Original Dirty Pair: Affair of Nolandia (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, December 02, 2003
What They Say
The Dirty Pair are traveling to the planet of Ookbar in search of a missing girl. Kei and Yuri have traced Missinie to the forest of Nolandia, but their investigations have stalled thanks to the less-than-helpful Chief of Security. But the Dirty Pair have never let a little bureaucracy stand in their way. It's the unicorns and UFOs, not to mention the rampaging killer robot, that are going to be the problem as the Dirty Pair tackle their toughest case yet in Affair of Nolandia!
The first Dirty Pair OVA has finally been released and it brings about the appearance of one of the best items ever - the Bloody Card.
Having listened to everything else in Japanese so far, we've continued that tradition here and check out just the Japanese track during our main showing of the disc. The track is a pretty basic stereo mix that feels very center channel based but in the end fills the entire forward soundstage with how its set. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems during regular playback.
Originally released in 1985 direct to video, this particular OVA is showing its age. While there are some of the usual problems with older material such as the occasional nick and bits of dirt or dust here and there, what brings this one down is the amount of grain in the film stock. With a lot of scenes having space blues and blacks as well as a lot of greens once they get planetside, the grain is very visible and casts a soft edge around the characters and backgrounds. It's not unwatchable by any stretch, but it's not a clean pristine print due to the film material itself.
The cover art for this release is pretty nice with a shot of the Dirty Pair against a fighter jet, their legs intertwined together and showing off plenty of skin in their traditional uniforms. The background gets a spot of color from some lighting that's not terribly distinct. The back cover has a brief paragraph for the summary and a few shots from the OVA that show off the various characters. With little on the disc, there's not too much to list along the technical grid though they do short the runtime by about five minutes. The insert uses the lovely Yuri shot from the cover and slides a different Kei image next to her and uses the background lighting again. The reverse side of the insert is just a listing of the various features on the disc.
Going for the very minimal feel which is again disappointing since it continually seems like Dirty Pair is getting the short end of the stick, the menu is made up of a slice of the front cover off to the corner and a straight listing of the basic selections that are available. With nothing really on the disc outside of the show and some previews, the menus are quick to load and easy to navigate.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the release of Nolandia, the last of the non-TV material is finally out, leaving only that golden treasure left to be unearthed and brought over. Nolandia is the first of the OVA specials to be done, which is surprising since the TV series was canceled due to low ratings but there was a feeling of enough of an audience being out there for the show. Thankfully they did since it led to other solid adventures as well.
The Affair of Nolandia is a slightly confused piece that has a strange sense of pacing but tells a decent story in the end. Kei and Yuri are brought into the planet Ookbarl so that they can help their client, a woman named Cony. She's asked for help in finding a young girl named Missnie (as spelled in the subtitles where as the packaging lists it as Missinie) and it coincides with an assignment that the WWWA has assigned them to on the same planet. Apparently a shuttle craft had been attempting to land there and the pilots crashed after claiming that the ground started to move and shift, which resulted in the deaths of all aboard including one employee of AJ Development, a scientist no less.
The planet is rather unique in that there are only two inhabitable areas across the entire thing, both of them being rock formations that rise above the cloud layer. One of them is where the city has been built and it's a bustling little metropolis with lots of people, activity and fun and games (even a disco!). The other area is a large stretch of forest land where a wide variety of very strange creatures live, most of them seeming to have nothing in common with the environment or each other. Below the clouds is where some ore development is going on and it's all highly unbreathable.
Their mission to find Missnie takes a strange turn after they discover that Cony is dead and the head of security for the city has the Lovely Angels brought in. Knowing their reputation, she tweaks them a few times by calling them the Dirty Pair and telling them that they have no reason to stick around since their client is dead. Since they still want to find Missnie for Cony, the head of security, Samara, tells them that she's somewhere in the forest region and that's all that they know.
So for a good part of the rest of the show, the two women search out the strange forest trying to find Missnie and dealing with the revelations that come from it, as the plot that killed the one scientist is tied to Missnie and the strange psychic powers that she apparently has. We actually get to see the psychic powers in an amusing way early on when she contacts Kei and Yuri via telepathy, which brings an illusion of the Lovely Angels being stark naked and floating about. There's a few other naked moments in the show as well as one scene where tentacle creatures are chasing the girls, even capturing Yuri for a time.
The OVA has a decent story to it, but it feels like the middle section was overly stretched out to try and get their vision across of how Missnie wanted to be found but wasn't sure about Kei and Yuri as well as going into detail about the various creatures that inhabit the area. Toss in a dream within a dream within a dream sequence and the pacing is just off kilter for awhile. But once they get back to the city and back to some classic Dirty Pair destruction sequences, the girls are very much back in character and the pace picks up considerably.
While this adventure has some weaknesses, it's definitely classic Dirty Pair in many ways, from the destruction to the clothes and the quips. With each new installment of this show that I get to see, the bigger picture gets fleshed out more and more and the characters become even more enjoyable. While this isn't the best of the Dirty Pair, it's one of the big steps in their evolution being their first OVA and extended length episode really. All that's needed now is the TV series itself and hopefully that will seem like it'll get better treatment than this release did.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B-
Menus Rating: C+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 50
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Dirty Pair