Note: Even though Double Decker was supposed to air on the 30th of September, there are already two episodes on Crunchyroll, which is why I’m just doing both.

Lisvaletta is a large city with its fair share of crime. It’s usually handled by the police, but for special circumstances they have to let the mysterious organisation SEVEN-O take over. These ‘special circumstances’  are anything involving the use of ‘Anthem’ – a drug which apparently causes the human body to mutate and even gives them super powers. Such affected people can only be subdued with special medical bullets that only the workers of SEVEN-O have access to.

Kirill Vrubel is a young police officer who dreams of being a hero, or at least showing up the far more popular force member, the handsome Jefferson. For all his attempted bravado and enthusiasm, however, Kirill is a bit of an idiot and extremely childish, and doesn’t really seem to be particularly good at his job. On his day off, he ends up having to chase a missing cat into an abandoned factory where he unwittingly gets roped into a situation with an Anthem user, who has attacked and injured Jefferson. A member of SEVEN-O, Doug Builllingham, is already on the scene, and is able to use Kirill as a decoy (who…strips naked to do so. Don’t ask). Unfortunately, Kirill is mistaken for the culprit and his naked picture on the front page news disgraces the police force enough for them to expel him. The good news is that he ends up being transferred to SEVEN-O under Doug’s recommendation, since they had an opening. SEVEN-O uses a ‘buddy system’ that their excitable boss Travis refers to as ‘Double Decker’, and he appoints Kirill as Doug’s new partner.

In the second episode, Travis tells Kirill that he’s fired – since they now have another new recruit, they don’t exactly need him anymore. Kirill takes this as a challenge to achieve something by the end of the week in order to stay, which Travis agrees to. Unfortunately, there is a lull in crime that entire week and nothing seems to be happening at all. Kirill looks for stories to chase and follows a tipoff from an old friend that a former petty thief he locked away is back on the street and may be involved with Anthem. His hunch on an Anthem smuggling operation turns out to be false…or did it?

After the two share some minimal back story – Kirill is apparently an orphan who joined the police to search for his older sister, who went missing 10 years ago – they finally have a situation to deal with – a prisoner has used Anthem – given to him by one of the guards – to cause a riot and escape. Kirill and Doug finally track him down after realizing he used the drug to make himself handsome and pretend to be an ambulance driver – and a flashy car-chase ensues.

When it’s all over and done with, Kirill accepts that he has to leave SEVEN-O – since technically he didn’t actually do anything. However, the show is literally called ‘Double Decker – Doug and Kirill‘, and Travis allows him to stay.

Kirill has…quite the fashion sense.

Hey, do you know what one of the absolute best anime that aired in 2011 was…? Obviously a loaded question, 2011 was an absolutely incredible year for anime that stayed with me for years. We had Madoka Magica, the first half of Fate/Zero, and Steins;Gate. We also had Tiger and BunnyTiger and Bunny still is one of my absolute favourite anime series, and nothing has really come close to capturing the exact feel and excitement of it for me. I remember hearing a while back that there was a new anime project in the works, and that Double Decker was ‘one part’ of it. When you’re that attached to something, it can be really hard to not be initially distrustful of a ‘new thing’ wearing its hat. I felt the same way playing DanganRonpa2 for the first time after I loved the first one so much. ‘Who are all these new characters I dont know yet? Who do they think they are? Will I really grow to love these guys as much as the others? Is that even possible?’ I had a similar reaction seeing the character designs released for Double Decker ages back. So…to be honest, I completely forgot it was actually coming, or that it was even called Double Decker, and then when the show started and all I could think of was how Tiger and Bunny-esque the whole thing felt, I suddenly remembered what I was watching.

To be honest, I am not sure how Double Decker connects to Tiger and Bunny. I’ve heard people calling it a prequel – which would make sense, as there are no heroes with super powers, only villains, and those powers aren’t ‘naturally’ occurring – perhaps the super powers in Tiger and Bunny can be traced back to Anthem use? Perhaps we’ll find out eventually in the show itself, or maybe the connection wont be apparent until whatever the other parts of this ‘new project’ is. Anyway, while Lisvaletta has similar vibe to Tiger and Bunny’s Sternbild, it’s still quite different. With the futuristic double-decker buses they may have even been aiming for a more futuristic London feel to Tiger and Bunny’s New York inspired city. It’s a beautifully realized world with a lot of character, and I look forward to getting to explore it more.

What ultimately makes or breaks these kind of shows is the characters and their dynamics. It seems like a lot of people found Kirill to be incredibly annoying, but I kinda fell in love with him in the first few minutes. He’s definitely annoying and childish, but what I’m hoping for is a convincing and rewarding coming of age story where he grows as a person. He’s also pretty funny, and his attempted bravado and obsession with wanting to be a hero is more played for laughs than set up as something cool. However…while I feel like I got to know him pretty decently in just these first two episodes, the other characters, not so much. They certainly look like a colourful (literally) bunch, and it’s cool to see so many different kinds of girls instead of having a single token girl on the team. I don’t really expect to know a lot about them yet, but I did expect to know a bit more about Kirill’s partner Doug. I couldn’t quite figure him out in the first episode, and after the second I still can’t. It seems like he’s a bit weird, but I need more to go on here. Tiger and Bunny showcased Kotetsu and Barnaby’s personalities (as well as how much they differed from each other) very early. So far, there doesn’t seem to be any personality clash with Doug and Kirill…but that could also be because we haven’t learned enough about Doug. I really hope the third episode fleshes him out some more because what made Tiger and Bunny work as well as it did was how great Kotetsu and Barnaby were as a team.

Double Decker does seem to be trying for a more comedic angle as well, and to be honest, it not always works. The over-excited narrator is a little grating, and some of the fourth-wall breaking is a little forced. But I did still find most of the humour entertaining enough. The show really shone in the car chase scene in episode 2, even with the slightly grating CG – something Tiger and Bunny also utilized. It still looks slightly uncanny to me, but I think the overall polished look of the show makes up for it. It really is great to look at, and the atmosphere in a lot of the scenes is masterfully done. While Tiger and Bunny flirted with an american comic-book aesthetic, Double Decker doubles down on it and has several stylish sequences set out in the style of one. It’s definitely a stylish show. I have to admit that at this point, the plot doesn’t interest me a great deal (and it really does skirt the line on ridiculous at times) but I always thought the plot of these kind of shows was secondary to the characters, so it doesn’t bother me.

Despite the fact that I can’t help being nervous about whether or not Sunrise can catch lightening in a bottle again, and despite the crushing disappointment that happened the last time I thought a show was going to heal the Tiger and Bunny shaped hole in my heart, I’m genuinely excited about Double Decker. I haven’t really been excited about an anime in a while. Maybe I’ll finally have something to blog again. Don’t let me down, Sunrise!

this outfit is so ugly though why

Out of 5 (both episodes)

1/2