"Then there are shows like Dirty Pair, which to this day feel as fresh as they did decades ago."
It’s easy to be adamant about cherished childhood memories; particularly those revolving around beloved TV shows that shaped our imagination and oftentimes influenced our future career pursuits. I still remember feeling timelessly connected to the eighties He-Man cartoon which sparked my passion for illustration and animation. I also remember re-watching the first few episodes not too long ago, dumbfounded by just how poorly the show aged. It’s as if a piece of me was shredded to pieces…leaving me wondering where I saw the appeal in the first place. Then there are shows like Dirty Pair, which to this day feel as fresh as they did decades ago. From the neon-lit disco-style opening to the absurd action sequences and charming humor, Dirty Pair is a nostalgia trip worth taking regardless of how much time passes.
Dirty Pair was one of the first in bringing the popular “girls with guns” sub-genre to Anime. Its immediate success was soon followed up by classics like Bubblegum Crisis, Gall Force, and the now legendary Ghost in The Shell and Appleseed. The two ladies have become genre idols, influencing most female anime action personas we see today. While their prominence in Japanese animation is unquestionably admirable, it’s how relevant the show feels almost thirty years later that truly impresses. The balance between hilarious eighties cheesiness and masterful animation is remarkably inviting, making the episodes feel like something that could have been released a few years ago. Yes, there’s the unpleasant 4:3 aspect ration and occasional loss in color, but Yoshikazu Yasuhiko’s art style is as electrifying as ever.
"Colors are crisp and vibrant with very subtle discolorations in a few scenes and nearly unnoticeable artifacts and frame distortions."
This latest collection is being released in two parts, but it would be foolish not to grab both sets at once. Every part comes packed with thirteen episodes (3 discs per set), each in its original Japanese audio and Litebox-style keepcases. The audio quality is surprisingly well preserved (particularity during the louder action sequences) and the video is top notch. Colors are crisp and vibrant with very subtle discolorations in a few scenes and nearly unnoticeable artifacts and frame distortions. I ran the DVDs via my PS3 with the upscaling mode set to on, which gave the overall contrast ratio and color saturation a significant quality boost. Considering the show originally aired in 1985, it still looks and sounds surprisingly contemporary.
"Whether you’re an Anime enthusiast or simply enjoy quality animation, Dirty Pair is a fantastic look back at one the finest eighties cartoon classics."
The show revolves around Kei and Yuri, two enticing members of the Trouble Consultant Team 234. The code named “Lovely Angels” are disaster magnets, always leaving a trail of utter chaos and madness…hence their nickname Dirty Pair. Despite their destructive temperament, they somehow always end up catching the bad guy, even if it means destroying half a city. Dirty Pair can be best described as a Cyberpunk action-comedy inspired by classics like Blade Runner and Mad Max. While the tone is clearly more lighthearted, fans of such films will absolutely devour the show’s diverse sci-fi aesthetic. The action sequences in nearly every episode are nothing short of amazing. The spectacular battle set pieces give Dirty Pair an impressive cinematic quality and while most of the series feels somewhat episodic in nature, the charming duo keeps each narrative segment thoroughly entertaining and captivating.
Whether you’re an Anime enthusiast or simply enjoy quality animation, Dirty Pair is a fantastic look back at one the finest eighties cartoon classics. Despite being nearly three decades old, Kei and Yuri are as lovable and hilarious as ever and the superbly preserved source material guarantees for a collection of the highest quality. Dirty Pair was a blast then…and it’s an absolute blast now!
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Review Format: DVD | Running Time: 325 Minutes Each