Deca-Dence (Episode 2) – Sprocket

Decadence Title

Kaburagi is nearing the end of his life span and has accepted his fate. It’s his decision after all, but then Natsume does something that might just change his mind, especially when she reminds him of an old friend!

What happened?

So, the Deca-Dence is just a giant game where the gears play to entertaining some other race all the while keeping an endangered species within. That species is humans… The gears are able to create their avatars to compete in the game and attempt to climb the leaderboard by defeating bugs. Kaburagi was once a top-ranker, but after an incident, he now works for the system to route out bugs within the human populace and remove them.

He’s accepted the role but has refused to refuel, meaning that his life span is close to an end. He goes to complete one last mission, but Natsume follows him and thinks he’s stealing money from an unconscious person. When she offers him her money, it does enough to convince him to live on. Well, that and the fact that the system thinks Natsume is dead and therefore her existence is a bug. Could he be working on a way to save her?

Decadence Episode 2 Kaburagi

What did you think?

I complained that the last episode revealed too much and failed to keep the mystery of the series. Well, that was nothing compared to this episode. Rather than continue to tease us, they’ve decided to take the mystery and hammer us over the head with it. The worst part about all of this is that it looks terrible. I enjoyed the first episode, but this was a complete shift in tone. The story, however, is still good, although I just don’t know if I can put up with the cartoony animation of the gears.

I was here for a gritty post-apocalyptic series and while that may still be true in a sense, the tone of the gears was massively offputting. This episode alone has probably halved my enjoyment of the show. I’m actually quite disappointed.

Decadence Episode 2 Natsume

What have you learnt?

So, there are lots of interesting ideas here, but I still can’t get my head around why they decided to make the gears look like a Saturday morning kids’ cartoon. I’m really struggling to get my thoughts out about this one. On one hand, I can see the story and the ideas behind it. There’s a definite Matrix feel to it now. However, on the other hand, I really don’t think I am going to enjoy the gears segments. What is going to happen if Natsume meets the real Kaburagi? That’s just going to look too stupid. What has happened to this series?

Everything before this point was my immediate reaction to the episode. After this point, I’ve had a day to think about it and I’m going to attempt to articulate what I’m feeling. It’s hard, but here goes.

The way that they revealed the true nature of Deca-Dence has, in my opinion, robbed us. It’s like we cheated and peeked behind the curtain, but all the characters are still left in the dark. Now, when Natsume does discover the truth it’s going to be hard to be as involved as her. When she discovers what Kaburagi is and that he’s been betraying her, we won’t care because we knew all along. This episode has shown us the secrets without letting us discover them with the characters. It’s broken our ability to bond with Natsume and feel what she feels. The potential for shock and surprise and betrayal has been destroyed. We already know.

I hope I’m wrong and the series is able to pull me back in, but at the moment I really don’t like the way the story is being told. Sure, that’s just my opinion, although I don’t think you’d have to look far to see the reactions many others are having to this episode. Then, when you throw in the two contrasting animation styles it makes for a very uncomfortable viewing experience.

Decadence Episode 2 Mobile Fortress Deca-Dence

Other reviews in the series

4 Comments

  1. Yeah, I agree, great point re: not being able to experience things with the character. I don’t mind being ‘ahead’ of the protagonist in some ways, but this is huge 😀

    Very curious also, to see how the two worlds will meet visually, yeah – will Natsume somehow get Gear-like avatar or something? Having the two styles meet will feel like a huge clash… but I’m still very curious for #3.

    • For sure. I’m curious to see how it all comes together and I hope that it hasn’t completely lost me.

      I love the ideas behind it with humans unwittingly being a part of this elaborate game for an AI/alien race, but the appearance of the AI is just too contrasting. Hopefully, we’ll spend all our time on Natsume’s side of things going forward.

    • Same! And I’ll keep going until the end – but I still get this knee-jerk response when I see Kaburagi and the others like that, I can’t help thinking that I’m looking at a toy commercial.

    • Absolutely. The two different styles really don’t mesh that well. It’s going to be weird if they ever come face to face.

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