Today’s anime is one that could have very easily passed me by. When I was doing my Three Episode Rule for the summer season, this was a show that I only picked up at the very last minute. Watching the three episodes back to back on a whim and then going and doing the write up right away afterwards. That’s happened a couple of times this year and has really been the fruit borne from the whole 3 Episode Rule exercise. Because otherwise I’m not sure I would have known anything about this show, considering I’ve not really seen anyone else talking about it.
Originally aired 8th July to 23rd September | 12 Episodes | Anime original from NUT | Action, Science Fiction
It’s kind of embarrassing to admit that I only realized the title of this show was a play on the word decadence a couple of weeks ago. I guess my brain dun work no good no more.
Deca-Dence came out in the summer season and was probably the highlight of summer anime for me personally. The anime original series is a post-apocalyptic action show that feels like it takes queues from a lot of other source materials, including Gurren Lagann, Attack on Titan and even Mosnters Inc. All of that comes in during the first handful of episodes though and as it goes on I feel like it does manage to stand on its own by the end.
You can read my review of the series written shortly after it ended by following this link. At it’s core, the story is about Natsume, a girl who is born in a world where the last bastion of humanity is surviving on the mobile fortress/rocket punch tank; Deca-Dence. It’s a society where moving above your station is unheard of and Natsume is far from content with the life society has picked for her, dreaming instead of becoming a fighter like her late father.
A fighter battling against the Gadoll; a race of monsters who are apparently the cause behind humanity’s near extinction. Although, at the end of the very first episode we get the twist and see that there is far more to this world than it first appeared. In fact, Deca-Dence is a fabricated world, the real world setting of an augmented reality world where chibi-ass little robots control flesh and blood avatars and compete to be the best monsters slayers around.
Thinking about it now, I get Westworld vibes from this show too. There are so many different properties that feel like they inspired this show. And while I could get on a high horse about how derivative it is, instead I want to sing its praises for its clean action sequences, it’s very likeable cast and it’s compelling narrative about rebelling against a controlling government.
On the other side of the virtual headset is Kaburagi, and android and former number one Deca-Dence player. One who got caught illegally breaking his character’s limiter and then blackmailed into acting as a corporate assassin, “removing” threats to the stability of the game as they may pop up.
It’s through his meeting of the endlessly enthusiastic and passionate Natsume that he starts to dream of a better lot in life for everyone and starts to fight back against the system.
By the time this show was over, I don’t really think it got that much attention, I honestly do think it was a show that went underappreciated. The action sequences, where the characters dart around in the anti-gravity fields projected by the monsters they’re fighting were exciting and dynamic in the same way the action sequences in Attack on Titan are, not only that though, the world is very well realised. With the monsters acting as humanities main food and fuel source in addition to their primary threat.
Shooting harpoons that kill the monsters by bleeding them dry and collecting the blood to use later on is all really cool. Combined with the juxtaposing world of the androids, which seemed to exist in a totally different animation style was making me look forward to seeing the two worlds finally meet by the end.
While there are some subtle Cyberpunk undertones to the story in the beginning, it becomes a feel-good story of redemption and second chances by the end, in a way that reminds me of a Trigger series. I got a real kick out of Deca-Dence, and it was refreshing to watch a good, one and done story that both started and ended in a satisfying way. While I know not many people get Funimation, if you do have access to the service I’d recommend searching this one out.