Double Decker! Doug & Kirill is essentially the anime version of a buddy-cop film. It has elements of Bungo Stray Dogs and Kekkai Sensen – two of my favorites from recent years. Yet, even with pages borrowed from series of seasons-past, the opening episodes ultimately leave you longing for more.
Episode 1 Summary
Upstart police officer Kirill Vrubel has always dreamed of being a hero: rescuing co-workers from terrorist attacks, capturing heinous villains…the usual over-the-top heroics that he often saw in the movies. Unfortunately for him, his boss thinks it’s far more likely that he’ll get fired than being able to accomplish anything remotely heroic.
After accomplishing the not-so-heroic errand of finding his landlord’s cat, Kirill finds himself entwined in a confrontation between a wanted criminal and the police.
When an esteemed officer named Jefferson is caught in the crossfire, Kirill sees an opportunity to become the hero he always dreamed of being, but is frozen with fear and uncertainty. In that moment, officer Doug Billingham makes his appearance.
Representing a special division of the police known as Seven-O, Doug explains that their department specifically deals with individuals who utilize the highly addictive and dangerous drug known as “Anthem”. Forming an impromptu partnership, Kirill assists Doug in apprehending the criminal, as well as rescuing Jefferson and the hostage involved. Despite his heroic actions, his chief still has to let him go for putting a civilian and officer’s life at risk. However, his antics earned him a spot at Seven-O after Jefferson gives him a glowing recommendation to take the spot in his stead. So, our bumbling rookie finds a spot within the esteemed Seven-O division.
Episode 2 Summary
Or does he? Episode 2 opens with Travis, head of Seven-O, summarily dismissing Kirill after explaining that there’s been a logistical error.
Kirill, being hardheaded and seeing this as a “challenge” from his boss, commits himself to doing something spectacular within the next week to redeem himself and secure a spot on the team.
Leaning on an informant from when he was a “regular” cop, Kirill feels confident he has a lead on some illicit Anthem smuggling. Eager to pounce at the opportunity, he and Doug stage a raid, only to discover that the smuggling wasn’t really happening. Embarrassed and certain that his brief glimpse at real heroism would ultimately be just that, there’s an emergency at the prison – after a shady guard slips a criminal a dose of Anthem, all hell breaks loose. Doug and Kirill quickly move into action, leading to an intense chase, ultimately taking down the escaped convicts.
Despite his involvement, Kirill ultimately doesn’t feel like he did much to affect the final outcome, and resigns himself to being let go from the Seven-O division. However, Travis surprises him with an outfit and officially welcomes him onboard!
Comedy. Buddy cop scenarios. Supernatural elements. Individually, these are things that I enjoy. Combined, they’ve created some of my favorite series in recent memory. So, when I read up on Double Decker!, I certainly had my curiosity piqued.
The story looks familiar from the get go: hapless protagonist, motivated by mysterious family member who is out of the picture for some reason, finds himself in the employ of mysterious organization. I’ve said it numerous times before: you can use old blueprints to build a new series, but the components have got to be compelling. There’s got to be something stellar in the bones of the show to really captivate an audience, and unfortunately Double Decker! doesn’t really succeed on that front.
Let’s start with the good stuff though. First, there are some interesting things happening with the animation in Double Decker! 3D elements are incorporated during some of the key action sequences, which is definitely eye-catching (in a good way). In addition to the aesthetic, the over-the-top comedy definitely lands some good moments over the span of the opening pair of episodes. Kirill’s antics are the overt gags of course, but I was actually won over by Travis (“The Boss”) – he mirrored the same energy as Kirill, but seeing him in a senior position just made me imagine a series of unfortunate events that caused him to fail upwards to the position he’s currently in.
That’s unfortunately where the good stuff stops, and everything starts being startlingly mediocre. The story, such as it is, isn’t really nailed down by any major organizations, nor is a driving plotline rolled out. We get (briefly) introduced to a criminal organization known as Esperanza, but it certainly doesn’t appear to command the same fear and respect as the Port Mafia from Bungo Stray Dogs, for example. The result is some possible throwaway plot lines that don’t get adequately addressed.
As for the characters themselves, there’s no real standouts. The full title is Double Decker! Doug and Kirill, and yet neither Doug or Kirill are particularly interesting characters to be around.
This is obviously a huge problem.
Now, in the next few episodes they could definitely work to right the ship: introduce a more grounded plot, make some tweaks to have the Doug and Kirill dynamic a bit more engaging. However, as it stands, I would give this show a pass for the season. Especially considering the lineup of heavy hitters for the current season.
If this show sounds like something you’d enjoy (or at least want to check out), you can find it updated Sundays on Crunchyroll.
If you checked out Double Decker! – let us know in our Discord, or leave a comment here!
Double Decker! Doug and Kirill - Episodes 1-2
- Some interesting utilization of 3D animation
- Comedic elements do strike the right chord more often than not
- Kirill is basically a far less likable Leo from Kekkai Sensen
- The series is trying too hard to make Doug cool
- Story seems loosely put together - no real impetus driving the story