Image Source: 「秘密結社 鷹の爪」公式 on Twitter
Justice League isn’t the only DC comics movie to come out in Japan this year. There’s also the anime DC Superheroes vs Eagle Talon—a movie where everyone’s favorite clown princess of crime is the real winner in the end.
[This article contains major spoilers for DC Superheroes vs Eagle Talon.]
In DC Superheroes vs Eagle Talon, Joker, Harley Quinn, and their goons head to Japan. Their plan? To make a movie. And while it’s clear he doesn’t understand the plan at all, Penguin is dragged along as well in order to do some white collar crime and finance the film.
Of course, Joker’s plans don’t go unnoticed by the Justice League. However, with the retirement of Batman, they find themselves completely powerless against Joker’s use of fourth wall-breaking humor. So while much of the film is the Justice League and Eagle Talon trying to figure out a way to battle the Joker without going over budget, we often jump back to the adventures of Joker, Harley, and Penguin in Japan.
In these scenes, the Joker is most like his 90s cartoon version—making a film only because he wants to and because he finds it hilarious.
Penguin, on the other hand, is the affluent businessman version of the character. He cares only about money and if going along with the Joker’s scheme will make him rich then he is game—even if he doesn’t really get the point of it all. He is the straight man of the film—the one who sees the insanity of it all and tries to rail against it.
Harley Quinn, on the other hand, takes up the role of interested observer. Like Penguin, she doesn’t really understand Joker’s plan. She often pops up with questions about the feasibility of the plan or what they’re going to do next. However, unlike Penguin, she is not against the plan and genuinely enjoys the ride.
As a character, Harley’s obsessive love of the Joker is at the core of her being. She views her relationship with the Joker as a grand, epic love story torn straight from the pages of a romance novel. In the end, she dreams of an idealized life with the man she loves—no matter how absurd the 2.5 kids and white picket fence may seem to outsiders.
In DC Superheroes vs Eagle Talon, she gets a taste of that life. While Joker’s film is going through pre-production, she gets to live with Joker in an almost normal setting; they (and the gang) take up residence in a Japanese sharehouse with Haruki (an entry level Japanese businessman) and Marie (a Japanese model) as housemates.
Image Source: 映画 DC鷹の爪 公式 on Twitter
Of course, as love is at the core of her being, romance is always on her mind. While Joker wants to make a giant monster movie, Harley wants it to be a love story instead. Of course, every time she brings this up she is either reprimanded or ignored. Eventually, Joker turns Haruki into a 100 meter tall man and sets him loose as a door-to-door salesman in downtown Tokyo—with all the collateral damage you’d expect of a clumsy giant.
Yet, the joke is on the Joker: His giant monster movie ends with Haruki and Marie confessing their feelings for each other, quitting their jobs, and moving to the countryside together (him still in his giant form). Despite his best efforts, his movie has become the unlikely love story that Harley wanted—complete with schmaltzy happy ending.
But that’s not the best part. DC Superheroes vs Eagle Talon ends with Joker defeated—transported to a fictional world by one of Eagle Talon’s insane inventions. Joker, not understanding what has happened, confusedly wonders around Tokyo in a high school uniform. But as he walks up a set of stairs, he sees a similarly clad Harley. And as a faux-Radwimps song blares, the truth becomes obvious: Joker and Harley are trapped in the highest-grossing anime of all time, 2016’s Your Name.
While Harley may view her relationship with the Joker as a romance of myth and legend, it’s clear to everyone but her that he doesn’t see it that way. He uses her feelings as a tool to control her. She is never going to get the happy end she dreams of.
But in the world of Your Name., a romance film, the laws of narrative storytelling all but guarantee the two will end up together. While in the DC universe, her love may be doomed, but in the world of this anime, it is inevitable. It may be hell for the Joker, but as the credits roll in DC Superheroes vs Eagle Talon, Harley finally gets her happy end.
DC Superheroes vs Eagle Talon was released in Japanese theaters on October 21, 2017. There’s currently no word on a Western release. Eagle Talon can be seen with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.