Needlessly long intro incoming 😀
Firstly, I want to quickly note that I’m not great when it comes to episode reviews of seasonal shows; I can’t always keep up (or find much to say on a per-episode basis), but I’ll give it a shot with Deca-Dence and the also second half of No Guns Life this time around.
I suspect that this series has the clear potential for a certain ‘bitterness of hype’ I guess I’ll call it, but it’s a familiar thing: we all know how it goes – promo art, previews and the first episode establish high expectations for an anime… and then as the series goes on, various minor personal preferences held by certain audience groups (and disguised as universal indicators of quality) aren’t met.
Once this happens, said groups quickly turn on the thing they thought they’d enjoy and proceed to proselytize about how bad said show is.*
Now, I can maybe see this happening with Deca-Dence because the preview almost suggests a militant Howl’s Moving Castle + more action in some respects. And I do wonder if some audience members will be on board with the coming of age and comedy aspects which seem just as prominent, if said folks were expecting something grimmer.
Essentially, I’m using a bit of a straw man here, in part because it’s a prediction of how I think the show might be received but also because I’m talking about a vaguely-defined specific audience sub-set. And more, it’s risky of me to predict anything, since only one episode has even screened and so I’m bound to fail in this prediction 🙂
But I’m throwing it out there anyway, and wanting to be wrong about it by the way – I want lots of folks to enjoy this.
So, why am I already so invested in the series? One main reason further below, but first – finally, impressions of the episode itself and why I liked it:
You have my aforementioned bias toward coming of age stories, toward action and comedy and of course, the monstrous fortress itself and the vaguely dystopian setting. I like all of those things, and further, it’s a bright show so far in terms of colour, which gives me the sense that there’s a bit of an ‘adventure’ feel to Deca-Dence.
I also like the shonen-style ‘positive-outlook’ heroine in Natsume, and I think it’s clear that her idealism is going to clash with Kaburagi’s world-weariness, which should create some fun tension in their mentor-mentee relationship. The world-building I really enjoyed too, with the weapons/pipe-harvesting and the acrobatics of the fight sequences.
There are already hints at bigger mysteries to be solved, but also smaller, personal ones too and the climax was satisfyingly big enough for me, even if maybe I didn’t feel it quite the same way it looked like it should have ‘hit’. I do wonder whether Fennel will deal with his mistake, and I’m also curious about how at least one of Kaburagi’s secrets will play out too.
I haven’t seen any other works from NUT yet, but Yuzuru Tachikawa is certainly well-loved for Mob Pyscho 100 at a minimum, so it feels like this will be a great series!
And now at last, that ‘main reason’ which is thus: I badly want studios to continue taking risks on original stories. I know I’ve harped on about this before, but since big business tends to be ‘risk-averse’ it can mean less variety in shows they make, less chances taken on things that aren’t ‘sure-fire’ adaptations.
Looking forward to next episode!
*Speaking of that particular mistake, I’ve certainly conflated a ‘favourite aspect of storytelling’ with a ‘high quality thing’ before myself, it’s hard to avoid sometimes.