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-styledDirty 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.)
The various incarnations of Dirty Pair provide examples of:
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.
Carnival of Killers: In Flash 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.
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 and Unusual Punishment: After Yuri accidentally blows up a space station in Flash the girls are ordered to send each of the 300,000 survivors a hand-written letter of apology.
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.
Fountain of Expies: The two title characters, who compose of a Tomboy and Girly Girl pair, the tomboy usually having short reddish hair (Though it can be long or just lighter colored hair in general as well) and the girly girl having long, more feminine hair (and like with the tomboy, can also be inveerted as having short, yet dark colored hair) . Eclair and Lumiare', Nagisaand Honoka, and Panty and Stocking are 3 of the best known pairs that are often thought of as being the best known direct expys the two.
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.)
Groin Attack: The first episode of the Flash OVA series had 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.
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.
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.
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.
Journey to the Center of the Mind: The fourth episode of Flash 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.
Laser Blade: Flash!Yuri's beam sword. Kei also gets to use one in Project EDEN.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the dub of Flash, 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!"
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.
Lotus-Eater Machine: Most of the plot of "Sim Hell"; Yuri has to free a scientist from one of these in Flash.
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.
Dirty Pair Flash's Iris, part of a Generation Xerox of Kei and Yuri, used 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 in the same series, Yuri wears her classic counterpart's uniform as part of a series of cosplay outfits for a White Prince — long story.
"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!"
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.
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 thatname. It's not like they look like anyone else (well there is one TV episode where they do... sorta).
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".
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 had a space travel magnate trying to separate his son from a lover he disapproved ofnote because she was a male-to-female transsexual 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.
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.
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. Warren wrote a short story showing Kei and Yuri constantly resuming old arguments through most of their history together.
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?