The Playful Adventure called DECA-DENCE, its Aliens and Buggers

Studio: NUT (heh) 

Aired: July 2020, 12 episodes 

Score: 8/10

Deca-Dence is a charming little anime series that is exactly what it’s name suggests – ‘decadence’: a moral or cultural decline that’s characterized by excessive indulgence in pleasure or luxury. It blends a mixture of different animations styles without killing the enjoyability of it. 

While I was hoping it would take things further with character bonds and the overall plot, it still hit all the right points for me. 

MAL Synopsis:

First episode: tragedy strikes as a group of researchers are taken out by an unknown menace, and a baby girl is left to fend for her life in a dystopian environment, basically Earth in 10 years.

Right away the anime screams steam-punk, as our protagonist Natsume literally lives in a giant Mecha fortress and is tasked with the sh*t job of cleaning the gunk on its exterior. But that’s not what she wants to be, no, she wants to be a bad@ss soldier flying around and fighting insectoid monsters with a harpoon thingy that sucks the green blood right out of them (f*cking brutal). Her drive is deepened further after finding out her boss once did it (or something like that). 

Basically what I’m trying to get at is that the first episode set up an interesting plot with likable characters. So why was I in total and utter shock & awe when the second episode aired? 

It was like a completely different anime! These friggin chibi alien robot characters come out of nowhere and invade the screen with their bright colors and cartoonish designs! I was like ‘what the f@ck!”, so I backed out of the episode just to see if I was watching the right series, and yes…  it certainly was the same anime. It does a 180 degree spin, but not in a bad way.

Spoilers are in due order, you’ve been warned. 

I was thrown off guard, but then they explain everything…. Aliens (if I recall) took over the Earth and made it dystopian. A utopia that the aliens literally made into a playground, creating these bug monsters that can be hunted down for sheer sport by avatars created and controlled by the alien-robot citizens. It’s a sick real-life MMO-RPG and the real kicker is that humanity has not gone completely extinct and is instead trying so desperately to survive and avoid being killed off for being a “bug” in the made-up system.

The story is creative, and even though the plot has probably been done many times before, it still feels fresh and unique enough to watch all the way through. Our heroine protagonist Natsume is trying to overcome the loss of her father by being strong and independent and discover the truth of the outside world locked away by outside forces and the insectoid monster menace. She forms a bond with “Boss” Kaburagi and peers into his past life as the ultimate monster-slayer and becomes ever-more inspired to be one herself. 


Little does Natusme realize, however, that she is one of the last surviving humans on Earth. The thought is scary as sh*t, especially not knowing who in your community is a human or just an expendable avatar created and used by some gaming alien.

Then comes Kaburagi (Kabu!), a veteran gamer retired to a simple life and one of the few really existential extraterrestrials that realizes his alien-kind is doing some real f*cked up things to Earth and its inhabitants. Through playing his rugged avatar, he grows fond of the spunky yet disabled red-head Natsume and forms an appropriate father-daughter relationship with her. She is a ‘bug’ in the eyes of the aliens, and Kabu decides to go rogue and keep her alive and see to it that she achieves her goals, despite the system wanting her dead.

One thing leads to another; Kabu is found out and imprisoned and he takes it upon himself to start an uprising to overthrow the very system that rules over everything. Along the way he meets delinquent fellow aliens as well as ones with specialties, and they work together to accomplish a shared goal. All this is happening while Kabu tries so desperately to spend as much time with Natsume and prepare her for the dangerous world outside, while keeping his true identity a secret.

End of spoilers

I would discuss the rest, but you should really go watch it. Also, I would have really liked for it to have been a 24+ episode series’ just because how much I enjoyed it, but at the same time I feel many series’ use needless padding and create unnecessary arcs to stretch out the episode count; Deca-Dence doesn’t waste any time telling a complete story from start to finish, and that’s okay.


The characters are great, seriously. Their personalities are complex and go beyond simple tropes used over and over. They get angry over failure and disagreement, laugh at the silly things, become happy and rejoice over the victories and discoveries, and cry at the losses of friends and the existential dread called reality. 

Natsume is a charming teenager with big dreams and a strong drive to overcome her handicaps (like her prosthetic arm and mortality) even if it means putting her life in danger. She wishes to carry on her late father’s memory and find truth in the bizarre world she finds herself in.

Kabu is a cute lil robot with a serious attitude and could end you with one look, both in his real and avatar body that represents himself. He hates the system for what it is and grows to care about one thing, Natsume, and that drive leads him to take actions upon himself to protect her. He seems quietly melancholy and makes it seem like he doesn’t care about anything, but he really does, and he has a heart.

There are several other characters that are fun additions to the series, like the delinquent king robot Donatello whose brawn and just wants a good time, Jill the tech savvy robot with an attitude, Kurenai the squad leader that just wants to bang the sh*t out of Kabu despite his disinterest in anything and everything. Fei the dumb unsupportive friend of Natsume who just wants an easy life and could just go crawl in a hole for all I care. Minato the alien that acts as the chief of the humans and just wants to keep sh*t together despite everything looking so damn bleak. 


Hugin, the unruly law and judge of an antagonist with the cool guy shades and pointy nose who hates bugs despite creating real ones, and has a wicked creepy crow pet thingy that’s straight out of a Dr. Seuss drawing and shoots lasers out of its eyes/mouth(?). 

And who could forget this lil cutie alien doggy that Kabu adopted and put a costume on it as a disguise to make it look like a passable pet. 

There’s even more characters, good and bad, but it would take a while to go through each one.

The world and its monsters are unique as well. The insectoid monsters are a real threat that kill the humans in brutal ways and require deadly precision and no slip-ups to take out, so basically Kabu and Kabu alone. The gear that the humans use to harvest blood from the bugs and their ‘field’s that let the soldiers fly around in reminds me of the gear and maneuverability of Attack on Titan for some reason, let me know if there’s another series that closely replicates this or is similar to. The Earth itself reminds me of Mad Max, how it’s a total and utter desert for the most part with fragments of humanity remaining, only to be scavenged around for supplies and useful parts. 

Overall this is a really unique anime and I enjoyed it all the way through. I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already. Thanks for reading!

By: The Shy Otaku

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