Tuesday, June 12, 2012

PBR: The Great Adventure of the Dirty Pair (Haruka Takachiho, c1979)

The more Dirty Pair Lovely Angels stuff I come across, the more I love them. This Dark Horse translation of the Haruka Takachiho short stories that created the characters and their world is a wonderful look at one of the great anime franchises of all time. Certainly my favorite.

For the unfamiliar, the world of the Dirty Pair takes place in our near future, thirty years after we develop warp-drive technology. Instead of the Vulcans coming to investigate a la Star Trek, humans spread like a virus throughout our galaxy. There is a "Federation" of sorts, but in many ways space is the wild west ruled by criminals, corporate entities, and criminal corporate entities. To enforce a bit of order, the World Welfare Works Association, or Three-Double-U-A, is formed. Their operatives are called Trouble Consultants and teams are built with a myriad of specialties. Kei and Yuri are criminal investigations TCs, code named "Lovely Angels" though better known as the Dirty Pair. Not because this is hentai in any way, but because whenever they are assigned a case, things are going to get messy.

What the book gives us that animated version have not (none that I have seen at least) is how Kei and Yuri became a team. This was always rather mysterious to me, as they have an extremely combative relationship. That part is not yet clear to me yet, but we do get to know they had been friends prior to their recruitment as Trouble Consultants. The style of the characters is very much what we are used to from the animated versions, and the story is typical Dirty Pair material. We also get some illustrations from famed manga/anime artist Yoshikazu Yasuhiko who designed the look of the characters and is also responsible for the art of Mobile Suit Gundam, The Venus Wars, and many others.

At a rather slight 251 pages this will not be your most strenuous read, but it is good, fun science fiction that carries none of the hopelessness of some of its contemporaries or offspring. It is pretty clear that Takachiho had a love for Star Trek (there are numerous references in the anime versions), and the world of the Dirty Pair sort of gives us the early history that did not get until later versions of that show, particularly ST:ENT. There is bad stuff out there, and people are not perfect, but the future is not a Lovecraftian nightmare waiting to crush us once we step off our planetary porch. There is trouble, but there is also the Dirty Pair.

A clear Star Trek reference

A less blatant, yet still clear example of Star Trek love

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