OP: 「 Stereo to Monologue」 by Kirisame Undertaker
「二つの太陽にほえろ!」 (Futatsu no Taiyou ni Hoero!)
“Howl at the Two Suns!”
Taking inspiration from the buddy cop genre, Double Decker takes the setting from Tiger & Bunny and shifts the perspective from sponsored superheroes fighting crime on live television to the town’s underground detective agency SEVEN-O. When abusers of Anthem get heavily involved in violent crime, this detective collective is tasked to take the necessary protocol to fight against them. But while the first episode does well to introduce its world, organizations, and laws, the main attraction of the show is the narrative style that takes Tiger & Bunny‘s easy-to-digest storyline and condenses it to capture the team dynamics, chemistry, and motivations of SEVEN-O’s “Double Decker” layout, specifically our titular characters.
Much like Kotetsu from T&B, Kirill is an unlikely protagonist who follows the hero’s journey of legitimizing himself as a hero. But unlike Kotetsu, Kirill is a green-horn police officer, who is down on his luck because of his less virtuous mindset. He admires the idea of becoming a hero and having the cool appeal that comes from doing the right thing but none of the drive to put any effort towards such a goal. The first episode particularly sets him as unconventional with how much of his motivation to be a hero causes him to either jump into any scenario regardless of the risk or get roped into doing things he would rather have put off had he not been put on the spot about it.
The buddy cop dynamic of Doug as the straight-laced and methodical, albeit eccentric detective makes for some great comedic potential as he taps into Kirill’s love of heroism to convince him to strip down and pretend to be a time traveler like in The Terminator. In fact, one of the show’s larger strengths is its sense of humor as it bends the art’s style and aesthetic to play into comic-like stills, freeze frames, and well-crafted timing to emphasize a reaction that Kirill has to his surroundings or the circumstances around him. The gravitational pull that Kirill has towards the first episode results in humorous moments where the narrator has to explain and correct him on details that he embellishes. Overall, the first episode did well to introduce the universe and characters within Double Decker, but above all else, it made Kirill an appealing character to follow with how he ends up taking on the role of both the straight man having to deal with the craziness around him and the loose cannon who dreams of praise and adoration but none of the danger that would come with it.
「さらば, オカッパ刑事!」 (Saraba, Okappa Keiji!)
“Farewell, Detective Okappa!”
Whereas Episode 1 did a great job at establishing the SEVEN-O agency, why/how they fight, and Kirill’s mentality, Episode 2 gives us much more information to work with regarding how Doug operates. Using the movie The Nice Guys as a basis, if Kirill is Ryan Gosling’s Holland who is inexperienced and sloppy yet bold and cunning, Doug is Russell Crowe’s Jackson, accomplished and competent yet unconventional and weary of those around him. The chemistry between Kirill and Doug works even more effectively in this episode as we see that Doug has his own eccentricities that come out with his expertise in detective work, and can pull a fast one on Kirill to the point that it starts to look like Kirill is the straight man despite his expressive personality.
On the same cuff, the narrative works to give far more complexities to the duo among its funnier moments. Although the tone is fairly light in giving us the quirkiness of Doug and Kirill’s detective work, the show still takes them seriously and delves into their personal motivations and how their past experiences shape their ethics. With Kirill, his upbringing as an orphan shape much of his desire to be a hero by wanting to be someone who can protect his sister. This upbringing lends itself to the inspiration that Kirill gets from Doug once he opens up about being a detective because he wants to get rid of poverty and class systems. For a buddy cop anime that has been consistently light-hearted and goofy, it is a treat to see how much depth the two have and the potential their pasts have in being further fleshed out with Doug’s disregard for heroism after Derick’s risky heroics got him killed and Kirill’s push to be a hero more for his sister than 15 minutes of fame that come with recognition.
From a conceptual point of view, the anime does well to explain the basics of both Anthem and SEVEN-O. The second episode gave Anthem a little more depth as a drug that’s taken to enhance one’s abilities at the cost of their humanity, and a substance that is spread about from societal conditions. Similar to what Tiger & Bunny expressed regarding heroes and how one would resort to villainy or vigilantism, Double Decker looks at the complexities of the societal hierarchy where Anthem is disseminated about because of the conditions that were created to make the drug such a commodity. Although SEVEN-O was created specifically to cure users of Anthem before it ended up transforming them into Guillotine Gorilla nightmares, they also have their own motives and understanding of what their job entails. Katherine, Yuri, and Sophie didn’t get as much attention, but we got to see the abrasiveness that Deana has as a detective that wants to be in the center of the action in spite of being a sniper. We also got to see how Travis ticks where he might play a supervisory role, but he’s not above going above and beyond to save face, gladly taking Kirill’s bluff to keep him on-board if letting him go after a clerical error meant getting a drop in promotion. On the same note, the goofy names tied to the detective agency are all credited towards Travis, and are directly addressed by the staff as being absolutely ridiculous and embarrassing to say in public.
There is a lot of promise that comes from how well the cast and lore of Double Decker as a buddy cop anime that captures its humor and depth in such great detail for its first two episodes. The action is always appreciated and though there is a ton of CGI in the chase sequences, it’s a treat to see a souped-up DeLorean being used as Doug’s police vehicle of choice. It’ll be exciting to see what twists and turns come along the way as the other double deckers are explored, other Anthem users come into the fold, other pasts are revealed, and other nicknames for Kirill come about.
ED: 「Buntline Special」 by Vickeblanka