Kazuki is well known around school for being a weirdo. It's something he's accepted, and kept the reasons to himself. Kazuki sees visions of battling giant robots and destruction of the city around him. It's become his hobby to write about them and post them on the internet. Mizuki is the most popular girl at school, who expresses interest in his stories. It turns out Mizuki's father is a scientist believing Kazuki is key to helping his research on parallel worlds.
Kazuki gets first hand experience when accidentally transported into the parallel world he'd always seen as visions. Now he's become a key component in the Earth Defense Force.
Studio AIC released some great anime in the 1990s, but a mere 10 years later many of those same franchises had turned to garbage in subsequent releases. Between these periods there was Dual: Parallel Trouble Adventure, an anime sitting at a crossroads with features which made old AIC titles classics, but also having some of the problems leading to the crap we get today. The result is a show which is just okay, making this one a little frustrating because it could be far better with minor tweaking.
Reflecting a shift in anime, Dual contains a blend of traditional cell animation and early CGI. While simplistic in style, the traditional side looks fine. The CGI on the other hand looks TERRIBLE. Mixed with this is a soundtrack I thought was a total failure.
The Dual harem setup is nowhere near as cookie cutter as the genre has become, however this doesn't automatically make it better. Instead of partaking in the (now) tired (but popular) usual content, Dual is surprisingly lame in the relationship department. One girl crops her hair short, looking like a man thereafter. The emotionless robot girl serves no purpose and a total waste of comedy potential. Kazuki isn't bad as the male lead though, he's mostly reactionary to every situation but doesn't hold the show back.
But I loved Mitsuki. The beautiful popular girl at school, who's actually moody and mischievous, and driven by an actual personality. She and Kazuki are placed in many fun situations.. which don't go very far, but they had a good chemistry going. Then Dual introduces Mitsuki-2. Like a couple dating through high school, then the guy goes to college for a week, only to return with a new girlfriend, leaving the other girl thinking "WTF?". Mitsuki-2 comes from nowhere, which completely side-lines Mitsuki-1. By this point poor Mitsuki-1 is demoted to a minor role, mostly relegated to jealous outbursts and comedy gimmicks. Even so, there's something amusing about the perfect girl having things blow up in her face, which makes her likeable that way too.
Dual starts strong. It's mysterious, fun, and slightly goofy the way the story moves along. Somewhere in the middle this anime begins to sink under the weight of added stupidity. As the main plot is revealed, it kind of works but kind of doesn't. The scope of what's attempted doesn't fit how Dual started. Somewhere during the show there should have been a transition, but instead it spent its time goofing of with stuff I didn't even find that entertaining. The end is.. conclusive. I wasn't let down due to very low expectations at that point. Make of that what you will.
This review doesn't sound as positive as I'd like, so I'd like to emphasize there's enough likable content to keep it watchable.
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