Reviewby Zac Bertschy,
Dirty Pair: Affair on Nolandia
Kei and Yuri have tracked a missing girl named Missinie to a forest planet known as Ookbarl, an almost-uninhabitable planet ruled by an iron-fisted chief of security who refuses to assist the Dirty Pair in their search. She's the least of their problems, though. A killer robot, a unicorn, and even a UFO all stand in the way of the Lovely Angels completing their mission!
It's time to face the music, folks: the Dirty Pair, once highly popular and widely loved, have become old hat. New anime fans won't even know who Kei and Yuri are; even Dirty Pair Flash, a re-imagining of the original series, was met with lukewarm reception and little fanfare. ADV Films has been releasing the old Dirty Pair OVAs and movies, and this most recent one, Affair at Nolandia, marks both the final Original Dirty Pair release (barring the original TV series) and the first non-television production involving the dangerous duo. Unfortunately, as this hour-long OVA proves, maybe it's best that we leave these two buried.
The story is your average Dirty Pair stuff. Kei and Yuri take a job, blow a lot of stuff up, appear nude a few times, and eventually complete the task. This time, they're up against a whole slew of crazy stuff, like unicorns and UFOs (which isn't really ‘crazy’ in the Dirty Pair universe, just notable). The truth of the matter is, while this may have been the height of excitement in 1984, in 2004, it's about as thrilling as six hours of C-SPAN. We've seen all this stuff done and re-done a million times by now, and the whole ‘sexy girls blowing stuff up’ thing is, frankly, a snooze. The ‘banter’ between Kei and Yuri is forced and lame, and the problems they run into are simply rehashed obstacles from other Dirty Pair incarnations. It follows the formula established by the TV series pretty closely. Old school fans will get a nostalgic kick out of watching this, mostly because they can throw out their 8th generation VHS fansub, but everyone else will likely fall asleep.
It's nice to know that ADV is interested in preserving the proud history of anime, but maybe they could have been a little more cost-effective about it. This one 50-minute OVA from the 80s will set you back a cool 19.99. Wouldn't it have made more sense to do one Original Dirty Pair box set that included all of the old non-television material from the 80s? Why charge the 10 people who actually still care about the Dirty Pair for individual volumes? To make matters worse, this is a no-frills disc. There are no extras to speak of, unless you consider the dub an extra, which some people would. For something like this, which is clearly a niche market item in today's anime landscape, the price and running time are silly.
Of course, the visuals are what really date this thing, not the hackneyed dialogue. Kei and Yuri trot around in embarrassing fashion-victim science fiction costumes, showing plenty of leg. Nobody in their right mind would wear these costumes, and while they may have been cool and sexy in they 80s, today they're awkward and ugly. Everyone has bad hair, especially Kei, whose mega-butch flame-headed 'do is laughably retro. The bandana certainly doesn't help things. Everything about this series screams the 1980s, and while that might be a cool thing if everyone were playing Frogger and break dancing (at the same time, maybe?), here it just seems dated and washed-out. Sometimes retro is fun, sometimes it isn't.
The dub marks a low point for ADV Films, which has been turning out absolutely unparalleled product for the past two years or so. The two women they have voicing Kei and Yuri are lifeless, tepid amateurs who can't act. Most of the background characters talk in an embarrassing monotone; there are a few recognizable ADV regulars here and there, but their presence alone isn't enough to save this thing. We realize that this disc is a bottom-shelf title, but sometimes bottom-shelf stuff can be lifted up a shelf or two on the strength of a good dub, and it's a shame that so little effort was put into this one. After the dizzying success of series like RahXephon and Angelic Layer, this Dirty Pair special is a real letdown.
The final nail in the Dirty Pair coffin, Affair at Nolandia is bound to turn off new anime fans. While older fans (from a time when anime fandom wasn't totally overrun with bishounen-obsessed fangirls and hyperactive 12-year olds high on Inu-Yasha) might embrace this release, it really is a relic that may have been best left forgotten. It's an admirable effort from ADV films to present this ancient material to today's fans, but the result, especially with such a low-quality dub, is like an ugly, poorly-dressed debutante making her first appearance at the dance. Sometimes you just have to let old franchises die. So long, Kei and Yuri; your time is over now. Come back when you're redesigned, rife with lesbian undertones and aiming to be the best ninjas in the world.
Overall (dub) : C-
Overall (sub) : C-
Story : C-
Animation : C
Art : D
Music : C
+ Great fun for old-school otaku and Dirty Pair fans
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