Not that the three episode rule always works but I was really hoping for Deca-Dence to hook me in completely by the third episode. But honestly, I found this episode to be weaker than the last one and my opinion towards the show is starting to waver again.
Much of the episode revolves around Kaburagi giving off the record Gear training to Natsume. The latter gets hands-on experience as well as participates in hang gliding and diving to better get used to the physics of the combat loop. Even if at a surface level, it is a fun montage to watch. I also like the detail in which Kaburagi specifies a tutorial area as a Gadoll nest to save himself the trouble of explaining to Natsume that they’re in an ARG. After that, Natsume gives Kaburagi’s Gadoll pet, Pipe, a canine disguise so that he can roam freely in town. The latter then gets caught up in the next big fight between Gears and Gadoll, setting up the plot of the next episode.
I think my biggest problem with Episode 3 is that it seems hung up on the details. All sorts of things get brought up. Kaburagi gives an detailed explanation on how Gears fight the Gadoll. You find out that the robot people such as Kaburagi are former humans turned cyborgs, a result caused by pollution in the 2400s (a bit unrealistic given where the real world is at). Pipe’s atypically docile nature makes him a Bug in the same vein as Natsume. I don’t want to say all this doesn’t make the world of Deca-Dence uninteresting but I currently don’t have much incentive to care about any of this either, especially when the show needs to nail its characterization first.
And boy would like I learn more about the characters. I’m still pretty interested in Kaburagi’s arc though both him and Natsume remain pretty generic at the moment. Scraps are provided here and there such as Natsume’s admiration towards veteran Gear Kurenai (Eri Kitamura), her dealing with her best friend Fei (Mei Shibata) objecting to her training, and Kaburagi deciding to adopt Pipe as a pet but the episode largely brushes past all this, saving them for later.
It also doesn’t help that Deca-Dence is once again pretty clumsy with its writing. For example, the revelation over the exact nature of the cyborg race is given to you in some sort of history PSA which makes sense but the timing is weird. It plays after the episode’s commercial break for no real reason. Who is this playing to and who’s watching it? A much worse offender happens at the beginning of the episode when Kaburagi checks archived footage to see how the records have mistaken Natsume as deceased. It’s a decent way to get this information across but a lot of questions begin to arise. I mean, you very clearly see in the footage Natsume resuscitating. Did no one review this footage before and realize the mistake? It’s even more questionable considering that anyone can purchase and view the footage (and why is it purchasable in the first place?). Even if direct documentation of Natsume has ceased, she must’ve appeared in other people’s footage. I don’t know, I’m more convinced that this error would’ve been noticed by now and Natsume would be officially recognized as a bug.
I’m still holding onto hope for Deca-Dence and despite the mixed thoughts expressed here, I can’t say I was bored with the third episode per se so I still don’t feel inclined to drop the show just yet. That said, the possibility of me dropping this show hasn’t entirely vanished and I also remain unsure about reviewing it for the blog.
Thanks for reading!