The classic space opera finally arrives with a mix of action, adventure and comedy that rarely comes together this well and still holds up decades later.
What They Say
Kei and Yuri are operatives dispatched by the for-profit World Welfare Works Association to resolve crises throughout the universe. Their preferred codename may be "Lovely Angels," but their on-the-job effectiveness, which is only rivaled by the path of destruction left in their wake, has earned them a very public, very unwanted nickname - the "Dirty Pair."
Includes episodes 1-13.
This release contains only the original Japanese language track which is presented in stereo encoded at 192kbps. The show is not one that's going to break any preconceptions about how old shows sound but what we get here is a good stereo mix that's a full feeling overall since there's nothing strongly noticeable in terms of placement or depth. The series has a good mix of action and dialogue to it though it all comes across essentially the same. Dirty Pair doesn't surprise here but it's definitely a good track and encoding overall with no problems during regular playback with no dropouts or distortions.
Originally airing in 1985, the transfer for this series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. This set contains the first thirteen episodes spread across three discs in a five/four/four format. With it being a monolingual release, there's a good bit of space here to work with and the overall presentation is really very strong. The show does show its age with the traditional animation and some of the little effects in it, but by and large this is a great looking transfer of a show twenty-five years old. Colors look great and the numerous blues hold up well with only some noticeable grain and noise here and there. The lack of cross coloration and only a very small amount of line noise during the panning scenes helps to make this a really great presentation of the show. I wasn't sure what I was going to get overall, and the show is definitely showing its age in the end, but the end results here should please the majority of Dirty Pair fans.
Nozomi has gone with what you could call traditional packaging for them these days with a solid chipboard box that holds three clear thinpak cases. Black is the order of the day as both the box and the thinpaks are covered in it with the focus being more on the character artwork. The box features Kei for the first one (saving the better Yuri cover for next time!) with a shot of her in her space suit with wings attached. The suit is a bright yellow that really stands out against the black background and the grays of what we see of a spaceship behind her. The back of box uses the same thing with Yuri added to it and the artwork shrunk down a bit. The bottom gives us the logo and the summary along with the few special features we have here. It's a decent looking cover for the box though I would have preferred Kei in her more familiar outfit.
Inside the box we get three really well done thinpaks with unique artwork. Each girl gets their own cover while the third volume puts the two of them together. The black background is again dominant here with the original logo along the top which allows the character artwork to really stand out. The back covers are all laid out the same with more of the black space showing us a few stars and planets with a small subset of pictures along the side which changes from volume to volume. Episode numbers and titles are also clearly listed here while each cover has its own individual technical grid that clearly breaks it all down. With no artwork on the reverse side, the thinpaks have a very minimal feeling overall but I love the look of it with clean artwork that allows the characters to stand out more than anything else.
The menus for this release are simple but decent as they take the black theme from the packaging design and apply it here with various pieces of character artwork on each disc to tie it all together. The layout and design of it isn't anything too big but it fits the theme of the show in a way that sets the mood for it right. With the menus being static it doesn't pull you in too much but the whole thing is quick and easy to navigate, making it an easy experience to get into the show itself and get going. With little on the discs in general outside of the show and some trailers and only one real extra, everything is a breeze since it's just playing the show and enjoying that. Being a monolingual release, player presets aren't an issue at all.
The only extra included here is the clean version of the opening sequence on the first disc.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novels by Haruka Takachiho, who had gained fame for his work on Crusher Joe beforehand, Dirty Pair is a twenty-six episode series that simply knows how to have fun on a very destructive level. The Dirty Pair has had an awkward release over the years as we've seen one of the movies and OVAs and the sequel OVA with another team of Angels. We've also seen the very popular, if divisive, original comics by Adam Warren that took the property forward in a fun way. Those were my first real introduction to the Pair and it has left me wanting the TV series for pretty much the last twenty years. And having not seen it until now, it's definitely been worth the wait as the Dirty Pair is exactly the kind of show that's pretty much impossible to make today since it would have to take all of it so much further.
The Dirty Pair is an iconic property and for good reason. It takes some basic, core elements and makes it work so simply and easily that you almost want to throttle the people behind it. Much like watching cooks or designers on TV shows where they make it look so easy, everything here has a seamless and smooth flow to it that it leaves you feeling like the people behind it really had a blast making it. The fun and enthusiasm from the show itself is evident throughout as the girls want to enjoy their lives, do what they think is right and get out there on some dates. All of it set against a space opera background as mankind has spread out to the stars after twenty years of radical starflight travel.
The series focuses on two troubleshooters for the 3WA, the World Welfare Works Association, named Kei and Yuri. Both girls are nineteen and not what anyone would expect out of troubleshooters of this nature but the computer that handles much of what goes on behind the scenes continues to authorize them for missions and exonerates them for a lot of the fallout from how things often go wrong. What's most notable about their missions is that while they do generally complete them, the scale of destruction around it is pretty significant. Deaths are aplenty and wide scale chaos follows them. It's not always their fault, but things do seem to happen around them a lot.
Dirty Pair works in a very episodic format where each show brings a standalone story where Kei and Yuri get involved in something. Sometimes it's simple like finding a missing prince who is now being threatened because the king of a world is dead and a plot to take over is in effect and they have to protect. Sometimes it's incredibly complicated as they have to find a missing cat. Yes, a cat. A cat that's infused with a new drug that isn't fully tested which could cause it to explode on a significant level depending on what happens. And in the mix of all of this, there are terrorists, kidnappers and more they roll with across the thirteen episodes on this set. The stories are generally simple but they escalate along the way into situations get just get out of control.
What makes this show work is Kei and Yuri. The two are an amusing pair to watch as they're typical nineteen year old women who have licenses to do just about anything they want. Yet they're feeling the pinch of paychecks, a lack of vacation time and the difficulty in getting dates because of their schedule. They're looking for the guy of their dreams so they can just live that life instead of working, yet the 3WA computer has realized their potential and continues to get them to work the most dangerous jobs in the galaxy. They're definitely different personalities and both of them are a lot of fun to watch. Over the years of watching and reading various Dirty Pair shows, I'm most definitely a Yuri fan more than Kei and watching these episodes cements it all the more.
Being from the mid 80's, Dirty Pair certainly has all the hallmarks of the time period. The hair and costumes have that 80's bent and with the instrumental music it's like a big flashback. My exposure to anime began in the 80's so this show is full of what I liked back then and continue to like with the visuals. It's got fanservice and fun but it doesn't overly sexualize it. It's lets us see plenty of skin with their costumes but they're not overly busty or posing constantly so as to make it so blunt. It's the right kind of fanservice that lets the characters shine without slutting them up. Combined with the starship design, the variety of worlds we see and the general technological design of the series, there's a lot to like here as it's good, solid space opera.
There are few shows I feel like I can get all fanboyish over. Dirty Pair is one that I've loved through all the other releases I've seen and the TV series is a whole lot of that goodness in episodic form. This first half of the series throws us right into the world of Kei and Yuri and goes at it. I do think it works better watching them one at a time so as to not overdose on it, but either way watching them go through their missions, live their lives and attempt to date is a whole lot of fun. The two of them along with their crew on board their ship hit up a lot of good stories here that causes a lot of destruction and chaos. This set is something that needed to be out here years ago but having it now and looking as great as it does leaves me extremely happy. The Dirty Pair may not be the kind of show that a lot of today's fans would think they'd like, but it's one that transcends the years better than most. It holds up incredibly well after twenty-five years and deserves a slot on most peoples shelves. It's also one more crown jewel in the Nozomi library that's already filled with many of them.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.