Back to the Vaults: Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Back to the Vaults: Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure
デュアル!ぱられルンルン物語
Dyuaru! Parare Runrun Monogatari

Having recently watched Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki OVA 5, it put me into a mindset where I wanted to rewatch Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure. That’s because characters from Dual! show up in OVA 5 (something explained in depth with the Tenchi Muyo! GXP novels written by KAJISHIMA Masaki-sensei.) I will touch this aspect for those who are curious. However, I will try to focus on this anime as a stand-alone entity first, which consists of 13 TV episodes. I’ll review the one OVA episode later.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

 

* * S P O I L E R S ! ! ! * *

The Story, in Brief

Unpopular high school student YOTSUGA Kazuki writes a blog, telling stories of the giant mecha units he sees battling, but which no one else sees. Popular female student SANADA Mitsuki takes an interest in him and his writing. As such, he ends up accepting her invitation to come to her house. However, this is a ruse so that her father, Ken, can examine him for his parallel world theory. Mitsuki accidentally activates equipment that sends Kazuki to a parallel world.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Kazuki is initially confused as the robot mecha units from his visions are now deadly real. He sees the white “robot” unit he called Hartzenen taking a beating. Inside is an injured, female pilot. Kazuki’s emotions allow him to synchronize with the mecha unit and defeat the enemy. Kazuki is picked up and taken to Earth Defense Force HQ, lead by this other world’s SANADA Ken. There, he discovers Mitsuki has also crossed over from their world, arriving a month before Kazuki.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Since Kazuki is the only male who can pilot the robot mecha units, he becomes a state secret. Kazuki moves into the Sanada home along with Mitsuki and D, a bioroid found with two, alien mecha units. A disagreement over the tech resulted in the war on the parallel world. Kazuki, Mitsuki, and D pilot the Earth Defense Force mecha units against the Rara forces, who control one of the two discovered, alien mecha units.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Eventually, the EDF-held alien, robot mecha unit Zinv reacts to Kazuki and Kazuki becomes Zinv’s pilot, turning the tide of the war. Kazuki is captured, so RARA Mitsuki frees him and she surrenders to the EDF. However, Zinv and Kazuki’s presence are causing the two universes to fracture, meaning either Zinv or Kazuki have to be destroyed to save both universes.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Neon Genesis Evangelion Influence

If you’ve ever watched the old Neon Genesis Evangelion series, it is clear that Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure is a parody of that classic mecha series. The robot mecha units in Dual! have a similar visual appearance to Evangelion. However, since the initial three Dual! mecha units have what appears to be high heels, the parody elements clearly come through.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Further, the Shinji-Asuka-Rei triangle in Evangelion is mimicked with Kazuki-Mitsuki-D triangle. Of course, Kajishima-sensei also injects his standard harem hijinks into the mix, but a lot of Dual! is influenced by Evangelion. And that’s not a bad thing. If you haven’t watched Evangelion, you won’t know what you are missing. And if you have, you’ll likely appreciate the nods to Evangelion.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Silly War

I have to say, the “war” aspect of Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure is rather silly. The idea of two sides gaining access to advanced, alien technology, then warring over it is fine. As such, I don’t have a problem that RARA Hiroshi decided to use his discovered HIMC robot mecha to try to take over the world. You have nut jobs all the time who think they should rule and control people’s lives.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

However, the way the war is conducted is rather silly. RARA Mitsuki, who’s a gentle, kind person, hypnotizes herself to become Miss Rara. She then announces where the Rara Army will attack, allowing the Earth Defense Forces to mobilize there while evacuating civilians. As such, there are no civilian casualties despite a lot of destruction. And due to the nature of the mecha fights, there are no military casualties either.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

I honestly don’t object to having war rules that avoids civilian casualties. It’s just that I kinda wish it had been lain out better. I state this ’cause both Hiroshi and his maniac wife Ayuko are hell bent on conquering the world (Ayuko more so than Hiroshi). These kinds of people don’t give a rat’s rear about people, so it just seemed odd that they’d care about not killing anyone. But maybe that’s part of the comedic element of the series.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Finally, the most irritating aspect (which was done for comedy purposes) was the omiai that Yayoi’s grandmother Reika demanded happen despite a Rara attack very near the meeting area. Comedy and parody are one thing, but in this instance, it takes one out of the story, which I didn’t like.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Boring Harem Hijinks?

When I originally watched Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure, the harem hijinks were the thing I liked the most (my old review is here). However, upon my current rewatch, the old school harem hijinks weren’t as interesting or funny to me. Don’t get me wrong, I do still enjoy harem hijinks. D-Frag springs to mind. Unfortunately, I found myself a bit annoyed with how things played out in this series.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

SANADA Mitsuki is a somewhat tsundere type. She’s ultra popular, so in her mind, Kazuki should fawn over her. He doesn’t. While he is attracted to her at some level, Kazuki is nice to all of the other girls who come into his orbit (and they are attracted to him). And since Mitsuki could never lower herself to be open with Kazuki, she just gets angry with the situation. As I stated, I like harem hijinks, but I was just weary of Mitsuki’s inability to just say what she should say.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Kazuki is kind of clueless, though he is the “ultimate” nice guy. But that can be a bit annoying too, but it was less bothersome to me than I expected. Still, the harem aspects ended up being kind of boring to me, which was a bummer since I like harem stuff. I guess I’m getting old. 😅

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Tenchi Connection

When I originally watched Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure, it was believed that the reason Zinv was in the Tenchi Muyo! GXP anime was that it crossed between universes. After all, the idea of a multiverse was seen in Dual! so it would make sense to continue that theme in GXP. However, in the GXP novels from Kajishima-sensei, it is revealed that the characters from Dual! are in fact part of the precursor civilization (Great Prehistoric Civilization) that is part of the canon Tenchi lore.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

In Dual!, we learn that Kazuki and Zinv are in fact counterparts to each other from their respective universes. Kazuki and company set out across the galaxy and began to seed the galaxy with humans, explaining why there are so many humans in the galaxy in Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki. They also caused civilizations to grow along various paths similar to what real life Earth has done. That’s why the lifestyle and even languages of Dual! are present in the modern Earth (and beyond) of Tenchi’s time.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Finally, the characters of Dual! were of such impact, they reincarnate in part or in whole to this day in the Tenchi Muyo! universe. As such, Seina from GXP is a near total reincarnation of Kazuki from Dual! RARA Mitsuki, SANADA Mitsuki, and D all come back, though only D has her complete memories, in the bodies of the cabbit clones of Fuku from GXP. But beyond that, the core characters from Dual! have some partial influence over characters. For example, the short haired Yayoi is partially reincarnated within GXP (and TM!R) characters Amane, Gyokuren, and Mikami (Mihoshi’s grandmother).

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Knowing this makes watching Dual! have a somewhat different feel, but it is not required to enjoy the series.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Pondering It All

After I rewatched Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure, I looked back at my original review. Back in 2003, I stated “as a story, this wasn’t very funny nor compelling. To me, this was kind of boring but that’s just me.” While the harem hijinks did bore me in my current viewing (I kinda liked them in my original viewing), I wasn’t as bored with the story as a whole, even though it isn’t much to write home about. I think that knowing that Kazuki and company went on to seed the galaxy, and that they continue to be reincarnated in whole or in part changed how I viewed Dual!

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

For example, knowing that Kazuki came back as Seina in GXP changed how I viewed him as a character. Kazuki may not have had the same, insane bad luck as Seina, but there were other aspects of him that were similar to Seina, especially when it came to piloting Zinv. I found I rather enjoyed this new perspective as a long-time fan of the canon Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki universe.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Still, that doesn’t change the fact that when the story of Dual! was originally crafted, it was done primarily as a harem-comedy parody of Neon Genesis Evangelion. In that light, Dual! is OK for what it is, but in terms of writing, the story could be strengthened quite a bit. (Making a better harem-comedy mecha story is what I think Kajishima-sensei set out to do in War on Geminar.)

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

In the end, Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure suffers from being a product of its time. As a stand alone piece, it is OK and a somewhat amusing parody of Neon Genesis Evangelion. It follows the old school harem, romantic comedy tropes, which modern audiences may or may not find amusing and fun.  Where watching Dual! will have the greatest impact is for hardcore fans of the canon Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki franchise, especially if said fans have access to the GXP novels, or at least some knowledge of what is in them. And having watched Dual! will help said fans appreciate the reincarnated appearances of Dual! characters in Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-ohki OVA 5.

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

I’ll review the OVA episode in the near future (maybe a week or two, but if I get lucky, less).

Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure

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