Kaburagi of the Iron Fortress: Deca-Dence's Greatest Cyborg

With the Deca-Dence anime recently completed, we’re looking back on one of the series’ most beloved heroes with a character spotlight on Kaburagi, the former top ranker turned rebel bug after being inspired by Natsume’s resilient spirit. We’ll be focusing on memorable moments in the series showcasing his development, let’s get started!

His Backstory

One thing that was interesting about Kaburagi earlier on in the series was discovering more about his past and current situation. Obviously, being a cyborg was part of the big world reveal that happened in episode two but learning more about his time as a top-ranked player in the game who pushed past his limits and was punished into becoming what amounts to a bug hitman for the system added a lot to his character. This also explained his gruff and jaded attitude at the beginning as he was basically someone with nothing much to live for or look forward to, just a cog in a machine.

Opening Up

Then he met Natsume and everything changed, albeit not overnight. Episode 3’s training montage was mostly focused on Natsume’s struggles and growth but also showed how serious Kaburagi was after he had agreed to train her. This culminated in Kaburagi taking her to the weapons dealer to get her arm upgraded in one of the series’ iconic moments. Kaburagi also recounts how he found Pipe originally which shows more of his kind side, particularly toward bugs, that mirrors his thoughts about Natsume. Caring, but arguably a bit overprotective in how he doesn’t tell her the full truth of the world.

Going Rogue & Going Down

This becomes a sticking point after Natsume joins The Power as Kaburagi doesn’t want her to fight in the upcoming “final battle” against the Gadoll which is set up to be unwinnable by the system, leading to a big conflict between them. Ultimately Natsume stands her ground and affirms her reason for fighting after a flashback of her father. This is arguably the true turning point for Kaburagi as well who decides to take matters into his own hands, removing his limiter to save Natsume from the rampaging Gadoll just in the nick of time, knowing full well the dire consequences of going against the system. When shortly after confronted by Higen his avatar gets killed after Kaburagi declares that “the world needs bugs” and is then thrown down into the “bug rehabilitation facility”.

Surviving in this hellish place serves as a testament to Kaburagi’s determination and honorable spirit, eventually leading to his incredible duel with Donatello and other unlikely allies like Jill that allow him to re-enter Deca-Dence with another avatar. In a moving scene, Kaburagi meets up with Natsume again, encouraging her by saying how she doesn’t give up and explaining that it is that part of her that also saved Kaburagi. Seeing her despair over him perhaps never coming back makes him realize how much he means to her and strengthens his resolve to “tear it all down”.

Rebirth and Retaliation

After getting his old avatar back from the facility and finally reuniting with Natsume properly, the two of them manage to make their way outside the force field surrounding Deca-Dence and fight their way into the Gadoll factory, even escaping Higen in an intense fight. After they start the self-destruction sequence, Kaburagi finally reveals the true nature of himself, the Gadoll, and the world itself to Natsume in a powerful moment that causes her to faint. This revelation also leads to a rift between Kaubragi and Natsume as she, rather understandably, is upset because he had been deceiving her the whole time.

This endures for some time until the wayward Natsume, somewhat paralleling Kaburagi’s state from the beginning of the series, finds the letter he left her explaining his regret and putting to words his feelings. "When I first met you I had no attachment to life" and explains that because he was so captivated by her life and determination, he has "decided to destroy the rules of this world." This leads to another touching reunion that gets rudely intercepted by Higen stabbing Kaburagi mid-sentence!

Thankfully, the real Kaburagi was still alive, of course, and was able to make his way back to Deca-Dence once again, eventually executing a daring plan cooked up by Jill to connect him to the Deca-Dence fortress itself to defeat the enraged mutant Gadoll. While the final blast from Kabu-Dence was definitely spectacular, it’s arguable that the most memorable moment was actually his talks with Minato before plugging in. Their relationship was a bit more in the background of the overall story as they used to be ranker buddies so seeing this intimacy, and Minato finally fully supporting Kaburagi’s fight against the system, was very satisfying and added weight to the final battle.

The Cycle Continues

There’s something to be said for the number of times that Kaburagi dies, in one way or another, throughout Deca-Dence which might have taken a little bit of the weight off his presumed true death after being crushed and broken by the wreckage of the fortress. However, the final scene showing him once again resurrected and walking up to Natsume again definitely tugged on our heartstrings, as did the colorful ending card that really wrapped everything up nicely.

Final Thoughts

Altogether, Kaburagi was an excellent part of Deca-Dence with equal parts tough guy fighting coolness and fatherly tenderness as his character developed throughout the story. The whole cyborg aspect of his identity was also interesting and allowed for some unique story moments as he jumped between avatars and his actual body, and even into a Deca-Dence itself. His cute actual appearance was also a great visual contrast to his avatars too, making his action scenes in that form very fun!

In any case, we hope you enjoyed this character highlight! What do you think of Kaburagi? Let us know 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, logging out!

Deca-Dence-wallpaper-3 Kaburagi of the Iron Fortress: Deca-Dence's Greatest Cyborg


Author: Oskar O.K. Strom

Call me Oskar or OkiOkiPanic or other things depending on how whimsical you're feeling. I'm an artist and game designer currently working in the indie scene. In true otaku fashion I'm also interested in anime/manga, collecting figures, building robot models, idols, denpa music, retro games and electronics, etc. Judging by the company I keep I figure it's only a matter of time until I'm obsessed with wrestling and mahjong.

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