In a season dominated by sequels to popular shows—and a bit crowded thanks to delayed Spring 2020 leftovers finally resuming—it’s a bit easy for a series to get lost in the shuffle, but Deca-Dence has been one you shouldn’t sleep on, especially as an anime original. Today we’ll be diving into what has made Deca-Dence a great watch so far overall along with some of our favorite moments! Spoilers abound so proceed with caution, let’s get started!
Terrific, Twisty World-Building
Although the idea of the world actually being a game has been done countless times before, the way it’s handled in Deca-Dence is quite novel and made for a captivating hook with the twist that episode 2 dropped on us. We’d say that the series has continued being strong about balancing how more details of the world are revealed over time as well, keeping up a sense of mystery in a way that doesn’t feel forced.
We’ll just say that we’re interested in how the Gadoll fit into everything with the underwater breeding and training facility shown in the latest episode, and Pipe too, of course! Needless to say, the titular mobile fortress is also rad and complete with a somewhat Macross-esque transformation you gotta love!
Awesome Visual Design
Going along with the main twist, the bizarre world of cyborgs outside of Deca-Dence is oozing with creativity in its character designs that look like a mix of a Genndy Tartakovsky-ish “Western” cartoon style and anime, somewhat reminiscent of a lot of studio Trigger’s work and some of the more out-there episodes of Space Dandy. In any case, it’s another surprising part of Deca-Dence that certainly caught us off guard and has continued to add a lot to the series, especially given that the story is still largely serious with these goofy chibi characters.
Even with the more realistic locations and characters of the fortress Deca-Dence itself, there’s a bevy of creativity and fun expressions to be found, particularly with Natsume’s hilarious faces. The combat outfits of the Gears are also certainly unique with their big goggles, round zone flight capsules, and needle weapons. We’ve been digging a lot of the Gadoll monster designs too, particularly the powerful, rolling gadoll that had the Dunkleosteus-like jaws
Deca-Dence Story Highlights
To start this off we have to talk about the incredible training montage scenes in episode 3 with Natsume going from flailing around as Kaburagi drags her through the air on a kite, then through the water, etc and getting thrown into fights with no idea what she’s doing to becoming more skilled and confident and slaying a Gadoll solo like a badass only to be hit in the head by a rock after its zone disappears. Good, classic stuff.
Episodes 4 and 5 brought us a companion set of awesome scenes for Natsume and Kaburagi as well with Natsume asserting to him why she’s fighting after a flashback to her childhood where her father explains that humans used to live outside of Deca-Dence and then Kaburagi’s dramatic "the world needs bugs" line when confronted by Hugin. And then he gets zapped, what a cliffhanger of an episode ending that was!
Segueing nicely into that is the arc following the “rehabilitation” prison Kaburagi gets sent to, particularly the awesome “Death Dive” fight he has with Donatello. Deca-Dence had already wowed us with its dynamic action sequences while fighting the Gadoll but this fight in the cyborg’s true forms was equally gripping and the outcome with them both choosing not to use their special abilities to their advantage being extra cool, albeit a bit surprising from Donatello.
Altogether, Deca-Dence has so far been a solidly enjoyable and overall well-constructed show that has continuously surprised and delighted us through this unusual season. While we suppose there’s still time to fumble, if its brilliant pace, characterization, and world-building keeps up, Deca-Dence has the makings of a modern action classic and is particularly impressive for a young studio like NUT. Nice opening and ending themes too!
What do you think of Deca-Dence so far? An underrated gem? Please let us know your own thoughts in the comments section below and be sure to stick around Honey’s for more of all things awesome, anime and otherwise! Until next time, we’re decking out!