Lively anime adventure with the sexiest crimefighters in the galaxy
"Dirty Pair" is a ten-part original animated video (OAV) series made in Japan in 1989 starring two characters who had previously appeared in a TV series (1985); an hour-long OAV spin-off, "Affair on Nolandia" (1985); and a theatrical feature, PROJECT EDEN (1987). Yuri and Kei are "Tro-cons," short for Trouble Consultants, special agents working for an intergalactic police agency called WWWA. They happen to be beautiful young women--Yuri a brunette with long flowing hair and Kei a short-haired redhead--whose favored uniforms are sexy, white bikini-style outfits with boots and holsters. Their pulchritude does a better job of disarming their opponents than their firepower. This series focused more on action and crime stories than comedy or romance, although there are plenty of amusing moments. The girls trade a lot of comic banter and flirt with a lot of guys in between shootouts, chases and space battles. It's lightweight stuff, but is well-made for a 1980s made-for-video anime series and offers relaxing light entertainment if you're already a fan of the genre. The action is well-staged and the mecha (space ships, military vehicles and defensive hardware) nicely designed.
The stories take the girls all over the galaxy to trouble spots on different planets, asteroids and space stations. Their assignments include: rescuing a warden being held hostage in a prison riot; finding an escaped military android in the midst of a Halloween parade; investigating a religious cult's role in a massacre at a mining operation; rescuing another agent who's the victim of a gambling racket; breaking up a mafia-style counterfeit operation; confronting five mysterious mercenaries whose murderous attacks threaten to re-ignite a civil war; and finding out who's attacking space truckers on a lucrative route.
I've watched eight of the ten episodes in VHS tape editions released by ADV Films. Episodes One and Two, about the prison riot and the Halloween parade, offer the most clever and imaginative stories and the funniest banter between the girls. Not coincidentally, they're also the only episodes I have in Japanese with subtitles. The others are all dubbed into English and suffer from it. The Japanese voice actresses, Kyouko Tonguu as Kei and Saeko Shimazu as Yuri, do a great job of capturing the girls' endearing mix of the dreamy and the practical, the flirtatious and the no-nonsense, the naïve and the battle-hardened. The English dubbers emphasize the wisecracks, but don't master the other layers. I suspect that the rewritten dialogue in the English dub is not as funny as the original dialogue. The later episodes focus more on action and violence anyway and don't have as many memorable moments as the first two episodes. In one clever bit in Episode One, the girls encounter a young marine officer who questions their ability to join their operation against the rioting prisoners. Yuri tells him, "I thought you were really handsome until you opened your mouth."
Episode Two, "No Thanks! A Totally Wasted Halloween Party!" has the best story of them all. A robotic military android with great destructive capacity, set to go berserk at a designated time, escapes from a crashed ship and the Dirty Pair are ordered to find it in one hour—or else! In the meantime, a band of clever thieves, dressed in costume as Alice in Wonderland characters and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, embarks on a series of heists across the city just as the annual Halloween Parade gets underway and provides the necessary distraction. Little do they know that the best-laid plans of criminal masterminds are no match for the Dirty Pair and the escaped android.
The Dirty Pair get their nickname not from any "dirty" or naughty behavior, but because of the massive property damage that generally results when they go into action and leave huge messes in their wake. Other than the Halloween episode, there are few examples of such messes in this OAV series. Most of their assignments are cut-and-dried criminal investigations and, while shootouts and space battles sometimes ensue, the girls are generally highly efficient and thoroughly professional. Yuri does get to engage in a little romance in episode Six, "Wedding Panic," where she and a mafia don's wayward son fall in love and even start their wedding ceremony before Kei's crimefighting action interrupts the whole thing.
The IMDb cast list erroneously lists the voice actors who did the English dub for the Streamline Pictures releases of DIRTY PAIR: PROJECT EDEN and the two one-shot Dirty Pair OAVs, "Affair on Nolandia" and "Flight 005 Conspiracy." The English dub voices in this ten-part 1989 OAV series, released in English by ADV not Streamline, include Pamela Lauer as Kei and Jessica Calvello as Yuri.
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