OP: 「」 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 LOVE) by (Clammbon)
「トムソーヤーの冒険」 (Tomusōyā no bōken)
“The Adventure in Tom Sawyer”
There’s some kind of magic here, some sort of witchcraft, someone made a deal with the devil and decided to make Yurei Deco. This first episode of Yurei Deco proved that this is your next sleeper hit. The episode doesn’t really do good to the entire story as a whole, it’s clear that as we progress deeper into the show, more of the secrets and plot twists peppered through will make an appearance. But as an introduction to the story, it’s a perfect one at that.
Not only did it manage to hook me into its premise, but also explain it with simple and thoughtful detail, while still being brave enough to incorporate charm and style into its writing. There is style out of the wazoo, Science Saru dares to be different!
Bet, I’m game.
The story is set on a fictional island called Tom Sawyer Island, a futuristic city where the metaverse and the real world collide into one, people can jump in and out of hyperspace at will, while also being pulled into virtual spaces against their own accord. Everyone carries a Deco, a virtual avatar they can use either in the real world, by projecting it onto their bodies and hiding away their true form, or changing it up completely. But that’s not all!
The island uses a form of points, stars, or in this case, love. That is meant to represent a way of control among the population. Meant to represent a form of social credit. The more love you have the more wealthy you can be, businesses and institutions project their love score outside their building for the rest to see, and you can quickly access other’s people love scores. People freely give you love, However, there’s a mysterious person who is stealing everyone’s love called Zero. But more on that in a bit.
The show starts with an allegory, to a giant who used to look down on the people, and wouldn’t be able to sleep because he would always be watching and watching, every single day. Then one day the giant saw someone doing something treacherous, and the masses turned against the giant and killed him. But in turn, people feared the giant, so sooner rather than later they pitied him and turned him into a symbol of peace. And so the giant could finally sleep. Cue scene and we get to meet our first character, a young-looking boy who wears a VR headset, it’s actually not a boy though, but let’s refrain from spoilers. A still unnamed character by the series, since we never got to hear her name, but I’ve searched it for you. Hack (Nagase, Anna) is a futuristic, looking girl with cyberpunk clothes, boots, capes, and yellow hair. She uses a paper plane to scour the city and plants roses that are later to become important. And we get intricate shots of the characters we are meant to meet as the anime goes deeper into its weekly runtime.
It’s an intro for sure – but things are about to become a whole lot more interesting, as we are quickly introduced to another character Berry (Kawakatsu, Mira) (something closer to Tom) who is quietly napping in a virtual classroom, she uses a cat Deco, and is close to her friends, a Pumpkin Deco and another user using something that resembles an anteater but made cutely. Maybe some type of sloth. They are still yet unnamed. Berry makes a type of mirage for their Deco’s, giving them privacy as they mute themselves on the metaverse class, and talk over Discord or something. The class scene serves to give some quick exposition on the situation of this world and set up the mystery of Zero. But whatever, Berry quickly bails out of that class as her Deco starts glitching. The next series of events are most of the episode, as Berry has to go see the eye doctor and her mom makes an appointment for her, Berry leaves grunting about it. On the way there she meets with a friend and takes a selfie, uploading it to the metaverse where it instantly starts getting some love. Berry the influencer! However, her conversation with this dude is less than superficial.
One of the downsides of living in a dystopian capitalistic hellscape is that people are so afraid to be vulnerable with each other, friendships that gloss over the niceties needed to form a deeper bond, where real vulnerability is needed and you can let yourself be – well yourself, without the need to hide behind a mask (as this dude was doing) or being able to talk about a topic without the fear of rejection and your precious love going away. Are hard to make. People only give what you put in return. in a world where virality manes nothing, what does it mean to form real relationships?
Oof – that sucks bro!
I can think of one real-world example where this also applies, the world of Tik-Tok is literally making people go viral for absolutely no reason, and the rise of the popular video streaming app is defragmenting what it means to have thousands of likes – thousands of love. Making viral content is easy, actually offering something of substance and value to your audience in return is few and far between.
The episode continues giving us glimpses into Berry and Hack’s relationship, Berry even uses a form of spyware, resurrecting this dude ol’ dad and putting him in a 3D hyperspace. Making him fess up all of his love. There were genuinely creative moments here, and the worldbuilding just speaks to me on a spiritual level.
I can already see this series giving me lots to talk about, and being interesting to boot! With a not-so-in-your-face social commentary, that’s easy to dissect and understand. And tons of creative aspects of how it’s materializing the internet. I’m in love with the future aspect, and how it’s a modern take on Blade Runner. It’s straight-up my alley! Yurei Deco provides a mirror to a not-so-distant future! And one we may already be living in. Using Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as a starting point. I can’t wait to see what Science Saru has in store for the rest of Yurei Deco!
Full-length images: 42.
ED: 「あいむいんらぶ」 (I’m in Love) by (Hack’nBerry)