I never expected to make this sort of comparison, but Dirty Pair: Flash is very much like the Star Trek reboot from J. J. Abrams. Dirty Pair: Flash exists in a parallel universe in which the two main characters, originally the best of friends, begin the series antagonizing each other. Just like the initial relationship between Kirk and Spock, Kei and Yuri despise each other until a single event forces them to work together and eventually learn to trust and respect the other.
Dirty Pair: Flash isn’t so much a series as it is a collection of three multi-episode OVAs. The first six episodes presents the teaming up of Kei and Yuri by the 3WA computer and the relationship between the two. The Kei and Yuri introduced in Flash are both the same and different from the women seen in the original series. Apart from a very noticeable design change, Kei retains her tomboy demeanor, but is quicker to acts of anger and violence, while Yuri comes off more whiny and unsure of herself while being considerably more boy crazy. Also, Kei and Yuri are actually the second Lovely Angels, inheriting the title after the original pair disbanded after one was killed in action.
By the end of the first disc, the partnership between Kei and Yuri is solidified and the women have proudly taken on the moniker of the Lovely Angels (and punishing those who refer to them as the Dirty Pair). The second disc details the exploits of the Dirty Pair as they investigate strange goings on in a unique vacation spot that allows people to relive Japan as it existed in the 20th century, providing easy comedy as delights and comforts of the modern future are not readily available. The final disc is the most disjointed of the collection, as the episodes feel as if they were picked up from the cutting room floor. With no narrative relationship to each other, the episodes are like the Dirty Pair of old, self contained adventures that are far more ridiculous than the rest of the OVA. In one, Kei must protect a baby from a gang of thugs Shoot ‘Em Up-style. In another, Yuri must act as a human analog for a robot modeled after her by a young and emotionally troubled heir. The most wild episode of the third disc is rich with fanservice, as the girls must train for a volleyball match, resulting in lots of shots of the girls sweating it out in various one- and two-piece bikinis.
I suppose the big question would be whether or not Dirty Pair: Flash holds up against the original Dirty Pair. Personally, I preferred the original series over the newer one just because it offers a better relationship between Kei and Yuri. In Flash, Kei and Yuri eventually grow to like each other, but that doesn’t stop the two from bickering often and, in the case of one episode, Yuri is relentless in pulling pranks against Kei. The original Yuri could always be counted on to be the more rational of the pair. In Flash, she is far whinier and her English voice actress does the character absolutely no favors. In the end, the fan’s (or casual viewer’s) response to Dirty Pair: Flash might be similar to that of the Star Trek reboot: some will appreciate the new direction and characterizations, others will not.
Dirty Pair: Flash
directed by Takahito Kimura
Company Age Rating: 15+