Deca-Dence is an anime of dueling aesthetics: a gritty human world akin to Attack on Titan being bossed by a society of walking toys. Sounds weird? Well, that’s why I’m watching it!
Notes on Deca-Dence
- Is Deca-Dence a giant robot anime? Not really, but then it does have a moving fortress that can elaborately transform into a giant punching fist. So, on second thought, I suppose you could say it’s half way there!
- It’s effective at depicting a sense of scale too: the kaiju “bosses” are massive lumbering beasts, as tall as skyscrapers, and as slow as they are destructive. The sheer spectacle of them alone is worth checking out.
- Deca-Dence is directed by one of anime’s brightest new talents, Yuzuru Tachikawa, he of Death Parade and Mob Psycho 100. I don’t really have a sense of Tachikawa’s style yet in the same way that I do of someone like Masaaki Yuasa. He’s maybe more competent than he is idiosyncratic? Yet one thing’s for sure: the guy directs good anime, and attracts good animators to his projects. This is no different: there’s a lot of love being lavished upon it.
- Deca-Dence could be described as a reverse isekai: it’s about a human “NPC” trying to escape a fake world, as opposed to being about a human “player” entering into it.
- If it’s missing anything, it’s that the music doesn’t quite live up to the humongous action. It’s missing a muscian as brash and as bold as Hiroyuki Sawano, but then I suppose the Attack on Titan comparisons really would be insufferable, eh?
Anime like Deca-Dence
- Attack on Titan (what did I just say about insufferable?!) because, at first glance, Deca-Dence is a story of humanity being driven to the brink of extinction by a mysterious threat and dropping like flies. It’s not as animalistic as Attack on Titan though. While Eren is an avenger, driven by hatred, Natsume is a smiling, enthusiastic go-getter.
- SSSS.Gridman because, aside from also having giant fun kaiju fights, it becomes a story about escaping an artificial/fake reality.
- I liked Sakuga Blog’s comparison to Kaiba too. The aesthetic of Deca-Dence‘s “other” world is one of the most interesting things about it: it’s cartoonish and cute, like a world populated by children’s toys, only to sweeten what’s actually a very harsh, dystopian existence. Just like Kaiba, it uses a “soft” aesthetic to subvert tone, resulting in an even more unsettling, dehumanising feel.
Anime fans reaction to Deca-Dence
The audience rating of 67% on AniList and 7.08 on MyAnimeList suggests to me a few things:
- There was a lot of buzz when episode 2 of Deca-Dence aired, because it rather abruptly introduces the other world’s childish aesthetic (and indeed, the conspiracy behind it all). I can imagine a lot of anime fans felt tricked at this point, because it’s now suddenly oscillating between the worlds of Attack on Titan and Toy Story, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that anime fans like their anime to look like anime!
- As a result, right now, Deca-Dence is underrated. In a summer season dominated by sequels that I couldn’t care less about, Deca-Dence just feels fresher.
Are you watching Deca-Dence? How do you feel about it? Let me know in the comments!