I’m finally doing episode reviews after an entire year! Hopefully not all the reviews for this will take me this long to get around to.
Doug and Kirill are given an assignment to track down an Anthem dealer in the south-western region’s industrial zone. They are on the lookout for a man with ‘jewels for teeth’ who apparently always wears a mask. Kirill is excited for the opportunity to deepen his partnership with Doug – who he feels does not see him as a decent partner – although the other rookie Kay is made to go along with them. Unfortunately for Kirill, Kay seems to catch Doug’s attention a lot more than he does. The group investigate a factory – posing as a TV crew – and interview the workers there who have formed a union and are protesting against their working conditions. They are led by the hilariously named Harry Botoms, who has contracted a lung disease from the factory. Kirill takes pity on the workers and senses that something is not quite right in the factory, so he decides to stay in order to keep an eye on the ‘suspicious’ foreman whom he suspects to be the Anthem dealer.
He ends up being wrong, and, realizing how badly he is filling the footprints of Doug’s former partner Derick, tries to find out more about him – learning from another member of SEVEN-O (the even more hilariously named Apple Bieber) that the two were a perfect team who brought out the best in each other – and that, unlike him, Derik’s intuition was always correct. However, as in the previous episode Kirill’s intuition is at least partly correct – the Anthem dealer turns out to be Harry…although the aforementioned ‘man with jewels for teeth’ also shows up to force the foreman to use one of the Anthem tabs, sending him into Overdrive. After defeating him, Doug decides to give Kirill a gun he can actually use.
Well, this show is still a lot of fun – Kirill’s still stupidly loveable, and I’m still just as interested in the rest of the cast. Most of them are still only getting small parts, and the two that got the most focus were Kay and the Apple Bieber guy. Apple didn’t technically do much other than get mad that no one addressed him as ‘Doctor’, as well as reveal some information about Derick to Kirill, but he seems like a pretty endearing guy. Kay is also very cute, and seems like she will be filling the role of ‘the relatively normal one’, compared to the others at least. I like the contrast between her and Kirill – they’re booth rookies, but are chipper and eager in different ways. While I am still eager to know about the other members of SEVEN-O I am happy for them to wait and develop them each in turn – it’s similar to how Tiger & Bunny handled things and prevents information overload. (Although, I do hope that it doesn’t sideline any of the characters too much like in Tiger & Bunny… I still feel like poor Rock Bison barely did a thing.)
The plot was the weak part of the episode – it was predictable, but also kind of silly. One of the ways that Doug pins Harry as the dealer was because he figured out he can’t actually be as poor as he pretends to be as a union leader, because he…is always carrying around a book and pretentiously quoting from it, and the book just so happens to be a super expensive first edition only available for obscene amounts on auction. It’s a really weird and clunky ‘clue’ and just felt unnecessary to me. It’s also our introduction to the ‘jewel toothed man’ – who appears in the show’s opening, so I assume he will be the main villain… the problem is the opening also shows Doug and Kirill defeating him so it’s kind of difficult to muster any suspense about him. I kind of hope he isn’t actually the show’s main antagonist, because showing him like that in the opening really makes no sense to me. Or maybe he’ll only be the antagonist for the show’s first cour (if it is getting two like T&B did) I have to admit, I really don’t have a lot of interest in the Anthem plot, and the ‘fight’ scenes in this episode was extremely anticlimactic.
However, I can forgive that seeing as the real focus of the episode was Kirill’s gung-ho attempts at, in his words, winning Doug’s heart. His determination is actually adorable, and his obsession with the idea of Doug calling him ‘buddy’ made me laugh (that comic-style imagination sequence was golden). I said in the last review that I was having a really hard time figuring Doug out, and I still kind of am..but now at least I realize that he could be in a state of mourning over Derick – and whether intentionally or not – may not take Kirill seriously or accept him as a suitable substitute. At the end of the episode he does call Kirill his ‘buddy’ – although not where he could hear it. I’m keen to see how this dynamic develops – it’s very different to the clash that Kotetsu and Barnaby had at the beginning, but does share a similarity of on of them feeling like they aren’t good enough – Kirill has some huge shoes to fill, while Kotetsu felt old and washed up compared to the strapping young Barnaby.
So, uh, turns out Derick wasn’t actually dead like the audience and Kirill had been lead to believe – although it’s true that he was shot and is no longer in SEVEN-O. After he leaves the hospital, he achieves his dream of being a bar-tender. While Kirill (and the audience) are aghast that nobody told him that, the focus this episode is on Deana (AKA ‘Pink’) and Kay (AKA ‘Rookie’). Just like Doug and Kirill, they still don’t seem to be used to each other as partners yet – although are doing much worse at it. Deana is used to working alone to begin with, but her brash attitude clashes non-stop with Kay’s uptight obsession with rules and regulations – causing the two to fight. For example, as stated in the first episode SEVEN-O are only allowed to act when the presence of Anthem is confirmed, otherwise its a regular drug bust for the drug squad. Kay’s carefulness in respecting these rules backfires during an undercover mission to root out an Anthem dealer and he ends up getting away.
Kay decides to act without Deana, working with the drug squad to confirm their findings – although it turns out that the drug division worker Gary (Galey? Crunchyroll’s subs say the former but the katakana and pronunciation is telling me the latter) is not to be trusted – turning out to be an Anthem dealer himself. With ‘Robot’ (aka Yuri) and Kirill as hostages, Gary tries to use Kay to lure Deana to him – whom he has a grudge against for getting the coveted SEVEN-O position when he didn’t. Predictably, he ends up using the Anthem on himself, and Kay and Deana work together to defeat him.
So this episode was called ‘Derick Returns’, but Derick himself only appears very briefly – which is the entire joke. So scratch everything I said about Doug potentially being in mourning – unless he’s really, really disappointed that Derick isn’t still his partner. To be honest, the whole ‘well no one SAID he was dead’ joke, and then immediately brushing Derick aside again, did actually make me laugh. The probem with this is that I’m back to not really getting Doug and how he acts – although the end of this episode reveals he has an ‘asshole’ side (or rather, a joking one.) It’s also really making me wonder what the actual tone of this series is trying to be – it layers the comedy on thicker than Tiger & Bunny and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s going to have anything deeper to it at all, or just be mostly SEVEN-O dicking around. (Not that I have a problem with that, because these characters are fun). However, the narrator does tell us that now that we’ve met everyone properly (a lie, we’ve barely seen Boxer AKA Max) the story can begin, and the next episode preview does show old jewel-teeth again.
Anyway, I was really happy to have an episode focusing more on the girls of SEVEN-O – or at least two in particular – and I’m glad that the other teams and their dynamics will get attention besides the titular one. I was surprised that Kay and Deana would clash much more than Doug and Kirill (who don’t exactly seem to ‘clash’, rather they just don’t seem to have much in common), although their issues were resolved a little quickly. The team I’m still the most interested is still the one with the least attention given at the moment – Boxer and Robot (Max and Yuri). Besides Max just looking like an overall awesome gal, and Yuri’s nickname not being just a nickname (she…really is a robot, apparently), there’s been plenty of hints that these two are in a relationship – and from the looks of things, an incredibly happy and fulfilling one. (Them energetically playing Foosball in the game was adorable) They are likely going to be the example of the ‘perfect team’ out of all the other teams – perhaps even more so than the apparently legendary Doug and Derick were. I certainly look forward to seeing more of them – and especially Yuri, because come on. An actual robot. And a really cute one at that.
Unfortunately, like last episode the Anthem part is the low point of the episode – although on the plus side at least with this one the girls worked together a little better than Doug and Kirill did (even if all Kay did was temporarily blind Gary). The problem with these ‘fights’ is that they’re always over so quickly – it literally just takes one of the ‘Anti AMS bullets’ to ‘cure’ them. Hopefully these simple fights are just to allow the characters to shine more in the first few episodes, and things will get more interesting from here now that the story is starting, as the narrator said.
I certainly hope this show hits a better stride soon, though. I’m enjoying it, but I do feel like it could be more. Most of all, I really, really want it to succeed. I’m admittedly a little anxious about it because today I checked up on Pixiv for it, and despite there already being five episodes out, there were only around 3 or 4 pages of fanart. Considering Tiger & Bunny basically dominated the Pixiv rankings and even had doujin events in the works in that same amount of time, it’s…a little disheartening.