Dirty Pair Flash Anime Review
Daatii Pea FLASH
US Release By
6 25-minute episodes
1994-01-21 - 1994-06-23
Kei and Yuri are a newly formed pair of WWWA Trouble Consultants, the famed galactic investigators who keep the peace across the galaxy by blowing a whole lot of stuff up. Neither of the two is too happy about the pairing--Yuri is busy trying to make it to a date and her new trigger-happy partner isn't helping a whole lot. When a man on the run from some unfriendly-looking military types hands Kei a data card with some very important information on it, they're eventually going to have half the unsavory folks in the galaxy after them, and it's going to take a lot of luck, a lot of skill, and a lot of guns just to keep them alive, let alone solve the case.
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On its own, Dirty Pair Flash is a decent '90s-era action series. There's a healthy amount of action and collateral damage, the characters are interesting enough, and the stories, while unoriginal, don't seem hurried. As a series bearing the name Dirty Pair, however, Flash is a severe disappointment--it's been modernized and cleaned up, which effectively removes the wit and intentional B-movie charm that makes the original so much fun. Almost as bad, these Angels lack the cheerful antagonism and carefree, wanton destruction of their prototypes. On balance, it's an entertaining diversion, but forgettable.
This cleaner, less-sleazy, less-fun, less cheerfully catastrophic re-envisioning of the classic Dirty Pair is generic enough to be an insult to the name, and fans are liable to be sorely disappointed. On its own, though, Dirty Pair Flash does manage to hold its own as a solid, if generic, light action series.
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Dirty Pair Flash more and less lives up to the reputation of its predecessor. On the more side, this Dirty Pair re-envisioning has lots of action, plenty of guns, a smattering of high-tech gadgets, the half-clothed Lovely Angels, and a healthy helping of collateral damage. On the less side, the new Pair isn't anywhere near as dirty as the old one, nor even remotely as much fun--the offhanded wit, B-movie charm, and cheerful, frenetic mayhem that set the original apart are painfully lacking.
The result is a moderately well-made, rather generic, and entirely forgettable action series. And if there's any worse insult to something bearing the Dirty Pair name than generic and forgettable, I can't think of it.
Looked at entirely on its own, Dirty Pair Flash is a decent '90s-vintage action series. The main duo are interesting enough and have some slightly unusual chemistry, in that they really seem to hate each other. The stories, while unoriginal, don't seem hurried, even though the episodes aren't very long. Actually, it's a bit impressive that it manages to comfortably fit so much action (and even a bit of character development) into such short sections--it feels longer than it is.
That said, Dirty Pair Flash is no more memorable than any of a dozen other action OAV series, while the various incarnations of the original have managed to remain popular--with good reason--for over 20 years. Flash might be enjoyable on its own, but since it invokes the Dirty Pair name it demands to be compared, and it badly fails to live up to its namesake.
Admittedly, Dirty Pair Flash has a modern polish that the classic Dirty Pair outings lack, but the makeover goes too far. If it weren't for the title, you probably wouldn't even notice it's supposed to have anything to do with the original. The new Kei and Yuri aren't the same Pair, but they're barely even recognizable as the descendants (or cousins or something) they're supposed to be--they're just a generic anime duo whose relationship is more outright war than cheerfully antagonistic teamwork.
Aside from the new-and-not-at-all-improved Lovely Angels, there are some other things that seem to be missing, most notably the fun. In place of classic Pair's mix of hard sci-fi and almost-parodies of classic B-movies and Westerns, Flash attempts several equally unoriginal anime plots that are trying a little too hard to take themselves seriously. At least it's not all bad; fans of the Adam Warren comics (I'm thinking of Sim Hell specifically) will probably enjoy that the fourth episode takes place inside a fantasy sim.
Similarly, the action, although fast and furious, is missing something. There is, to Flash's credit, a fine madcap chase through town in the first episode, but most of the action is lacking that over-the-top flair that defines the original at its best. The gadgets, similarly, are generally less creative (also, no card of death). And, finally, the collateral damage is nowhere near the utterly catastrophic, planet-scale destruction that branded the old Dirty Pair with their name.
Basically, Flash seems to be an attempt to make the Dirty Pair more modern, cleaner, and more mainstream. Unfortunately, it succeeds on all counts. As a result, it's just another reasonably well done OAV series with one or more heroic but destructive women.
Visually, Dirty Pair Flash is above average in its action OAV class. The art is attractive, as are the character designs. The animation is smooth, and the action is fast, clean, and has plenty of punch. Also of note are the settings; there are a couple of imaginative locations for fights (most noteworthy being an icy cruse ship) and fairly nice background art to go with them.
I've only seen the dub, in which the acting is pretty good, if not worth particular note. Most memorable is some impressive yelling by the actress who voices Kei and a few decent performances in minor roles. The music is also above average, with a catchy song or two livening things up.
To sum up, this cleaner, less-sleazy, less-fun, less cheerfully catastrophic re-envisioning of the Dirty Pair is generic enough to be an insult to the name, and fans are liable to be sorely disappointed. On its own, though, Dirty Pair Flash does manage to hold its own as a solid, if generic, light action series.
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Iria is similar in spirit, and much better. Also very similar to Burn Up W and just about every other women-with-guns action series. As was made abundantly clear in the review, though the basic theme is the same as the original Dirty Pair movies, OAVs, and TV series, it's less sleazy and fun.
Notes and Trivia
Dirty Pair Flash is (loosely) based on the classic anime series, which was in turn based on a series of Japanese-language novels; this Kei and Yuri are supposed to be descendants of the original Lovely Angels. More recently, Dark Horse Comics has produced a string of comic book miniseries with Adam Warren's modernized-yet-faithful take on the original Lovely Angels. These comics are loads of fun, and filled with more collateral damage than you can shake an inaccurate rocket launcher at.
There are two sequel OVA series of five episodes each that follow this one, each produced not long after the previous one; both are available from Nozomi, and were from ADV before that.
US DVD Review
The DVD compiles the entire series onto one hybrid disc, tossing in some art, character bios, and trailers by way of bonuses.
Though not even close to the sleaze level of the original Pair, this series has enough violence and skimpy outfits to warrant a 13-up.
Violence: 3 - Plenty of people getting shot.
Nudity: 1 - Kei never has anything that's not reasonably skimpy on.
Sex/Mature Themes: 0 - A drop of romance.
Language: 1 - A few mild expletives (ADV showed remarkable restraint).
Available in North America from Nozomi on a bilingual DVD set that also includes both sequel series. Was previously available on bilingual DVD from ADV alone (as "Angels in Trouble"), or on the "Perfect Collection" set that includes the other two sequel series. Was originally available from ADV on three subtitled or dubbed VHS volumes.