The Dirty Pair series has proven a mainstay over the years when it comes to the girls with guns genre, and for good reason: it brings laughs, slapstick comedy, action, and gorgeous women like Yuri and Kei together in a neon-colored package. It's an oldie but a goodie, with plenty of hijinks to whet most anime fans' appetities.
You get all three full-length Dirty Pair features in this collection: Project Eden (a theatrical release) and the OVAs Flight 005 Conspiracy and Affair on Nolandia. This value-priced set comes packing an additional English dub option as well, in contrast to most home releases, offering viewers the choice between the Streamline Pictures dub and the ADV Films cast, both of which feature respective differences and strengths, though neither hold a candle to the excellent Japanese cast. Though I did appreciate the addition as an unorthodox one, as I am well aware there are often decisions made that affect viewer choice like this, and while I didn't prefer the dubs to the Japanese cast, it was a welcome addition, especially in a value collection.
Dirty Pair Features Collection
First, I queued up Project Eden, Dirty Pair's theatrical release that follows Kei and Yuri on their way to the planet Agerna, where they're met with some mighty full plates, mainly staying on-guard form the evil Dr. Wattsman and still managing to perform their duties as Trouble Consultatnts. This major release is placed around the middle of the Dirty Pair continuity, and clearly exhibited the best production values. It managed to weave together a healthy dose of sci-fi and comedy, balancing out the other two featurs in the collection, and has some particularly giggle-worthy moments, hammy jokes aside. I particularly enjoyed Yuri breaking into a quick dance in one specific scene. In all, the 1986 feature hardly takes itself seriously, even despite the multiple obvious attempts at more "realistic" animation, and a pretty dire situation involving vizorium smuggling and an alien life form beneath the space ore. It's a great start to the collection, and perfectly personifies that duality of sci-fi action and camp often mixed together in the series.
The next feature took a more serious turn, transforming the previously goofy Lovely Angels into more serious beings, thrust into Affair on Nolandia, released in 1984 and following Kei and Yuri to an odd genetically-engineered planet. In a strange twist of events, the Angels actually make use of the psychic powers we've heard of here and there -- especially in the original novels, and attempt to solve a murder using just those. It's nowhere near as jaunty as Project Eden, and it feels nearly out of place when compared to the other two features on the disc, even featuring fully nude Yuri and Kei, which I admit came a little bit out of the blue. As far as quality goes, I found Affair on Nolandia easily the most engaging adventure yet, and closest in scope to the popular Dirty Pair novels.
Running up the pack is Flight 005 Conspiracy, which dips into Project Eden territory, but manages to come across a bit weaker than the other features, mostly in that it has trouble keeping you engaged. There's a fairly high body count and a reasonably entertaining narrative here, but after watching some of the characters the OVA attempted to forces me into caring about dying off one by one and watching the booty shorts of the Angels gradually shrink, I lost interest. It felt like an episode of the anime created as filler.
Viewed as a whole, this collection gathers at least two great adventures that find Kei and Yuri in rare form -- there'a s decent mix of intrigue and humor for fans who like their Dirty Pair heavily grounded in classic anime conventions, and goofiness for those looking to bust out and have a little fun. It's a fairly cheap set that longtime fans will jump at the chance to own at a reasonable price, but I'm not sure it will create any new converts. Still, it's a great buy if you're starved for a little more Dirty Pair.
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