The Summer 2021 Preview Guide
D_Cide Traumerei the Animation

How would you rate episode 1 of
D_Cide Traumerei the Animation ?



What is this?

The anime's story is set in Shibuya, and centers on Ryuhei. As a child, he looked up to his older brother, but watched him perish in a mysterious incident right before his eyes. Now a high schooler, Ryuhei shows no outward sings of the trauma of that nightmarish incident, and spends most of his leisure time kickboxing. One day, while kickboxing, he encounters a creature that calls itself Tris, and is bitten by it, resulting in him having a strange dream.

D_Cide Traumerei the Animation is the television anime component of the D_Cide Traumerei multimedia project by media company Bushiroad and streams on Crunchyroll on Saturdays.


How was the first episode?

Caitlin Moore
Rating:

Thinking about watching *ctrl-c* *ctrl-v* D_Cide Traumerei the Animation? Hope you like generic plots and writing covered up with lots and lots of jargon!

When looking into D_Cide Traumerei, my ears perked up at the phrase “Tiger and Bunny director,” but then I noticed the little “CG” in the middle of the two words. Turns out, this isn't the work of Keiichi Satō, but Yoshikazu Kon, an experienced CG guy who has worked with big studios like Sunrise and Trigger but has never had a project to himself. That explains why the CG looks pretty okay; it's not as impressive as something from, say, Studio Orange, but better than its fellow Summer 2021 anime The Duke of Death and His Maid or, god forbid, EX-ARM. Most likely the only people who will be truly fussed by the visuals are those who hate 3DCG no matter what.

But oh, the writing. It really does not get more generic than that. The opening theme song, a slightly jazzy pop song that doesn't match at all with the images that go with it, was actually quite nice, but it was all downhill from there. There wasn't a single plot element or even a written line that I haven't seen somewhere else. A perfectly normal high school boy (who actually had a traumatic encounter with an enemy monster as a small child) named Ryuuhei is out in Shibuya when he sees something other people can't, and gets attacked by a monster. He gets rescued and subsequently insulted by more experienced fighters who just can't believe he was chosen, but then he unlocks his powers and it turns out he's actually super powerful!! Wow! But then the battle ends and he realizes there are grave consequences to his actions and feels guilty.

The other characters are just as generic: you have the glasses-wearing best friend, the cheerful female childhood friend, the soft-spoken female classmate who nobody thinks to include but said female childhood friend, and the sassy girl voiced by Aoi Yuuki who looks young but is more experienced and gets mad when Ryuuhei calls her an elementary school student.

I guess it's okay that it's just cliche in a boring sort of way, indulging in tropes but none of the ones that really get my dander up. It's just that the most interesting part of the episode is when Ryuuhei transforms by yelling, “Knocker up,” a goofy term for English speakers in at least two ways: the use of the slang word for “boobs” and the slang term for getting a person pregnant. It's the kind of thing that could have been so easily prevented if they had only had a single native speaker check over the list of terminology. However, it did make me giggle when nothing else did over the course of the 20-odd minutes of the episode...


Richard Eisenbeis
Rating:

The first episode of D_Cide isn't particularly boring or hard to follow. The characters are distinct (well, as distinct as you can make them within a single 22-minute runtime) and there is a good helping of action that shows what we can expect from the series moving forward. It has all the building blocks needed for a competent first episode and knows exactly where to place them.

But at the same time, that's kind of the problem. I feel like I've watched this exact same first episode across countless different anime: A “normal” Japanese high school guy with a mysterious tragedy in his past finds himself being chased by some kind of monster, only to discover he has the very superpower needed to defeat it by the end of the first episode. Sure, the lore and jargon are different (I find the term “knocker-up” particularly hilarious) but so far, there isn't really a twist in the formula that sets it apart.

That's not to say there aren't little novelties that I enjoyed. It's nice to have a hero who isn't simply able to fight out of nowhere—Ryuhei is an amateur kickboxer and his “knocker-up” weapons reflect that. I also like that the “dream” early on in the episode gives him time to get used to his super strength so that when the climax of the episode comes, he is able to use it somewhat competently.

However, with the plot being so by the numbers, I found myself inspecting the animation much more closely than I usually do. And I've got to say, with some infamous recent failures in this department, it's nice to see some competently done 3D animation. The episode is full of dynamic camera movements and detailed special effects that make the anime pop off the screen—though I have long since come to expect this quality from Sanzigen. Likewise, the character designs and use of florescent highlights give the whole show a unique feel while differentiating our superpowered heroes from the normal humans that litter the background.

All in all, this episode didn't particularly hook me nor did it turn me off. It was just so similar to other things I've seen that I feel like I need to watch at least another episode or two of D_Cide to figure out if it's something I want to continue watching.


Rebecca Silverman
Rating:

I will say this about D_Cide Traumerei the Animation – it looks about forty times better than the similarly animated The Duke of Death and His Maid. Not that that's saying a whole lot, but it is one of the easier things to comment on in what is a very convoluted episode. That seems to be deliberate on the show's part; it's one of those episodes that is so enamored with its own schtick that things like “telling a clear story” fall by the wayside in favor of flashy monsters, a mildly intrusive soundtrack, and plenty of jargon. That most of the jargon is in other languages only compounds the issue – “traumerei” is German for “dream” while the people who fight the “Desaria” within them are called “knocker-ups,” a phrase that I can only assume the creators of this project were unfamiliar with unless there's an as-yet hidden pregnancy angle to this.

In any event, our story follows teenager Ryuhei, whose brother died of…something…on a rainy night years ago. Now Ryuhei kickboxes and apparently watches streams of people playing an in-world game with his pal Murase, until the night when he falls asleep after dinner and wakes up to find himself in a ruined landscape that's apparently submerged in cola, if the bubbles are anything to go by. Monsters of course promptly attack, and then people start fighting them and then the next night the monster show up in Shibuya and he finds out he can fight them as a Knocker-Up and and and…it's all very exciting, really, and fairly uninterested in making a great deal of sense.

Not that a first episode necessarily needs to. After all, it's raison d'être is to hook viewers, so leaving some questions open is arguably a good thing. The problem here is that it has a few too many questions, and it never really takes the time to answer any of them. We can't even be sure how many people can see the Desaria in Shibuya: when the traumerei, a glowing amber portal, appears, only Ryuhei can see it, but then later a guy driving a car seems to see the crane game/dragon hybrid, although no one appears able to see the glove-headed dogs. Ryuhei mostly spends the episode making various exclamations of disbelief until he decides to scream, “Knocker-up!” and transform, at which point he can suddenly fight. (The other kids' second-hand embarrassment at his transformation phrase is probably the best part of the episode.) It really feels a bit more like walking in on someone playing a video game than watching the start of an anime series.

Given that this is a multimedia project, that may be on purpose – perhaps the anime is really just an extended advertising campaign for the game. It's not working for me in either case, and that's a shame, because when a show feels this proud of itself, I feel a little badly that it just doesn't quite pull all of its parts together.


James Beckett
Rating:

So, let's get the elephant in the room out of the way first: In the world of D_Cide Traumerei, where spooky monsters from another dimension come to our world to possess people and wreak havoc and stuff, the chosen warriors who use their fancy self-visualization weapons and powers to defeat these beings are called “Knocker-Ups". I have no idea what the authors of this multimedia franchise thought that term meant — maybe they considered how protagonist Ryuhei Oda has those giant gauntlet things that allow him to literally knock his foes in an upward trajectory? Either way, for those of you who aren't in the know, getting “knocked up" is a common English colloquialism for pregnancy. Seth Rogen even made a whole movie about it. I strive to be a professional in everything I do, but you can imagine how hard it was for me to take the premise of this show seriously when, to me, it sounds like the heroes are going around to aggressively impregnate their monstrous foes.

The sad thing is that this catastrophic example of cultural/linguistic wire-crossing is maybe the single most interesting thing about D_Cide Traumerei. Well, that and its godawful title, I suppose. Other than those completely surface-level gaffes, the rest of D_Cide is the kind of bad that isn't very fun to watch at all. Our hero Ryuhei is your stereotypical “well-meaning doofus with a tragic backstory", and there isn't a single other person we meet in the cast that has an ounce of identifiable personality. The plot, at least the parts of it that I could parse in between the baffling editing and jumbled script, is nothing special whatsoever. Kids get magic powers to smash up monsters that come from some sort of dream world or whatever.

It's Grade-A Anime Gobbledygook, in other words, which might have been bearable if the show could sell us on the dumb spectacle. It doesn't, though. Studio Sanzigen is clearly trying to make its CG animation work here, and while it sometimes looks okay when the monster fights are happening, the production values overall just aren't up to snuff. The storyboarding is just as stiff and awkward as the character movements, and the show tries to take shortcuts that can sometimes work in 2D, but look far shabbier when translated to the third dimension. There was one instance where every single background character in a scene was frozen completely in place, and I thought that maybe it was supposed to signal that the world had frozen due to magical shenanigans or what have you. Nope! It's just a static shot of completely lifeless extras, and the effect looks embarrassingly cheap.

If you hadn't caught on by now, I absolutely do not recommend that you seek out D_Cide Traumerei. Even in a season as starving for solid action anime as this summer has turned out to be, you'd be better off with almost any other option that is out there, past or present. Maybe someday we'll get a sequel or a reboot that can execute the concept better, and maybe find a better name for their heroic figures. The Bun Oveners", perhaps? “The Pudding Clubbers"? Or maybe just call the whole show D_Cide Family;{way}.

I'll be here all week, everybody.


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