So, in lieu of this, I’d like to do highlights on those not-so-buried treasures – the kind of show that most people know, but few tend to think about… if that makes sense. Popular enough to have a reputation, but obscure enough to stay out of the common mind, be it due to age, or being overshadowed by something bigger.
Anyway, I’d like to open this column with Dirty Pair Flash: Mission 2.
Everybody who knows anime knows the Dirty Pair. Kei and Yuri are pretty much legends in their own right. However, in 1994, Sunrise thought it would be wise to “update” the duo for a more modern audience. This led to the reimagining we know now as Dirty Pair Flash. Flash was darker and grittier than its predecessor, and had all the subtlety of a baseball bat ramming against an aluminum pan. Kei and Yuri hated each other, they were walking disaster areas, and Kei had some serious emotional issues.
While it wasn’t bad by any stretch, Flash quickly gained a reputation among fans. Most skipped over the sequel and never looked back.
What is it?
Flash 2 places Kei, Yuri, and newcomer Tohma into World’s World Amusement Park – a living, breathing planet that recreates the “primitive” 20th century. The three were assigned to the planet to repair the central computer that operates everything from weather to construction equipment. However, due to a forced emergency landing, the trio are stranded for an indeterminate amount of time. To make the situation worse, somebody, or something is out to kill Tohma before he can complete his mission.
Through the show’s five episodes, Kei and Yuri (and, to an extent Tohma) have to adjust to the back-woods lifestyle of 20th century man, repair the computer, and deal with the assassin without reducing World’s World to a smoldering crater. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Why This Show?
Flash 2 rights a lot of the missteps that the predecessor. In particular, the whole idea of a dark, over-arching subplots is thrown out the window in favor of a more comedic approach. Lots of playful verbal jabs are thrown between Kei and Yuri especially, as they get thrown into a number of oddball situations, from desert excursions to high school ghost hunts. The whole experience is topped off with property damage, explosions, and well-animated gunplay.
Character humor takes the front-and-center focus through much of the show. The chemistry between Kei and Yuri, in particular, is always welcome, as they react to increasingly oddball conditions. Whether it’s Kei’s rage at a transvestite, or Yuri’s earning her namesake, the two seem to show the perfect combination of hate and affection toward each other. The secondary cast, from the perennially clueless Tohma, to the pussywhipped 3WA Chief Poporo are, for the most part, well-written and add a lot of charm to the series.
And then there’s the gunplay. The violence was really toned down in this run, but when stuff blows up, the damage is always extroadinary.
Dirty Pair Flash 2 isn’t high art. It’s not even high-brow. However, it’s still a fun OVA from before the bubble. Definitely worth a look for those seeking a few laughs mixed with a decent amount of collateral damage. It may not be deep entertainment, but it’s definitely a fun way to kill a Saturday afternoon.