English Dub Review: Double Decker! Doug & Kirill “Seven-O Dies Twice”

Just when you think you’ve found the bottom…

Overview (Spoilers Below)

Kirill mulls over the Commander’s offer to join the military as the armed forces team up with the police to wipe out Esperanza once and for all. In the Esperanza hideout, Zabel and the Bamboo Man argue over the best way to deal with the incursion. At the Seven-O headquarters, Robot wants to take a trip to some nearby hot springs, and the rest of the gang want to go with her, complicating Kirill’s decision to leave. The military may have a higher salary and a better incentives package, but it’s hard to put a price on friendship.

The Commander later gets Kirill alone and tells him a revolutionary secret. The world of Lisvaletta is only the lower of two civilizations. Above the sky, a superior race of humans lives in a land called Neki and shuns Lisvaletta. Kirill and his sibling are from that world, but they escaped many years ago. In order for Kirill to learn the rest, however, he’s going to have to join up. Kirill considers this for a while, and even talks to his sibling who confirms the truth, but his thoughts are cut short when the military finds Esperanza’s hideout.

The police and the military conduct a joint raid on the hideout, Zabel and the Bamboo Man escape, but they leave a pair of Anthem-juiced super-solders to deal with the authorities. Seven-O joins the party, and Kirill rushes to catch up with them when he learns that Apple was captured by Zabel. He calls Doug and the two rendezvous at the Seven-O HQ. Zabel has forced Apple to tell him the secrets of the anti-Anthem bullets by threatening Fiona’s life. Zabel is going to betray Apple when he is saved by Doug & Kirill. They force Zabel and his men to a standstill, but Zabel escapes in a helicopter just as the rest of Seven-O arrives, having dispatched the super-soldiers.

One of Zabel’s henchmen shoots at Kirill, but Robot intercepts the bullet, dying in the process. Seven-O mourns her loss, as Kirill decides to join the military. He calls the Commander, but we then learn that the commander is the Bamboo Man! He kills Zabel and ascends to the top of what’s left of Esperanza, as he tells Kirill to meet him in order to finalize his decision.

Our Take

Double Decker has always hinted at a larger plot. The machinations of the show’s deep lore have been at the margins of the series since its inception. We had no idea about Kirill’s past, where his sibling was, or where he came from. So, it makes sense that, as the season reaches its closing point, the show would attempt to explain the mysteries of Kirill’s origin. This, unfortunately, is about the only comprehensible thing the show has done with its eleventh episode.

I’ll begin with Kirill himself. After we were supposed to absorb the idea that the simple oaf we had been following for the first nine episodes was not only a competent detective but also a world-renowned chemist, we are also forced to accept the idea that he is also from a hitherto undiscussed world that is quite literally above the one the story has taken place in thus far. Furthermore, the proof for this world is that Lisvaletta has two suns, but only one moon.

To say I was taken aback would be litotes of the utmost degree. Not only does this revelation make absolutely no sense, but it also serves as only one of a number of baffling choices Double Decker has made to try to be cleverer than its audience. I’ve stated in previous reviews that the show’s twist formula for the cases of the week is pretty straightforward. Simply pick the character who has the most sympathetic backstory or most progressive beliefs, and that character is almost certainly a stooge for Esperanza. I couldn’t have possibly imagined, however, that this logic could apply to the show itself. Simply pick the most mundane thing that should be taken for granted (the world is the world), and turns out that isn’t true at all. There was no possible way for anyone watching to have guessed this twist, and there was only the faintest of clues provided that something like this could even be possible.

Does this tie into Doug’s ideas about classism? I know, given the true identity of the commander, that it’s going to turn out that in the world of Double Decker, the only way to fight the invisible oligarchs of the second world is to be an anti-capitalist police officer, but come on. This show’s groping at socialist sentiment couldn’t be any more misguided. I couldn’t think of a more obvious metaphor to let capitalists off the hook than to literally create a secret world that they live in where normal people don’t even know about them.

Unfortunately for me, Neki was not the only moronic revelation of this week. The Commander’s reveal as the Bamboo Man was so stupid that the show couldn’t even manage to make the characters blend into each other convincingly. It’s as if the animators themselves were rebelling in their disbelief and incredulity. On the other end of the disguise spectrum from too believable to be possible, though, we have too stupid to even work as a disguise. Krill’s sibling dressing as a woman is not a disguise. How was it supposed to stop anyone from recognizing them if, on the first occasion anyone used any kind of surveillance software, they were found instantly? It also undoes any of the queer empowerment stuff the show was going for earlier in the season if the disguise is for the character’s safety rather than a choice reflecting their identity.

And here is where we find the synecdoche for the entirety of the series. When I first started reviewing Double Decker, I thought that it was a show so obsessed with American police film that it was unable to form its own identity as a police procedural, but I was wrong. The show has no interest in police procedurals at all. The American tropes borrowed were not a smokescreen, they were a thoughtless affectation put on without regard for what it would mean, and wholly irrelevant to the point the show’s trying to make. At the eleventh hour, Double Decker showed itself for the soap opera it always was. It was only wearing police procedural drag.




Cartoon Philosopher

Zach has 127 posts and counting. See all posts by Zach