Lovely darlings have dirty work to do
September 1, 2017
By Avi Green
The Dirty Pair series
In the late 1980s, there was a cool anime product made in the early
days of MTV that went on to earn a cult status – the Dirty Pair
series, based on Haruka Takachiho’s light novels, at least 8 of
which which were written and serialized between 1980 and 2007. They
began mainly as slapstick sci-fi adventures, and while later stories
could be more serious, they still had plenty of entertainment value.
Dirty Pair (1985)
Let’s begin with the first series from 1985. It all takes place in
the future era of 2138, and the stars of the show are a pair of hot
young women named Kei and Yuri, who work as trouble consultants for
the World Welfare Works Association, and their job is deal with a
variety of crooks and other threats looming over Eleanor City on a
distant planet, part of the United Galactica federation. Kei’s a
redheaded tomboy who likes muscular men, while Yuri’s a girl of
Japanese descent who likes cultured and refined men. Both of them
wear sexy midriff-baring outfits possibly inspired by Japan’s own
women’s wrestling association (according to history notes, the ideas
came after Takachiho and Australian sci-fi novelist A. Bertram
Chandler went to watch a tournament).
The two heroines of the light novels and subsequent anime series
call themselves the Lovely Angels team, but are more often known in
the wider public as the Dirty Pair – a name they dislike – because
of all the destruction that’s left in their paths as they pursue
criminals around the galaxy sector they work in.
Some of the stories involve having to deal with a berserk computer
system, as seen in the premiere episode, battling intergalactic
terrorists, defeating giant alien molluscs littering up the city
sewage system, trying to get a crooked material witness in a court
trial to another police station while gangsters are trying to
assassinate him, and even trying to foil the plans of an
intergalactic drug dealer. There’s even a guest character who
resembles Walter Koenig of Star Trek fame who appears at least twice
as a city infrastructure supervisor.
Plenty of slapstick ensues, and the jokes with the two hot babes
bickering offer plenty of chuckles too. Occasional laughs can also
be found with the Lovely Angels’ pet space-cat Mughi (who looks a
lot like a bear, but they called him a cat). One of the most
engaging space tales I’ve seen that provides both excitement and
pretty good jokes.
The upside: it’s always fast-moving.
The downside: there’s one episode where a “runaway bride”
turns out to be a transvestite who got a sex change operation, yet
the “runaway groom” doesn’t seem to care. Has to be taken with a
grain of salt.
The verdict: some of the best anime adventure you can find on
Dirty Pair: Affair on Nolandia (1985)
An OVA produced as a follow up to the first series, coming around
the time it was ending, we see the Lovely Angels going on a search
for a psychic girl, and have to face off against both hallucinations
and a Terminator-style cyborg. It’s pretty entertaining, and shows
the influence James Cameron’s famous sci-fi flick had on anime back
in the day.
Dirty Pair: Project Eden (1986)
This is a full-length movie (an hour and a half anyway), intended to
further cash in on the popularity the characters were gaining. The
two lady protagonists, Kei and Yuri, are here assigned to track down
a mad scientist who's concocting experiments for monster-making with
his right-hand assistant. Along the way, our heroines also meet a
petty thief named Carson T. Carson, who gives them some backup,
since the job won't be easy.
And overall, it's pretty entertaining, laced with music scores
that'd surely make a perfect fit on MTV at the time it was just
barely getting started. The color palettes are even better than the
beginning series, with brighter shades. It all makes for a fun fare
for people who like anime with fancy music included.
The upside: an enjoyable ride.
The downside: there's one scene where Carson winds up with
his hands on Kei's boobs.
The verdict: makes for pretty good escapist fare.
Dirty Pair 2 (1987)
Also sometimes called Original Dirty Pair, this is a 10-part OVA
that was produced as a sequel to the first series. Our intrepid and
fearless femmes find more slapstick adventures and missions to go
on, including trying to evacuate the staff of a prison where the
inmates took over, but the warden wants deadly revenge on the
convicts because their rebellion’s cost him his pension bonus.
There’s also a tale where they need to track down a Terminator-style
robot during Halloween, and unlike the Nolandia OVA, here, the setup
is played more for laughs. At the same time they’re trying to stop
the robot, at least 3 groups of bank robbers are running around
taking advantage of the holiday: one’s dressed like Ali Baba and the
40 Thieves, another’s dressed like Alice in Wonderland’s cast, and
the third’s dressed like the main leads from Star Wars! The lunacy
The upside: the action is well paced.
The downside: one scene where a mafia leader gropes their
butts. Other than that, little here that’s problematic, fortunately.
The verdict: it’s as fun a ride as its predecessors, with a
lot of funny moments.
Dirty Pair: Flight 005 Conspiracy (1990)
This would be the last entry in the original anime franchise with
Kei and Yuri in their original forms. In this adventure, they need
to search for a kidnapped girl who was taken by terrorists who blew
up a commercial flight spaceship. It’s by far more serious than
previous entries, but works well. The suspense is very well paced.
It makes for a pretty good ending to the original take on these
characters from Takachiho.
Dirty Pair Flash (1994-96)
The producers originally wanted to make another sequel to the
original take on the duo. But by the time this came about, one of
the original voice actresses, Kyōko Tongū, who’d voiced Kei, had
retired to north America, and Saeko Shimazu, who voiced Yuri, didn’t
want to work without her, so Sunrise decided to develop a remake. In
this new take, they’re about 2 years younger, and the first set of
stories shows how they come to be trouble consultants for the WWWA.
The rest include stories where they visit a planet that’s a
recreation of 20th century Earth, another where Kei needs to take
care of a baby from a flight that was attacked by mafia, and one
where a boy genius builds a robot in Yuri’s image. Unlike the
original rendition, Yuri is something of a ditz here. And this time,
Mughi is an actual cat (small) and not an alien variation!
The upside: the stories do have entertainment value, and it
manages to impress with what it’s got.
The downside: fortunately, not much excess to be seen here.
The verdict: the adventures are worth checking out, and
deliver enough to make them worth the OVA market.
Copyright Avi Green. All rights reserved.
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