Legend of Duo has a terrible reputation? Really? I don’t see it, man. I kinda dug it.
I really liked the concept behind this little series. A literal wasting disease has struck humanity, causing people to suddenly wither away into dust at any given moment. It’s like a super pandemic, causing all of the angst and gloom that’d accompany this sort of all-reaching disease while also adding in the element of paranoia. It isn’t like you can attempt to quarantine people, because the disease seems to kill you almost instantaneously and as far as I can tell you don’t need to be near a victim to catch it. It’s like some sort of biblical plague being visited upon humanity– all divine punishment and shit.
It’s like a variation of the sort of stuff that went on in Children of Men. Instead of people being incapable of conceiving children, humanity is facing extinction through this “disease of death.” It creates a similar apocalyptic vibe. But instead of tossing in political elements and the like, the series opts to toss in vampires. Vampires have eternal life and are immune to this disease, and once word leaks that vampire blood can cure you of this disease, people turn into primal savages. So society is breaking down much like Children of Men, leading to people turning on each other in desperate attempts to retain some semblance of power despite there being little to no hope of survival.
All of this is pretty awesome from a purely conceptual level. You have vampires bickering amongst themselves, trying to find who pulled a Prometheus on their race. Then you have humans so desperate for survival that they’re willing to become more monstrous than the bloodsuckers they’re hunting.
The catch is that, yeah, it all plays out with the level of sophistication of an episode of The Funky Phantom. The animation is stilted. Action takes place with as few frames as possible. Half of the story consists of awkwardly placed flashbacks, most of which tell us nothing that we hadn’t already figured out on our own. There’s little sense of time or logic between scenes and episodes, with the script feeling like a bunch of post-it note scribbles arranged haphazardly.
And all of that comes off as charming rather than inept. It has the same sort of earnestness that Mars of Destruction possessed. Whoever made this shit loved it, and it shows. It’s the whole mythical Ed Wood factor, where the peeps making this shit have no idea that what they’re making is going to be mocked and derided, and that vibe comes through despite all of the crappiness.
It also leads to one moment of genuine brilliance. One of the flashbacks deals with a dog that gets needlessly killed by some vampire hunter dude. The dog’s owner cries at the loss of her pet, and the main vampire dude comes along and takes pity on the dead dog. He gives the dog some of his blood, bringing it back to life. The lady goes about her business until said vampire hunter sees that the dog is alive. Using his masterful logic, he assumes that this chick must be a vampire if she was able to bring the dog back to life. So he and his hunter buddies murder the woman, but leave her alive just enough so that her last vision is of the men eating her flesh in an attempt to gain immortality. It’s an awesomely horrific moment that’s spurned on by a seemingly stupid and illogical act. If it wasn’t for the series’ own lack of self-awareness, this sort of cool shit wouldn’t happen.
So yeah, man, I don’t get the hate for Legend of Duo. It has a snazzy premise and it manages to pull off some cool stuff despite itself. I genuinely wanted it to continue despite knowing that the final “to be continued” is a damn lie.