Deca-Dence is an amazing anime with its blend of humor and horror, kawaii robots and mangled bodies. It keeps you on your toes and makes you question what’s just around the corner. The light-hearted banter between the main characters and Natsume’s encouraging smile shows us hope even in the most hopeless of situations.
Unlike many anime that utilize the power of friendship and people sharing the same goal, the weight of evils seen and unseen are mostly felt by Natsume. Even though Katsuragi does most of the actual fighting, Natsume is at the root of all change that occurs in Dece-Dence because of her determination even in the face of failure. Her incredibly good nature, her unwavering resolve, and ability to connect to others is what ultimately leads to change.
Incredibly Good Nature
One striking thing about Natsume is that she is in no way the most powerful, bravest, or most clever, considering she doesn’t even fully understand the true nature of the battle she’s fighting so hard against. All she knows is that she lost her father to the Gadoll and she doesn’t want to see people keep suffering. When Natsume mistakes Kaburagi as a thief, she even offers her meager savings to turn him onto the right path.
Natsume doesn’t have a hero complex so much as a burning desire to do everything she can. Even when people look down on her or belittle her, she doesn’t hate them or seek revenge. She doesn’t appreciate such behavior but she doesn’t let it color how she interacts with others. Natsume will make friends with anyone be they old foes, house-broken Gadoll, or strange robots.
From the time Natsume was a child, people were always telling her what her limits are. With her one metal arm, her dreams of being a Tanker and fighting Gadoll head-on are ridiculed. Nevertheless, she takes every opportunity to pursue this dream from strength-training in her spare time to (begrudgingly) blackmailing her boss for fighting lessons.
Natsume can’t truly disregard people’s feelings to the extent of treating them unfairly, though, so Natsume will valiantly state her case unafraid of conflict before she leaves them in peace. She’s not afraid to do work herself no matter how pointless it seems either. Whether it’s fighting Gadoll way stronger than her or pushing giant weapons ten times too heavy for her, Natsume feels that the only impossible thing is giving up before it’s over.
Ability to Connect to Others
The battle to free Dece-Dence is not fought by Natsume alone, and there were many people with specific skills/powers that allowed Natsume’s dreams to be realized but none of them would have acted without Natsume’s influence. Most of the time, people didn’t even believe in her but found it impossible to ignore her determination while they did nothing. Inevitably, one person’s change of heart would impact another close to them who had 0 desire to change things the way Natsume wanted them.
Natsume’s former best friend fought so hard against Natsume’s plans for improvement wanting only to protect the peace between them. Yet even with such a difficult task of trying to get people to care for others, she inspires others to go find materials to repair a wall thought impossible to fix which, in turn, moves others. Kaburagi is a very important factor in releasing Deca-Dence from Solid Quake’s clutches but that, again, is all thanks to Natsume. Kaburagi would have died with regret if he hadn’t seen Natsume fighting such a pointless battle. Being unafraid of death released him from the chains that immobilized many of his fellow cyborgs.
Thankfully, while Minato still believed in the system and just wanted to protect Kaburagi, he allowed Kaburagi to move against the corporation in a way he wouldn’t have had access to on his own. This leads to the pleasure-seeking Donatello who fights not for justice, but because he wants to follow his own path unhindered. While many of these characters weren’t even in contact with Natsume, it’s clear that without her influence, they would never have moved on their own.
One of the greatest take-aways from Deca-Dence is the importance of pushing yourself to the absolute limit for your beliefs or dreams. To never give up until you’ve exhausted every single option. It’s in times of absolute hopelessness or impossible obstacles that your true inner power can be awakened. Our societies tell us to be mindful of waste, to act with the expectation of reward, and to not squander time or effort on fruitless endeavors. Natsume reminds us that the battle doesn’t have to be winnable to be worthy and the enemy doesn’t need to be defeatable for you to stand up bravely. She gets despondent, she gets overwhelmed, but she always comes back swinging. We could all learn a powerful lesson in making the world a better place even when the world itself is against us.