Deca-Dence starts strong. I found its music and its animation engaging. But let’s stick with the animation a bit. What’s up with Deca-Dence (the huge moving gear city)? It’s clunky, 3D, weird and perhaps a bit -what’s the word… appalling? And that’s the way to go.
The Opening Theme. Better than Re:Zero 2. “Theater of Life” by Suzuki Konomi
Suzuki Konomi has been featured as the opening artist in three anime this season: Re:Zero, Koi to Producer: EVOL×LOVE and Deca-Dence. Clearly, Deca-Dence stands head and shoulders above Re:Zero, both as a tie-up and as a song that suits the artist it was written for. And since I mentioned Re:Zero, let me clarify this: season 1 OP1 was way, way, way better than its season 2 counterpart. Again, the same artist was featured. And although the dystopian isekai theme was more prominent in the first OP, it was composed in a way to feature all her good qualities as a singer. And this is what I also think of “Theater of Life”.
Although the OP of Deca-Dence falls into the generic end of the spectrum, it was executed well. Creating something ‘outside the box’ isn’t always the way to go. Sometimes it’s better to stand out because of the quality of the work put into something rather than how ‘unique’ it is. You wouldn’t want a spoon with a hole in the middle, would you? No matter how unique it was, it would fail to do what it’s supposed to do. Creating a spoon with a nice design is something that’ll sell, no matter what. “Theater of Life” isn’t a breakthrough, it’s a nice song and it seems to work as the OP of Deca-Dence. In the end, that’s what it’s about, right?
OST first impressions. by Tokuda Masahiro
The soundtrack, especially during the first few minutes of the first episode is really promising. It manages to guide us beautifully to the fight scene, as it features a lot of action with the right amount of suspense. We’ve got a setting we’re not familiar with, a bunch of characters we’re not familiar with, enemies we’re not familiar with and the music binds everything together, until it fades away and into the horizon, showing Deca-Dence and the title. Job really well done.
We have ambient tracks, upbeat tracks, playful tracks, happy tracks, suspenseful tracks, tracks that feature a number of instruments and thus a number of emotions. However, despite the fact that we’ve come across a wide range of emotions, I feel like the soundtrack hasn’t shown all of its ‘façades’ from the first episode. Now, the music of the montage. Simple and ever so slightly predictable. We have a track with a lot of folk elements and a couple of Japanese influences that went under the radar. If you wonder where, watch the first episode again and listen closely to the music. It’s about 9 minutes in. At some point, in the higher register the sound becomes a combo of different instruments with vigorous vibratos and some vocals and melodic patterns that are inspired from Balkan and Japanese folk music. You always find the interesting stuff in the details, am I right?
The action music. It’s like I’m watching Hollywood. Perhaps Disney, but not the princessy kind of stuff, more like The Avengers or something like that. The element I dislike the most was the OP in the last action scene. The one moment we had some good action music and the next, we had J-pop. There was not enough time to transition. Not to mention that IMHO, the scene would be better with an appropriate track from the OST, rather than the opening theme. I’d probably want to watch the OP sequence on its own or choose to add the credits with the OP theme at the end. I don’t know, that whole part sort of reminded me of Michael Bay, a director I’m not really fond of, especially from a point of his career onwards.
The Ending Theme. A feel-good ED. “Kioku no Hakobune” by Itou Kashitarou
Do you know… those sped-up drawing art videos? The ones that make you admire the artist. No? Sometimes though the music of choice in those kinds of videos is mediocre, bad or they just remind me of the easy sped up cooking videos that I tend to dislike. But never mind that. It’s always invigorating to see the entire ‘making of’ process of just about anything.
That’s what Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! did; it’s one of the reasons why it was appreciated so much. And that’s exactly what the creative team behind Deca-Dence chose to take advantage of. And it worked out great. The song that accompanied this sequence emphasizes on this invigorating feeling I mentioned earlier and builds on the sense all EDs tend to have: the nostalgic emotion of something ending.
- Good OP. Same artist who did Re:Zero. Better than Re:Zero OP3.
- Good OST with seemingly broad spectrum.
- Fell-good ED. Enjoyable visuals.