For hundreds of years, humans have waged a battle against the Gadoll, vicious bug-like creatures that vary in size from very small to monstrous. After the initial contact, which almost led to humanity’s extinction, people survived by using Gadoll they’ve killed as a resource for everything from food to energy, fueling a massive mobile fortress known as DECA-DENCE. Natsume’s father was a tanker, a support soldier for the gears, those fighting on the front lines against the Gadoll and now, coming of age, hopes to become a soldier as well. But as she’ll learn, spunk and passion aren’t necessarily enough to get her into the battle.
I’ve been looking forward this series more than any original one this summer season, and the premiere, streamed through Funimation Con, was one of those initial episodes that makes you excited about anime again. It captures the fun-loving feel that a really engaging series can, including characters you can root for, including the boisterous but never annoying Natsume and her new boss, the quiet and strong Kaburagi; wonderful animation and awe-inspiring action scenes, featuring CG blended well into the traditional work; and a really cool reveal of the fortress, which puts the show into Pacific Rim territory (which was used a reference for DECA-DENCE). There’s also an interesting thread about the caste system in this world, as well as the appearance of Pipe, the cutest ugly mascot since Mitty.
But I wasn’t excited initially about any of that. I came in only really knowing that this is a show from Yuzuru Tachikawa, the auteur behind Death Parade and director of Mob Psycho 100. So while he delivers a pitch-perfect first episode, it ends with something more. In the introduction before the premiere, Tachikawa asked the audience stay until the very end, and it’s that finale he referenced that will get everyone talking, adding an element to the series that takes it from a really fun show to one that engages me on a whole other level. The potential here is extraordinary, and I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. Comparisons will inevitably be made to Gurren Lagann, but a more apt one may be to Fullmetal Alchemist, which did the same: And I’m not sure there’s much higher praise to be given than that.
DECA-DENCE will stream on Funimation this summer.