#Controversed Deca-Dence: A Marxist Reading

This is Week 3 of Moya’s Controversed clinic thing and it’s time to look at some critical theory. I’m so excited about this. Mainly because critical theories and analysis are something some of my classes have talked about recently. Learned about, not put into practice yet. I have been wanting to apply them on some level and this prompt came up. Thank you, Moya. You are so cool. This short post will look at Deca-Dence from only a Marxist perspective. Probably badly, but a person only gets better by practicing after all. We should probably do that then.

I will say spoilers in the next paragraph, but you really shouldn’t read this post IF you haven’t seen Deca-Dence yet. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Twice.

To start off, let’s talk about Deca-Dence’s storyline to have a basis to jump off of. Deca-Dence is an anime that aired in the summer 2020 anime season. Its story starts off in a very Attack on Titan Situation. The remainder of human kind lives in the mobile fortress called Deca-Dence. The humans are constantly fighting against the Gadoll for survival. Spoiler Alert: Deca-Dence controlled by a large company of bots who fight against an evil group of monsters called the Gadoll and this is a video game for the bots. Our main characters are the human girl, Natsume who wants to fight the Gadoll and Kaburagi, a bot who is influenced by Natsume to pull humanity into a better space.

Deca-Dence is a series that concerns social order and power. The title of the show is a literally Decadence with a hypthen, so it’s not subtle at all. The humans are barely kept alive as the working class of this society. Humans are maintained and controlled for a feature of the game and they don’t even know this fact. How awful is that? Otherwise, bots take up the rest of the social order in the show. There are the bugs on the bottom who have fallen out of society due to breaking the norm, the bots playing avatars against the gadoll and do it for fun, and the higher ups controlling the situation. A very uneven social structure indeed.

It’s even worse than that. The Gadoll are manufactured by the higher-level bots to keep this false society going. It’s all controlled to maintain a cycle of illusion of their being any other choice for human and bot life in general. This is capitalist evil. Manufactured threats to keep the entire economy and social structure going at the expense of others. The system gives the bots something to do otherwise they wouldn’t be doing anything. There are these giant monsters to shot at for points, that’s all sorts of fun times. Otherwise, the bots wouldn’t do anything. The Gadoll are also the threats to human kind and kill them on a large number of occasions. They need to be dealt with for anything to change.

The series concerns flipping the social structure around for peace and freedom. Kaburagi leaves his place of safe employment and eventually seeks freedom for human kind from bot control. The bot leaders for the masses after seeing a human by the name of Natsume trying to escape from her station of life and the bots that change society are the ones are outcasts. Bugs that were living in prison forever. Natsume was pushed to the role of cleaning the armor at first, but she wants to fight for revenge against her dad. That energy leads to Kaburagi pushing the bounds of his existence until life changes for the human and bug kind. An equal living condition for everyone so humanity can grow instead of being controlled.

There is a sharp resistance to the structure of change. Natsume’s friend was happy with her place in life on the Deca-Dence through sheer ignorance of the goings on around her. Natsume herself questioned why Kaburagi pushed the bounds so far at first and eventually chose to push for equality as well. Natsume and Kaburagi sacrificed everything to change everything and change did happen. The Gadol were destroyed, the higher-level bots were destroyed, and the boundaries are more equal now. Humans and bots life off the land with whatever is left. A destroyed fortress, creatures to keep watch on, and happiness now. Capitalism is defeated.

So yeah, that was my attempt at Marxist Criticism and I basically used the simplest anime to do it with. Hope you enjoyed my bad takes and keep an eye out for more stuff from Moya’s #Controversed section all over the place.


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