There's just something nostalgic about digging back into older anime shows. I suppose the same could be said for just about anything, but with anime in particular it feels a little more special. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we live in Region 1 and these were originally only in Japan, but whatever the case it's a trip back in time to days when anime was untainted by modern clichés. Well, for the most part anyway.
Dirty Pair received a boxed set from RightStuf/Nozomi Entertainment not too long ago. The first thirteen episodes were presented on three DVDs, and it was a lighthearted blast from the past. Recently the second collection was released as well and it features the remaining episodes (14 through 26) along with some nice supplemental content. If you enjoyed the first collection, you'll definitely want to get your hands on this one!
In case you're unfamiliar with the series, Dirty Pair was originally released in 1985. The show was produced by Sunrise and went on to be succeeded by some OVA episodes, a film, and a revival as Dirty Pair Flash in 1994.
Taking place far into the future, like around the 22nd Century, the series focuses on two agents from the World Welfare Works Association. The WWWA is basically a group that polices the universe and keeps criminals in check across multiple planets. Known as the "Dirty Pair", Kei and Yuri are great at what they do. They are highly skilled enforcers armed with the latest technologies, and it doesn't hurt that they are also good at hand to hand combat as well. They also frequently run around half naked and their uniforms are basically little more than thongs and sports bra. You'd think that would have something to do with the "dirty" part of their name, but it's really a reference to the destructions that's left in their wake.
In this installment there are more episodic adventures, but a few that carry over to the next with some continuity as well. There are some episodes that just feel rather familiar to ones that came before it. It's not a bad thing, but there was a definite formula to the series as the show hit its stride and as a result some of it feels rather stale if you watch a chunk of episodes at a time. With that being said though, the content is mostly inventive enough to stand apart. Granted the content breaks down to Kei and Yuri chasing one criminal or another, getting hunted by someone themselves, or simply goofing around and finding their way into trouble. Joining them is a big cat-like alien bear thing and an artificially intelligent computer system.
The concept worked back in the 80's and thankfully it still works now. Granted the formula has become kind of old hat by this point and the fan-service is a little dated, but it's still a charmer through and through. This is the kind of show you can shut your brain off and enjoy for the simple good time that it is. If you enjoyed the first collection, you'll dig the second, and if you haven't seen the show then you'll want to consider it. This is one of the classics and it belongs in most anime collections.
Dirty Pair is presented on DVD with its original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. The show definitely wears its age and there's grain, dirt, scratches, fading, and some minor discoloration in parts. This all comes with the territory, however, and you really can't expect to find a better transfer for a 25 year old anime series. As it stands the animation is still quite good and there are scenes that look much sharper than others. Just take the age of the material into consideration and don't come looking for a high definition remaster, and you'll find that the presentation meets expectations, even if they are relatively low.
For audio, Dirty Pair comes with Japanese 2.0 with English subtitles. No English track is included here, though the individual disc cases in interior of the packaging clearly state that there is an English dub. The outer box, however, would be correct in detailing that there is not. The quality of the audio is on par with the video, in the sense that it's aged and not exactly a spring chicken. The dialogue is clear enough, as is the music and sound effects, but this is a flat sounding show that is occasionally muffled.
For bonus features this time around a slick artbox is in the works again. There's also a booklet included with artwork, information, and interviews with the show's creators from 1993 and from 2010. The discs themselves include clean animations, trailers, and multiple line art galleries. There's some real fan-service going on in this collection and it's definitely a nice touch. Then again RightStuf is generally known for putting together cohesive packages.
Dirty Pair is the perfect example of the fact that you don't need to be complicated to be entertaining. It's simple to a fault at times, but the adventures of Kei and Yuri are so much fun you won't care. It's old fashioned in some respects and ahead of its time in others. I strongly recommended the first collection, and though this second doesn't push the envelope, I'm going to do the same. The 11 season episodes and two OVA inclusions offer good old fashioned entertainment and there's nothing wrong with that. Strongly Recommended