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"It's not our fault!"
Humanity has abandoned Earth and spread across the galaxy, but that doesn't mean there aren't any problems any more. In fact, there are quite a lot of them, and some of them are worse than people could have dreamed of before going into space. An agency of the galactic government called the Worlds Welfare Work Association ("3WA") has its own special way of dealing with these problems -- it dispatches teams of highly-trained, well-equipped troubleshooters, called "Trouble Consultants", to find the trouble and, well, shoot it.
One of the most successful teams of Trouble Consultants is the "Lovely Angels", two teenaged girls who have a near-perfect success record. However, they also have a reputation of blowing up everything they touch (which isn't fair -- only about a third of their missions end with something being destroyed, and it's never their fault), which has led to their unofficial and hated nickname of the "Dirty Pair". On the other side of matters, the things they have accidentally blown up have on occasion been inhabited planets, so it's not as if their reputations are undeserved.
Haruka Takachiho created the Pair in a set of stories published as Light Novels (which continue to be published), set in the same continuity as his other series Crusher Joe (which debuted 2 years earlier). The production studio Sunrise adapted the stories into a successful action/comedy TV series in 1985, which continued into a movie, an OVA series, and two feature-length OVAs. In 1994, the franchise was rebooted as Dirty Pair Flash. Meanwhile, Adam Warren (future author of Empowered) and Toren Smith (of translation house Studio Proteus, who left after the first three miniseries) obtained the rights to create an English-original manga-styled Dirty Pair comic miniseries for Dark Horse Comics, technically based on the original novels instead of the anime.
The Dirty Pair anime was originally translated in the US by Streamline Pictures in the 90s, with the release of the movie and feature-length OVAs. Later, ADV Films released Flash, the OVA series, the feature-length OVAs, and the movie. They had plans to release the original TV series, which fell through due to poor sales. However, the TV series was finally licensed and released by Nozomi Entertainment. Nozomi has now announced plans to re-release the movies, the original OVAs, and Flash in 2012. The TV series is currently available on YouTube and DVD.
Dark Horse Comics is currently publishing translations of the first two light novels. They also published the comics by Adam Warren (after the original publisher Eclipse Comics went out of business), but those are out of print now.
Also, starting in March 2010, the Seinen manga magazine Monthly Comic Ryu started publishing an adaptation of the first light novel, The Great Adventures of the Dirty Pair. The artist for this version is Hisao Tamaki, who is most famous for the manga adaptation of Star Wars: A New Hope.
More information about the Dirty Pair, in all of their incarnations, is available at the website Tea Time in Elenore City.
(Original entry text written by Rob Kelk for The Anime Primer, and used with permission of the author.)
The various incarnations of Dirty Pair provide examples of:
- Action Prologue / Cold Open: The Movie has one, not too surprising since it (and especially the opening credits) is very much a James Bond pastiche.
- Action Survivor: Cory Emerson, the Intrepid Reporter from the "Plague of Angels" miniseries, becomes one of these when she's drawn into one of the Angels' cases.
- Allergic to Love: In both the TV series and Flash; both sufferers were rich, and Hilarity did Ensue.
- Alternate Continuity: Dirty Pair Flash, Adam Warren's Amerimanga, the classic anime, and the original Light Novels.
- Angels Pose: Probably one of the best (and first) examples in anime.
- Bath Kick: Yuri kicks Carson for falling into her bubble bath.
- Battle Butler: Bruno from the Movie.
- Berserk Button: Do not call Kei and Yuri the "Dirty Pair" to their faces.
- Bolivian Army Ending: One Flash episode ends with the pair charging who knows how many robots. Then subverts when they are shown after the credits wearing twin Slasher Smiles.
- Boy of the Week
- Brain Uploading
- Bruce Lee Clone: One of these shows up in an episode of the classic anime OVAs.
- Body Surf: Carvalho from A Plague of Angels, an A.I. terrorist who hijacks his victims' bodies by swapping the thumb drive containing him onto their Brain-Computer Interface ports.
- Bond One-Liner: Warren's version took a course in this -- "Combat Quips".
- Calling Card: An episode of the TV anime has the Angels as bait for a Serial Killer, posing as a door-to-door salesman, who specializes in killing attractive young women in their apartments and carving one of the letters "B, K, P, Q, R" on their foreheads. The reveal is that there were two serial killers -- playing chess with each other, using the letters and the victims' room numbers to represent their moves.
- The Cameo: In episode 14, when Kei was watching TV, we briefly see one TV channel showing something featuring Crusher Joe. The Crusher Joe movie itself featured a longer show-within-the-show cameo appearance of Kei, Yuri, and Mugi. Since the original light novel versions of Crusher Joe and Dirty Pair are part of the same continuity, these qualify as continuity nods or mythology gags. Joe and Company also pop up on Mughi's screen (as do the Yaz versions of the pair) right before the big fight in Project EDEN.
- Canon Foreigner: Several in each of the several adaptations:
- Casual Interstellar Travel: It's about as easy as air travel is today.
- Childhood Marriage Promise: Yuri got a message from someone who made one to her in the TV series.
- Classy Cat Burglar: Carson D. Carson from Project EDEN
- Close-Call Haircut: Lady Flare from Flash; doubles as an Important Haircut for her Heel Face Turn.
- Chainmail Bikini: Hand waved in the novels with a "transparent polymer sheath" worn over the bikinis for protection. The author had based the design of the uniforms on female Pro Wrestling outfits.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Shasti
- Combining Mecha: The Lovely Angel can separate into two ships in Dirty Pair Flash
- Completely Different Title: "Dan et Danny" in France; "Kate & Julie" in Italy -- because Kei sounds like "Chè(What)" in Italian.
- The Con: One TV episode has the Angels agreeing to help a handsome Con Man with his latest job -- talking a drug kingpin into agreeing to buy a worthless planet by way of the Violin Scam. The con man tries to betray the Angels so he can flee with the money, but he doesn't get away with it.
- Cool Ship: The Lovely Angel
- Corrupt Corporate Executive
- Cyberpunk: Adam Warren's version, drifting towards full-scale Transhumanism as time passed. Both the classic anime version and Flash also flirted with this.
- Da Chief: Chief Gooley is like James Bond's M, only more ill-tempered. Also Garner and Poporo from Flash.
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: Kei is the Ur Example of this trope.
- Death Dealer: Yuri and the Bloody Card.
- Designer Babies: The Adam Warren versions are both genetically enhanced, as are many others in their universe.
- Destructive Saviour: Not all the time, but enough.
- Diabolus Ex Machina
- Ditch the Bodyguards
- Die Hard on an X: The Flash episode "The Grey Avenger".
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The movie features a struggle between two political powers constantly on the verge of war. When you see those powers' flags, it becomes all too obvious that it's a Cold War thing.
- Dying Dream: In "Sim Hell", Kei's nightmare of dying in a crash and being sent to hell is hinted to be real for a moment near the end.
- Earthshattering Kaboom: But it's never their fault.
- Effortless Amazonian Lift: As the "muscle" of the pair, Kei can carry around men far heavier than she is.
- Evil Counterpart: Lady Flare from Dirty Pair Flash; Shasti from Adam Warren's comics.
- Evilutionary Biologist: Professor Wattsman from Project EDEN.
- Extraordinarily Empowered Girl
- Fashionable Asymmetry
- Fashion Dissonance: It's obvious the anime versions were made during The Eighties just by looking at Kei's and Yuri's character designs.
- Fan Service: They don't call'em "battle bikinis" for nothing, you know.
- Finagle's Law
- Furo Scene
- Future Spandex: Worn by the heroines.
- Gender Blender Name: Kei
- Genius Ditz: Both of the Angels tend to act like some variety of the Brainless Beauty until it's time to get dangerous. And sometimes, even then...
- Girls with Guns: Probably kicked off the genre, at least within anime.
- Godzilla Threshold: The Lovely Angels are the absolute last resort.
- The Graduate Homage Shot: Used in one of the episodes of the OAVs.
- Grand Theft Me: One TV episode has the Angels hired by a space travel magnate to deliver a ransom to a woman who'd kidnapped his young heir; the Action Prologue for the episode had the "kidnapper" rescue him from an arranged marriage. The pair seemed to be in love through most of the episode, but as soon as the Briefcase Full of Money is in her hands, she delivers a speech to her lover about how It Was All A Lie... until the briefcase gets knocked out of her hands. The briefcase also carried a device that let the magnate's secretary(/Dragon) take over the woman's body as the finale of a Batman Gambit to break the couple up. (See Time Dilation for what happens next.)
- Hair Colors: Kei's is supposed to be red, but it usually looks pink.
- Hate Plague: In "Fatal, but Not Serious", a group of terrorists engineer one of these to turn a convention of fans of the Lovely Angels into Laser Guided Tykebombs aimed straight at them.
- Heroes-R-Us: The 3WA
- Hero Insurance: Definitely parodied by the Angels' record.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: The trope was started by editors trying to figure out where to place Kei and Yuri's partnership. Sometimes extrapolated by fans to Girls Love.
- Homage Shot
- Humongous Mecha
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Flash!Yuri is very good with a beam sword.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Those "battle bikinis" again.
- Kawaiiko: Yuri. Flash!Yuri was Flanderized into an extreme example, but went through Character Development down to tolerable levels.
- Kill All Humans: BRIAN', the Master Computer controlling the arcology where the Angels live in the first episode of the TV anime.
- Landing in Someone's Bathtub: In Yuri's tub, and then Kei's tub.
- Laser Blade: Flash!Yuri's beam sword. Kei also gets to use one in Project EDEN.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the dub of Flash, the girls are giving advice to a lovelorn hacker. Yuri suggests taking her to a nice foreign film. Kei interjects "Nah, movies with subtitles are boring!"
- Light Novels
- Lingerie Scene: One episode of the anime series has Kei running around in a bra and panties.
- Locked in a Freezer: Kei gets trapped in a refrigerator in the final TV episode, in an incident involving the last piece of cheesecake and a fire extinguisher. All it does is give her a cold
- Logic Bomb: Kei manages to pull this on the supercomputer BRIAN in the first episode of the TV series, by double-dog-daring it to calculate whether she or Yuri is more attractive -- distracting it long enough to arrange a Tele Frag.
- Lotus Eater Machine: Most of the plot of "Sim Hell"; Yuri has to free a scientist from one of these in Flash.
- Lovable Rogue: Carson D. Carson, small-time thief and smuggler
- Lovely Angels: The Trope Namer
- Mad Scientist: Professor Wattsman. By the end of the movie he's still convinced that he's just shy of total control of the universe.
- Master Computer: The 3WA Central Computer, which assigns the Pair's cases and clears them of guilt.
- Mega Neko: Mughi -- except for Dirty Pair Flash.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Buildings, worlds, and even entire solar systems destroyed. Remember: It's never their fault.
- The Minnesota Fats: Shasti from the American comics; Lady Flare from Flash.
- Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: A frequent occurance. For example:
- Monowheel Mayhem: In the OVA series Dirty Pair Flash Mission 3, a young female assassin called Monica drives a Red Futuristic Monowheel.
- Mythology Gag: Several in various versions:
- Adam Warren's version used the novels' version of the 3WA Battle Bikini in flashbacks, while also using their fiercer version of Mughi. Run from the Future also introduced the shapechanging uniforms from Dirty Pair Flash.
- Dirty Pair Flash's Iris, part of a Generation Xerox of Kei and Yuri, used the same uniform that the Pair wore in the classic anime version, and was clearly an Expy of that version of Kei. Her history as an agent turned mercenary might also be a nod to Shasti from the Adam Warren version.
- Later in the same series, Yuri wears her classic counterpart's uniform as part of a series of cosplay outfits for a White Prince -- long story.
- Nanomachines: Adam Warren's version is set after the Earth was destroyed in a "grey goo" disaster known as the Nanoclysm; nanomachines are strictly regulated afterwards -- in theory, anyway.
- Nebulous Evil Organisation: "Lucifer"
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Pretty much the point of the series.
- Noodle Incident: The Kuraretta trinary star incident, among others.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Mughi
- No Periods, Period: Played with in one episode:
"Head over to the biogenetics lab right away!"
"I can't make it today."
"I have that monthly, um... you know..."
"Oh... you mean...?"
"I've got a date!"
- No Transhumanism Allowed: Averted in the Warren comics; Run from the Future plays with this, having the pair infiltrate a space colony established for those too transhuman for normal society -- while using more transhumanist toys than ever before.
- Odd Couple
- Panty Fighter: Are there, perhaps, too many versions of the Battle Bikini? As a topic name, anyway -- you can never have too many versions of a Battle Bikini...
- Persona Non Grata: Usually happens in the aftermath of their cases, assuming there's a place left to ban anything...
- Pre-Explosion Glow
- Prophetic Names: You just know Lily in Flash is there to teach Yuri a lesson, since her name is a translation of Yuri's.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: Accidental though it may have been, this plus Crossing the Line Twice is the only way to justify why Kei and Yuri are not considered Complete Monsters in-universe. Remember, they've committed (accidentally) multiple planetary genocides.
- Psychic Powers: Kei and Yuri have Wonder Twin Powers Clairvoyance in the Light Novels. Adam Warren's version Does in the Wizard by explaining it as a prank.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni / Tomboy and Girly Girl: Kei and Yuri practically define this trope for Lovely Angels teams.
- Restraining Bolt: Subverted in the TV series; BRIAN decides to Kill All Humans because one was installed in him.
- Robot Buddy: Nammo
- Rule of Cool: In one episode, they reached the bad guys' base via orbital-insertion paradrop, followed by sky-surfing on the updraft from an active volcano followed by surfing on the lava!
- Science Fiction
- Secret Public Identity: Throughout the series the girls do nothing to hide their identities. On the other hand virtually no-one realizes just who they are until they check computer records -- or someone uses that name. It's not like they look like anyone else (well there is one TV episode where they do... sorta).
- The Seven Mysteries: Flash squeezes this in to a High School AU Day at the Bizarro.
- The computer screens often contain blatant shout outs, starting in the first episode where one screen flashes the names of the entire cast of Star Trek the Original Series.
- Continuing the Trek theme, one episode of Flash makes a reference to "Mudd's Passion Planet".
- Another interesting example: a list of people who have a grudge against Kei and Yuri apparently includes Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, and Eric Clapton.
- The series is also one giant shout out to Professional Wrestling, more specifically the joshi promotion All Japan Womens Pro Wrestling. The Dirty Pair name is a reference to the Beauty Pair, AJW's top tag team, while the Lovely Angels codename is a reference to another tag team called the Queen Angels. The organization's initials (3WA) are also a reference to the company's title belts (WWWA World and WWWA Tag Team championships). This is all lampshaded in the first episode of the series when, after Kei and Yuri announce their arrival, a member in the crowd expresses disbelief at being saved by "pro wrestlers".
- The computer screens often contain blatant shout outs, starting in the first episode where one screen flashes the names of the entire cast of Star Trek the Original Series.
- Show Some Leg
- Kei actually flashes some guards as a distraction in one episode of the TV series.
- In an earlier episode Yuri plays it exactly as the name says (this qualifies as Let's Get Dangerous for Yuri).
- Skunk Stripe: The Flash incarnation of Kei.
- Small Girl, Big Gun
- Space Elevator: In Flash, complete with an orbital ring at the top for all of them to connect to.
- Space Western: One TV episode has the girls working for rival gangs on a desert planet. Kei goes for the classic look, Yuri goes for a serape. Sometimes called The "Yakisoba Western" episode.
- Spanner in the Works: They solve more cases this way...
- Split Personality: Shasti, from the Adam Warren comics, was an Artificial Human Super Soldier designed with four personalities to handle varying situations effectively.
- Spy Catsuit: The girl's alternate uniform during the TV series (in purple/black).
- Stripperiffic: Just look at the picture at the top of this page.
- Stuff Blowing Up: At least once a story and in one case no less than five solar systems.
- Tele Frag: The Angels destroy a rogue A.I. in the first episode of the TV series by having a spaceship warp into its core.
- Time Dilation: Episode 7 of the TV series had a space travel magnate trying to separate his son from a lover he disapproved of by launching her on the prototype of a slower-than-light "Time Dilation Tour" ship he had handy; the plan was that she'd only return after the son had aged the fifty years of the trip, so would he still love her then, bwa-ha-ha. The Lovely Angels can't stop the launch, but free the son in time for him to follow his love on another of the ships. The father finally gets on the final ship because he can't live without his son.
- Team Pet: Mughi
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Most versions display this trope to one degree or another. Warren wrote a short story showing Kei and Yuri constantly resuming old arguments through most of their history together.
- Walking Disaster Area
- Whack a Mole: Episode 17 of the anime has the Angels follwing a tip that a wanted assassin will be aboard a spaceliner in disguise. After introducing our suspects, the ship's captain sabotages everything, sets course toward a black hole, locks the controls, and kills himself. The assassin -- and genius cryptoanalyst -- is the only one aboard who can save the ship. But who'll be alive by then?
- Xanatos Roulette: In the second Adam Warren miniseries, Shasti pulls a multi-layer roulette to pull off The Caper. The Angels only get on her trail when Kei sees her in a crowd at random and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Yuri
- Zeerust: In the original novels reference such amazing inventions as energy weapons, flying cars, and MicroFiche. *Head Desk*.
- ↑ because she was a male-to-female transsexual