"Based on the best selling novels by Haruka Takachiho, the adventures of the World Welfare & Works Agency's most famous trouble-consultants have thrilled millions of fans around the world in almost every medium possible, from books and comics to television and motion pictures! Now animation's terrible duo are here in their most chaotic and destructive incarnation yet."
Mission 1: Original story: Haruka Takachiho Director: Tsukasa Sunaga Character design: Takahiro Kimura Animation: Takahiro Kimura Music: Megumi Wakakusa Copyright: Takachiho & Studio Nue / SUNRISE Language Format: English Language Translator: Dan Kanemitsu Director: Matt Greenfield Running time: 50/55/55 mins Certificate: 12/12/12 Catalogue no: VHSDF/001D / VHSDF/002D / VHSDF/003D Label: ADV Films Price: £12.99 each Release Date: July/7th Sept/9th Nov 1998 Mission 2: Original story: Haruka Takachiho Director: Tomomi Mochizuki Character design: Takahiro Kimura Animation: Takahiro Kimura Music: Jun-Ichi Kanezaki Copyright: Takachiho & Studio Nue / SUNRISE Language Format: English Language Translator: Dan Kanemitsu Director: Matt Greenfield Running time: 50/60 mins Certificate: 12/PG Catalogue no: VHSDF/004D / VHSDF/005D Label: ADV Films Price: £12.99 each Release Date: 3rd May/7th June 1999 Mission 3: Original story: Haruka Takachiho Director: Tomomi Mochizuki Character design: Takahiro Kimura Animation: Takahiro Kimura Copyright: Takachiho & Studio Nue / SUNRISE Language Format: English Language Translators: Masako Arakawa & Chris Hutts Director: Matt Greenfield Running time: 55/57 mins Certificate: 12/12 Catalogue no: VHSDF/006D / VHSDF/007D Label: ADV Films Price: £12.99 each Release Date: 6th Mar/5th June 2000
The story begins with a 3WA officer contemplating the agency's trouble consultants. They are the "best and brightest of the Galactic Confederation", but as always, the youth of today are not a patch on those of the past . . . Kei and Yuri - the "lovely angels" are wandering though a market, seeming not to get on, when a bloodied and dying man hands Yuri and asks her - by name - for help . .
Making their first appearance in the background of 1983's "Crusher Joe", the Dirty Pair have become one of the all-time fan favourites. The stories began as a novel series by Haruka Takachiho, one of which, "The Great Adventures of the Dirty Pair", was even translated into English to help the Japanese learn English (and is now a sought after collectors item). After their brief Cameo in Crusher Joe, the Dirty Pair was made into a TV series in 1985 followed by a movie and several OVA's. It recounts the (mis)adventures of a pair of "trouble consultants" from the 3WA (World Work Welfare Agency) - Kei and Yuri - known officially as the "Lovely Angels", but unofficially (and more often) as the "Dirty Pair" for the carnage they leave in their wake. In 1994 Bandai and Sunrise decided to release another Dirty Pair instalment titled "Dirty Pair Flash" and it has taken until now for an official Western release. Has it been worth the wait?
Well, I'm in two minds. AD Vision's dub is as passable, though as is so often the case, the quality of voice acting is variable. Similarly, the artwork is generally good, certainly a marked improvement over the years since the Lovely Angel's first appearance, and the story is in-line with past exploits. However, one thing stands out (to me at least as an "old-timer") and stops me fully accepting and enjoying the new exploits of the dirty pair: the character design.
The character designs for DP Flash (by Takahiro Kimura) are noticably different to the originals (by Tsukasa Dokite) - younger, and of more modern styling. Although Yuri, with her long hair (now purple rather than blue-black) remains the more feminine of the two, and orange (now with blonde streaked)-haired Kei is the martial tomboy, without knowing their names and the series it would be difficult to reconcile these individuals with their 1985 TV-progenitors. This isn't to say the designs are bad - far from it - but rather reflect the 90's style, with sharper colouring and styling. My first reaction would be to regard this as pandering to the "eye-candy" brigade, those anime fans who go by the look rather than the content of a show. However, that is a little unfair. The different styling reflects 10 years of "evolution" within the anime industry that has seen a major improvement in character design and graphics. However, that doesn't mean I have to like them - I suppose I'm too used to the 80's originals to take to the "Flash" versions - and in that vein and find the OVA's introduction particularly ironic: "things were better in my day".
Despite my personal dislike of the new character designs, I'd have to say that Dirty Pair Flash is one of the better recent releases, and a welcome addition to the stable of UK-available titles.
3 out of 5 [Chris Hartford]
Mission 2 of Dirty Pair Flash opens with Kei and Yuri escorting a fellow 3WA agent, Toma, to the theme-planet World's World, a huge recreation of 20th century Earth. It seems that the park has a vicious computer virus ruining it's computer systems (which the park depends heavily on), and Toma has been drafted in to eliminate the virus because he's a computer expert and he designed the system originally. However, things take a turn for the worse when agents from a fellow theme-planet try and assassinate Toma, and the Lovely Angels step in to help him, and end up blowing up their hotel.
With their hotel gone, and with the spaceport still closed after their little entrance before the previous episode, Kei and Yuri are forced to enrol in a girl's boarding school just to get somewhere to sleep. Unfortunately, this entails adopting school life, and involves going to classes and wearing school uniform. Yuri takes to this life instantly, but Kei is much more resistant, disobeying school rules, skipping classes and refusing to wear the uniform properly. When evidence of ghosts in the building begins to mount, Kei begins to worry, and it culminates in a shoot-out in the school bathroom with a mysterious spirit that ends up in a huge portion of the school being destroyed. Later, after the girls have been thrown out of the school, Toma, who was enrolled in a boy's boarding school, reveals the true nature of the ghosts, much to Kei's annoyance.
The final episode involves Kei and Yuri chasing an ex-con, Caldy, who was pretending to be a 3WA agent, in the hope that the reward on him will pay for them to eat at an expensive restaurant. After Caldy steals a helicopter with the Lovely Angels tagging along for the ride, they crash and destroy the helicopter, and land in a desert. So now they must make their way back to civilisation with Caldy in tow. Not as easy job, especially when he is a master escape artist, seems to be able to fool Yuri really easily, and because the Lovely Angels have the inclination to go skinny dipping every ten minutes.
Having not seen any of Mission 1 I found this pleasantly enjoyable. Sure, Kei and Yuri just seem to run around in skimpy outfits and end up blowing things up, and the plots are so minimal they could all be written in five minutes on a post-it note, but it's so enjoyable you overlook this. The script can be slightly corny at times, and few of the stories make much sense, but on the plus side it has excellent animation, a quite good dub (the voices seem to reflect the characters well) and a good soundtrack. This tape also gets bonus points for value. While a majority of ADV tapes carry two episodes for £13.99, this one contains three full episodes, which clocks in at around 80 minutes, which means I would be more inclined to purchase it. Another mention must go to the highly unusual titles of the episodes - I'm guessing they're a direct translation from the original, and add a certain quirkiness to it. On the whole, an enjoyable mix of action and comedy.
GRADE : A- Hugely enjoyable and a welcome addition to ADV's UK catalogue. [Daniel Fawcett]
This second tape contains the last two episodes of the second Dirty Pair Flash OVA series. However, the first episode on the tape departs from the theme of the rest of the series (comedy and explosions), as it is a love story. Still stranded on World's World, Toma falls in love with a florist, making Yuri quite jealous (although why this happens is never really explained). Apart from a fantastic twist at the end of the episode, this is pretty dull stuff.
The second episode is better, as the mad bomber from the first episode of this series is back and trying to kill Toma again. Queue more explosions, as the Lovely Angels save the day once again. The better of the two episodes on the tape, although it falls far from being the best of the series.
Not as good as the first tape, but not bad either. The animation is pretty enough, the dub is okayish, although it can be mighty grating at times (especially where Yuri is concerned) and the dialogue very Americanised in places, but basically there simply isn't enough here to give it a higher grade. Act 1 had three episodes on it, all of reasonable quality, whereas this tape contains two, the first of which is poor.
Basically, buy this if you want a complete set or want something to watch when there's nothing else available, otherwise there are better purchases available.
Grade: B It's not that it's bad, it's just there are better releases out there. [Daniel Fawcett]