Original Dirty Pair Vol. #1 (of 2) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2001

What They Say
Can you handle a girl with guns? How about two of them? Meet the original girls with guns: Kei and Yuri, the Lovely Angels, top agents of the World Welfare & Works Association (3WA), better known to the rest of the galaxy as the Dirty Pair. And when the 3WA unleashes this infamous pair the bad guys aren't the only ones in trouble. Still, as the 3WA's super computer is quick to point out, the Lovely Angels always get their man, and the collateral damage that results is never really their fault.

The Review!
Time for a trip back to the good old days, circa 1987. Five OVA's worth of the original (and best) Dirty Pair, the real Kei and Yuri. Five solid self-contained adventures of fun, destruction and skimpy outfits. Just about two hours of a silly grin across my face. Time very well spent.

For our primary reviewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Being as old as it is, it's a pretty simple soundtrack with little in the way of directionality across the front soundstage. It's essentially a center channel based mix, but it does the job and sounds good. There were no noticeable dropouts or distortions. We spot checked the English and didn't notice any trouble there either.

This definitely looks like a show that's showing its age and/or poor care of the original source material. The first OVA seems to be the worst with the amount of grain. The openings also have a decent amount of it, but it's also throughout all the other episodes at varying levels. The only problem it causes is during scenes with a lot of red, such as the third episode, there's a fair amount of jaggies caused along lines, giving some areas an almost dot-grid like appearance. I did take a peek at the disc in the Apex, and it looked less grainy there, but playing it in our Pioneer 414 deck, the grain was more noticeable than in the Skyworth. As we watched the show, the grain bothered us less and less, so it's going to depend on individual perceptions to be sure as to how it will affect your viewing.

The packaging here is pretty slick looking, and gives a good feel for the show while not being too busy (but close). My only complaint is that Yuri doesn't get more shots. Bah! The back cover has a couple of animation shots as well as a menu screen, as well as an interesting new "block" where the features are listed. I like it, as a starting point, to being similar to how Universal sets their technical information on their DVD releases. A system similar to the Japanese DVD releases would be quite desirable, as would consistency. But this is a good start to be sure. The insert provides a nice double pose of Kei and Yuri, while the reverse side lists the episodes and their chapters. The disc itself is silkscreened with a closeup of the insert picture which looks great.

The menus are simple static screens, with a nice Kei & Yuri shot. The main menu has most everything quickly available, with episode selection being a quick jump to the show and everything else easily accessed. Time between the submenus is nice and fast, and in general the layout is decent.

The only real extra included here is the textless opening animation, which is really nice to have as it's got some nice style to it, and I really like watching it. Hopefully the closing will be on the next disc. The ADV trailer for the show is also included here.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
ADV's done some nice little things with this disc, that shows a real love and appreciation for this show and its fans. It's also something I really hope that they do on all their discs, as it would make everyone happy.

This OVA set makes excellent use of alternate angles. Depending on your language set, you'll get a different logo screen, episode title screen and next episode preview title screen. Selecting Japanese from the menu and playing the show will bring up angle two, which will give you all the original screens as well as the soft subtitles for them. Selecting English will give you the ADV created logo and title screens. Selecting the language once the show starts will not change it, but you can use your angle button to get whichever one you want. Very nice.

As for the show itself, I've been a huge Dirty Pair fan since I watched several episodes raw back in the mid 80's in the back room of a local comic shop. Not understanding a word of it, just loving the animation, the skimpy outfits and the mass destruction. Now while we haven't gotten the TV series yet (grumble grumble), the OVA's is essentially more of the same. More skin, more destruction and more self-contained adventures.

The show follows a simple formula, of girls get assigned mission, girls go on mission and do some intelligent stuff, girls have the worst luck and end up killing lots of people, their target, or the entire planet, but then manage to find a way to complete their mission successfully, or at least in the eyes of the 3WA computer that keeps assigning them things.

Of course, there's a lot more to it than that. The draw of the show are the two Trouble Contractors, Kei and Yuri. They're mostly unprofessional, use highly unorthodox methods to get their missions done, and generally accept the destruction that they cause as something that just happens as part of the job. The interaction between the two of them works well also, as at times they epitomize the 80's stereotype of women. They get along really well (as opposed to chunks of Dirty Pair Flash, where the two girls seem to just loathe each other) but have no problem prodding and poking fun at the other for their lack of boyfriends, their outfit choice or their bra size.

With the five episodes on this disc, I smiled through all of them, happily enjoying it. There were a number of great laugh out loud moments, such as the cows leap towards death or the entire gambling episode, especially when Yuri arrived in her knockout dress. This is a show that I can easily see putting on just to have playing in the background while doing other things. It's a heck of a lot of fun and is just a joy to watch.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Opening,,ADV Dirty Pair Trailer

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dirty Pair