Beginning in the year 2160, the stories follow the adventures of members of "Crusher Conference", an organization of people who perform dangerous tasks for a fee.
The series was adapted into a short (1 volume) manga series (illustrated by Fujihiko Hosono) in 1979, an animated film released in 1983, and two OVA short features released in 1989. The manga was published in English by Studio Ironcat in 2000, and the anime was released in English by Animeigo in 1997note . (There was also a heavily-cut dub-only version of the movie released in 1988, titled Crushers, by Jim Terry Productionsnote .) The light novels remain untranslated.
This series provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Alfin is a Rebellious Princess that decided to become a Crusher, and as a result she is very good at piloting a star-fighter, driving an Awesome Personnel Carrier, and is a crack shot with guns, grenades and rocket launchers.
- Arm Cannon: Talos has a machine gun hidden under his prosthetic left hand.
- Asteroid Miners: The first OVA, The Ice Prison, involves an ice asteroid that was placed in orbit around a planet and used as a Hellhole Prison for political dissidents (and when the local President Evil decided it was best to get rid of them, his government faked an accident that turned the asteroid's orbit fatally unstable to justify blowing it to smithereens). Joe mentions in passing while his Crusher team tries to figure out how to fix the asteroid's orbit that this kind of mining is an occasional step for terraforming planets.
- Chicken Walker: The Ostall (better known as the Locust).
- Crossover: The prequel story Doruroi no Arashi covers the same events as Dirty Pair no Dairansen.
- Cyborg: Talos. The first OVA ("The Ice Prison") has Ricky being cheeky (because the Crusher Conference is cutting their vacation short) by saying that all Talos needs is a change of oil and away he goes, but the rest of the team needs to rest.
- Gatling Good: Talos' Arm Cannon is a gatling-type gun (and as expected it's pretty destructive).
- Ghost Ship: In the manga, Joe's team is hired to find a retrieve a freighter called St. Germi, which disappeared en route to its destination and since then seems to be traveling at random, leading to rumors that it's a ghost ship. In a way, it really is — the ship is being controlled by a psychic energy being, which was attracted to the ore on board the ship, because that kind of ore acts like a drug to it.
- Heroes "R" Us: The Crusher Organization. The apparent difference between it and the World Welfare Works Association is that the Crushers lean more towards being Private Military Contractors.
- Little Guy, Big Buddy: During the parts of the movie where they're separated from the other half of the team, Ricky and Talos.
- Small Boy, Big Gun: At one point in the movie, Ricky takes down some enemies with a shoulder-wielded assault cannon bigger than he is.
- Human Popsicle: The plot of the movie begins with Joe being hired to transport a cryogenically-preserved person.
- Rebellious Princess: Alfin ran away from her kingdom home to become a Crusher.
- Robot Buddy: Dongo. Picture R2-D2 who does some occasional porn reading.
- Show Within a Show: In the movie, there's a scene at a drive-in theater where the film being shown features Kei, Yuri, and Mugi (whose character designs are much more like the ones in the original novels than in any later version of Dirty Pair, because the novels' illustrator Yasuhiko Yoshikazu was the character designer for the Crusher Joe movie); counts as a Continuity Nod. note
- Space Pirates: Some of the antagonists.