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Dirty Pair: Features Collection Anime DVD Review

7 min read

Dirty PairThe fate of many worlds hinges on whether two young women don’t screw up too badly each time.

What They Say:
The Lovely Angels are back in a triple pack of ’80s sci-fi action!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release is pretty mixed in terms of encoding, but each feature gets the original Japanese language track in stereo at either 384kbps or 448kbps. There are two English mixes here, one with the original Streamline dubs from ages ago that are encoded at 192kbps while the ADV Films dub is included as well which are done at 224kbps. There is plenty of variance when it comes to how they sound considering the age differences, but each of the English language mixes sound good without any real issues as they deal with the forward soundstage. The Japanese mix stands out a bit better because of the higher bitrate and it definitely has a much cleaner and smoother feel than one might imagine for a show from this time.

Video:
The two OVAs and the feature were produced in 1985, 1986 and 1990 with the film being in widescreen and anamorphic while the OVAs are full frame. Each feature is presented on its own disc so they’re not competing with each other for space. This release brings the Japanese remastered video version to the US for the first time and there’s definitely a good increase in the overall quality. The bitrate tends to average in the eights with some dips into the nines, giving it a solid feeling throughout and a good sense of color and warmth to it. There are some very vibrant moments but it’s definitely a work of its time that does maintain its film origins to it with the right mild level of grain that adds texture to it. Colors are spot on throughout and it has a clean look to it. There are surely some nits to pick with individual frames, but by and large the collections looks great and definitely a very good improvement over what was previously released.

Packaging:
The packaging for this collection comes in a standard sized keepcase with no hinge so the three discs are against the interiors. The front cover fits in with the previous releases for the series with the logo along the top, adding the features tag, while the main piece is a bright, color set of character artwork with a bland and indistinct background to it. The character artwork is the draw here and it looks good, though I can be frustrated with Kei being in the front instead of Yuri. The back cover uses a few shots from the features and a full length shot of the pair, all of which is set against a black background. The three features are talked about clearly with what their plot is and the actual specs in terms of the remastered video and the extras are listed as well. The technical grid covers everything accurately while listing which aspect ratios are related to which features. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for this release is pretty straightforward with its design, giving us a look similar to what we saw with the TV series and OVAs as well. Each disc uses a different piece of artwork related to that feature which has a bit of a background to it but is also blended to the overall black background. The lower right side has the logo and the menu navigation which is quick and easy to use and it lists things clearly when it comes to the menu selection with the labels. The menus are nicely in theme, not over the top and not bland, while also being very easy to use. The show does default to the ADV Films dub with sign/song subtitles.

Extras:
There are only a couple of extras with this release in the form of a line art gallery with some neat bits to it and some of the original Japanese promotional trailers.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Back in the days when there was no US anime industry, when the TV series itself was near impossible to get access to, the one thing you could find were these two OVA features and the feature film itself. There were eventually some dubbed versions that were released from Streamline, which is included here, but by and large if you were introduced to Dirty Pair back in the 80’s, usually after discovering Robotech and finding other science fiction material, you probably got introduced to it from a friend, the back room of a comic book store or from a convention where “import tapes” were available. Suffice to say, Dirty Pair made an impression on me all those years ago and has been a favorite ever since.

With the way the releases have gone over the years, it’s been kind of out of order since the TV series did come first and then the features but the US releases have gone in reverse, including the addition of the OVAs. So going back to the features now after watching the TV series from Nozomi in the last couple of years, a release that was long overdue in this market, it’s good to revisit these again and to have the clean, remastered editions with both dubs and a good standard definition quality audio presentation. It all does leave me wanting a high definition presentation though, since it is all film based.

The first disc, Project Eden, continues to be one of my all time favorites as it takes the girls to a planet where there are two “business” factions in operation there that are working with the material that gets interstellar flight possible, Vizorium. Each has a different approach to acquiring it, but one of them is doing something additional in secret – very secret – that can change the very nature of it. It’s a lot of fun as the pair hook up with a thief named Carson D. Carson who has his own mission here while throwing in a variation of the alien creature from Aliens as well as a mad scientist that wants to give birth to a whole new species. There’s a very good look to it and it has the best flow of all three of the features here.

The second feature, Flight 005 Conspiracy, is more of a mystery release than the more action oriented Project Eden, but it mitigates some of the problems it can have by running only an hour. The show has the pair investigating a transport that was going between two worlds that ended up with its entire crew and passenger list of three hundred going missing. There are extenuating circumstances that show up as we see who all was involved and gone missing and there are a few competing spies getting into the picture as well. It’s a bit slower overall since it does the investigation angle and that’s a kind of welcome change for the girls.

The final feature, Affair Of Nolandia, has always been my least favorite of the features and OVAs even though it was the first one to be released in Japan. And it came out just as the TV series ended. The feature has the pair looking for a young girl named Missnie, but they get caught up in a good deal of espionage and hidden agendas. Where it takes is most curious turn is when they discover that Missnie is actually something of a psychic and really plays with reality for them and they end up deciding that the best approach is to just play games until they can get her trust. It’s cute and has its moments, but it feels a bit ill formed at times and it has the weakest animation of them all, especially with the character designs.

In Summary:
The Dirty Pair features are a good mix of fun, adventure and intrigue as well as things blowing up. That’s still one of the main draws, even when you know when it’ll happen, and it doesn’t disappoint since it’s all done with a good dose of fun. The movies each have their own individual draw, so it can vary in which ones work for you. These are definitely classic installments of the Dirty Pair franchise and anime in general so it’s something that may feel dated in certain ways, but the overall appeal, charm and warmth is a big part of it. These are important pieces of anime from my younger days of a fan so to me they hold up well and are still a heck of a lot of fun to watch. These remastered editions brings us the best looking editions of them yet in the US on DVD with all the right languages included.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language (Two Dubs), English Subtitles, Line Art Gallery, Promotional Trailers

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

Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
Release Date: May 1st, 2012
MSRP: $29.99
Running Time: 190 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (Feature), 1.33:1 (OVAs)

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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