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Dirty Pair OVA Series Anime DVD Collection Review

8 min read

The girls are back for more fun, though they’re the only ones really having fun as everyone else is in a panic over being near them.

What They Say:
Criminals of the universe beware – the Dirty Pair are back in action! It doesn’t matter if you’re the warden of an infamous prison, a robot that’s literally armed to the teeth, or a snotty little kid who thought it’d be fun to hijack mankind’s biggest space cannon. If Kei and Yuri get orders to bring you in, then these two Lovely Angels will use any combination of beauty, brains, and brute force to bring you to justice!

Contains episodes 1-10.

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation here is pretty strong overall and somewhat surprising just because of how it’s put together. We get the bilingual presentation of the OVA series with the original dub that ADV Films produced here, both of which are in stereo. The Japanese stereo track is encoded at 448kbps while the English stereo mix is encoded at 224kbps. Likely due to it being part of the Japanese remastering process, it’s just very unusual for Nozomi who spends most of its time with 192kbps encoded material. The Japanese track definitely sounds the better of the two and has a good feel to it with a richness and warmth that often comes from these older shows that aren’t overly processed. The English mix is the same as we had before with no problems to be had there and both of them convey the show well, whether it’s the music or the bigger action sequences. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 1988 and 1989, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The show has ten episodes spread over three discs in a three/three/four format which feels a little odd, especially since the original release was a pair of five episode discs. This edition contains the recent Japanese remastered video version and as we’ve seen from the comparisons before, it’s definitely a difference in color quality and clarity with much richer and appealing colors that gives it a definite pop. When comparisons are made you can definitely see the difference and just regular playback alone lets the show really shine and look great. Noise is minimal overall and it’s a clean looking transfer with no real issues to be had, making for a good release.

Packaging:
This release with three discs is inside one standard size keepcase, though you may not realize it’s three discs as one is under an information card which caused us to start with disc three without realizing it. The front cover gives us a good look at both of the girls in their standard uniform, guns out with the right kinds of expressions to their faces to make them fun and engaging. The logo along the top is the familiar but nicely done, but the background is just too dark and murky overall to be effective. It lets you focus on the girls, but that was going to happen anyway and this really feels like it needed to have more pop and energy to it. The back cover has a black background to it with a few shots along the top from the show to give it some color as well as a small shot of Kei with a big weapon. The plot summary aspect only lightly touches on the stories as to be expected but it gives it the right kind of fun feeling, though again, it feels lessened with all the black around it. The discs features and the fact it’s from the remastered video is clearly listed and the technical grid covers everything cleanly. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for this release fits well with the show as it plays it up old school just right. The static menus use some good character artwork of the Lovely Angels themselves in action poses set against a black and blue background that lets the space side show well. Add in part of their ship as well and the always cute and fun logo, done in pink of course, and it sets the mood right for the release before starting the show. Submenus load quickly though all the extras are off of the main menu. Language setup is a breeze and it makes it clear which language is selected as well as defaulting to our players’ language presets.

Extras:
The extras are pretty minimal here but not a surprise as we get the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences. We also get a couple of brief but fun liner notes as well spread across the three volumes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since ADV Films first brought these OVAs over here and almost twenty-five years since they were first released. With Nozomi having released the TV series after it never being released before, it was definitely good to revisit the OVAs afterward as it is essentially more of the same. And that’s a very good thing because Kei and Yuri (ok, Yuri more so) are just a whole lot of fun to watch as they deal with simple missions that go bad quickly, often with the bodies piling up and the property damage escalating. Like the TV series, some episodes are better than others though there’s some basic fun to all of them.

I’ve been a huge Dirty Pair fan since I watched several episodes raw back in the mid 80’s in the back room of a local comic shop. Not understanding a word of it, just loving the animation, the skimpy outfits and the mass destruction. Now while we’ve enjoyed the TV series, the OVA’s is essentially more of the same. More skin, more destruction and more self-contained adventures. The show follows a simple formula, of girls get assigned mission, girls go on mission and do some intelligent stuff, girls have the worst luck and end up killing lots of people, their target, or the entire planet, but then manage to find a way to complete their mission successfully, or at least in the eyes of the 3WA computer that keeps assigning them things.

Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. The draw of the show are the two Trouble Contractors, Kei and Yuri. They’re mostly unprofessional, use highly unorthodox methods to get their missions done, and generally accept the destruction that they cause as something that just happens as part of the job. The interaction between the two of them works well also, as at times they epitomize the 80’s stereotype of women. They get along really well (as opposed to chunks of Dirty Pair Flash, where the two girls seem to just loathe each other) but have no problem prodding and poking fun at the other for their lack of boyfriends, their outfit choice or their bra size.

While all of the episodes are good, there are a couple of favorites. The first episode, Wedding Panic, gets you right from the start. The show opens with a pleasure cruise and the camera panning up along the bathing suited beauty known as Yuri. She and Kei are on this planet to investigate a counterfeiting group and she’s playing the role of an archaeological student whose arrived to check out some ruins where the suspected group is likely doing their dirty deeds. While she investigates things, she ends up dealing with the youngest son in the alleged crime family, who tells her that he’s trying to not be involved in whatever they’re involved in. There’s a fair bit of chemistry between the two, and Yuri’s definitely smitten with him. Things progress fast during the investigation, to the point where Yuri decides and agrees to marry Carine. Everyone from the office is invited, and being true to form, parts of the Graduate are replayed here with amusing results.

Probably my favorite episode in the set is the Space Truckers! episode. It seems that a larger trading company and some of the local area stellar police are involved in a scam to try and push out the independent traders so they can do their own bit of smuggling and the like. The 3WA sends our favorite pair in to check out what’s going and to fix it. The two arrive on the independents station where nobody is doing any trucking anymore, as those who go out end up getting shot down by pirates. They take on the role of truckers and load up with cargo and head out into the lanes to see what happens.

Another couple of truckers head out with them, and end up becoming involved when the pirates attack and then when the police quickly show up and arrest them while the pirates get away. Taken aboard the closest trading outpost, the level of involvement of the police and the leading trucking company becomes apparent. Kei and Yuri then take everything into their own hands and start taking names and shooting those who get in their way.

In Summary:
The Dirty Pair is a series that I just have a whole lot of fun with over the years and revisiting it every once in awhile is like coming back to an old, comfortable friend. This release puts the OVAs back in print again and keeps it available with the recently released TV series as well. The ten OVAs here cover a variety of situations for the Lovely Angels to deal with, from kids going to war only for it to go worse to space truckers dealing with a big conspiracy. Add in cold case mysteries, a romance that goes awry and tie it to the usual kind of fun that comes from the show and it’s just a good, classic romp. Now if Nozomi would get the movies as well and put out a big old massive box set of Dirty Pair…

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, clean Closing, Liner Notes

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Readers Rating: [ratings]

Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
MSRP: $34.99
Running Time: 250 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Review Equipment:
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.

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