Original Dirty Pair: Project Eden (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Saturday, August 23, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, September 09, 2003

What They Say
Agerna is a planet rich in Vizorium, the one mineral necessary to space travel. So when a series of mysterious attacks on mining operations has the governments of the world pointing fingers and blaming each other, the World Welfare & Works Association naturally sends in their top agents to investigate. But are the lovely angels up to the task of stopping a mad scientist bent on taking a long dormant alien race to its final evolutionary form? Throw in a thief who's hunting a bottle of World War II-vintage wine and it's a safe bet that nobody on the planet is safe. It's more chaos, more mayhem and even more destruction than ever before as the Dirty Pair take on their wildest case yet!

The Review!
Dirty Pair: Project Eden is pure love.

Having been a huge fan of Dirty Pair for years, we listened to the Japanese language track for our primary viewing session. The movie is done up in a good stereo mix that has some moments of very good directionality though the majority of it feels like a more basic stereo mix, which isn't too surprising considering its vintage. Dialogue was clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with clipping or distortion.

Originally hitting theaters back in 1987, the Dirty Pair movie Project Eden is presented here in its original theatrical aspect ratio and encoded for anamorphic displays. The transfer here for the most part is just gorgeous, though my only previous experience seeing this movie has been on nth generation tapes, and cropped versions at that. The transfer comes across great here with solid colors, pretty much no cross coloration or noticeable aliasing. A number of sequences look grainier than normal, or at least have more visible film grain than one might be used to from watching mostly TV series, but it's a few areas where there's just so much blue in the background that it makes it more visible than normal. This doesn't detract in the slightest in this otherwise fantastic looking picture.

The front cover here gives us the goods with Kei and Yuri in their traditional oufits posing nicely while various cast members are shadowed in the otherwise bland background. Though I continue to dislike the additional tag of "original" to the title, the logo here is once again in the same font and looks good. The back cover provides a few small shots from the film itself and a good summary of the premise. The production credits for both sides of the show are clearly listed and the technical grid at the bottom is spot on in displaying everything as I'd like to see done on a consistent basis. The insert provides different shot from the show, something a bit more action oriented (and definitely fanservice oriented for Yuri fans) while the reverse side is just a run down of the discs features and previews.

The menus, done in anamorphic as well, are set to a series of grids where a couple of them playing animation, one has a nice static shot of the girls and the final one has all the selections. With no transitional animations, submenus load quickly and access times are nice and fast.

The only extra included on the disc is the original theatrical trailer which is lovingly soft subtitled for the majority of it, showing off how it was advertised for audiences back in 1987.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As with the OVA releases, all classic Dirty Pair is something that I find immensely appealing. This particular movie is one that holds something of a nostalgic touch for me since it was the first I had seen of the franchise, back in some magazine in the late 80's where they talked about the recently released movie and gave a rundown on the series itself. With that first introduction, something just resonated with me about it. And then seeing bits and pieces over the years only continued to reinforce that opinion.

Now, after a few years of waiting for this film to actually get released here in the US, it's very easy to say that it was worth the wait. From a technical standpoint, this is one of those times where if it had come out right after it was licensed, I doubt we'd be sitting here talking about an anamorphic copy. While that may not make much difference for a lot of people, it makes a huge difference when watching it myself. The additional amount of resolution really makes a difference in the clarity of detail.

Project Eden is a film that's pretty amusingly influenced by the entire Alien franchise. After the fun little opening sequence that provides an immense amount of destruction and mayhem, and the Bond-ish style opening credits sequence, the main storyline itself starts to kick into place. With this being the year 2141, and a quick introduction on the need of the metal Vizorium to power ships and to coat hulls, we focus on one planet where Vizorum is mined.

Something's gone terribly wrong there recently. The planet has two completely different camps working on the mining venture there. Those in Eldia are mining it raw and shipping it off planet that way, the means of least resistance and work that doesn't require specialty plants to fine tune it. The people there are a bit more laid back in general and tend to be in the blue collar department of things. On the other side is the Uldas, a venture that's more interested in refining the Vizorum before sending it off so that they can sell it at a higher price and attract a richer clientele.

The folks at Eldia have called in the WWWA to help them figure out what's gone wrong, as two of the Uldas' special experiment plants have recently exploded after being attacked by some vicious wild creatures. They've naturally blamed the Eldia folks and want answers, so they've acquiesced to the 3WA checking things out at the plants that got hit. There's some amusing discussions about it between the head of the project and Kei and Yuri that remind you why these girls are so much fun to follow, especially when Kei just starts throttling him.

While investigating one of the damaged buildings that's now abandoned, the two end up taking some time to themselves for a nice bath. Of course, there's going to be someone there getting a peep, and it turns out to be a man named Carson D. Carson, something of a professional thief who's on planet looking for something. Through some fun with handcuffs, guns and skimpy towels that take the place of clothing, the trio ends up working together to go investigate the residence of one Doctor Wattsman.

Wattsman has possibly one of the coolest theme songs that plays several of the times his name comes up.

Wattsman is the mad scientist behind everything that's going on, as we find him playing with the genetic code of the fossilized creatures that make up the raw substance of Vizorium. Using his mad powers, he's trying to alter their genetic code so that they'll become the next evolutionary step for humanity so that the race can move on to the next level. His creations tend to come out looking like the things from Alien, running about and killing anything and everything they get to. Some of his attempts are humanoid, but they quickly revert.

But when he discovers the girls in his compound, he mistakes them for successful mutations and tries to get their genetic code so he can make millions of them around the world. Wattsman is something of a crackpot to be sure, but he's a crackpot with style, right down to his ball bath. Add in that great bit of music of his and his butler that's always trying to get him to eat, Wattsman stands out a bit more than your usual mad scientist. The fact that he can't even realize what he's doing wrong adds a great flavor to it.

Naturally, one of the most appealing aspects of the Dirty Pair franchise are the girls themselves. This movie has a good spot of fun with them, particularly in not having them in their usual skimpy uniforms for the bulk of it but rather scraps of cloth wrapped around them. Even Carson provides some fanservice for the women by running around in pink boxers, but he earns the ire and envy of many when he ends up holding onto a falling Yuri by her makeshift skirt, providing a rather amusing bare rear end shot for several sequences.

With the Dirty Pair, there's a decent underlying plot to just about everything that's going on, but it usually just serves to move things along from one element to the next so that the girls can cause more trouble or get deeper into a situation where Mughi has to save the day. The movie just plays it bigger and louder and manages to top the sheer amount of destruction caused in the opening sequence, which is damn impressive. I pretty much sat through this entire show with a smile on my face and enjoyed watching it all play out. For Dirty Pair fans, Project Eden's release is a real treat.

Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Original Japanese Trailer

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 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: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: C+
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 24.98
Running time: 90
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dirty Pair