Nozomi / Rightstuf
Kei and Yuri return for ten more light sci-fi adventures. This series is identical in tone, format, and style to the TV series; so if you liked the first two volumes, you should like this one as well.
In an interview included with the TV series, the Dirty Pair‘s creator, Haruka Takachiho, spoke of his insistence on keeping the series grounded in real science fiction (as opposed to the type of sci-fi that mixes in fantasy elements, such as Star Wars, which was a recent hit at the time the series first aired).
In these episodes, as with the TV series, you can see the fruits of that commitment. There’s just something refreshingly plausible about the whole thing; even when the plots and characters are patently ridiculous, the world they inhabit is believable enough to sink into the background.
There’s a lot of variety presented across the ten episodes, just as there was in the TV series. This time we get a story set in a casino, a war story complete with super soldiers, an episode about steroids and wrestling matches, and my favorite, a story about bizarre cult on an isolated planet whose leader uses technology to wreak ‘divine’ punishment on his followers.
Kei and Yuri themselves remain as vacant as they were in the TV series. They obviously have skills, and typically accomplish the specific goal they set out for; but not without a lot of collateral damage. They have the personalities of vapid teenagers, forever complaining about having to work when they’d rather be on vacation, swooning after any remotely attractive male, and just lacking depth in general.
Character types like that aren’t exactly rare in anime, but mixing the shallow girl with the super agent causes a pretty severe disconnect. After 36 episodes, I can’t understand how these people ever managed to achieve the positions they’ve reached, or why they are able to keep them given the propensity for disaster to follow in their wakes. Yes, they’re usually successful, in a pyrrhic victory sort-of-way, but that’s hardly justification to keep them on, given the fact that the WWWA has an army of agents just as talented.
But this is a comedy, and I probably shouldn’t be stressing about it.
Anyways, it is a fun show, despite the overly simplistic characters. The range of storytelling generally makes up for any lack of complexity in the individual episodes, and the reality-based sci-fi gives it a unique, classic feel that sets it apart from most other science fiction anime.
The ten episodes are spread across three discs, and feature remastered video from the Japanese DVD release (complete with original credits and titles). This set, unlike the TV series, includes English audio (recycled off the old ADV release), though it defaults to the Japanese audio with English subtitles.