Back in the darkened corners of comic book stories in the 1980s there was something magical happening for a few people. With VHS tapes that were degraded copies of other degraded copies, people were exposed often for the first time to what uncut anime was. Not the watered down versions we had on TV that even as good as they were presented still wasn’t close to the actual original work. There were some that were darkly serious and violent. There were some low-level hentai softcore pieces that were shared if you were old enough. And then there were the science fiction projects and those with a really good bit of comedy mixed.
And then there was Dirty Pair.
Just the name alone was a draw. You’d heard of them through other sources, their basis in novels, that they’re really called the Lovely Angels but their penchant for blowing up worlds gives them the other moniker. And as the 1980s turned into the 1990s, this was one of a few properties where it saw some expansion with the Adam Warren original comic series that gave us a taste of the characters through another lense. Streamline Pictures eventually delivered the two OVAs in 1994 and 1995 and then just about a decade later ADV Films acquired them to the delight of fans – even if the original TV series was still some years off. Eentually, Nozomi Entertainment acquired them in began releasing them in 2012, resulting in being able to watch this feature once again. Taking me back to that darkened room where so much of my life would originate from comics, anime, science fiction, and yes, fanservice.
Originally released in 1990, Dirty Pair: Flight 005 Conspiracy takes place in the late 2130s. This particular adventure kicks off where most of them do, and that’s in Chief Gooley’s office where we see him dealing with the biggest problem in his life; Kei and Yuri. Through the wisdom (corruption? bad programming? sadistic nature?) of the 3WA computer system, the Lovely Angels have found themselves another assignment as one of the top pairs of operatives in its employ. What makes things even worse than usual for Gooley this time is that the computer has assigned them two separate assignments at once, doubling the trouble, damage, and costs that these two can cause.
The first case involves a starship liner that exploded over the planet Zahl and killed all three hundred passengers aboard. Upon closer investigation, there does appear to be some funny business going on with it instead of an accident or some other mechanical failure as the entire passenger list for the ship was never properly transmitted to the company headquarters or to other noteworthy locations.
The second case involves a scientist who along with his immediate family has gone missing. The scientist’s father in law has requested the case be opened with the 3WA and investigated since he wants his family back but also because he knows that the son in law was working on a critical piece of energy technology that could change the way everything is done in the creation of power. Both cases came in at the same time and so the 3Wa have assigned the Dirty Pair to try and figure it all out.
Now, if you can’t put two and two together you haven’t seen enough basic dramas or action/adventure series from the 1970s and 1980s. While the movie does provide some insights and explanations about elements that give a reason for both the kidnapping and the destruction of the liner, this is the kind of story that is easily told within a modern story setting. It was, for the longest time, a staple among most Hollywood TV copy dramas.
Add in the usual big explosions and devastation that these two women usually cause, have one of them end up dead for a while, and throw in a variety of sides that are competing against each other for the potential new energy system and it’s a fun and fast-moving little storyline. It does feel like one of the more mundane plots from the larger Dirty Pair universe but part of that is that after a two-season TV series that was creatively able to go in a lot of wild directions in brief, a longer and more straightforward storyline is going to give off that feel. But, to me, it’s a solid follow-up to what came before it with the TV series, feature film and the other ten OVAs.
Even weak Dirty Pair is still great Dirty Pair and I fully admit my fanboyish nature about this show. One of the advantages to this particular one is that while the plot is pretty standard and easy to figure out, they didn’t stretch it into a full feature-length runtime and kept it at just under an hour. That alone helps mitigate some of the problems that would have arisen should it have gone longer. As it is, it flows nicely and plays out quite well.
Flight 005 gives me exactly what I truly wanted in the end though; more Yuri. This entire franchise is one of those pieces of early anime history for me and continues to have nostalgic value. I can still remember just the glimpse of some of the TV material in that backroom in my youth and then eventually reading just as a plot summary and a few images in some 1980s magazin that talked about the franchise as a whole.
This is nicely entertaining girls with guns action that just makes me smile through the majority of it.