I must say… THIS IS A HIGHLY IMPRESSIVE ADAPTATION FOR THE FIRST EPISODE!
This is almost a page-by-page adaptation of the novel, and I’m really impressed by its faithfulness. Though some minor scenes were skipped, which I will cover at the end of ths review, this episode is spot on.
First, let’s talk about how faithful it is. The first volume of Infinite Dendrogram is 210 pages long. The episode adapted roughly 50 pages worth of content, which is pretty solid compared to most studios which adapts at least 60-70 pages in just a single episode.
The characters are mostly spot on and just like their novel versions. Again, some dialogues were skipped, but those that they retained were taken directly from the novel.
Animation-wise, the quality is smooth. This is Silver Link, after all. The same studio that brought us Akame ga Kill, Fate/Kaleid, and Re:Zero. So we can expect consistent quality throughout the season. Character designs are pretty good, though I have to say that Ray looks slightly better in the novel.
Now, for the skipped scenes. They are really, mostly minor ones that can be removed without altering the story. All were info dumps and world building; for example, during the character creation scene, the novel version went through describing all major countries before Ray chose Altea. But in the anime, they skipped that part.
They also glossed over the game of Infinite Dendrogram itself and one unique feature, though I’m pretty sure they would explain it fully by the next episode. That unique feature is the game’s accelerated time of thrice than the normal world, a concept that was highly similar to Sword Art Online’s Alicization arc. They did actually implied that game feature in this episode, but only briefly.
One thing I really liked in this episode was their choice to go with the “show, don’t tell” style of writing. They removed all those info dumps in favor getting through the story quickly while sprinkling all the tidbits about the world of Infinite Dendrogram.
Overall, this is pretty good for a pilot episode. Definitely a 9/10 for me.