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[R1 DVD art]
AKA: ダーティペア
Genre: Sci-fi / Girls with guns
Length: Television series, 24 episodes, 25 minutes each
Distributor: R1 DVD from Right Stuf International
Content Rating: 13+ (fan service, violence)
Related Series: Dirty Pair OAVs, Dirty Pair movies, Dirty Pair Flash
Also Recommended: Dirty Pair OAVs, Gunsmith Cats, Burn-Up series (especially Scramble)
Notes: Based on the novel series by Haruka Takachiho.
Rating:
 

Dirty Pair TV

Synopsis

Kei and Yuri are two young "trouble consultants" for the 3WA, a private firm that specializes in crisis resolution. The two sets under review contain 26 of their adventures as they battle a crazed computer, saboteurs, pirates, disgruntled dads, assassins, sentient mice, sewer monsters, psychotic door-to-door salesmen, and a few things I expect I've forgotten.

Review

Dirty Pair was one of the first of the "girls with guns" anime genre, and also one of the ones with the most spinoffs, and Nozomi/Right Stuf has recently released much of it: the OAV Series DVD Collection, which contains what I consider the best two tales of the series-the Halloween episode (probably the funniest one), and "Red Eyes, A Sign From Hell", which I think is the best serious one; and a Features DVD Collection, which includes Project Eden, The Flight 005 Conspiracy, and the Nolandia Affair. There's also the infamous "Flash" series, a very poor retread of the original with wretched character designs, a near-psychotic Kei, and what we will graciously call uneven storytelling.

And then there's the one under review here, the "regular" TV series, which I was previously unaware of. For those unfamiliar with the show in any of its incarnations: the series is set in a future where discovery of the warp drive has permitted a seemingly endless variety of cultures to spring up on the various inhabited worlds. Kei and Yuri are supposed to work out (for a fee) any major problems that spring up in these worlds, but when they attempt to "fix" a problem, things can go any one of 3 ways: sometimes they handle matters with admirable finesse (Episode #6 here provides an example); sometimes they actually fail; most often they DO succeed, but with extensive collateral damage. It's for this reason that, while they prefer to be known as the "Lovely Angels" (and have a pink spaceship bearing that name), most people know them as the "Dirty Pair". (Priceless line: they are trying to get out of the dock on one planet, but are being blocked by a bureaucrat. They present their credentials, and the obstinate official quickly has a change of heart, crying "Please don't kill me!")

As characters, they could be a bit less sketchy. There are some differences between them-Kei's a little more trigger-happy, Yuri a bit more vain (and the Flash series exaggerated these traits to the utmost)- but by and large they're awfully similar as characters, both given to quarreling, and both having a rather surprising attraction (given their job) toward "bad boys". Mughi, the cat/bear creature that is more assistant than pet, has a larger role here than he (she? it?) had in the OAV series, and here there's also a tiny robot (with big shoes) named Nanmo.

Nozomi/Right Stuf has released the TV series as two separate sets, but I'm considering them as one entity for this review. Dirty Pair has always been a little "light" for my own tastes in Sci-Fi, but this version of Dirty Pair does have some good things going for it, one being the homage that's paid to classic Sci-Fi (a screen in one episode has the cast names (in English) of the original Star Trek series; and the leader of the sentient mice in Episode #12 is named Algernon, a nice nod to a classic of Sci-Fi literature.) Episode #7 has some interesting commentary on sexual mores in Kei and Yuri's universe; and there's some nice screwball comedy in #4 and (especially) #11.

Episode #18 was also kind of interesting in that it unintentionally highlighted a problem with Dirty Pair that I was subconsciously aware of but hadn't quite put my finger on; it's that the pacing in the episodes often flags about two-thirds of the way in. #18 highlighted the problem by its absence, maintaining a brisk pace throughout (and showcasing Kei and Yuri's habit of creating massive collateral damage), in a plot that seems partly lifted from the old Clint Eastwood movie THE GAUNTLET.

Still, the only episode of the two collections under review that I thought nearly as good as the best of the OAV episodes was #24, in which Kei and Yuri are decoys to trap a psycho-killer door-to-door salesman. Sure enough, the condo where they are stationed soon gets filled up with weird salesmen, and it's up to our pair to discover which (if any) of these rather glaringly over-the-top candidates is the actual killer. I thought the resolution was kind of interesting (though a little far-fetched), and generally found it good fun.

But there's nothing in the TV series that's quite as funny as the Halloween episode of the OAV series, nor anything as "deep" as the "Red Eyes" episode from that same OAV, which is why, while I would have rated the OAV series at 4 stars, this series is only 3. (The OAV also had the best song, the closer "Autumn into Summertime". The music in the series here under review doesn't really move me.)

On the whole, the regular TV series does have its moments, but it's a bit too lightweight, the characters not quite as well defined as I'd like, and it reaches neither the level of humor nor the level of drama that the OAV episodes have occasionally achieved. Allen Moody

Recommended Audience: One essential part of any girls-with-guns series is fan service. There's really no explicit nudity here (bare breasts could be seen in the "Flash" series), though Kei spends most of Episode #5 in a bra and panties. The box says 13+; I can't dispute that.



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (24/24)
Dirty Pair TV © 1985 Haruka Takachiho / Studio Nue / Sunrise