Kei and Yuri were originally junior auxiliary agents in the Worlds Works and Welfare Agency (W.W.W.A. or 3WA for short) when the two were paired together under the codename "Lovely Angels." Kei was coming off her fourth probation for something she had done, and Yuri's dating exploits were common knowledge, not to mention the two had an instant dislike for each other when they met.
At first, Kei and Yuri refused to work with each other, and Kei even resigned from the 3WA. Afterwards, the two continued to work together, although they earned their nickname, "the Dirty Pair" because of all the collateral damage the two (unintentionally) cause in the completion of their cases. And even though the two now get along with one another, they continue to bicker and complain to each other.
Although it is often said that these are younger versions of the original Lovely Angels Kei and Yuri, in truth this series is an alternate universe telling of Dirty Pair, set in the years 2248-49.
Dirty Pair Flash is a re-imagining of the Dirty Pair franchise. As it is made more recently they've beefed up the animation budget and the animation is of a far superior quality to the other Dirty Pair OVAs and movies. The sound has improved too, except that the quality of the english voice acting is still a little bit lacking. Alas, the opening theme sounds like kindergarden kids trying to sing to really bad 70s porn soundtrack. At least that's how it sounds to me.
The stories are quite good and varied. Mission 1, the first 6 OVAs is one central plotline, as is Mission 2
with 5 episodes. Misson 3 is a collection of random episodes. Mission 1 was quite annoying and dealt with the relationship between Kei and Yuri. Mission 2 was the best in terms of a cohesive storyline. Mission 3 is just fun, funny and features 2 boob shots.
The real issue with Dirty Pair Flash is the re-set of the characters. They made both Kei and Yuri younger and very immature. Both are now 3WA agents that are great physical specimens with good combat scores and extremely low IQs. WHAT???!
What happened to Yuri being the smart one as per the previous Dirty Pair? Now all she is interested in is clothes, boys and telling the world how cute and pretty she is. Definately not much interest in the job. The beefed up Kei is now a total tomboy in love with guns, who happens to have the IQ of an egg. I understand the "old" Dirty Pair was reckless but making them reckless bimbos is a bit much.
Overall, the stories are ok, the action is good, the animation is better, sound is so-so. In addition there is a lot of semi-nudity and eye candy for the ecchi guys to look at. I really wanted to enjoy this series more but the incongruity of how the characters were made killed a lot of it for me.
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. From there, the card leads them into a bunch of shenanigans.
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.