The spring season in anime left me underwhelmed. Spy x Family was the best by far. I did watch Dawn Witch, Demon Lord, and Shield Hero thru to the end altho I was wondering why. They were just good enough not to drop but not good enough to get excited over. Instead, I watched some classic oldies.
Dirty Pair is a 1985 anime based on a light novel by Haruka Takachiho and illustrated by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. The anime was directed by Norio Kashima and Toshifumi Takizawa. The animation was done by Sunrise Studio. later famous for Mobile Suit Gundam and Cowboy Bebop. It is set in the world of 2122 where interstellar travel is the norm and a lot of the inhabited universe is closer to chaos than order.
It runs a good 26 episodes for one season. There is also a full-length movie, Dirty Pair: Project Eden, and a remake known as Dirty Pair Flash that I have not yet seen.
Dirty Pair follows the adventures of Kei and Yuri, the two top troubleshooters for the 3WA (World Welfare Works Association) as they protect their clients from the bad guys of the day. It’s purely episodic in nature, a stand-alone adventure almost every week. The first episode belongs at the beginning, the last episode belongs at the end, and there’s a two-episode arc somewhere in the middle. Otherwise, the sequence doesn’t matter.
People who have problems they don’t want to (or can’t) resolve using normal law enforcement channels contact the 3WA. Yuri and Kei are sent out on the most challenging assignments. Within the organization, they are supposed to be known as the Lovely Angels (also the name of their ship). However, owing to their propensity for massive collateral damage they have earned the sobriquet of the Dirty Pair. (They do NOT appreciate hearing it.) Their canon age is 19 though I have no problems with seeing them at any point in their twenties.
In some respects there’s a bit of Charlie’s Angels in there and the plot also reminds me a bit of Cowboy Bebop where Spike usually gets his man but only after massive destruction along the way.
Kei is a hot-headed, tanned, and tomboyish redhead, while Yuri is the more traditionally feminine of the two with light skin and long dark hair. They are pros at both hand-to-hand combat and gunfighting. Despite this, the girls never cease to tease each other over who is prettier or their choice of boys even when their life is on the line and this gives them a distinctive immature girlishness. Beneath all the pettiness there’s a powerful bond that shows when one is truly in danger. (Vaguely reminds me of Ayeka and Ryoko in Tenshi Muyo.)
On occasion, an exceptional man may physically overpower one of them but he always gets outsmarted. Our girls may be goofy but they are not as stupid as they act.
There are only 3 other semi-regular characters in the show. Mughi is a grizzly bear-sized housecat with enough intelligence to do electronic repairs and fly the ship. Its name comes from “Military Utility Genetic Hyperinteligence.” Nammo is a small semispherical robot with a pair of feet and an extensible arm that communicates with various beeps. Chief Gooley is their long-suffering supervisor who sends than out on their various missions.
There’s no big plot arc here, not much character development, no uber baddie behind all the evil to be confronted by the end of the season. Just a string of stand-alone adventures in which our girls flirt and fight their way through various assignments while griping about being called in just as they were going on vacation or how their social life was being ruined.
One episode hit me as unique. They were assigned to keep the son of a wealthy industrialist away from his girlfriend. It turns out that she was a trans woman and Daddy couldn’t wrap his head around it. For an anime released in the mid-1980s, this was quite a surprising topic to tackle. The issue was resolved but I’m not going to tell you how.
Yeah, it is 1980s animation for television with the low resolution that implies. It doesn’t bother me. I’m a big fan of that retro look. The fan service is quite innocent compared to what we see today and was well played. If you’re in for a bit of silliness and action and pretty girls, that doesn’t take itself seriously, this is the anime for you. It is on RetroCrush but you can also pick up episode one (legitimately) and lots of spoiler stuff on Youtube.