Deca-Dence & Audience Expectation | Bulletoon Extra

Audience Expectation can be quite the slippery subject. And one of the hot new anime to play with it is none other than the originals, Deca-Dence.

Rila: Hey! What do you guys think about the whole Deca-Dence situation?
Riley: “You guys?”
Rori: Hiiii!
Riley: Oh, goddammit. Ugh… Whatever. So I don’t really think it’s a problem.
Rori: Hmm. I dunno what the situation was. What happened, exactly?
Rila: Well, a lot of people got really upset about the sort of bait-and-switch it pulls at the end of the first episode. It was super weird to me!
Riley: Not sure why. Seems everyone on the internet wants to be pissed about something. If I had to guess, I think a lot of people were expecting the series to be something like an “Attack on Titan Lite.” At least, that’s the impression I got from watching Twitter reactions and stuff. Then, of course, the show drops that last shot from Episode 1 on you… then pretty much the whole of Episode 2.
Rori: Ooooh. Well, at least it’s not the usual extremes of holier than thou outrage over nothing, riiiight? The kind that toootally ignores the context of the story by attacking some aspect of it.
Riley: Pretty much another extension of the Woke Olympics, yeah. Wonder if we should be making T-Shirts of that, or something. “Proud Ignorer of The Woke Olympics 2020.” I’d buy it.
Rila: I can kind of understand being upset by it, though! Imagine going the entire time expecting one thing, then there’s this hard swerve that comes out of nowhere! Well… I suppose the twist in Deca-Dence didn’t really come completely out of nowhere. They did kinda hint at it before the big reveal.
Riley: For that I think we’d have to look into the difference between Subversion of expectations and just pulling a straight-up Hard Left. There’s a fine line, I think. Probably because when you subvert expectations, you still lay the groundwork for the expectation, then do something that goes against it. That’s not really what Deca-Dence does, though. It just suddenly introduces an aspect that no one possibly could have seen coming, even with the hints. They could’ve figured out that something was up, but… that was it.
Rori: It didn’t bother you, did it, Riley?
Riley: What?! Hell no! I loved it! Honestly, I don’t get the obsession with watching more and more stuff exactly like other stuff you already liked. Familiarity is nice, obviously, but putting together the exact same humpty-dumpty as Attack on Titan, but lighter? Meh. Doesn’t help that I don’t really like AoT anyway. So far, Deca-Dence has been pretty fun, though. Maybe we’ll talk about it on the show.
Rori: Ooh! I wanna help!
Rila: Oh! That sounds fu-!
Riley: NO!
Rori: Oh my, oh my. Hmhm! Someone’s getting defensive.
Rila: Ahaha! Riley’s as mean as ever! Hm… but it’s not like this concept is totally original. At least initially it’s really just adding a super hardline sci-fi twist to The Truman Show.
Riley: Oh, dude! I totally forgot about that movie, but you’re right! Maybe with a splash of The Matrix. Kinda. There are probably some better, way closer examples. But those seem like some pretty safe comparisons. Point is, everything’s gonna have a little familiarity, no matter what you try to do. It’s kind of inevitable. But wanting everything to be the same is… I dunno. Not a fan.
Rila: Hm. I’m not entirely sold on Deca-Dence, just yet. But I’m still pretty early in the series, so we’ll see what happens! Should be fun to find out, either way! That or completely miserable! Ahahaha!
Rori: Aww! That’s the spirit Ri!
Riley: Uh… right. Regardless, though, I do think that while audiences could stand to be more open to stuff, there’s still a certain level of responsibility that has to fall on the creators, right? Not in this case, obviously, but in general.
Rori: Hmmmm. I dunno I dunno. I suppoooose. I’m probably not the best to ask, though, since I never really cared about a story surprising me. If it happens, that’s nice, but I don’t bank my enjoyment on it much anymore. Maybe back when I didn’t watch so much, it mattered more to me. I remember being super surprised when spoiler-spoiler. Spoiler-spoiler-spoiler spoiler. Spoiler spoiler, spoiler-spoiler spoi- Oh my oh my… Rileyyy, are you censoring meee?
Riley: The hell do you expect?!
Rori: But it was so looong ago!
Riley: We’re, like, 18. Quit pretending you’re some old bat. But I get your point, I guess? I like a good surprise, myself. And I always like it when a series subverts the norm. Though it can be annoying when something puts more emphasis on the surprise, itself, than what’s achieved by having it to begin with.
Rila: Does that seem like it’s the case with Deca-Dence?
Rori: Not really. Otherwise they’d have just held onto the secret until way later in the series, right? But shock-jock writing tactics are pretty common and I can’t say I’m a fan of them either.
Rila: Oh yeah, that’s the worst! And I can totally agree that the audience and creators each hold a lot of the responsibility for how a series is enjoyed. We could probably do a larger post on that! Maybe even a video!
Riley: Hm… Yeah, I could see us doin’ that.
Rori: Ooh, really!? In that case-
Riley: “Us” meaning “Me and Rila,” ya smiling demon.
Rori: Awww! But I behaved today! Ahaha!
Riley: “Today,” she says… Whatever. So what do you guys think of Deca-Dence, so far? I’m not that deep into it yet, but I’m really enjoying it so far, personally.
Rila: I’m not really in love with it yet, but it’s not bad. Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments, below!
Riley: This has been a Bulletoon Extra!
Rila: I’m Rila, signing off!
Riley: I’m Riley, bowin’ out!
Rori: And I’m Rori, I’ll come up with a cute goodbye quote soon, I promise!
Riley: You’re not even s’posed to be here, dammit! Ugh. Whatever. Keep up the Awesome, and…

R+R+R: Stay Toon’d!

4 thoughts on “Deca-Dence & Audience Expectation | Bulletoon Extra

  1. Scott

    Riley, everyone’s favorite grump 😁.

    And as usual, my thoughts align with yours a lot. I like being surprised. I like how episode 2 mostly came out of nowhere because not a lot of things have surprised me like that in a while and have stuck with it like that.

    1. Voyager

      Hehe. She’s so honest~

      Yeah. I tend to be more in Rori’s camp, personally. Being surprised just isn’t something I particularly look for, but I do tend to like it when it happens (and is done well. Not just shocking for the sake of being shocking).

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