrogram come out?

The anime adaptation is being produced by animation studio NAZ, with Production ai creating the background art. NAZ is best known for anime like the 2020 ID:INVADED (see our article on ID:INVADED Season 2) and the 2017 Hajimete no Gal. They also helped with Space Dandy and Danganronpa.

Director Tomoki Kobayashi has worked on acclaimed anime such as Steins;Gate and Akame ga KILL! Writer Yuichiro Momose (Hajimete no Gal) is creating the series scripts. Character designer Masahiko Nakata (Utawarerumono) adapted the light novel character designs for the anime.

The Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 opening (OP) music theme song and ending (ED) have not yet been announced yet. The first season featured the OP “Unbreakable” as performed by Aoi Yuki, and the ED “Reverb” as performed by Aya Uchida.

New episodes are available on Hulu, but not Crunchyroll. The Infinite Dendrogram English dub is streaming on FUNimation.

The first season suffered multiple delays. The Infinite Dendrogram Episode 13 release date was set for April 15 2020.
  • Updated September 8, 2020: Added Infinite Dendrogram Volume 14 release date and cover art.
  • Updated April 3, 2020: Added release date for season 1 finale.

This article provides everything that is known about Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.

Infinite Dendrogram manga/light novel series compared to the anime

The story for the anime series is based on the Infinite Dendrogram light novel series by writer Sakon Kaido and illustrator Taiki. The light novel series published by Hobby Japan is itself based on the still ongoing Infinite Dendrogram web novel that began being written in 2015 on the user-generated novel publishing website Let’s Be Novelists (Shosetsuka ni Naro).

As of summer 2020, the light novel adaptation was up to Infinite Dendrogram Volume 13. Infinite Dendrogram Volume 14 is scheduled to release on October 1, 2020.

Infinite Dendrogram Books
The cover art for Infinite Dendrogram Volume 14. Pic credit: Taiki

Starting in 2016, illustrator Kami Imai began adapting the story into the Infinite Dendrogram manga series. Serialized in Hobby Japan’s Comic Fire website, the Infinite Dendrogram manga will be up to Volume 6 as of October 2019.

Manga artist La-na is also creating a side story called Crow Record: Infinite Dendrogram Another. Serialized since May 2019, it’s being published in Monthly Comic Alive.

The official English translation of both the light novels and manga was licensed by North American publisher J-Novel Club. As of February 2020, the English manga was up to Volume 3 while the English light novels were up to Volume 12 as of July 2020.

Crow Record Infinite Dendrogram Another Manga
Art for the Crow Record: Infinite Dendrogram Another manga spin-off series. The story focuses on Fallen Knight Juliet and Great Pirate Chelsea, who are two characters introduced in light novel Volume 3. They were also briefly shown in the anime’s tournament arc. Pic credit: La-na

The Infinite Dendrogram anime had the ill-luck to air in the exact same season as BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense. Considering how similar the two are it’s inevitable that comparisons are made. It goes without saying that studio Silver Link did a better job (so far) at animating BOFURI, but the problems run deeper than that.

(On a side note, can you imagine how boring these anime will seem years in the future when full-dive VR becomes a reality? We’re basically just watching people play games. Then again, Twitch was acquired by Amazon for $1 billion, so maybe it’s just me.)

While both are isekai-like VRMMORPG adventures, BOFURI is about an overly adorable Moe girl named Maple stumbling into a VR world and becoming overpowered in comedic fashion by accidentally breaking the game to the consternation of the game devs. Infinite Dendrogram, on the other hand, purports to be a more serious take on the genre.

Maple is targeted by admins and nerfed in Episode 3 but quickly overcomes shortcomings by allying with friends who overcome her weaknesses.

Infinite Dendrogram’s Ray Sterling is essentially creating a player build similar to a blue deck in Magic: The Gathering. Nemesis’ type as a Maiden means that she is a so-called giant-killer: her power is concentrated on a single point and can only defeat strong enemies under limited conditions.

While Maple relies on breaking the game in unexpected ways, Ray has built his defensive strategy around counterspells and reversals. As such, Maple is OP, while Ray is more of a true min-max player since he lacks Area of Effect (AoE) magic and can be taken down by a horde of goblins.

But, similar to the combo of Maple and Sally, Ray makes up for his major weaknesses by teaming up with Rook Holmes and Babylon.

The problem is that both anime share the weakness of not giving sufficient screen time to developing the world’s game mechanics and its rules.

The BOFURI anime can get away with it since the focus is more on comedy and character development, but Infinite Dendrogram suffers since without the MMO stat details the full dive VR game feels like a poorly balanced MMO, making Ray appear like a generic overpowered isekai protagonist.

Here’s one example of an apparent logic hole. Why can’t Ray use the fire of the Miasmaflame bracers to damage himself to buff “Vengeance is mine” or use the poison miasma to trigger the Like a Flag Flying the Reversal ability from Nemesis’ Flag Halberd form?

While this strategy would pretty much be a Maple-like exploit that any well-designed game would avoid, the Infinite Dendrogram anime only hints at these issues and expects audiences to infer that players cannot self-inflict damage to break the system.

However, the books early on specifically highlight that these powers only activate based on status effects received from enemies. The anime doesn’t get around to mentioning the problem until Ray has to face Dr. Franklin’s RSK (Ray Starling Killer).

Considering that the target demographic for Infinite Dendrogram is real-life MMO players, it makes sense that the light novels dedicated multiple chapters to explaining gameplay, abilities, and related stats. So, why did the anime fail to dive deep into MMO mechanics?

The major issue is that it’s very difficult to condense long light novels into a limited number of episodes. The focus needs to be on character development and major plot points, not stats and game balancing.

Studio NAZ apparently realized the inadequacy of the game mechanics explanations since they also produced a series of YouTube short videos called NazeNani Dendrogram.

The episodes have chibi versions of AI controller Cheshire, Nemesis, and Shu Sterling offering info dumps related to world-building, embryos, and MMO stat talk. Unfortunately, English subtitles or dubbing is not available at this time, although it’s possible fan subs will become available in the future.

Regardless of the lack of MMO detail, in the Infinite Dendrogram manga and books, the protagonist was given more of a personality, and his motivations were made more clear. Ray used his gameplay knowledge to create strategies to overcome difficult obstacles, not just cookie-cutter shonen-character willpower that never gives up.

The anime waited until Episode 5 to explain that Ray and Nemesis can communicate telepathically. Even in the books, Ray preferred speaking verbally, but in the anime, most of these side conversations are never articulated.

Instead, we get the oft-repeated hamfisted line “that leaves a bad taste in my mouth” that will probably become as annoying as “because that’s what Killing Bites is.” If this were the Dr. STONE anime, Ray would find everything 10 billion percent distasteful.

So far, the character with the most personality has been Ray’s brother Shu Sterling and his overbearing bear puns, so it was “beary disappointing” when Shu left the party early on only to reappear near the end. Even Rook the “pimp” is given more character, although Babylon was simplified and turned into walking fan service.

Yes, Babylon is supposed to be sexually appealing as a Succubus. However, the central joke surrounding her character is that she does not understand the concept of sexuality due to the video game world’s age restrictions censuring overt sexual content.

Speaking of developing character, the comedic scene at the end of Episode 4 failed to show the full reason why Ray was upset with the penguin-suit wearing Dr. Flamingo. Here’s the full scene from the light novel:

I pushed Nemesis against the mad scientist penguin’s throat as I found out that I’d been used as his guinea pig.

Forgive me, Lei-Lei, I thought. I deserve this for failing to follow your advice. But man, isn’t this a bit too much?

“I’m not too big on fashion, but there are three things I’ve decided to never wear under any circumstances,” I spoke.

“A-And those are?” asked Nemesis.

“Glasses, girl’s clothing, and animal ear headbands.”

Naturally, this turn of events was quite upsetting.

“Master,” said Nemesis, “you are more averse to glasses than girl’s clothing?”

“Glasses are great,” said the penguin. “This pair, for example, gives you various skills and—”

“Shut up!” I cut his words short.

“Th-That sounded like you intend to kill him,” commented Nemesis.

“I’m shorryy!” cried the penguin.

No glasses, not ever, I thought.

Maybe Ray doesn’t want to be another Villain in Glasses? (We’re looking at you, Shiroe! Speaking of which, the Log Horizon Season 3 anime has been confirmed.)

In any case, the biggest lost opportunity was for the anime to focus on capturing the uniqueness of the embryo system. It’s literally the cornerstone of the series since embryos developed based on the personalities of the players.

Although it’s slightly odd to see a mecha in a fantasy setting, the embryo system leads to some pretty bizarre abilities and creations that the anime doesn’t even mention in passing. Instead, we get minutes of cute animated girls consuming sweets… although Babylon putting Tabasco sauce on her ice cream almost makes up for it. Almost.

In a sense, Infinite Dendrogram mirrors true isekai stories in how it treats the lives of the tians, the NPC AI. But the anime could still have done a better job of pushing the main theme of “NPC lives matter.”

The storytelling should have spent more time exploring the ethical quandaries represented by populating a “just for fun” game with sentient AI who have free will, feel pain, and can die. For example, the story of the undead children was especially touching, but the fast pacing did not allow for buildup, so the emotional payoff was not as strong.

Still, it could be argued that the lives of the tians was the central theme of the Franklin’s Game arc. After all, the main motivation for Ray to fight so hard was saving the tians of the city. When Dr. Franklin announced Plan C and declared that all the tians would die he caused his subordinate to turn on him.

Infinite Dendrogram Volume 6 Light Novel Cover Art
The cover art for Infinite Dendrogram Volume 6 features Tsukuyo Fuso of The Lunar Society. Pic credit: Taiki

Note: This article was initially published before Infinite Dendrogram Episode 13 aired in Japan and will be updated over time.

Many of the aforementioned issues can be blamed on the pacing; the anime is just rushing in order to get to the big fights by the end of Infinite Dendrogram Episode 13. The Cautious Hero anime was a rare gem in that it faithfully adapted only two books (to be fair, it was also the best stopping point by far).

To put the pacing of the Infinite Dendrogram anime in perspective, Episode 4 adapted the ending of light novel Volume 1 and the beginning of Volume 2. Episode 5 picked up with the story set in Gideon and meeting Cocytus and Hugo Lesseps. Episode 6: Beyond The Radix Point is named after the final chapter of Volume 2.

Episode 7 started up the Clash of the Superiors story arc in Volume 3, while Episodes 9 through 13 adapted the Franklin’s Game arc from Volumes 4 and 5. It’s the best possible stopping point for the first season, leaving the Lunar Society arc for the Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 anime to adapt.

The good news is that ending with Volume 5 leaves plenty of source material for studio NAZ to create Infinite Dendrogram Season 2. Better yet, the official English translation of the light novels is already caught up with the anime so English-only readers wishing to read ahead can dive right in.

The bad news is that the Infinite Dendrogram manga series is far behind the light novels. As of Volume 6, the manga had only caught up to the first chapters of light novel Volume 3.

Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 release date

As of the last update, NAZ or any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 release date. Nor has the production of an Infinite Dendrogram sequel been announced.

Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information. In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when, or if, the Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 premiere date will occur in the future.

With the exception of an OVA, studio NAZ is not known for producing second seasons. With the current popularity of isekai anime, perhaps Infinite Dendrogram S2 will break that trend?

After all, Arifureta Season 2 and Demon Lord, Retry Season 2 surprised everyone by being renewed quickly. Hopefully, a second season will be announced near the premiere of Infinite Dendrogram Episode 13.

Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 spoilers (plot summary/synopsis)

Note: Spoilers for Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 assume that the story will pick up with Volume 6.

Defeating Dr. Franklin and stopping an invasion may have been exciting in Dendro, but in the real world, Reiji Mukudori aka Ray Starling is starting up college at a Tokyo University. And, yes, that was Francesca in real life at the very end of the first season.

One benefit is that the college has Club Infinite Dendrogram (CID) and it turns out he knows some of the real-life members in the game.

Reiji knows that school will limit his VR gaming time, so in-game Ray plans a beach bash with his party members. Now that Marie Adler’s identity as a Player Killer (PKer) is known, Brother Bear loves teasing Marie for having killed Ray.

During this time multiple new characters are introduced. The big one is Ray and Brother Bear Shu’s sister, who is crazier than the two of them combined.

Ray’s plans for a carefree beach vacation are interrupted when the Lunar Society kidnaps him out of the inn where’s staying. The leader of this cult-like clan, High Priestess Tsukuyo Fuso, has taken a personal interest in Ray and she asks that Ray join the Lunar Society.

The 21-year-old Fuso was born into the head family of the Lunar Society and after the VRMMORPG Infinite Dendrogram game launched she came to believe the world encapsulated the organization’s beliefs. She created the Lunar Society clan to mirror the real-life cult and her clan has become the biggest in the Kingdom of Altar.

Fuso uses the same name in both reality and in-game. Fuso’s assistant Tsukikage Eishiro acts as a butler in both worlds. Funnily enough, she’s also a student at Tokyo University and the Club President for CID!

There is something mysterious happening in the world of Dendro. There are place suffering from what appears to be an immense earthquake or a powerful tornado, but the devastation is definitely man-made.

A major revelation is the idea that human Masters can impregnate Tians. A Maiden-type Embryo is said to be given to those who view the game’s world like real life. Considering how many Lunar Society Masters have  Maiden-type Embryos you have to wonder where this is going…

Unfortunately, anime fans will have to wait until the Infinite Dendrogram Season 2 release date to watch what happens next. Stay tuned!

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