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
, 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:
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:
- Action Survivor: Cory Emerson, the Intrepid Reporter from the "Plague of Angels" miniseries, becomes one of these when she's drawn into one of the Angels' cases.
- Body Surf: Carvalho from "A Plague of Angels", an A.I. terrorist who hijacks his victims' bodies by swapping the thumb drive containing him onto their Brain–Computer Interface ports.
- Bond One-Liner: Warren's version took a course in this — "Combat Quips".
- Canon Foreigner: Shasti; Cory Emerson; Kevin J. Sleet
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Shasti
- Cyber Punk: This version, drifting towards full-scale Transhumanism as time passed.
- Designer Babies: Kei and Yuri in this version are both genetically enhanced, as are many others in their universe.
- Dying Dream: In "Sim Hell", Kei's nightmare of dying in a crash and being sent to hell is later hinted to have been an actual near-death experience.
- Evil Counterpart: Shasti
- Gambit Roulette: In the second miniseries, Shasti uses a multi-layer roulette to pull off The Caper. The Angels only get on her trail when Kei sees her in a crowd at random and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Hate Plague: In "Fatal, but Not Serious", a group of terrorists engineer one of these to turn a convention of fans of the Lovely Angels into Laser-Guided Tykebombs aimed straight at them.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: Most of the plot of "Sim Hell"
- The Minnesota Fats: Shasti
- Mythology Gag:
- Adam Warren's version used the novels' version of the 3WA Battle Bikini in flashbacks, while also using their fiercer version of Mughi.
- "Run from the Future" also introduced the shapechanging uniforms from Dirty Pair Flash.
- Nanomachines: This version is set after the Earth was destroyed in a "grey goo" disaster known as the Nanoclysm; nanomachines are strictly regulated afterwards — in theory, anyway.
- No Transhumanism Allowed: Averted in the Warren comics; "Run from the Future" plays with this, having the pair infiltrate a space colony established for those too transhuman for normal society — while using more transhumanist toys than ever before.
- Split Personality: Shasti was an Artificial Human Super Soldier designed with four personalities to handle varying situations effectively.
- Split Personality Takeover: Caused Shasti's Face-Heel Turn when she uploaded a copy of the mind of a serial killer to serve (temporarily) as her fourth personality.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Warren wrote a short story showing Kei and Yuri constantly resuming old arguments through most of their history together.