Deca-Dence: Animation Excellence – Episode 4 Review

Movie Bunker Score:

The Decline of Anime in Unprecedented Times

These are extraordinary times we find ourselves in, with unforeseen challenges impacting not only the world but also the realm of anime. In light of recent events, I have made the decision to drop Deca-Dence from my watchlist, as it has failed to captivate my interest. This departure is particularly noteworthy because, even with its esteemed director at the helm, I am left with no Summer series to follow strictly. While shows like Appare-Ranman, Fugou Keiji, and Major 2nd are delayed Spring releases, Great Pretender falls into a unique category, having premiered on Netflix in June. Nihon Chinbotsu 2000, although completed, could have faced the risk of abandonment under different circumstances.

This occurrence marks a first for me. Even during the bleak Winter of 2013, I managed to complete a few shows, albeit mostly sequels. The present state of affairs regarding anime is disheartening, and it would be naïve to attribute the entire decline solely to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the impact of the virus is undeniably a contributing factor, the underlying issues run deeper than the challenges faced by recording studios and logistical complications. The relentless stream of formulaic and lackluster new series announcements this year confirms that the problem extends far beyond the constraints imposed by social distancing and production hurdles, and unfortunately, shows no signs of improvement.

The Pitfalls of Deca-Dence

As for Deca-Dence, it faces two significant obstacles that, in my estimation, pose insurmountable challenges. Firstly, the series fails to hold my attention, feeling mundane and devoid of any emotional connection. While it does not evoke feelings of disdain, my utter lack of interest on both an intellectual and emotional level renders it irredeemable. This show serves as further evidence for one of my longstanding beliefs regarding anime: in adaptations, the director takes center stage, while in original series, the writer assumes pivotal importance.

Ironically, despite the series’ attempts at introducing “game-changing” revelations with each passing episode, the underlying issue remains unchanged since its premiere – a pervasive sense of mediocrity. Deca-Dence offers nothing more than superficial alterations, with characters that are fundamentally bland and one-dimensional, placed in predictable situations. Visually, it fails to impress, falling short of the standards set by the works of Tachikawa-sensei during their tenure at Madhouse and Bones. The disappointing quality of this original creation, under the supervision of an accomplished talent like Tachikawa, highlights the unfortunate timing of such a lapse.

The Current State of Fruits Basket Season 2

In stark contrast to the underwhelming reception of Deca-Dence, Fruits Basket Season 2 continues to shine brightly. Episode 17 maintains the series’ trademark blend of heartfelt moments and complex character development, captivating viewers with its engrossing narrative. Each installment reinforces the emotional bonds between the characters, portraying their growth, and further deepening the overarching storyline. This season stands as a testament to the power of a well-executed adaptation, effectively conveying the essence of the original source material.

The Promising Potential of Fugou Keiji: Balance:Unlimited

Another series worthy of attention is Fugou Keiji: Balance:Unlimited. Episode 3 brings forth a new layer of intrigue, continuing the saga of millionaire detective Kambe Daisuke and his partnership with the resourceful detective Katou Haru. This evolving dynamic showcases the contrasting personalities of the two protagonists, resulting in captivating interactions and a compelling storyline. Fugou Keiji: Balance:Unlimited has the potential to become a standout series, blending mystery, suspense, and captivating characters.


In these challenging times, the anime landscape is navigating uncharted territory. While some series like Fruits Basket Season 2 and Fugou Keiji: Balance:Unlimited manage to rise above the mediocre offerings, others, exemplified by Deca-Dence, fail to capture the audience’s attention and deliver on their potential. The implications of this decline in quality stretch far beyond the confines of the pandemic, necessitating a deeper examination of the industry as a whole. Only by recognizing and addressing these underlying issues can anime reclaim its former glory.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the anime industry?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the anime industry. Production delays, logistical challenges, and social distancing measures have disrupted the normal workflow, causing many shows to be postponed or canceled. Additionally, the economic fallout resulting from the pandemic has also affected the funding and distribution of anime projects.

2. What criteria should be considered when evaluating the quality of an anime adaptation?

When evaluating the quality of an anime adaptation, several factors come into play. These include the faithfulness to the source material, character development, animation quality, pacing, and overall storytelling. A successful adaptation should not only capture the essence of the original work but also stand on its own as a compelling and engaging series.

3. Are there any upcoming anime series that show promise and could potentially elevate the current landscape?

Despite the challenges faced by the anime industry, there are several upcoming series that hold promise. Studio announcements, teaser trailers, and the involvement of talented staff members can provide early indicators of potential standout shows. However, it is essential to approach these with cautious optimism, as the true quality and impact of a series can only be determined once it airs.

4. How can the anime industry address the issues of generic and formulaic series?

To address the issue of generic and formulaic series, the anime industry should encourage and support the creation of diverse and innovative storytelling. This can be achieved by providing greater opportunities for fresh and emerging talents, fostering creative freedom, and investing in original works that break away from established conventions. Furthermore, collaborations with international creators and embracing new perspectives can contribute to revitalizing the industry.

5. What can fans of anime do to support the industry during these challenging times?

During these challenging times, fans can support the anime industry by engaging with legal streaming platforms and purchasing licensed merchandise. By doing so, fans contribute directly to the revenue streams of anime production companies, helping to sustain the industry. Additionally, spreading awareness about lesser-known shows and supporting independent studios can also make a positive impact.