Light Novel: Dirty Pair

You will remember to call them "Lovely Angels", won't you?

Humanity has abandoned Earth and spread across the galaxy, but that doesn't mean there aren't any problems any more. In fact, there are quite a lot of them, and some of them are worse than people could have dreamed of before going into space. An agency of the galactic government called the Worlds Welfare Work Association ("3WA") has its own special way of dealing with these problems — it dispatches teams of highly-trained, well-equipped troubleshooters, called "Trouble Consultants", to find the trouble and, well, shoot it.

One of the most successful teams of Trouble Consultants is the "Lovely Angels", two teenaged girls who have a near-perfect success record. However, they also have a reputation of blowing up everything they touch (which isn't fair — only a third of their missions end with something being destroyed, and it's never their fault), which has led to their unofficial and hated nickname of the "Dirty Pair". On the other side of matters, the things they have accidentally blown up have on occasion been inhabited planets, so it's not as if their reputations are undeserved.

Haruka Takachiho created the Pair in a set of stories published as Light Novels (which continue to be published), set in the same continuity as his other series Crusher Joe (which debuted 2 years earlier). The production studio Sunrise adapted the stories into a successful action/comedy TV series in 1985, which continued into a movie, an OVA series, and two feature-length OVAs. In 1994, the franchise was rebooted as Dirty Pair Flash. Meanwhile, Adam Warren (future author of Empowered) and Toren Smith (of translation house Studio Proteus, who left after the first three miniseries) obtained the rights to create an English-original manga-styled Dirty Pair comic miniseries for Dark Horse Comics, technically based on the original novels instead of the anime.

The Dirty Pair anime was originally translated in the US by Streamline Pictures in the 90s, with the release of the movie and feature-length OVAs. Later, ADV Films released Flash, the OVA series, the feature-length OVAs, and the movie. They had plans to release the original TV series, which fell through due to poor sales. However, the TV series was finally licensed and released by Nozomi Entertainment. Nozomi followed up by re-releasing the movie, the original OVAs, and Flash in 2012, including both the ADV Films and the Streamline dubs (where applicable). The TV series is currently available on YouTube and DVD.

Dark Horse Comics is currently publishing translations of the first two light novels. They also published the comics by Adam Warren (after the original publisher Eclipse Comics went out of business), but those are out of print now.

Also, starting in March 2010, the seinen manga magazine Monthly Comic Ryu published an adaptation of the first light novel, The Great Adventures of the Dirty Pair, which was collected in two volumes. The artist for this version was Hisao Tamaki, who is most famous for the manga adaptation of Star Wars: A New Hope.

More information about the Dirty Pair, in all of their incarnations, is available at the website Tea Time in Elenore City.

(Original entry text written by Rob Kelk for The Anime Primer, and used with permission of the author.)

Dirty Pair, in its various incarnations, provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Prologue / Cold Open: The Movie has one, not too surprising since it (and especially the opening credits) is very much a James Bond homage / pastiche.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: BRIAN from episode one of the original series.
  • Allergic to Love: In both the TV series and Flash; both sufferers were rich, and Hilarity did Ensue.
  • Alternate Continuity: Dirty Pair Flash, Adam Warren's Amerimanga, the classic anime, and the original Light Novels.
  • Angels Pose: Probably one of the best (and first) examples in anime.
  • Bath Kick: Yuri kicks Carson for falling into her bubble bath.
  • Bathtub Scene: The most prominent one being in the movie Project EDEN.
  • Battle Butler: Bruno from the Movie.
  • Berserk Button: Do not call Kei and Yuri the "Dirty Pair" to their faces. ("That's "Lovely Angels", dammit!")
  • Boy of the Week
  • Bruce Lee Clone: One of these shows up in an episode of the classic anime OVAs.
  • Calling Card: An episode of the TV anime has the Angels as bait for a Serial Killer, posing as a door-to-door salesman, who specializes in killing attractive young women in their apartments and carving one of the letters "B, K, P, Q, R" on their foreheads. The reveal is that there were two serial killers — playing chess with each other, using the letters and the victims' room numbers to represent their moves.
  • The Cameo:
    • In episode 14, when Kei was watching TV, we briefly see one TV channel showing something featuring Crusher Joe. The Crusher Joe movie itself featured a longer show-within-the-show cameo appearance of Kei, Yuri, and Mugi. Since the original light novel versions of Crusher Joe and Dirty Pair are part of the same continuity, these qualify as continuity nods or mythology gags. Joe and Company also pop up on Mughi's screen (as do the Yaz versions of the pair) right before the big fight in Project EDEN.
    • A scene from the movie which has Kei and Yuri crashing a hover-car through the lobby of a building has Lum amongst the crowd of people running away in fear.
  • Canon Foreigner: Several in each of the several adaptations. The "classic" anime has Nammo and Chief Gooley.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: It's about as easy as air travel is today.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Hand waved in the novels with a "transparent polymer sheath" worn over the bikinis for protection. The author had based the design of the uniforms on female Professional Wrestling outfits.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Yuri got a message from someone who made one to her in the TV series.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Carson D. Carson from Project EDEN
  • Completely Different Title: "Dan et Danny" in France; "Kate & Julie" in Italy — because Kei sounds like "Chè(What)" in Italian.
  • The Con:
    • One TV episode has the Angels agreeing to help a handsome Con Man with his latest job — talking a drug kingpin into agreeing to buy a worthless planet by way of the Violin Scam. The con man tries to betray the Angels so he can flee with the money, but he doesn't get away with it.
    • In one of the Classic OVA episodes ("No One's Playing Anymore"), the Angels masquerade as a pair of rival Professional Gamblers in order to infiltrate a crooked casino, prove that the establishment's most popular game is rigged, and break a fellow Trouble Consultant's crippling gambling addiction.
  • Cool Ship: The Lovely Angel
  • Cyber Punk: Both the classic anime version and Flash flirt with this.
  • Da Chief: Chief Gooley is like James Bond's M, only more ill-tempered.
  • Darker and Edgier: The tone of Affair of Nolandia and Flight 005 Conspiracy are much more somber and serious compared to the tone of the series.
  • Dark-Skinned Redhead: Kei is the Ur Example of this trope.
  • Death Dealer: Yuri and the Bloody Card.
  • Destructive Saviour: Not all the time, but enough.
  • Diabolus Ex Machina: The Dirty Pair's absurdly destructive luck constantly triggers ways for their missions to end in disaster.
  • Ditch the Bodyguards
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The movie features a struggle between two political powers constantly on the verge of war. When you see those powers' flags, it becomes all too obvious that it's a Cold War thing.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Kei in the original series.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: But it's never their fault.
  • Effortless Amazonian Lift: As the "muscle" of the pair, Kei can carry around men far heavier than she is.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Professor Wattsman from Project EDEN.
  • Extraordinarily Empowered Girl
  • Fanservice: They don't call'em "battle bikinis" for nothing, you know.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry
  • Fashion Dissonance: It's obvious the anime versions were made during The Eighties just by looking at Kei's and Yuri's character designs.
  • Finagle's Law
  • First-Person Smartass: Kei, as the narrator of the light novels.
  • Furo Scene
  • Future Spandex: Worn by the heroines.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Kei
  • Genius Ditz: Both of the Angels tend to act like some variety of the Brainless Beauty until it's time to get dangerous. And sometimes, even then...
  • Girls with Guns: Probably kicked off the genre, at least within anime.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Lovely Angels are the absolute last resort.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Used to great effect in Flight 005 Conspiracy. When Danny is murdered, we don't see his face getting blown apart. Instead, it occurs offscreen with a sickening squelch sound, accompanied by some viscera hitting Kei in the face.
  • "The Graduate" Homage Shot: Used in one of the episodes of the OAVs.
  • Grand Theft Me: One TV episode has the Angels hired by a space travel magnate to deliver a ransom to a woman who'd kidnapped his young heir; the Action Prologue for the episode had the "kidnapper" rescue him from an arranged marriage. The pair seemed to be in love through most of the episode, but as soon as the Briefcase Full of Money is in her hands, she delivers a speech to her lover about how It Was All A Lie... until the briefcase gets knocked out of her hands. The briefcase also carried a device that let the magnate's secretary(/Dragon) take over the woman's body as the finale of a Batman Gambit to break the couple up. (See Time Dilation for what happens next.)
  • Hair Colors:
    • Kei's is supposed to be red, but it usually looks orange, if not pink.
    • Yuri's hair is described in the novels as black, but Adam Warren's is the only adaptation that doesn't change it to blue or violet.
  • Heroes "R" Us: The 3WA
  • Hero Insurance: Definitely parodied by the Angels' record.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The trope was started by editors trying to figure out where to place Kei and Yuri's partnership. Sometimes extrapolated by fans to Girls Love.
  • Homage Shot
  • Humongous Mecha
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Those "battle bikinis" again.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Chief Gooley's desk can bring up a bottle of antacid with the touch of a button. He uses it often.
  • Kawaiiko: Yuri
  • Kill All Humans: BRIAN, the Master Computer controlling the arcology where the Angels live in the first episode of the TV anime.
  • Landing in Someone's Bathtub: In Yuri's tub, and then Kei's tub.
  • Laser Blade: Kei gets to use one in Project EDEN.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the original series, when Yuri suggests that if life were a TV show, a hunk would offer them a lift. Cue an old man.
  • Light Novels
  • Lingerie Scene: One episode of the anime series has Kei running around in a bra and panties.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Kei gets trapped in a refrigerator in the final TV episode, in an incident involving the last piece of cheesecake and a fire extinguisher. All it does is give her a cold.
  • Logic Bomb: Kei manages to pull this on the supercomputer BRIAN in the first episode of the TV series, by double-dog-daring it to calculate whether she or Yuri is more attractive — distracting it long enough to arrange a Tele-Frag.
  • Lovable Rogue: Carson D. Carson, small-time thief and smuggler
  • Lovely Angels: The Trope Namer
  • Mad Scientist: Professor Wattsman. By the end of the movie he's still convinced that he's just shy of total control of the universe.
  • Master Computer: The 3WA Central Computer, which assigns the Pair's cases and clears them of guilt. Several other examples appear throughout the franchise.
  • Mega Neko: Mughi
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Buildings, worlds, and even entire solar systems destroyed. Remember: It's never their fault.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: A frequent occurrence. For example:
  • Mugged for Disguise: Done by Yuri when she poses as a train attendant in one episode. The real attendant ends up Bound and Gagged inside a cupboard.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: "Lucifer"
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Pretty much the point of the series.
  • Nonhuman Sidekick: Mughi
  • Noodle Incident: The Kuraretta trinary star incident, among others.
  • No Periods, Period: Played with in one episode:
    "Head over to the biogenetics lab right away!"
    "I can't make it today."
    "Why not?"
    "I have that monthly, um... you know..."
    "Oh... you mean...?"
    "I've got a date!"
  • Odd Couple
  • Panty Fighter: Are there, perhaps, too many versions of the Battle Bikini? As a topic name, anyway — you can never have too many versions of a Battle Bikini...
  • Persona Non Grata: Usually happens in the aftermath of their cases, assuming there's a place left to ban anything...
  • Pre-Explosion Glow
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: This plus Crossing the Line Twice is the only way to justify why Kei and Yuri are not considered evil in-universe. Remember, they've committed multiple planetary genocides completely by accident.
  • Psychic Powers: Kei and Yuri have Wonder Twin Clairvoyance in the Light Novels. Adam Warren's version Does in the Wizard by explaining it as a prank.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kei and Yuri practically define this trope for Lovely Angels teams.
  • Restraining Bolt: Subverted in the TV series; BRIAN decides to Kill All Humans because one was installed in him.
  • Robot Buddy: Nammo
  • Rule of Cool: In one episode, they reached the bad guys' base via orbital-insertion paradrop, followed by sky-surfing on the updraft from an active volcano followed by surfing on the lava!
  • Science Fiction
  • Secret Public Identity: Throughout the series the girls do nothing to hide their identities. On the other hand virtually no-one realizes just who they are until they check computer records — or someone uses that name. It's not like they look like anyone else (well there is one TV episode where they do... sorta).
  • Shout-Out:
    • The computer screens often contain blatant shout-outs, starting in the first episode where one screen flashes the names of the entire cast of Star Trek.
    • Another interesting example: a list of people who have a grudge against Kei and Yuri apparently includes Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, and Eric Clapton.
    • The series is also one giant shout-out to Professional Wrestling, more specifically the joshi promotion All Japan Womens Pro Wrestling. The Dirty Pair name is a reference to the Beauty Pair, AJW's top tag team of the Seventies and Eighties, while the Lovely Angels codename is a reference to another tag team called the Queen Angels. The organization's initials (3WA) are also a reference to the company's title belts (WWWA World and WWWA Tag Team championships). This is all lampshaded in the first episode of the series when, after Kei and Yuri announce their arrival, a member in the crowd expresses disbelief at being saved by "pro wrestlers".
  • Show Some Leg:
    • Kei actually flashes some guards as a distraction in one episode of the TV series.
    • In an earlier episode, Yuri plays it exactly as the name says (this qualifies as Let's Get Dangerous for Yuri).
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Kei, most prominently. As an example, Yuri's personal sidearm was more manageable, but Kei's is described In-Universe to be quite the Hand Cannon.
  • Space Western: One TV episode has the girls working for rival gangs on a desert planet. Kei goes for the classic look, Yuri goes for a serape. Sometimes called The "Yakisoba Western" episode.
  • Spanner in the Works: They solve more cases this way...
  • Spy Catsuit: The girls' alternate uniform during the TV series (in purple/black).
  • Stripperiffic: Just look at the picture at the top of this page.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: At least once a story and in one case no less than five solar systems.
  • Team Pet: Mughi
  • Tele-Frag: The Angels destroy a rogue A.I. in the first episode of the TV series by having a spaceship warp into its core.
  • Time Dilation: Episode 7 of the TV series has a space travel magnate trying to separate his son from a lover he disapproved ofnote  by launching her on the prototype of a slower-than-light "Time Dilation Tour" ship he had handy; the plan was that she'd only return after the son had aged the fifty years of the trip, so would he still love her then, bwa-ha-ha. The Lovely Angels can't stop the launch, but free the son in time for him to follow his love on another of the ships. The father finally gets on the final ship because he can't live without his son.
  • Title Confusion: The Movie was originally called Dirty Pair: The Movie, but virtually everyone — including ADV Films — calls it Project EDEN, after the Mad Scientist villain's master plan. It's understandably since the Battle Butler literally bangs a gong after Professor Wattsman says the magic words.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Takachiho's original stories are (depending on whom you ask) either annoyingly marred or significantly enlivened by being narrated by Kei. Her accounts of the Angels' adventures include bizarre, tangential, and frequently titillating details; occasional putdowns of Yuri, who's depicted as slightly vain and constantly on the make for potential paramours, especially if she can steal them from Kei; and what can only be described as ploys to gain the audience's sympathy. Everything suddenly becomes more comprehensible when one realizes that Kei is trying to flirt with the reader.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Most versions display this trope to one degree or another.
  • Walking Disaster Area: The reason for the "Dirty Pair" nickname is ruining any place they go to.
  • Whack A Mole: Episode 17 of the anime has the Angels following a tip that a wanted assassin will be aboard a spaceliner in disguise. After our suspects for the episode are introduced, the ship's captain complicates the plot by sabotaging everything, setting course toward a black hole, locking the ship's controls, and killing himself. The assassin — also a genius cryptoanalyst — is the only one aboard who can save the ship. But who'll be alive by then?
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Yuri
  • Zeerust: In the original novels reference such amazing inventions as energy weapons, flying cars, and MicroFiche.

Dirty Pair Flash provides specific examples of:

  • Amusement Park: The second series revolved around "World's World", a theme-park planet dedicated to faithfully recreating the culture of the Earth That Was. Since most of the story arc was set around the "20th-century Tokyo" area, this effectively served as a Setting Update.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Well, Ambiguously Brown — Poporo, the Angels' new supervisor starting with the second series.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: One episode ends with the pair charging who knows how many robots. Then subverts when they are shown after the credits wearing twin Slasher Smiles.
  • Canon Foreigner: Lady Flare; Toma
  • Carnival of Killers: In episode 5, Waldess is on the run from both the 3WA and the criminal organization Lucifer, and is trying to escape by spaceport. The 3WA's plan to arrest him is complicated by the fact that virtually every other person in the spaceport is an assassin sent to kill him.
  • Close-Call Haircut: Lady Flare; doubles as an Important Haircut for her Heel-Face Turn.
  • Combining Mecha: The Lovely Angel can separate into two ships.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: After Yuri accidentally blows up a space station, the girls are ordered to send each of the 300,000 survivors a hand-written letter of apology.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Waldess from the first series/Mission — CEO of the GCN megacorp, a member of the Lucifer crime syndicate, and the Big Bad of the storyline.
  • Costume Exaggeration: It had Kei go through a literally bra-bursting transformation sequence in the first episode, never seen again.
  • Da Chief: Garner and Poporo, both of whom were obvious homages to Gooley and his predecessors in the light novels.
  • Die Hard on an X: The episode "The Grey Avenger".
  • Evil Counterpart: Lady Flare
  • Groin Attack: The first episode of the OVA series has Yuri kicking a leading police officer in the groin after he began to harass her about an item that she had gotten from a recently deceased man. It's safe to say that his teammates weren't too pleased to see this and that they eventually went after Yuri, who somehow got Kei involved in the chase as well.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Yuri is very good with a beam sword.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: The fourth episode has Yuri sent into the virtual-reality dreamworld of a witness the 3WA needs to testify against the Big Bad. Most of the storyline is a Heroic Fantasy pastiche, but the ending is clearly a metaphor for the witness reaching an epiphany.
  • Kawaiiko: Yuri was Flanderized into an extreme example, but went through Character Development down to tolerable levels.
  • Laser Blade: Yuri's beam sword.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the dub, the girls are giving advice to a lovelorn hacker. Yuri suggests taking her to a nice foreign film. Kei interjects "Nah, movies with subtitles are boring!"
  • Leotard of Power: Flash has the Angels' battle outfits as differently accessorized versions of this.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Yuri has to free a scientist from one of these in an episode.
  • The Minnesota Fats: Lady Flare
  • Monowheel Mayhem: In the OVA series Dirty Pair Flash Mission 3, a young female assassin called Monica drives a Red Futuristic Monowheel.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Iris, part of a Generation Xerox of Kei and Yuri, uses the same uniform that the Pair wore in the classic anime version, and was clearly an Expy of that version of Kei. Her history as an agent turned mercenary might also be a nod to Shasti from the Adam Warren version.
    • Later, Yuri wears her classic counterpart's uniform as part of a series of cosplay outfits for a White Prince — long story.
  • Prophetic Names: You just know Lily is there to teach Yuri a lesson, since her name is a translation of Yuri's.
  • The Seven Mysteries: Flash squeezes this in to a High School Bizarro Episode.
  • Shout-Out: Continuing the Trek theme, one episode of Flash makes a reference to "Mudd's Passion Planet".
  • Skunk Stripe: This incarnation of Kei.
  • Space Elevator: Complete with an orbital ring at the top for all of them to connect to.
  • Transformation Sequence: One of the most controversial changes made in Dirty Pair Flash; Kei and Yuri both had wristbands that could change them into their uniforms (or any specialized clothing needed) this way.

Adam Warren's Dirty Pair comics provide specific examples of:

Alternative Title(s):

Dirty Pair Flash