Dirty Pair is, like Project A-ko one of those well known franchises that started in the 80s and ran well into the 90s. The Dirty Pair Flash OVAs came out in the mid 90s as an alternate universe for the TV series & OVAs of the 80s. Like those instalments, it was handled by Sunrise. Yes, the studio behind Gundam, Code Geass & Gintama just to name a few. How does this hold up? Let’s take a look and see.
We open with a computer conversing with the chief of the 3WA about the status of the “lovely angel” pair of Kei and Yuri and how they’re rubbish at their job. Apparently, they both did well at practical exams but terribly at academics and they’ve also both been suspended a fair number of times. We cut to Yuri taking a walk down a street when she happens to run into Kei. She wonders how Kei can be out and about so care-freely when she’s currently suspended. An agent crashes in front of her and hands her a card that she has to get to the 3WA. Naturally, Yuri tries to pawn it off on Kei because she has a date. And the two end up getting caught in a wacky chase sequence leading steadily back to their headquarters.
The biggest issue with Dirty Pair Flash is that it’s not particularly skilful when it comes to switching between more absurd and more serious content. You’ll get a ridiculous action sequence in an airport and, not long after, the closure of Lady Flair’s supposedly tragic story. And these aren’t elements that work well together. In general the OVA doesn’t do well with trying to handle anything more serious because it’s always fresh from, or shortly away from cutting to, something absurd.
Now, I will give the OVA credit on that front. It has some really funny moments. The chase sequence from the first episode is quite good and the airport sequence is the OVA at its absolute best. Really, when it’s just going with absurd action sequences, it works. And the series is largely trying to be comedic. Those moments where it takes itself a little more seriously are rare.
The characters in this are pretty basic. The OVA tries to add some complexity with the whole Iris and Molly story and by having Yuri work with someone who has all of her faults to try and force her to grow as a character but the characterisation never really moves beyond the very simple archetypes that we started with. Which works fine when the OVA is going with its absurd action and doesn’t really when it’s trying to be a bit more serious. One thing I do quite like about the way it handles the characterisation is the whole arc with Yuri & Kei coming together as partners. It’s definitely the closest the OVA comes to having real complexity with its characters.
The artwork is actually pretty good. It’s a bit dated by today’s standards, certainly. But it still holds up pretty well. The OVA does delve into fan-service a bit, although not as much as I anticipated, but it’s also got some interesting designs for its futuristic technology and the absurd action sequences are nicely done. Which does contribute to them being the height of the OVA.
Matsumoto Rica & Kouda Mariko do a nice job as our leading ladies. The rest of the cast is perfectly fine, considering most of them have very minor roles and those who have larger roles are very basic roles like the insane antagonist and the sympathetic antagonist. I quite like the music. Wakakusa Kei did a good job on the soundtrack. It’s certainly better than what he did for Hikaru no Go.
There’s not really any. We know Yuri dates a lot of guys and Kei doesn’t show romantic interest in anyone.
Dirty Pair Flash is a decent enough anime. If you’re looking for an anime buddy cop work about a couple of ladies, it’ll probably satisfy you well enough. If you want something more complex or a completely unique take on that whole formula, it’s not the series you’re looking for. For myself, I give it a 6/10. Next week I’ll look at Yuu Yuu Hakusho: The Film.