I did want to get single episode reviews done for these, but you know how the holiday season is.

‘Somehow 2018 is already over when January feels like it was like 5 weeks ago.’

After Yuri’s death, there’s a somber mood at SEVEN-O. On top of that, a report comes in that Esperanza’s hideout was found with the bodies of several members, an indication of their apparent disbandment…and without Esperanza, SEVEN-O’s existence is suddenly becoming obsolete.
Meanwhile, Kirill takes the invitation to join the military and is immediately educated a little more on Nikai. The inhabitants are not technically aliens, but people who left earth and created their own society there many ages ago. Not only that, but Cooper himself is also one of the descendants from Nikai – people who, he explains to Kirill – were genetically engineered to be super soldiers to make up for what they lack in numbers. It was they that created Anthem, which they were able to get Esperanza to distribute – because they still were unable to figure out the correct ratios of the enhancement drugs and antidotes that prevent ‘overdrive’. Kirill, meanwhile, is ‘special’ – a one-of-a-kind baby from Nikai with a body that automatically neutralizes Anthem. His parents had sent him away from Nikai so that he wouldn’t end up being experimented on, and the military – or at least Cooper – had searched for him ever since….and now he finally has him in his clutches after discovering the abnormality in his blood sample taken during the company health checks, and lying to him about being invited to join the military.

SEVEN-O realize that Cooper and Bamboo Man are the same person by…seeing it on the security cam footage, and plan a grand rescue mission to save Kirill with Doug at the helm. A daring plan is hatched for Doug to use Anthem on himself to overpower Cooper’s unbeatable super-soldier abilities…but it’s squashed when Cooper takes Valery hostage and then shoots Doug.

those…sure are some eyebrows Cooper has.

I really love that Kirill’s badass landlady came along for the rescue mission.

Well, the reveal about what the fresh hell is going on is here, and while it does answer a few questions I had, I gotta admit I still don’t understand a lot of it. I’m still not 100% clear on what the purpose of getting Esperanza to market Anthem as a cool drug was, or why the ‘earth people’ are even fighting with the Nikai people. I really do think all this stuff would have worked a lot better had it been woven a little more gracefully into the plot…but it could also be that Double Decker actually needed 24 or 26 episodes to better flesh out its world.

Anyway, I did enjoy this episode as it was a sufficiently suspenseful rescue mission mirroring the one where everyone rescues Doug from Esperanza. I like the little nod to character development here – in hospital after his rescue, Doug nonchalantly commented that he wouldn’t have done the same for Kirill were he to be kidnapped – yet, obviously, here he’s at the helm and wanting to take the major sacrifice – using the Anthem on himself – to bring down Cooper. Unfortunately, he ends up taking an even bigger sacrifice when he gets shot – a great ‘OH SHIT’ moment I didn’t actually see coming. It ends on that cliffhanger with the apparent expectation that literally anybody in the audience honestly thinks Doug will die…I mean…come on. I’m actually hoping they do a callback to Tiger and Bunny with Doug asking them later why nobody bothered to check his pulse, because that would make me laugh a lot.

The rescue mission itself was pretty satisfying to watch, with everybody teaming up to help in different ways – even Kirill’s landlady tagging along. The fact that it was all done using Derick’s restaurant bus was also great – and very fitting for the show’s climax. Everything going horribly wrong right after all this fun just made it all the more gut-punching but…it went wrong because Cooper captured Valery, who really shouldn’t have been there to begin with. (‘I followed you because I was worried!’ come on) I don’t think that’s as ‘seriously?’ as the gang finding out the truth about Brian Cooper via the security camera feed, though… it just felt like a really lame and convenient way for them to get that information, whereas something that would have actually allowed Doug to use his detective deduction skills would have been far more satisfying.

I’m only including this cap to show how obvious and uncanny the cgi moments in this show can look.

Don’t worry, Doug’s just sleeping.

Out of 5,
1/2

 

Episode 13

It is impossible to take Cooper seriously like that.

The other SEVEN-O members have appeared at the military base, and the true nature of their plan begins to reveal itself.  Valery and Kirill manage to take Cooper by surprise and inject him with antibodies – and, fearing he will lose his powers, his immediately runs to retrieve the ‘special Anthem’ that Doug had with him. However, this and almost everything that went wrong in the previous episode was as intended – including Valery getting kidnapped and taken hostage. Doug, of course, wasn’t actually shot. Cooper actually was injected with adrenalin and not antiobodies, and the ‘special anthem’ he applies to himself is actually just regular old anthem – which combined with his already beefed up powers, enduces an Overdrive and allows Doug to shoot him with the antidote.

However, Cooper was planning to blow up the entire base and everyone in it, so a mad rush to the exit ensues. Derick – again – saves the day by sacrificing his restaurant bus, Kirill gets the heroic action escape sequence (complete with theme song playing) that he always dreamed of, and, best of all, Yuri was alive and safe the whole time. Turns out that the one that exploded the other day was a temporary replica, and the real one had been recovering from Travis spilling coffee all over her during routine maitenance.

SEVEN-O does not disband, as Anthem cases still continue to appear in Lisvaletta. Meanwhile, people on Nikai remark that the now-defeated Cooper was their weakest soldier.

So the only main cast character to die ended up being Derick’s bus. RIP, bus.

After all these episodes, Kirill’s outfit is -still- a lot to take in, and I keep noticing new stupid details.

Remember how a while back I complained about how Double Decker kept doing that fakeout thing – making you think one thing had happened and then pulling the rug out all ‘haha actually it was this’, because it wasn’t doing it very well? This episode was the perfect example of that kind of thing being done right. The things that went ‘wrong’ in the previous episode caused genuine suspense, but finding out everything was going to plan didn’t cheapen that, and the ‘gotcha’ moment for both Cooper and the audience was all the more satisfying for it. Best of all, it was a plan that had all SEVEN-O members acting as a team and they all got a moment to shine.

Apparently a lot of people thought this episode was overly bloated and ridiculous – one one hand I can kind of see what they mean because a lot of things happened in it. But in the other, it was so incredibly fun that I don’t care. Cooper didn’t exactly work out to be a very interesting enemy or a particularly good fight to watch (although to be honest, none of the enemies in Double Decker really are), but Kirill getting his corny action scene (coupled with the theme song, his narration and the 4th wall breaking actually kind of working for a change) made up for it in my eyes. Even the incredibly stupid minor bit of suspense when Doug gets trapped under rubble for no reason and tries to give a heroic speech only to get thrown to safety by the explosion was far too tongue-in-cheek to be angry at. I’m also really glad they didn’t actually kill Yuri off – and the reasons for her being alive were honestly pretty funny – although it’s a bit extreme that Travis just…didn’t tell them this when they were all mourning her.

The episode ends with sequel-bait which is so straight-forward its more than likely a joke, but I actually wouldn’t mind another series of this. It wasn’t a perfect show, but I started to genuinely like these characters, and if there’s more material made for them I’ll definitely watch it.

Out of 5,

 

This is SO CUTE

;w;

Final Thoughts:

I’ll be honest, there was a moment in the halfway point of Double Decker where I was dreading having to give it the Biggest Disappointment award for the 2018 Moeronpan Awards – the writing was honestly that terrible and my opinion on the show was almost in free-fall after getting so excited about the first few episodes. Luckily for me, it did manage to turn itself around, and although it certainly had its share of problems, it was still a solidly entertaining series with characters I really grew to love. It’s the characters that pick up the slack where the show kind of drops the ball in regards to its overall writing and fight scenes. The narrator does continually stress that the show is only about detectives, yet I don’t think that really excuses how lacklustre the action scenes are and how dull the enemy characters come across. A lot of this is unfortunately due to the show already being branded from the beginning with the lofty expectations something related to Tiger and Bunny would have – it’s impossible to not compare the two because of this, and Double Decker almost always comes up short when you do. Even what should be the show’s main draw (it’s in the title) – the relationship between it’s two main leads – is not given anywhere near enough attention. And then there’s all the clunky CGI which honestly only makes most of those action scenes even less engaging. The animation quality also fluctuated wildly for the entire second half.

Despite all that, it was a show with a lot of heart, and, somewhat importantly, it was a show that really made an effort to be inclusive of minorities – obvious-lesbian-couple Max and Yuri being the main example. It didn’t always do this particularly well, but it was never intentionally mean-spirited or stereotypical.

It’s a little frustrating that Double Decker wasn’t the show I was hoping for, but I’m still happy with the show it was. I’m very curious what the other anime in this apparent multi-title Tiger and Bunny project is, and how they will tie together.

Out of 5 overall,
1/2

Well then, until next time…?