What They Say:
It’s the year 2248, and crime is on the rise. The world needs selfless, responsible heroes to set things straight… but instead it gets Kei and Yuri! These two lazy delinquents are the worst of the worst, but for some reason, the Central Computer has paired them up as a team and chosen them to inherit the honorable codename “Lovely Angels.” That means they’ll be sent out to stop evil corporations, maniacal killers, and runaway androids – all in the name of peace. But with the way these two fight, they just might blow everything up themselves first!
Contains episodes 1-16.
The audio presentation for this release is pretty good here as we get a pair of bilingual tracks that are in stereo. The original Japanese track is encoded at 448kbps while the English track gets down to 192kbps. There’s definitely a difference in overall quality as the Japanese track stands out well with a good full feeling to it, especially with the music. The English track isn’t bad, but it definitely feels weaker. With its mid 90’s origins, the show doesn’t stretch all that much but it works the forward soundstage well for some of the action while the dialogue is largely center channel placed. The opening and closing songs are where things have a bit of a fuller feel to it and generally works well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts and distortions during regular playback.
Originally released from 1994 to 1996, the transfer for this OVA series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The series is made up of sixteen episodes with six on the first disc and five on each of the two additional discs. This lets each OVA arc get its own disc which works out pretty well. The transfer here is pretty good overall as it uses the remastered Japanese video which with the film based materials look good without much in the way of significant problems. Cross coloration is minimal to almost non-existent but there is some line noise to be had during some of the panning sequences. Colors are generally solid but there’s a bit of natural noise throughout, but it never turns into something that’s distracting or problematic.
The packaging for this release comes in a single sized keepcase with the discs being held along the interior with no hinges included. The front cover gives us one of the more well known pieces that was used when the series first started coming out as it has the pair with a lot of light hitting them from above as they look up in an action pose. While this does weaken the colors of their costumes and designs a bit, it lets us get a good look at them in action. The logo is kept simple but solid here as it has the old school science fiction feel while also bringing in the heart that gives it the cuteness. The back cover provide us with another shot of the duo against the all black backdrop which looks good along with a smattering of decent shots from the show overall. The premise isn’t given a lot of detail considering how many episodes are here and the variation, but it sets the overall concept well. The shows features and remastered video origins are clearly listed and we get a good technical grid that lists everything accurately. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design is simple but effective over the three discs as it uses similar layouts to what we saw with past Dirty Pair episodes. The black star filled background lets the foreground character artwork to stand out well, which is easy to do with the bright designs and colors used for them. The navigation strip is along the lower right in the same style as we’ve seen with the other releases as well which gives it all good cohesive feeling. With a bit of bouncy instrumental music, the whole thing comes together well and is easy to navigate and use. Submenus load quickly and the discs read our players’ language presets without problem.
The extras are spread across the three discs here with the clean opening and closings as well as a brief line art gallery.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
While I had seen a few of the original Dirty Pair OVAs and movies back before this was released, that TV series eluded me until a few years ago. Dirty Pair Flash’s arrival was my first greater exposure to the property as a whole and even though I was familiar enough with the original, I wasn’t dismissive of this one because of the changes that were done with the cast. I could certainly understand why it frustrated the fans of what came before, but to me it is largely the same with just some cosmetic differences and a few under the hood things. In the end, it gave me a mild variation on what we had before and that’s about it. The show still causes a lot of destruction, has some fanservice and runs rampant all over the galaxy causing trouble.
The new OVA incarnation did things a little differently with its release as well by doing three OVA series with the first set having six episodes while the second and third series were done with five episodes each. There are threads that tie each series to what they do, but it’s mostly the first one that deals with a larger story. The second one has an overall story as well but it also spends a lot of time just having fun along the way. The third series just goes for plain old fun as it seems to want to just play up the fanservice and silliness that served as a good way to close out this particular incarnation of the franchise.
The first series focuses on introducing us to the two junior trouble contractors in the 3WA, a galaxy wide organization that does the dirty work and keeps things safe for people in general. The storyline takes place a number of years after a near galaxy-wide civil war, where people still don’t trust other people and the lines of communication between worlds and nations is apparently a bit strained.
Enter Kei and Yuri. Before the big fallout, these two would never have been accepted into the 3WA, which is overseen by a rather smart-alecky computer that seems to approve of these two. But times are tough and they’ll take whoever they can get, even these two.
And these two definitely don’t want to work together. Kei is the bullheaded firebrand who does things her way or the highway. Her biggest asset (besides her chest) is her marksmanship. Yuri, when not trying to get out of assignments and get out on a few dates, is what some might consider the brains of the operation, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. Yuri’s a bit hard to define in this incarnation. But, as with the original Dirty Pair, Yuri is the hot looking one. Yuri rocks.
The two are of course teamed together, and their first mission is thrust upon them quickly. And they botch it. And their next one. And the one after that. Yet in some way they actually manage to pull off the missions as well, thereby earning themselves a reprieve from the 3WA computer. Throughout the six intertwined episodes, the story builds in bits and pieces and we get to know the main characters and a few secondary ones.
While the first series introduced us to the new and revamped Kei and Yuri and the galaxy that they inhabit, the second arc moves them forward a bit and gets them a bit more comfortable with each other. There’s still some bickering, but the all out hate saw in some of the earlier episodes is gone. These two actually start working together sometimes here.
This time around, the mission is fairly simple. Kei and Yuri are assigned bodyguard duty to a fellow Tro-Con named Touma. Touma’s one of the 3WA’s top network specialists, and he’s being sent off by request to World’s World. This planet is essentially a theme planet, but one with an amusing twist; the one city built so far is a replica of late 1990’s Tokyo. Yup, Tokyo.
People come from all over the galaxy to spend time living in the past here. Upwards of 200,000 guests at a time as well as many more people who work and live here. Those employees who work the various shops also make sure their shops actually work. The bank is really a bank, and so forth. It’s become its own community, but it still serves as a great tourist attraction. And the attention to detail is fabulous!
Things aren’t going so good for this place at the moment though, as someone has placed a virus into the master computer system that controls everything on the planet. The staff managed to isolate it and things are running smoothly, but someone of Touma’s skills are required to clean it up and get everything back up to speed. And with someone still trying to take advantage of the virus being inserted, their best bet is to kill the network specialist. Hence the bodyguards.
The show dispenses with this entire bodyguard gig after the first episode, but also manages to set things up so that the single spaceport is closed for several weeks and the system cleanup will take at least two weeks. Kei and Yuri seize on this as a great vacation and set about to enjoy things. Except for the lack of bed space, which means they get put up at an all-girls dorm.
Yuri looks good as a schoolgirl.
The majority of the episodes on this mission seem fillerish, but it’s a light mission in the end. The basic premise seems to be to flesh out the two girls and their relationship, which is done pretty nicely here. A good amount of attention is paid to this world, but I’m convinced it was done just to get the Dirty Pair in a more domestic setting. Up until the final episode, there’s no real massive destruction taking place, which will disappoint some. But for others, seeing the girls in a more domestic way makes up for that.
With the final volume and arc, we get things that are focused more on just plain fun. The opening episode is a full-on Kei type. While on a plane, she gets herself caught up in a large incident where people are chasing down the illegitimate heir to a billionaire senator, as the senator has died and others are seeking control. Kei’s just unlucky in being on the plane, but the baby who she ends up rescuing as the plane goes down for a crash will consider it a good thing that she’s there. The episode is essentially a chase one across a snowy section of this particular planet, with Kei avoiding the group that’s hunting her and the baby, but it works really well to see Kei in protective mode and to eventually really like the baby. But it was really worthwhile to see said baby tinkle in her face.
Another episode that sat very well with us involved Kei and Yuri going on a vacation and going to enjoy time off. This provides, at least early on, massive Kei & Yuri fanservice. The two are definitely going for fun mode, but their vacation is cut short when a long family line of assassins brings in their daughter to the business at the tender age of 15, and she gets the Dirty Pair as her first contract. This long family line of assassins has the utmost faith in their daughter, as we see through one of the practice simulations and just the family name. Watching as this girl, Monica, goes through various attempts on Kei and Yuri’s lives is amusing, as they’re almost all laced with childhood items and nuances. I couldn’t help but laugh when she tries to make a big move by calling down a huge stuffed bear that she could ride in like a mecha and shoots missiles and has Wolverine-like claws.
But probably my favorite on the disc involves the Galaxy Cup tournament. Kei and Yuri are assigned to enter the Beach Volleyball contest which they believe the winners end up becoming involved in something where their bodies are used by an important person who only comes out into the public eye during the awards ceremony. So Kei and Yuri are sent off to 3WA man Gazelle who takes them under his wing and trains them. Trains them hard.
And training is all about fanservice. Both girls in the absolute skimpiest outfits working out. There’s just something about seeing Kei and Yuri do a bunnyhop up hundreds of stairs. The bounce man… the bounce! This episode is all about the training, the wearing down of the girls and then priming ’em back up. The trainer is harsh and definitely reminiscent of someone from another sports show but done to a comedic extreme. We just laughed through a lot of this episode and I simply swooned to all the Yuri goodness.
These episodes look overall more polished than earlier episodes in the franchise and the time spent with the characters has definitely made them more likable than I thought they were at first. While these two will never replace my real Lovely Angels, I certainly wouldn’t kick either of them out of bed. If you’ve enjoyed the first two discs in this series, this third one will finish it off nicely.
While I know and understand why this series gets a bad rap from old school fans that grew up with the original Dirty Pair and didn’t like them being supplanted here, I have to admit I really do like this pair. I liked it when this series first got released here and I like it just as much, if not more, after seeing all of the original series, movies and OVAs in the last year. I think both series complement each other well while doing a lot of the same things. The three arcs we get here are all pretty different when you get down to it but they all have a lot of common threads about them. I liked it more as it went on, since the first one was one larger overall storyline and it didn’t hold interest as well as it could. But the series gives us a lot of fun with the characters and a different dynamic than before in some ways which helped to change it up a bit. This is a solid release and one that makes out well with the remastered video and the general approach to it overall. I’m really pleased to see all of the Dirty Pair franchise under one roof and given such good treatment.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Line Art Gallery, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
Release Date: July 10th, 2012
Running Time: 400 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
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.