The latest and last of the Dirty Pair anime shows is a re-working of the original concept, and while inferior to the original it does manage to hold its own pretty well.
Kei and Yuri, two young Trouble Consultants for the 3WA under the auspicious codename Lovely Angels, are put to task in the three story arcs here, the only problem being that theyíve managed to get a very bad name for themselves for extreme collateral damage. The first story sends the Lovely Angels, also known as the Dirty Pair much to their chagrin, up against the corporation GCN and their plot to control galactic communications in the wake of the last war. Kei and Yuri might hate each other, but they have to work together to get it done, and Kei wonít be able to handle the mysterious sniper Flair on her own, will she? The second arc sends the pair to Worldís World, a twentieth century themed theme park, as bodyguards for Touma, who is the computer specialist on the trail of a hacker and a virus thatís been loosed in the park. Finally come a set of stand alone stories featuring the famous twosome in danger, romantic entanglements and some very skimpy swimware!
This is a pretty standard sci-fi setup, especially if you are familiar with the original Dirty Pair, and I have to say that at first I wasnít overly impressed. It takes a while to warm up to this show because the first half of the first arc in particular feels like it isnít running nearly as smoothly as it should. The music in particular is either missing (well, itís not, there just isnít any there) or strangely scored considering whatís happening. Thatís added to the fact that the two of them arenít particularly likable at first, being the seemingly inept and argumentative girls that they are. This clears up as the first arc goes on though, and by the end I was perfectly happy with the way it was going, with Kei and Yuri growing as characters, some interesting story development and the involvement of other characters like their boss Garner as prominent roles.
The first also has the best plot as far as story goes, being well driven and pulling the characters along and forcing them to grow up. There is actual tangible character development here, and I like that, even if some of it is a bit obvious. The second arc relies a lot more on the characters to drive it, and by then Kei and Yuri have come into their own despite their flaws and seeing them play of both each other and Touma is fun. The last arc is in my opinion the best animated, and while the stories are a bit hit and miss depending on what you go for it has some of the best material as well. Not held back by a serious plot (which theyíve already done well enough) they can be more creative with the character comedy. And fanservice. Lots of fanservice. The first and third of this last set of episodes are my favourites in the whole thing, not least because Kei gets some great screen time (this is the kind of show where youíll end up with a favourite, and Keiís definitely mine!), but it balances the character comedy and wanton destruction with some nice serious stuff too.
This is a teens and up kind of show. Thereís plenty of violence and destruction, but itís pretty clean and often tongue in cheek. Considering all the people that must end up dead it seems fairly tame. There is blood, but not usually too much, and it punctuates the regular explosions to show it isnít all clean flashy fun. Thereís also plenty of semi-nudity throughout. Clothes get torn, burnt and blown up frequently leaving something that would look skimpy at the beach. There are also fanservice scenes of non-detailed nudity, like in the onsen episode or bath scenes, but nothing explicit.
The art is variable for this show. When it gets serious and well drawn I really love the character art, whereas some of the deformations for comic purposes look rather nasty. Overall it isnít a spectacular looking show, with generally decent art and often lower than average frame rates for a show of this age, but it can look good when it wants to, particularly later on. But I do like the art concepts, particularly Kei and her punk influenced hair.
As usual with ADVs dubs this isnít too bad. Actually it grows on you better than a lot do, and all the voices sound faithful to the original Japanese. Yuri sounds high pitched and whiny in both, Kei sounds butch and flippant in both, Waldess (the head of GCN in the first ark) has a great voice for his personality; in fact all the main and repeated supporting characters are well done. It isnít the greatest English track in the world but it works and you could do a lot worse than this dub.
Fans of the original Dirty Pair will be disappointed with this show, and I wouldnít say that it is something you should make a priority to get. It is worth a rental though, and at 400 minutes of simple destructive fun with a few nice touches itís a good snatch if you can find it cheap.