Deca-Dence Episode 3 opens with Kaburagi reviewing the moment Natsume “dies” and her chip malfunctions. Kaburagi throws her into the deep end. They practice on a Gadoll called Spoonwormer’s. Small and pink, the Spoonwormer is fairly weak. Kaburagi gives a tutorial that both educates Natsume and the audience. He explains that it’s important to force the Gadoll to activate their zone. The Gadoll appears to do this instinctively. Within this zone, a magnetic field is generated, making gravity unstable. The round tank lets he wearer see waves. The goggles permit Gears to see Arteries of the Gadoll, which carries oxyone.
Oxyone is the main source of energy that powers Deca-dence. It fuels almost everything, including the attacking and riding of the Gears. The tank automatically fills with oxyone. Killing mid-size Gadoll requires bleeding them out. Natsume doesn’t take to battle the way you might expect the main character. However, she has another limitation, her arm.
It’s not your weakness it’s your strength
Natsume’s arm features only three “fingers” making gripping difficult. This is especially problematic when trying to use the regulator lever, that’s used to adjust oxyone usage. Despite the difficulty, she refuses to give up. Kaburagi takes her to a weapons store. He creates a new artificial arm for her that has five fingers, a hose valve, and a compressor. Natsume will be able to use needles with. While returning home the Gadoll attack, destroying the ground. Natsume and Kaburagi rush after Pipe. Meanwhile, the Gears prepare for battle.
After episode 2, I wondered what Deca-Dence would focus on. I didn’t expect more surprises but was curious about how they would respond. This episode focused on Natsume’s training while explaining the world more. We learn how humanity lost its way, how difficult battling Gadoll is, and Kaburagi’s tendency to save “bugs (Natsume and Pipe).” This behavior is going to become a problem for him in the future. In the meantime, Natsume will get a chance to fight for real.
In episode 3 of Fire Force, the fifth pillar emerges. So far the series has revealed the first pillar, Hitohashira-me, the second pillar, Haumea, the third, Sho, the fourth Shinra. We are now introduced to the fifth. Her name is Inca and she has an odd view of life. Inca can “see” the path of flames that allow her to avoid them and to locate future fires. She uses her ability to “predict” when they will break out, then extorts the victims. Her antics haven’t gone unnoticed. She was known for arriving at scenes before the Fire Soldiers. They correctly deduce that she must be the fifth pillar due to her unique powers.
After experiencing the Great Fire, Inca decides to value life above all else. However, she appears to love being surrounded by danger. Inca is selfish, greedy, and a bit sociopathic. When she learns that a “sea of flame” will engulf an entire area, she becomes excited. Regardless, both the Evangelists and Fire Force pursue her. Charon and Haumea are the first to locate her. However, Charon is unable to convince her to join. Charon is an interesting character. He can be menacing in one moment and absent-minded in another.
Charon also seems very comfortable with violence, brutally killing Inca’s friend Sancho. Overall, he’s a rather hulking figure. Shinra eventually encounters Charon in this episode. While being immuned to all of Shinra’s attacks, he’s able to overpower Shinra with powerful kicks. Unfortunately, their fight isn’t completed. Shinra appears outmatched and I don’t like his chances. Regardless, the question is which side will Inca choose. Based on her behavior, I think she’ll join the Charon and the Evangelists.
I don’t think I’ve ever had the experience of having an anime switch it up the story so abruptly before. I watched the first half of this episode in a daze. Deca-Dence episode 2, “Sprocket,” reveals that the world in episode 1 is a simulation. Run by the Solid Quake corporation, Deca-dence is a “colossal entertainment facility,” it’s not a virtual world, but one that takes place on the continent of Eurasia. Players become “gears” becoming customizable avatars. Then players join together to hunt Gadoll. I took a second viewing to be certain whether the “humans” were the “Gear” or the cute little robots, it’s the humans. Regardless, at the General Corporation Chimney Town, players gather to play.
Each player can gain experience and reach the top rank. Kaburagi was a top ranker 7 years ago. While traveling to battle Gadoll, Kaburagi’s hunting party discusses removing the natural limits placed on players in-game. This prevents the damage received for effecting the players in the real world. However, if you cheat and modify yourself, you can gain strength. Doing this is obviously against the rules and could result in “being scrapped.” In the first episode, one of the pressing questions was why did Kaburagi hate “war”? It turns out he aided his friend Mickey in cheating the game. Before this, however, Mickey reveals that he’s questioned the system. The robots are property of the corporation and as such is subjected to being replaced.
Unwilling to return to a replaceable robot again, Mickey begs Kaburagi to help him. Kaburagi does so with the condition that Mickey will only use up to 20%. Elsewhere, we are introduced to Hugin and Munin. Together they are task with riding the system of “bugs.” One such bug is Mickey. Exposed as a cheater he’s scrapped and Kuburagi is arrested. In exchange for his life, Kuburagi is forced to work for the system. He will be an armor repairer during the day and a “recovery agent,” at night. Some humans are considered dangerous to the corporation. Somehow humans have been “chipped” and Kaburagi is told that he should recover the chips and report bugs. Deca-Dence focuses on the system and the power of the corporation.
Defeated, Kaburagi resigns himself to be a tool of the system. He’s given 175 years until he will be scrapped. We return to the Deca-dence world were Kaburagi learns that Natsume is a “bug.” The system considers Natsume to be dead. Therefore, she exists outside the system. He decides to teach her to fight to “see how a bug would survive in the world.” The first episode of Deca-Dence gave the impression that it was a series similar to Attack on Titan. This series made a fool out of me. The willingness to drop this bombshell in the second episode is impressive. Attack on Titan waited for the third season to reveal the secrets of its world.
I thought the first episode was pretty good, but now this series has been elevated. However, this early reveal robs it of any emotional heft. We barely know these characters so it’s difficult to care about them. Deca-Dence takes some risks but I think that it will all be worth it.
Episode 2 of God of High School introduces the motivation of the three main characters, the mysterious head of the tournament administration Park Mujin, and the villain Kang Manseok. Jin wants to fight and get stronger, Han wants money but doesn’t specify why, however, we see someone he loves is in the hospital. Mira’s dream is to revive her “family sword dojo.” Jin accidentally drops the sword into the river. This creates an opportunity for the three characters to bond as they work together to find it. The rest of the episode takes place at the tournament.
The Seoul Preliminaries Tournament is just one location in many. The winner will be granted a chance to participate in the National God of High School Tournament. Most of the matches are quickly over, as the cannon fodder is easily dispatched. The main match is between Go Gamdo and Kang Manseok. Once the fight starts Go takes the lead. Dominating with his Tai Chi techniques, he manages to knock Kang into the audience. Flustered, Kang is forced to use one of his arms. With his speed and fists, Kang switches the dynamic with Go.
Seemingly unsatisfied with a victory, Kang attempts to force Go to say “Please forgive me.” In flashbacks, we witness Kang at a moment of desperation, tearfully begging for his life. Regardless, Go refuses to beg and Kang becomes more sadistic. He breaks both of Go’s arms. Fed up, Jin interferes and strikes Kang with a devastating kick. In doing so he violates the rules of the tournament. Despite this, they continue to clash with Jin finally knocking Kang out. He’s then knocked down by the power of Park Mujin. Jin will be punished but the tournament will continue.
We don’t get much on Park Mujin, but for some reason, he was at the Pentagon in America. He seems to have harmed the President, but that wasn’t confirmed. At least we know what he looks like now. The God of High School made an explicit point of showing us that the nanomachines can heal a broken neck, so Go and Kang will be fine. With all the cannon fodder gone the next matches will feature all the important fighters. I expect that they will focus on one or two of the matches for now on. As for Jin punishment disqualification seems appropriate but the wouldn’t make sense for this series to continue right?
It is possible that since he only wants to fight strong fighters being kicked out wouldn’t be that bad. Han and Mira need to win the tournament more. That said if Jin wins the tournament he could give Han the money and help promote Mira’s dojo.
Deca-Dence is a series set in the distant future, insect-like creatures called Gadoll have force humanity towards extinction. The first episode, Ignition, introduces us to Natsume, a girl who tragically loses her father and right arm to the Gadoll. Deca-dence is the name of a massive fortress that humanity lives in. Natsume is given the role of Tanker, a job she doesn’t want. She prefers to be a soldier, but her right arm is considered a disqualifying factor. Instead, Natsume is stuck hanging from the side of Deca-dence, cleaning vile Gadoll remains off the side. This is a job that she is expected to do for five years. Understandably, Natsume isn’t pleased with her lot, although she gets used to it.
Her boss is Kaburagi, a rude and somber armor repairer. He wants to live the rest of his life peacefully and can’t comprehend why Natsume wants more. Despite, her traumatic experiences Natsume still wants to fight. Eventually, the Deca-dence is attacked by a massive swarm of Gadoll. They range from small to gargantuan, with the largest being the size of the Deca-dence fortress. We get a glimpse of how humanity fights the Gadoll. Called Gears, they use sphere-shaped backpacks to fly. Then the Gears impale the Gadoll with metal rods and absorbs the green blood the shoots out. As this battle is going on, Natsume, Kaburagi, and their colleague Fennel fall off the side. Kaburagi is left with no choice but to fight against the Gadoll.
He tethers himself to Natsume and proceeds to dominate the Gadoll with his skills. Elsewhere, the General Minato and his crew ready the mass driver cannon that’s shaped like a fist. The Giant Gadoll charges at the Deca-dence fortress, the cannon fires, launching the fist into the stomach of the Gadoll. Defeated, the Gadoll falls apart leaving humanity to collect the remains. The first comparison Deca-Dence brings to mind is Attack on Titan. The parallels are obvious. Humanity besieged by a non-human species that resulted in near extinction, the use of gear that allow for flight, and the need to hide behind walls. That said, the series seems to have a different tone. However, that may change in future episodes.
Natsume and Kaburagi seem rather typical so far. However, I’m curious to see why Kaburagi quit. His story is likely tragic, but I wonder how terrible his past is. The animation of Deca-dence is pretty good, however, the CGI isn’t impressive. You can see where 2D animation starts and the 3D begins. It’s not terrible but could be done better.
Sonny Boy & Dewdrop Girl is an anime short from Studio Colorido Co. The story centers on Hinata, an artistic boy with a crush on his classmate Shigure. He’s eager to talk to her but inside imagines that they’re together. It’s his imagination and art is the source of the most impressive animated scenes. One day Shigure sees Hinata drawing and is amazed. Hinata is embarrassed. I was reminded of my experiences as an artist in school. I would love drawing projects, but initially hated the attention it got me from teachers and classmates. Hinata is more dramatic than I was. He runs out of the classroom. Shigure comes to find him talking to himself on the roof.
It’s at this point Sonny Boy & Dewdrop Girl vers into juvenile fanservice. Hinata accidentally sees up Shigure’s dress. He then trips and falls, resulting in his head being up her skirt. The following morning Hinata arrives and greets Shigure, but his pants zipper is open. I have had similar experiences as a child, particularly the zipper thing. However, this scene made me roll my eyes. Regardless, the friendship between Shigure and Hinata continues to grow. Later, Hinata learns that Shigure will move.
Sonny Boy & Dewdrop Girl’s animated run
Hinata is understandably upset. Running out of time to she Shigure off, Hinata springs into action. He begins to run at near superpowered speeds. It’s not enough to reach Shigure in time. Hinata sees her as she’s on a train. At this point, Studio Colorido Co. animation takes flight (pun intended). Hinata envisions his artwork of him and Shigure riding on a swan. The swan comes to life, erupting from the page. It shoots off into the sky with such force that it destroys the birdcage, ripping through the sky. The cloudy sky turns bright, as Hinata mounts the swan.
It’s a beautifully rendered scene, even though it’s largely a figment of Hinata’s imagination. When Hinata finally catches Shigure he gives her another drawing and wishes her “Good Luck”. Sonny Boy & Dewdrop Girl is a sweet story, with magnificent animation. I could do without the accidental pervert moment, but it’s an imaginative short.
If you want to learn more about Studio Colorido, check out Sagukabooru.
In Tower of God episode 8, Khun’s Strategy, we get to witness the strength of a Ranker. Quant is proving difficult to handle so Khun activates his next strategy. He wants to “Lure the opposite team’s “It” to the exit for Khun and delay Quant for just long enough that Anaak — the true, secret “It” of Khun’s team — can make it out of the exit on the bridge and pass the test.” Khun plans is not without its limits. He tries to convince Quant that Anaak jumped off the bridge when in reality she’s hiding in a Lighthouse. This deception fails as Quant can sense the Shushi emanating from the Lighthouse. He challenges Khun to jump as well and pulls Khun off the bridge with him. Khun is rescued by Anaak and her vine-like weapon. With Quant at the bottom of the room and Anaak racing toward the exit, it appears that team ‘A’ won.
However, “Quant” manages to appear at the end of the bridge, taking the badge off Anaak. Khun seems devastated by his failure. His team tries cheering him up by praising his strategy. It turns out that Khun’s real plan was to guarantee that his friends on Team B would pass, but also negotiating a way for himself, Lauroe and his other friends on Team ‘A’ to make it to the next round.
Team B’s turn
The administrator and Lero-Ro discuss the betrayal, with the administrator pointing out that Khun didn’t betray his team, revealing the list of the friends he signed. I wondered how Tower of God would manage to keep Khun and the other more important characters from losing. Does it suggest that putting Khun on team ‘A’ for dramatic effect was a waste? Probably. However, I think what was valuable was showing how Khun thinks. If he’s willing to betray, admittingly strangers, would he do it to others if necessary? Speaking of betrayal, Endorsi after electing herself appears to join Khun in turning on her team.
In episode 1, the caretaker of the tower, Headon, explains the rules. For someone who hopes to climb the tower, they must pass a test on each floor. The first test is to reach and break a ball guarded by a giant white steel eel. Bam heads towards the ball unarmed and unprotected. However, he’s stopped by Lady Yuri and her companion Evan. They gift him with a “Pocket” that has vital information about the tower and can translate the tower’s language and the Black March. A powerful sword that is given to Yuri, it can cut through anything. Despite the possibility that she could be executed, Yuri lends Bam the sword anyway.
The Black March requires the user to ask for its power. The Black March psychically manifests as a blond woman. She asks if Bam “desires the strength to climb the tower.” Bam says he only wants the “strength to find his friend.” Amused, the Black March offers her power because Bam is so “cute.” Yuri questions if the Black March helped Bam “because he’s a man.” The Black March confirms that this is indeed the reason. Bam passes the first test and is transported to the next floor.
The next test and meeting his teammates
Bam wakes up in a field of grass. A voice explains that the second test is designed to cut down the participants in half. 200 regulars need to be eliminated by the allotted time. Violence and death surround a bewildered Bam as he tries to avoid conflict. Elsewhere, Khun Aguero Agnes and Rak Wraithraiser, take notice of Bam and the Black March. Khun is a highly intelligent and occasionally ruthless young man. He seems to detest anyone that “follows the rules” of the tower too much. Khun finds Bam to be “interesting” because he possesses the Black March.
Rak is your typical battle obsessed trope. A humanoid alligator (don’t call him an alligator), Rak isn’t one for complex language. He calls his friends and prey, “turtles.” He considers Bam good prey. Rak is likely going to be the primary source of comedy in this series. Eventually, the fighters finally dwindle to 200. The announcer warns the contestants against continuing to fight. Now everyone must group themselves into teams of three. Bam and Khun trick Rak into becoming their third ally.
Rankers and the Shinsu
We some more worldbuilding in this episode. The Test Administrator, Lero-Ro appears. Khun tells Bam that he a Ranker, someone that managed to climb the tower before. Due to the size of the survivor’s group, another test is required to “cull” the numbers. Lero-Ro uses Shinsu a massive tidal wave that is the source of the Tower’s power. Everyone that fights inside of the tower uses the water. The culling test is simple, each team must pass through the Shinsu wall. If any member of a team fails the entire team does. Khun is certain that Rak could do it, but he is concerned about Bam. However, the initial tidal wave didn’t push Bam back with the rest. Lero-Ro considers this “lucky” and passes Bam.
As Khun noted, it’s too much of a coincidence that Bam mysteriously avoided the Shinsui wave. Lero-Ro is up to something. While the others try to pass the dense water wall, Lero-Ro bets with Bam. If one chooses the first person to get through correctly, they get to ask any question they want. They both choose “the green girl.” She easily walks through the Shinsui. Lero-Ro offers to answer any of Bam’s question since there was a tie. He asks about Rachel of course. Lero-Ro answers that he hasn’t seen her. Bam then asks about “Irregular’s.” Lero-Ro explains that an Irregular “does not follow the rules of the Tower.” He describes the layout of the Tower’s three sections. There’s the residential Outer Tower, the Inner Tower (their current location), and the Middle Area that connects the two.
What’s wrong with Khun?
Bam realizes that this means everyone was born and raised in the Outer Tower. He assumes that he and Rachel are the only exceptions. I think it’s more likely that they both are from the Outer Tower. Irregulars aren’t chosen by Headon to enter the inner Tower and are considered stronger than average. Regardless, the other contestants struggle to get past the Shinsui. The Sniper becomes consumed with jealousy, as Bam never had to take the test. He shouts that he is stronger than Bam and Lero-Ro. We get to see what else Shinsui can do. Lero-Ro tells the sniper that Shinsui is “unlimited” and it can “make a person immortal if they can withstand its power.” He traps the sniper in Shinsui and he goes mad. According to Lero-Ro on the 30th floor and higher participants must endure this level of Shinsui. The Sniper collapses in despair. Meanwhile, Rak and Khun easily pass through the Shinsui. Lero-Ro leaves Bam with a warning, don’t get too close to Khun.
So far Khun is the most complex of the three primary characters so far. While Bam’s backstory is interesting specifically why is he has no memory, his personality is simple. Rak obviously has a backstory but the story hasn’t hinted at it yet. Can Khun be trusted? I’m not sure. However, he may have bad motivations now but Bam’s innocence could change that. Were are in the worldbuilding phase of the series and I’m the most interested in the culture of Outer Tower. Finally, clearly something is up with the administrators because there’s no way Bam just “happened” to avoid the Shinsui. Tower of God has become more fascinating than the first episode suggested.
In My Hero Academia episode 85, the school festival begins. However, the real show is outside of U.A. Deku, La Brava and Gentle battle outside. What My Hero Academia does well is make its villains feel human. While All For One is rather irredeemable, many of the villains are more sophisticated at least at first. I should note that I’m a manga reader so I have seen the villain arc. Deku quickly realizes that traces of Gentle’s Quirk remain. He uses them to follow La Brava and Gentle. Deku cleverly uses Gentles’s powers to ricochet his Air Cannon, hitting Gentle in the stomach. He then takes this opportunity to pin both La Brava and Gentle down. Telling the not to resist.
La Brava’s Heartbreak
Seeing the likely end of Gentle’s dream, La Brava remembers her past. In middle school, she wrote a love letter to a boy she admired. He ridiculed her calling her a stalker. Humiliated she “couldn’t believe in anyone or anything.” Without any aspirations, she became a recluse. At her lowest point, she considers committing suicide. However, she is saved by the words she hears from Gentle in one of his videos. They became friends and Gentle gave her the name, La Brava.
In the present, La Brava whispers “I Love You.” Her Quirk is Love. By confessing her love for someone she can power up that individual. It can only be used for a short period of time and once a day. Powered up, Gentle tosses Deku off them. He attacks Izuku by chopping at the back of his neck. However, Deku isn’t defeated. He tells Gentle that he’s “fought stronger and faster people,” and he “hasn’t lost yet.” While Deku and Gentle clash, La Brava tries to find better WiFi.
Gentle’s crushed dreams
Gentle recalls his past. He was a young man that dreamed of becoming a hero. However, he failed to pass the provisional license exam. His principal urged him to drop out. One day he stumbled across a man falling off a window and attempted to help. Unfortunately, he only managed to get in the way of the pro hero. The victim hits the ground. Gentle is given an obstruction of justice charge. His parents were put in debt, having been financially responsible for the reparations. They disowned him and throw him out of their home. Kohei Horikoshi is masterful at crafting sympathetic villains in this series. I wanted Gentle and La Brava to escape.
Four years later, Gentle has given up on his dream of becoming a hero. Humiliated when an old classmate didn’t even remember his name, Gentle develops a new dream. Becoming a villain. Gentle and Deku continue their fight. Deku refuses to mock Gentles’s dreams. Strangely, they both share a similar dream. When Gentle asks Deku “why do you want to be a hero?” Deku notes that he’s the “same” as Gentle. They both have dreams that “aren’t just their own.” End then end, Gentle and La Brava give up. Allowing U.A. security to apprehend them.
Dorohedoro episode 9 begins by telling us the story of how Shin and Noi became friends. The last episode left us with this big question. It answers it quickly. En tells Fujita the story. En opened a very successful Noodle Soup Franchise called “Flower Smoke.” Noi was the bouncer there. One day a theft (Shin) dine and dashed. Noi gave chase. After noticing Shin’s rotting arms she heals them. Shin hits her with a hammer and escapes. However, he says that he will repay her someday. Shin eventually gets hired as a hitman by En. During all of this Noi is training to become a devil. The final stage of the training is to stop using magic for a year until Blue Night. She manages to make it within three days.
However, they’re attacked by two magic users. They destroy the shop, intending on capturing Shin and Noi for Blue Night. Shin and Noi fight them with the later crushing the head of Baku with a huge boulder. It’s this magic user that manages to get one last shot off. Aimed at Noi, Shin takes the explosive shot. His body is maimed. Noi heals him violating her training. Noi and Shin become partners during the Blue Night.
The Wonderful Meat Pie
Yaku seals Shin in a body bag as the later is asleep. Meanwhile, Kaiman chases the guy that hit him over the head. President Tanba catches Kaiman and berates him for leaving the shop. He’s fired. Fukuyama arrives and asks Kaiman “why are you here?” Kaiman vaguely responds that he’s “looking for someone.” He asks Fukuyama if he “found a partner?” Fukuyama hasn’t had any luck. Kaiman asks him about his magic. Fukuyama’s magic is for food creation. Kaiman is excited and asks for some food. This exchange suggests that Kaiman may have softened on his prejudice towards magic users. That said, I instantly assumed that Fukuyama was going to get killed.
Baku and Yaku meet up. Yaku is carrying Shin and Baku confirms that he has Noi. Yaku knocks Kaiman’s “precious gyoza” to the ground. He threatens to kill both Yaku and Baku. Witnessing Baku attacking Kaiman, Tanba attacks them. Grabbing a knife, Kaiman cuts Baku’s arm and then guts him. Baku explodes. Yaku tries to attack Kaiman from the behind. Fukuyama uses his magic and turns Yaku into a giant pie. Elsewhere, Risu searches for more magic smoke. He finds Noi’s body in a locker. Still alive she emits her magic smoke, healing herself and restoring Risu’s body.
Blue Night Day 2
Risu finds a disguise and searches for Aikawa. Kaiman and Risu walk right past each other. Fujita continues to be humiliated. His potential partner didn’t show. He was left waiting in the same spot for two days. Anyway, Noi arrives looking for Shin with En’s dog Gura-Gura. The find the “pie,” that Ebisu and Gura-Gura start eating and Noi sits on the body bag that Shin is in. She is happy to find Shin and the head to sign the contracts. Fujita admits that he sent one of the two applications that he received. Turns out that the other one was sent by Ebisu. This “twist” was obvious, but I was happy to see Fujita get a partner.
En learns that Nikaido is the killer of the shopkeeper and she has time magic. He creates a doll of her and puts a small mushroom inside it. Back at the Hole, Nikaido and the others are having a birthday party for Vaux. Dr. Kauskabe reveals to Nikaido that they know she’s a sorcerer. Suddenly, a mushroom monster sprouts out of Nikaido’s back. En can see through its eyes. Nikaido is in danger but she’s not going to be killed. En wants her magic. The question is how is he going to get it? He would probably have to take it from her, as she definitely won’t work for him. Dorohedoro continues to impress. I really liked how they solve Risu’s mechanical body limitation and Noi begin trapped in a locker at the same time. It was well done.