Double Decker! Doug & Kirill combines the action of Tiger and Bunny with a flirtatious flavor of buddy cop comedy. This week, Micchy and Andy find out if the end result is as entertaining as it sounds.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.
You can read our weekly coverage of Double Decker! Doug & Kirill here!
Hi Micchy! As I complete the full cycle of TWIA cohosting with you, I'd like to bring up a very important subject: censorship in anime.
Personally, I think scribbling out the johnny is a cop-out. Show us the dick, cowards.
Double Decker may be a Tiger and Bunny spinoff, but it's more of a successor to Eden of the East
when it comes to that johnny-scribble.
At least they gave us the elusive male nipples. That said, Double Decker is barely a spinoff since we only have the barest inklings of any connection to Tiger and Bunny so far. While I was hoping for the Adventures of Kaede and her Two Dads when it was first announced, I have to say Double Decker completely works as a mashup of buddy cop comedy and crime procedural action.
You'd hardly know it was a Tiger and Bunny thing if you weren't told, but Double Decker carries a lot of the same appeal as its predecessor. There's frequent homage to western comics, a good blend of drama and sitcom shenanigans, broadly likable characters with distinctive designs, and most importantly, a hell of a lot of gay subtext. Five episodes in, the show's really accessible and newbie-friendly, which might be either a strength or a weakness depending on who you ask.
In either case, it's gay as hell.
Turns out the double decker system is simply a fancy term for old-fashioned shipping, and bless the ED for hammering this home over some high quality Engrish.
If you're still unconvinced that this might be something you'd like, I would also like to enter in two more pieces of evidence. The opening action sequence involves SNIPING DNA, and this show contains one of my favorite things ever to provide details in a fun way at a fast pace: a sassy narrator.
bless that narrator
I suppose we should actually mention the characters in the title. Kirill is your hot-blooded rookie cop who's constantly daydreaming about being a hero but naively good at heart. Basically, he's your Will Smith but without the charisma or skills.
And then there's Doug.
He is our beautiful baby marshmallow and we will hold him over every fire. This guy immediately jumps into danger with the promise of a "posthumous promotion".
Doug's the straight man (heh) to Kirill the dumbass, which means he's the one who takes the time to assess situations while Kirill charges in guns blazing - though not always! But it's usually Kirill who's the disaster. I love that he's so dumb, and Doug's dry sarcasm undercuts the situation so well. Of course, the jaded cop/overeager rookie dynamic would get stale if that's all there was to the relationship, but luckily that's not the case. For one thing, Doug's not totally jaded. Hell, his explicit motivation is to eliminate class and poverty, which isn't something you normally hear from a cop.
Every situation involving Kirill should come out worse for his actions, but somehow it doesn't, which is some magical storytelling. One of Kirill's best qualities is that he jumps to many of the same conclusions as the audience. We rightfully assume everyone in Seven-O must have a reason for doing such dangerous work. Kirill's backstory involves your typical missing sister who raised him that every character he soliloquizes to can't even pay attention for, and he joins the force feeling pressured to take the place of Doug's dead partner, believing Doug is on a quest of vengeance.
That's the setup to my favorite punchline in the entire show. Doug's old partner isn't dead; he just retired from the force to become a bartender. Kirill assumed otherwise because that's how things normally work in stories about tight-lipped cops who don't talk about their history, and naturally so did we.
It gets a full episode title and that portion lasts a whole 49 seconds. It's beautiful.
Doug works a super dangerous anti-superdrug job knowing that the drugs themselves are just a symptom of a broken society. I would say I'm 1000% sure we'll see Kirill's sister later as payoff for the theme that hammering down the poor and desperate forces them to get tangled up in crime, but considering how blatantly Double Decker both embraces and throws aside obvious genre beats, I can't be certain yet.
Double Decker walks a thin line between highlighting lousy people and condemning the factors that made them that way. For instance, in the third episode SEVEN-O gets caught up with a union leader who turns out to be smuggling drugs on the side. It'd be easy to conclude that the union's claims were bogus all along and Kirill's a sucker for falling for the guy's sob story, but I think the show handles it more carefully than that.
The obviousness of the bad guy is right out of an episode of Scooby-Doo.
Crucially, the other members of the union take responsibility for the factory once the leader's busted for his crimes. Just because one guy's a lying scumbag doesn't mean the whole group's cause is wrong. The union leader and foreman have the smallest bit of power over the factory workers/union, and because they're relatively powerless otherwise, they resort to abusing the resources they do have. The situation's complicated, and Double Decker generally stays away from throwing everyone under the bus.
This continues in the episode with a dirty cop. We're expecting the series to tell us that cops are doing the right thing by either following the rules or breaking them because they're unjust, but it's more complicated than that. Seven-O operates under a lot of red tape dictating when they can and cannot act, and a lot of the time it feels like we're watching things get let go or forcibly escalate based on complex rules.
Anyway, they can definitely act whenever the super-drug mutates someone into a fucking Resident Evil monster.
Monster-hunting was NOT in the job description. Neither was fighting evil clowns, now that I think of it.
Too bad. This is Anime. You knew there would be clown fetishes. Also an alphabetized list of bad guy code names. Like our friend here, labelled B for Burning Man.
As hilariously anime as the evil drug cartel Esperanza seems to be, the politics around the Anthem drug are still pretty well-thought-out. The drug has a shocking 30% mortality rate, leading to things like drug dealers faking product so you can be guaranteed return buyers, and for the real deal, the survivors feel "chosen" and adopt a cult status around the drug's horrific mutations.
Oh, and one of the lead officers in the drug control division of LVPD willingly lets that happen for his own gain. He has the authority to arrest the dealers, but he's also in a place to take advantage of the situation by overlooking criminal activity when it's convenient to him. Law enforcement isn't free of bad actors, and in this guy's case, it might even protect him from consequences.
Again, I have to commend the direction because the tonal dissonance between these points and the goofy office sitcom stuff probably shouldn't work, but it really goddamn does.
It probably helps that Kirill's always there to lighten the mood. When he's held hostage, his primary complaint is that he doesn't get to be killed quickly.
I also want to give a shout out to resident Vincent Price look-a-like Travis for his wonderful management style.
Bless these two for enabling each other's bullshit so much. And bless that narrator for constantly roasting them.
Is it sexist that he staffed his department with women just so that he could call them "Travis's Angels"? Yes.
But then again, who else would hire Pink?
God, the women in this show are the best. Deana's foul-mouthed and aggressive, but she's also fabulous and a damn effective agent. Maxine and Yuri haven't done much yet, but how can biker lesbians possibly be bad?
Maxine, codename Boxer, is a boxer by the way.
Yuri, aka Robot, is a robot. No, Travis isn't good at codenames, but we love him anyway.
Don't forget Kay, who manages to steal Kirill's title of Rookie by joining the force seconds after he does.
This begins the running joke of Travis trying to force haircuts onto Kirill via nicknames.
That man's got his priorities straight. All in all, Double Decker's a hell of a fun time with some sharp social commentary on the side. It may not be all that weird or experimental, but it's definitely the sort of thing you can show somebody unfamiliar with anime.
Plus, it's got these girlfriends. If you're not watching this show yet, why aren't you?
Much like Tiger and Bunny, a lot of the references and humor pull from western comics and movies, and the biggest problem with T&B was that it took audiences too long to take notice of it and hop on board back in 2011. Hopefully Double Decker doesn't suffer the same fate.
And if the girlfriends aren't enough, I know the internet likes cats, so maybe having one of those will help.
Honestly, as long as the show doesn't become as rote as whatever goes on in Kirill's imagination, I'm good.
It better not after all the praise I just gave it. If it does, I'm worried for my future here at TWIA!