Dirty Pair

Tagged: TV

Japanese animated tv series (1985), original title Dāti Pea. Based on the stories by Haruka Takachiho. Nippon Sunrise. Directed by Norio Kashima and Toshifumi Takizawa. Writers include Toshiki Inoue, Toshimichi Okawa and Michiru Shimada. Voice cast includes Saeko Shimazu and Kyouko Tonguu. 26 25-minute episodes. Colour.

The Lovely Angels are Kei (Tonguu) and Yuri (Shimazu), highly trained Trouble Consultants for the galaxy-wide Worlds Welfare Work Association (3WA): they get the job done, but often leave considerable collateral damage in their wake – such as causing a chain reaction that blows up an entire planet – earning them the unwelcome nickname The Dirty Pair. They are assisted by their giant Genetically Engineered cat, Mughi, and the Robot Nanmo.

Their various adventures include a rogue AI Computer who considers its override switch a betrayal; preventing a sabotaged space liner crashing into a City; a Mad Scientist's revenge from beyond the grave; and Alien Monsters, including a giant mutated mollusc from the Lovecraft System, plus other Space Opera elements such as space pirates and Black Holes.

Usually the adventures are fairly routine, though one has two IQ-boosted mice rebelling against the now less intelligent Scientists who made them. The Dirty Pair (who are stated to have higher IQs) use an experimental mite to bite one, reducing its intelligence, driving the other – significantly named Algernon as in Flowers for Algernon (April 1959 F&SF; exp 1966) by Daniel Keyes – to despair and suicide. A subtext concerning science creating Supermen may be inferred from the mice having red capes like Superman and a swastika being referenced.

In another story a father rejects his son's lover because she is Transgender: interestingly, Kei points out "nowadays one in ten people have gotten their sex changed". The father's perhaps over-elaborate plan to separate the lovers involves putting the girlfriend on a Spaceship that will return in 50 years: time dilation (see Relativity) meaning she will not age, but the son will be 72.

The protagonists are modelled upon two Japanese woman wrestlers, The Beauty Pair, whom Takachiho had taken A Bertram Chandler to see; a comment by the latter being the inspiration for the Dirty Pair. Kei is pugnacious, Yuri more genteel; both fantasize about marrying the princes or billionaires that cross their path, whilst their outfits tends to be Fan Service. Nonetheless, both are highly intelligent and technically skilled (Kei building a hand-held flamethrower) and more competent than the male characters. Though there is frequent banter, the pair have a solid friendship: Kei protects Yuri from the knowledge that an ex-boyfriend died and was Uploaded into a machine.

Despite a decline in quality during the last quarter of its run (however, a serial killer/Chess episode is of interest), this was a reasonably enjoyable Anime, referencing the likes of Star Wars, Star Trek, Terminator and James Bond, with Villains who can't shoot straight and lots of explosions; the relationship between Kei and Yuri is the show's strength, with some laugh-out-loud moments.

The Television series broadcast only 24 of its 26 episodes, due to low ratings. A series of OVAs followed: Dirty Pair: Affair of Nolandia (1985); With Love from the Lovely Angels (1987-1988), comprising the 2 unbroadcast tv episodes; Original Dirty Pair (1987-1988), ten episodes; and Dirty Pair: Flight 005 Conspiracy (1990). There was also a film, Dirty Pair: Project Eden (1986), which is generally considered to be the best of the animated incarnations; and a 1990s OVA reboot called Dirty Pair Flash (1994-1996) with 16 episodes. Apart from Takachiho's original stories, there were also US Comics (1988-2002) and Japanese Manga (2010-2011) series, as well as a Japanese radio show (2006-2007). [SP]

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