(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)

There is an unwritten rule that you should give a new anime three episodes before deciding whether to keep watching or drop it entirely. The idea is that a show usually needs around three episodes to breathe before it shows what it’s really about and what the rest of the story is going to look like. Some shows need a bit more time (like Cowboy Bebop) while others hook you in right out of the gate. 

Some shows, however, use their first episode to lull the audience into a false sense of security by drawing comparisons to other high-concept shows, like Attack on Titan in this casebefore pulling the rug – and basically the entire house – out from under the audience to reveal an absolutely cuckoo bananas premise that completely changes everything you had previously thought about the show. And all this at the beginning of the second episode. That show is Deca-Dence, a show that draws you in with a post-apocalyptic Fury Road-like dystopian action story that changes tone and even visuals to reveal a colorful, hilarious, and bonkers anime equivalent of Fall Guys — all while being a pretty timely indictment of how capitalist systems oppress those caught both in and outside of it.

The twist in Deca-Dence is such a big one, and yet such an essential part of the show’s real premise, that I’ll change things up for this column. I’ll mostly talk about the first episode, and vaguely touch on some of the themes from later in the series, and then and add a well-marked section at the end to cover all the delicious spoilers. 

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