The Lovely Angels are back, and ready for more adventure. These ladies are cocked, locked, and loaded as they tackle thirteen more adventures. This time around, the stakes are higher, and the adventures are more dangerous then ever. However, does the Dirty Pair have enough spunk to carry another thirteen episodes?
As one would expect, the second half of the show features many of the standards set by earlier installments. Jokes and insults still fly with reckless abandon, the property damage remains massive, and the cases are mostly resolved within thirty minutes.. However, the subject matter of the show veers into far darker territory. Instead of searches for explosive cats and cowboy-themed bodyguard missions, Kei and Yuri are thrust into more less outlandish situations that range from “who-done-it” cases, to fugitive hunts. The “generic syndicate thug” figures that were prominent in early episodes are all but gone, save token appearances in the few lighter episodes.
While there were no particularly weak installments, there were a few that seemed to define the overall experience. The stand-out episodes for this run were episode 17, “Come Out, Come Out, Assassin,” episode 20, “Memorial Blues is the BGM of Murder,” and Episode 24, “Address For Danger.”
Episode 17 is a straight-forward “whodunit” mystery, in which Kei and Yuri track a hitman known as Sundric onto a one-way flight to a distant planet. The two find themselves in an unusual crisis, as the ship’s pilot commits suicide, after setting the ship on-course toward a black hole. Unfortunately, the override is difficult, and only Sundric is able to disable the auto-pilot. The assassin, who is hiding among the passengers, must now be trusted to save the ship, and those riding within. The pacing for the epsiode was simply fantastic, as tension built, and the passengers on-board slowly start turning on one another. Each has a motive for being on the ship, and everybody seems to have their plans for the Lovely Angels.
Episode 24 is another low-key mystery set in the confines of a small condo. A man posing as salesman is traversing condo buildings, and murdering attractive young women. As a macabre calling card, the murderer engraves a cryptic letter into the victim’s forehead. Kei and Yuri are stationed in a condo as part of an attempt to bait the killer. During their stay, a number of people claiming to be salesmen, from those selling knives to those into petty theft. Any one could be the killer,but it is up to Kei and Yuri to figure out which one it is, before it is too late. The episode’s slower pace and focus on small details are a refreshing change of pace from the typical explosion-filled action. The writing focuses more on clever solutions, and a sharp sense of humor.
Episode 20 is an action-packed adventure set on the volcanic planet of Saladeen. Kei and Yuri are sent to retrieve an assassin that goes by the name of Blues. At the ame time, the planet is gearing up for the big Miss Creamy Gal contest – a beauty competition sponsored by the planet’s wealthiest citizen, Melpot. After a run-in with the local biker gang, Kei and Yuri are rescued by a scruffy stranger. The stranger is revealed to be Blues, and Kei snares him in handcuffs. Blues reveals that he wants to have one last kill before he gives himself up. His final mission: to kill Melpot, who murdered Blues’s mother many years prior. Unfortunately for Kei, the handcuffs will explode if cut. So, whether they like it or not, the two are dragged into the final mission for a tired hired killer. The character of Blues makes episode particularly special, as he’s painted more as a “grey” figure, in the sense that he’s far from evil, though he commits terrible crimes. The depth of the character is surprising, and very welcome.
Dirty Pair’s second half proves to be more entertaining as the first. With stronger plots and better characters, it is almost disappointing to see the ending credits begin to roll on the final episode. The tone may have grown darker, and the plots more involved, but the overall charm still stands, even today.
Dirty Pair: Collection 2 is distributed in America through Nozomi Entertainment.
The series can be purchased at Right Stuf.
Thanks to Nozomi for providing a review copy!