Deca-Dence Review: Like Attack on Titan, if the Twist was Revealed Early.

4 stars
I really have to thank the YouTuber Mother’s Basement for informing us about this little gem.
His video on Deca-Dence really intrigued me, enough so to make me pause the video and watch all the episodes that were out until that point before going back to watch the rest of his review.
Good thing I did too because I stopped watching the video literally seconds before the big twist of Deca-Dence was revealed and it is definitely best for you to see that twist for yourself.
Directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa and developed by Studio Nut, the anime is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been hunted to the brink of extinction by the mysterious Gadoll.
Humanity’s only hope is the Deca-Dence, a massive robotic fist that can punch the lights out of these giant monsters.
Our heroine is Natsuame (Tomori Kusunoki), a young girl who lost her father and her arm years ago.
Upon being relegated to cleaning duty, Natsumae finds herself working alongside without a doubt the best character in the show Kaburagi (Katsuyuki Konishi).

Kaburagi is a fantastic character and his bond with Natsumae is the heart of the anime.

After an accident causes the two to fall into the midst of a battlefield, Natsumae sees Kaburagi’s skills with the weapons used by humans to kill minor Gadoll, which is most certainly nothing like the weaponry in Attack on Titan (note the sarcasm).
Natsumae then insists that Kaburagi teach her how to fight, unaware that he knows much more about their situation than he is letting on.
To say anything else would be too much of a spoiler, given the big twist in episode two.
However, I can guess from my description of this show that the first thing that came to your mind was Attack on Titan.
Not only did I purposefully point out how the weapons in this anime are similar to Attack on Titan’s ODM Gear, but I’m also sure that the whole humanity being driven to the brink of extinction thing and being forced to hide out sounded like a dead ringer too.
Indeed, the best way that I can describe Deca-Dence is like Attack on Titan if the world changing twist had happened in the second episode.
Still, despite these similarities, there are a lot of differences between the two animes and the features shared with Attack on Titan feels more like a way to draw the audience in before the show delves into the really interesting stuff.
By far the best aspect of Deca-Dence is the growing father daughter bond between Natsumae and Kaburagi.
This culminates in the fifth episode “Differential Gear”, which is definitely the best episode of the series.

The fifth episode takes the story to another level, ending on an amazing cliffhanger

Along with Natsumae and Kaburagi, there are other great characters like the adorable Pipe (Eri Kitamura), the intuitive Jill (Michio Murase), and the fighting addicted Donatello (Rikiya Koyama).
Although, I will say that, while the characters on Kaburagi’s side of the story are all interesting, for the most part, the characters on Natsumae’s side of the story are, unfortunately, pretty bland and not very interesting.
Another issue I have is with the epilogue in the final episode.
No spoilers here but I found it to be a little unsatisfying because I feel that it glossed over a lot of important details and potential character development for Natsumae’s friends, which, again, was sorely needed.

Even though Natsumae is a great character, her friends needed way more development and this ties into why I think the epilogue didn’t entirely work.

Despite these problems, the anime is still a lot of fun with great visuals, a fantastic score, and some laugh out loud moments, all with the fantastic bond between Natsumae and Kaburagi keeping it together.
Deca-Dence is a solid anime that feels like a complete story, without the need for a season two.

Death Parade Review: Not a Very Cheerful Parade.

4 and a half stars
The anime club at my university recently started and, during our first meeting, we watched the first episodes of five anime, three of which we would choose to watch for the rest of the semester.
One of these anime was Death Parade, directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa, and of all the anime we watched that night it was by far my favourite.

episode 1 second attempt
The first episode, “Death Seven Darts” does a great job setting up the theme of the series, along with its characters and structure.

Imagine my disappointment then when Death Parade was not one of the anime that was selected.
Although, I suppose this did turn out in my favor because it gave me the opportunity to binge the 12 episode series over three days.
And, let me tell you, despite what the fantastic OP would have you believe, this anime is anything but a cheerful parade.
Death Parade is mostly set in Quindecim, a bar where many people turn up with no memory of what happened, only to meet the mysterious bartender Decim (Tomoaki Maeno) and his new assistant (Asami Seto).
Decim reveals to his guests that they will have to play a game by roulette of which their very lives will be stake.

decim
Decim and his, at first, unnamed assistant have a great dynamic, especially when it comes to the morality of Decim’s job and how the assistant deals with that.

To say anything more would be to spoil the twists of the first episode, which, although expected, I don’t wish to ruin because of how good the anime is.
With Death Parade‘s episode structure, it would have been very easy for the show to become repetitive but it almost never does with its great leads in Decim and the unamed woman and plenty of memorable side characters.
This culminates in many fantastic episodes like “Death Counter”, which is incredibly engaging in its mysteries and twists, and the final episode “Suicide Tour”, which really gets the tears rolling with its emotional climax and fitting ending.

Sad Decim
Prepare for a whole lot of tear jerking moments in the final two episodes.

One criticism I do have with the anime, though, is how often it is brought up that a certain group of characters cannot feel emotions, only for them to be clearly displaying emotions, with one of these characters almost always being angry.
Granted, I do not speak Japanese so the meaning of emotions could be very different in the language context so I could just be misinterpreting this.
Still, Death Parade is a great anime with plenty of memorable characters and tragic scenes.
Just don’t mistake it for the happy looking show that the OP makes it out to be.