Deca-Dence #03 – Steering

Episode Recap

Steering follows where Episode 2 left off with Kaburagi leading Natsume to the Gear level to get some fighting equipment for her training. As they are walking, Kaburagi recalls his discovery that Natsume has been labelled as “dead” by the system. In a flashback, Kaburagi investigates further and discovers a clip showing the attack that killed Natsume’s father. Watching the clip, Kaburagi realizes Natsume’s chip malfunctioned, when her heart stopped briefly from the shock of being amputated.

Back in the present, Kaburagi is driving Natsume to a tutorial zone for training. Arriving there, Kaburagi throws Natsume into actual combat with a Spoonwormer. During the fight, Kaburagi explains the basics of Gadoll fighting to Natsume. Naturally, Natsume’s first time doesn’t go well and Kaburagi has to help her beat it. After resting for a bit, Kaburagi forces Natsume to fight another one, but that doesn’t go well either.

Later that night, Natsume meets up with her friend, Fei (CV: Mei Shibata) and they have dinner together. As they are eating, Natsume discusses her day with Fei. Hearing that she is training to become a Gear, Fei begs Natsume to stop out of concern for her life. Fei then recalls her own experiences of seeing dead Gears on her first day of butchery duty and insists that Natsume can’t fight with her bad prosthetic arm. Upset, Natsume leaves for home. The next day, Kaburagi continues to train Natsume using continuous tutorial battles. After the terrible session, Natsume confides in Kaburagi that she wants to be like Kurenai who is the strongest Tanker fighter. Noticing her dejected face, Kaburagi asks if Natsume is going to give up. But, Natsume replies that she isn’t and regains her cheerfulness.

Over the next couple of days, Kaburagi continues to train Natsume using paragliding and spearfishing to get her used to flying in anti-gravity. Eventually, Natsume becomes strong enough to beat a spoonwormer by herself. That night in Chimney Town, Kaburagi is reviewing videos of Natsume’s training, when he suddenly receives a call from Hugin. Answering the call, Kaburagi asks what’s wrong and Hugin reports that Kaburagi has been slacking on his recovery job. Kaburagi argues that Hugin hasn’t been giving him jobs lately. But Hugin reminds him that part of his job is to find bugs and notify the system about them. Hugin then further reminds him that part of the reason they do this is to maintain order.

The next scene then opens up with a massive history lesson of how mankind fell and how Deca-Dence and the system was created. As the video ends, Kaburagi logins to Deca-Dence. Arriving at his home in Deca-Dence, Kaburagi hears a knock on his door. Opening the door, Kaburagi finds Natsume waiting for him. Asking her what she wants, Natsume reveals that she bought some clothes for Pipe, so that he can go for walks. Asking her what she really wants, Natsume reveals that she is having trouble fighting with her prosthetic arm. Noticing the same weakness, Kaburagi takes Natsume to a weapons shop and outfits her with a new arm that can fire needles. After leaving the shop, both Kaburagi and Natsume  travel with Pipe to the tutorial zone to test out Natsume’s new arm. But then an alarm sounds and the trio get caught up in an earthquake.

Realizing that it is a Gadoll attack, Natsume scrambles to grab Pipe. However, Pipe falls into the caverns below, landing on a car carrying Gears to the battle site. Chasing after him, Kaburagi recalls how he discovered Pipe; stuck to the wall of Deca-Dence and how he took him home. Back in the present, Natsume reaches the battlefield.

Impressions

Okay, so today’s episode provided us with a massive info dump. We got an explanation about what really happened to humanity, as well as, a bit about Pipe’s past.

So I was partly right about what happened to humanity. It turns out that in the late 2400s, there was a massive climate change disaster which rendered the world inhospitable for humans. In order to survive,  most of the humans converted themselves into cyborgs and turned to global corporations for social order. One such group, the Solid Quake corporation eventually took control of the world and holed all of the remaining humans up in a dome. They then created the Deca-Dence entertainment facility for the cyborgs’ amusement.

So that history lesson was pretty interesting. I’m glad that the cyborgs are not actually aliens; but actual humans in robot bodies. It adds more realism to the show. However, I do find the cartoonish animation a bit unsettling now.  It also appears that the cyborgs no longer consider themselves human despite being capable of emotion. We also discover that Tankers can become Gears, but only with authorization from the system.

Regarding Natsume’s status as a bug, I am a bit disappointed that I wasn’t right about how she became a bug. It turns out she briefly died on the ambulance table when she was a child and that caused her chip to malfunction. But I’m also surprised that Pipe is a bug too, considering that he’s a Gadoll. We also learn that Oxyone is a vital energy source that is created from the blood of Gadoll’s. It not only empowers the cyborgs, but the weapons and the entire city too. So does this mean that the Gadoll are products created by the Solid Quake corporation too? Guess we have to watch more to find out!

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