Anime Meta-Review


Dirty Pair


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-16,26 of 26
  • type: TV
  • grade: watchable
  • form: sub
  • source: fansub
  • made: 1985
  • Review created: Thu Mar 29 15:30:36 EST 2001
  • mod: none

An older title, and perhaps the archetypal example of the `gals with guns' anime. This title also spawned a lot of descendants, and retains a quite sizable fan-base. As such it's an interesting title.


In the far future mankind has expanded into space and established a foothold on many strange and alien planets. And while we don't seem to have found any hostile aliens to feud with human politics, division and crime still exist in healthy proportions. And while many planets have police or security forces there are still lots of crimes that need specialist help or cross planet authority.

The biggest organization of this type is the 3WA (or WWWA) which is home to a large number of skilled investigators and operatives. It's not exactly clear how much legal power they have, but in general they're free to take on the tough, strange or wide problems and solve them. Since local support often seems to involve the local authorities stepping aside rather than actually helping a 3WA operative needs sufficient skills and equipment to defeat any opposition.

And one of the most `effective' teams is the `Lovely angels' who are frequently picked by the computer for some of the toughest assignments. Much to the horror of their boss, for while their methods are effective the collateral damage is frequently immense. Indeed their nickname, the `dirty pair' is much better known and feared throughout the galaxy, by both criminals and law-abiding citizens.


One of the reasons the synopsis is pretty sparse is because this show doesn't wast much time on setting the scene. The focus is on impressively large scale action in a sci-fi setting, and the rest is mostly support for that. Thus the exact mechanisms of the of how the WWWA works remain largely mysterious. In addition the individual stories are largely episodic, with the team being set a case that is concluded by the end of the episode. This pace meaning that long character pieces or patient investigating, which competes with the action requirement, are not in great abundance.

The team themselves are thrust into the spot light with even less of an introduction. Fortunately they're fairly chatty and we start to see flash's of personality, although you've got to wonder how they became that way. The first thing to remember is that they are extremely skilled and professional. They never intend to cause damage. However they are gifted with immense personal `luck', rebellious natures and a complete focus on the mission. For this reason `little' things, like side-effects, consequences or immense danger simply doesn't appear to bother them. This combines with the story to mean that they are casually causing destruction on an epic scale from the very first episode.

As for the members of the team, there are two females and two pets, plus the teams spaceship. One of the girls is extremely physical and loves a good fight, the other's a bit more subtle but also has impressive skills. They constantly chat and bicker like sisters, even in the midst of danger. The pets include an intelligent robot (think an egg with shoes) that does lots of the technical stuff. The other pet is perhaps one of the coolest non-speaking characters i've seen. Imagine a huge ball of muscle, about 6' high at the shoulder. Add stumpy legs, a vaguely cat inspired muzzle and signs of both intelligence and personality and you're probably plenty confused. Whatever the hell it's supposed to be it's the silent partner in many of their schemes. Kit them out with lots of gadgets and weapons to go with their skills and the dirty pair are actually a fairly tough bunch of trouble-shooters.

And basically that's all that is needed. A problem arises and the girls are sent in. Through some planning, which generally culminates in some sort of action, they carry out the mission. The freedom to roam space, and invent culture and artifacts as needed, means there's quite a wide variety to the possible stories. And some of the stories are quite strange, with good incidental characters and a touch of comedy. Meanwhile the team is pretty entertaining in their own right, and the interaction between them quite fun.

The weaknesses with the show should be fairly obvious. They're a natural by-product of the focus. That being that the need for a full story and lots of action in a single episode keeps the stories fairly basic. Either that or they're forced to make some quite dramatic jumps and coicidences to make it all work. This also restricts from character work and world development. Couple this with the uneasy combination between serious action and comedy and it can easily feel pretty artificial. And while it's good fun the expectations based on its status as an anime may well be too high. Still, I imagine this is one of those shows that became better as it continued, something that seems common with sci-fi.

Certainly the animation, while surprisingly ambitious and quite skilled has aged. Tricks and simplifications, plus less than smooth motion, are required to make the scenes work at all. Likewise the dirty pair themselves, despite quite a lot of flesh on show, don't match the modern anime vision of a `sexy' girl. That said some of the action, in connection with the stories, is quite imaginative and there are some nice sequences. It's still watchable, but you keep noticing things that betray it's age in technique and style. The voices fit the characters well, but are fairly agressive. The music, as befits it's age, sounds rather too `disco' for comfort... but some of the stuff is suprisingly cool and catchy.

Other Reviews

While there's several reviews for `Dirty Pair: Flash', which was a modern revision to this material, none of my regular sites have a review for this. Still, THEM mentioned that the origin was as a novel, which helps explain why there's so little character introduction.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:17 WST 2009