Ain’t it a bit early for Fall 2018 to start? Well, Crunchyroll just released the first episode of Double Decker! Doug & Kirill ahead of its official premiere in Japan hence me writing a First Impressions in early September.
Full disclosure: I am not terribly familiar with Double Decker‘s apparent parent show, Tiger & Bunny. In fact, I actually just started watching the latter to get some idea of what the connection is (for the record, I’m liking T&B). From what I can tell, this is more of a spiritual successor than an actual sequel. I see some borrowed names and similarities with the urban sci-fi setting, superpowers, and dynamic duo routine but that’s really about it. For the most part, I followed Double Decker just fine and it felt like a self-contained experience.
Frankly, the business sense behind Double Decker eludes me a bit. Not so much in the connection to Tiger & Bunny is vague — spiritual successors can succeed and some already have — but rather, timing just seems odd. I do recall Tiger & Bunny being a pretty big hit in Japan back in 2011 and I personally ran into plenty of Western fans during high school. Still, 2011 was seven years ago, enough time for the anime landscape to drastically change (which it has) and for people to lose interest before the nostalgia factor kicks in. But hey, the producers of Attack on Titan took four stinking years to make Season 2 of that show so what do I know? Business doesn’t always make sense.
On the plus side, I thought Double Decker‘s pilot was pretty enjoyable. There’s some things it may want to iron out such as pacing and comedy but it otherwise got a few laughs and it does scream “cool” in a number of areas. The show takes place in the city-state of Risaveltta where a special crimes unit called “Seven-O” employs a “Double Decker System” in which groups of two detectives take on cases related to an illegal and dangerously powered drug called Anthem. Not much is overtly explained and you’re actually left to figure out that full extent of Anthem’s effects and how Seven-O operates. The two main characters are the experienced Doug Billingam (Satoshi Mikami) and his soon to be rookie partner, Kiril Vlueberry (Kouhei Amasaki).
There’s a neat procedural aspect to the premise in that Seven-O cannot have complete jurisdiction over Anthem related cases unless the drug reaches a certain stage and they have confirmation that it has. This both creates a degree of professionalism in the characters but it also adds an interesting obstacle for them. How it can be tricky is made apparent in the second fight scene where Doug tasks Kirill to get close enough to an armed thug to find proof that he’s been using Anthem. Once Seven-O does get confirmation, the action kicks in and it is pretty entertaining to watch. There’s a particularly really cool gimmick where the detectives have to concoct a specialized bullet on the spot in order to subdue a drugged criminal. The only issue is maybe the use of CGI though to be fair, there has been way worse executions in anime.
Since this is the pilot, you really only get to know Doug and Kirill themselves and so far, their dynamic looks promising. It’s a classic buddy cop routine where Kirill is the cocky and ambitious youth while Doug is the seasoned veteran cop. The duality here is executed well enough though what I enjoyed more is how both characters have their own brand of stupidity. Kirill is a bit more obvious in how he’s obsessed with playing hero and that any of his plans work is astounding. While Doug looks and acts cool in the first fight scene, you will start to question his intelligence when his best plan to sneak on the criminal of the week was hiding in a pipe. Ever better is that he got stuck in it…and yet is able to escape through the way he came in…Everyone else will have to wait for their time to shine though the one that did jump out at me was Seven-O’s boss, Travis Murphy (Rikiya Koyama). The man looks way too suave than he actually acts and his obsession with giving his subordinates silly nicknames is amusing. I will say this, everyone’s character designs do look great and it makes me want to know more about them.
Double Decker looks pretty promising though whether it’ll be a personal mainstay for Fall 2018 is something only time will tell. It’ll probably be a while too since Episode 2 won’t air until after the show officially premieres later this month. I guess I got some waiting to do…at least I can watch more Tiger & Bunny in the meantime.
Thanks for reading!
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill is officially available on Crunchyroll.
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