This recap contains spoilers for the DECA-DENCE episode “Steering.”

“Steering” is Deca-Dence’s first episode since its big twist. Which is of course, just a fancy way of saying it’s the third. “Steering” is divided, in what I suspect will become a pattern, into two halves, with a short interstitial. “Steering” is itself something of a transitional episode, as what happens here mostly builds on direct consequences of last week’s and sets up for next week’s. Still, it’s a strong episode.

Tutorial Zone

The episode’s forehalf is essentially a training montage. We get to see Natsume transition from being absolutely abysmal at fighting Gadolls into being… well, decent at it. It’s too early on in Deca-Dence for huge changes to her capability, perhaps.

Natsume falling (Deca-Dence season 1, episode 3)

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Kaburagi tosses her, sink or swim style, into fighting small pink Gadolls called “spoonwormers.” These things slap her around at first, as Kaburagi explains how Gadolls have oxyone instead of blood and how said oxyone powers their equipment. Soon though, Natsume has taken enough classes at the school of hard knocks to be competent at fighting the little things. To the concern, notably, of her still-unnamed brown-haired friend, who seems to see Natsume’s death as the only possible outcome of her drive to join The Power. It’s one of a few somber moments in “Steering.”

Bug Hunt

Another somber moment comes in the aforementioned interstitial. Kaburagi, in his robot form, is interrupted mid-contemplation by Hugin. Hugin being either Kaburagi’s specific supervisor– one of the purple, cuboid robots– or a collective name for all of said robots. It’s not entirely clear at this juncture.

In either case; Hugin pontificates to Kaburagi that he’s slacking on his recovery missions. He explains, to Kaburagi again, but to us for the first time, why keeping order is so important. This little tidbit– accompanied by more colorful diagrams– explains that humans began to go extinct in the year 2400 after climate change caused a runaway greenhouse effect. Megacorps could create cyborgs who didn’t have to worry about the altered environment and a spaceship for them to live in. Thus, of Earth, only Eurasia– encased in a giant glass dome– remains inhabited by people, and only a fairly small number of them. 

Hugin also makes it clear that “The System” is in fact an independent thinking entity. We don’t meet it in “Steering,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if we did down the line. It seems like a trick Deca-Dence would be keen to pull out of its sleeve.

The System, as seen in a diagram (Deca-Dence season 1, episode 3)

Upgrade

“Steering’s” final segment deals with Natsume getting a new arm. Her old, three-fingered prosthetic is replaced with a newer, sleeker, more dexterous five-digit model. It’s genuinely heartwarming how thrilled she is. She’s even more thrilled, of course, to learn that her new arm can turn into a harpoon gun. But, frankly, who wouldn’t be?

Pipe also gets a new outfit, courtesy of Natsume.

Less heartwarming is the sudden Gadoll attack that closes out the episode. Pipe goes missing, as he ends up falling into a hole in the ground during the Gadolls’ assault. Both Natsume and Kaburagi pursue him (who wouldn’t?), and the former ending up overlooking a Power battleforce gearing up for combat is where “Steering” ends. 

Certainly this is a less heady episode than last week’s, but the gears of our plot are firmly set in motion. As for what happens next, we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

Natsume's new hand (Deca-Dence season 1, episode 3)

Until then, Deca-Dence fans!

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Jane Auman
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