DECA-DENCE Episode 1 Funimation Premiere – Adorable Gadolls & Dystopia Dust Bowls

FunimationCon 2020 premiered the first episode of the upcoming Summer 2020 anime DECA-DENCE. The series is animated at Studio NUT and directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa (Death Billiards, Death Parade). Following the premiere was a short Q&A session with the production staff.

The official English DECA-DENCE site describes the first episode as:

In the distant future, humans have been pushed to the verge of extinction by the invasion of mysterious life-forms called the Gadoll, and were now forced to live inside the moving fortress Deca-dence as they desperately kept up resistance. Natsume, a girl who grew up with a dream of becoming a fighter, is assigned to work under the hard-nosed but apathetic armor-repairman Kaburagi, and finds herself spending her days swamped with endless routines of cleaning work. But one day, Natsume gets herself caught up in a battle with the Gadoll while on work, and what she witnesses is the sight of Kaburagi taking down one Gadoll soldier after another.

With that in mind, here are some thoughts from the Anime Trending Staff:

Hellooo Agnes! Did you watch the premiere for Deca-Dance? Err, DECA-DENCE. Dence. I keep misspelling it.

YOOOO I DID. It was kinda a wild ride from start of finish. Honestly.

I’m actually surprised you were interested in it – just because you didn’t come off as someone who enjoys sci-fi anime? Am I just completely off on your genre preferences in anime?

LOL I’m “offended.” I like sci-fi, but I have a special place for “Mad Max” or “Junkertown” vibes… So more dystopia dust bowls, probably.

Ooohhh. I also thought maybe the production team had something to do with your interest, since you were a huge fan of Death Parade. I mean, I was, too, but I, admittedly, don’t pay as much attention to the cast and such when choosing anime to watch – just synopsis is enough to get me.

Hahaha, that’s fair. I’m a sucker for Tachikawa’s work because both Death Billiards and Death Parade are tear-jerkers when it comes to themes. Deca-Dence has a lighter humor than either of those series, but I’m ready to just spiral down with my feelings later. I hope the show can execute that well.

OMG, I JUST REALIZED THAT THEY ALL START WITH D’S. COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT! Ok, my weird freak out aside – what did you think of the first episode? Because I definitely wasn’t expecting Mad Max Fury Road the Anime except with whales and other sea creatures… On land… Somehow…

It is definitely a more unique concept at its core. I heard in the interview that it took them several years to finalize the concept, and I can see why since there’s so many odd concepts. But at the same time, everything does make a lot of sense. The worldbuilding is on point to explain why the system requires energy from these monsters and moves as it does.

I also really like the world inside the giant mecha thing. I forgot the official term — I’m terrible. But I think it’s cool that they’ve managed to build a safe haven for humans that way, and it looks like a fairly nice place to live… ignoring the fact that there are random sea creatures on land that can kill you and stuff.

Uhhhh… the actual Deca-Dence? LOL. Yeah, the random sea creatures literally came out of nowhere. But at the same time, it makes me wonder if the world is devoid of oceans, which is why we have all these sea inspired creatures? Kinda like a reverse Pacific Rim

I was actually just thinking that! Especially because from the shots we were able to see, it’s just desert all around. Nothing else in the way. I do think the idea of sea creatures on land is very unique because we’re used to seeing literal sea creatures or like flying creatures. It’s a different type of “kaiju”. However, I have to admit that seeing them as CGI still throws me off a lot in an anime that’s 2D animated in other aspects such as when the characters were attacking the creatures.

I’m not too thrown off by the CGI these days since it seems that the Japanese population prefer kaiju CGI rather than actual animation. Newer Godzilla movies, the Knights of Sindonia series, the Human Lost movie, and even the popular JRPG God Eater all use kaiju CGI. It’s not exactly new… Maybe I’ve become desensitized from it HAHA.

LOL, I honestly think it’s better that you do. It reminds me of the CGI bears in Golden Kamuy. I know that, unfortunately, the bears turned some people off of that anime, which is an amazing anime, so it sounds more like a me thing. Like I need to stop being a pain in the butt and just get used to CGI rendered monsters. BUT SPEAKING OF MONSTERS – THERE’S ONE ADORABLE ONE. AND IT’S WHITE. AND SQUISHY. AND IT MAKES CUTE NOISES.

HAHA. THAT LITTLE BUGGER IS ADORABLE. Less than a minute worth of screen time and it’s already won your heart. I want to say that CGI works the best on the kaiju to show the magnitude and scope of what the characters are facing. But for common animals and cute things like our cute “Pipe”, that requires regular animation. It makes it so much nicer and appealing to the eyes.

I WAS SQUEALING SO HARD WHEN IT SHOWED UP! LIKE I THOUGHT IT WAS A KITTEN. BUT NO. IT WAS A BELUGA WHALE + PUPPY + SEAL + CAT BECAUSE IT LIKES BEING SCRATCHED UNDERNEATH THE CHIN. I DEMAND PLUSHIES.

That thing kinda looks like Stitch, not going to lie. I think merchandise is flying off the shelves at this point.

OH MY GOD. PIPE DOES LOOK LIKE STITCH! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH. “An adoptable dog.” But also, I’m surprised Kaburagi adopted him since he’s so GRUFF and all.

HEY. WE ALL LOVE A BIG GRUFF MAN WHO IS SOFT INSIDE. DON’T SHAME ON HIM. He deserves to have such a cute companion for his quiet life… Until Natsume decides to barge in on his affairs.

You think she’s going to discover his sketchy ass activities any time soon? B/c I don’t know what the hell he was doing in the middle of the episode, but it doesn’t seem normal lol.

True, at that point it was now or never. Our heroine definitely had some guts to get drunk in his house for a small “welcoming party”. But I love her idiotic energy and drive to be a fighter than a tanker. We love a girl who has agency.

I’m still reserving my feelings towards her b/c she can easily fall into the cracks as a “genki” girl and thus pretty basic. However, one thing I am absolutely insisting with this series is no romantic relationship between her and Kaburagi. Like please. He’s her mentor. Please do not give me romance with those two.

I 100% agree with that last bit. Kaburagi and Natsume have a good working relationship as mentor and mentee that goes both ways. But romantically, no thank you. Not even in a world that’s infested with Gadolls, weird green goop, and castles up in the sky.

Oh that actually reminds me — the last scene of the episode. The weird green goop phrasing did that lol. I actually wasn’t as pleased with it as I felt like I should’ve because I felt conflicting emotions. Like there were comedic things happening, but then people were dying, and the animation was going, and it’s supposed to be this badass moment. I just felt like too much was happening at once emotionally for me to feel rooted in the moment. Is it just me?

I definitely liked the execution of the green goop, which is more of a “collection of fuel” than anything else. But you’re right, the magnitude of the battle scene feels a bit off. Then again, this isn’t Attack on Titan where they’re fighting for their lives. The fighters in Deca-Dence are simply a bunch of scavengers. So, I guess that’s where Deca-Dence draws the line: opting for more comedy and displaying worldbuilding rather than hit on the emotional aspect.

BUT PEOPLE ARE STILL DYING!

HAHAHA. I mean we did get a glimpse of that in the beginning episode in Natsume’s flashback. But we’ll see. Tachikawa likes to take his time to draw you in. False advertising, you know?

That IS fair…thoughts on the fighting style? You mentioned Attack on Titan, and the fighting def reminded me of that! Especially with all the swinging around, except you carry a big ball instead, and you’re using pipes to stab monsters where goo goes everywhere.

The technology is a bit … archaic? Or more so cobbled together. I imagine there’s some sort of crude levitation in the devices since there’s no steam-powered technology like in Attack on Titan or magical cores like in NUT’s Saga of Tanya the Evil. It’s definitely unique and fits the unpolished and rough dystopian landscape of Deca-Dence.

Well, as more critical as I am on the fight scene, not the animation but the emotional side, I still have to say the first episode did its job. It introduced the world, it introduced the character and her motivation, it introduced Mr. Squishy — I know its name is Pipe but I’m dubbing it Mr. Squishy — and it introduced the fighting style. But ALSO, THAT ENDING SCENE IS A BIT WTF MOMENT? LIKE? WHAT’S GOING ON? So I am def stuck watching the 2nd episode for sure. Says the person who never drops any anime series lol.

Like I said before, this series is WILDIN’. Especially at that last ending sequence for the sucker punch rather than a big canon. But at the same time, if the green goop is what powers the Deca-Dence, is just powering the mechanics for a brute punch more cost effective than depleting all your resources with a single cannon blast? Anime mechanics stand, yeah. But resources are rather rare in that world. 

So, you’re totally digging this series… Is that what I’m vibing from you?

I… I think I’m looking way too deep into this LOLOL. Execution-wise for the animation and impact, it’s not quite reaching the usual heights of what we’ve seen in Death Billiards, Death Parade, or Saga of Tanya the Evil. But it definitely has an untapped potential.

Well, here’s to hoping that Deca-Dence gives us a satisfying run if nothing else. Summer 2020 anime here we goooo!!!!

DECA-DENCE will stream on Funimation and broadcast on Aniplus Asia. 


Source: Official DECA-DENCE site & Funimation Blog

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