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Dirty Pair: Project Eden
The Lovely Angels take on scary monsters and mad science
Dirty Pair: Project Eden
Orion Home Video
Directed by Kouichi Mashita
Japan, 1988
The summer of 1984 was good for anime, as several classics for a generation of anime fans hit the big screens in Japan: movies like Macross: Do You Remember Love?, Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, and Dirty Pair: Project Eden.

The Dirty Pair are Kei and Yuri, two 22nd-century gals who work in the WWWA (Worlds Welfare Work Association) as galactic troubleshooters. When things go seriously wrong, you call the WWWA to deal with it. If James Bond were cryogenically frozen and revived in 2141, he'd probably join the WWWA--especially if his coworkers looked like the Dirty Pair.

The Dirty Pair have passed through several creative hands as the years have gone by; first they were two characters in a book by Haruka Takachiho (creator of Crusher Joe), and then came the animated adaptations for TV, video, and the big screen. There has also been a series of American-produced comic books, and then more Japanese animated adaptations. Different things have changed depending on who was guiding each work.

However, one thing has generally remained constant. The Dirty Pair, you see, is a nickname; Kei and Yuri's team codename is really "Lovely Angels." They acquired the Dirty Pair moniker due to a little problem of theirs: while they usually get the job done, they also tend to accidentally cause large amounts of collateral damage. Upon seeing them, smart people sprint for the nearest exit.

The opening to Project Eden sums this up neatly, with Kei and Yuri busting an illegal vizorium sale on a resort space station (vizorium is the extremely valuable metal used to power the warp engines that drive interstellar vessels.) The two pull off a nearly perfect operation--when, due to a little oversight, the station gets blown up.

And there you have the Dirty Pair formula, in a nutshell: action, a lot of humour, and two cute girls who are allowed to carry just a little too much weaponry for anyone's good. The proportion of action to humour varies from production to production, from the silly OAV And Then No One Played, which has little in the way of bad guys being beaten up, to the more straight action OAV Flight 005 Conspiracy. Project Eden finds itself smack dab in the middle, which works fairly well for a feature.

What follows is action feature formula: the Pair are sent down to the planet Agerna due to mysterious goings-on in a vizorium mine. One nation suspects another of sabotage, and the Pair are there to clear things up, especially since there have been reports of monsters causing said problems. It turns out that there are indeed monsters, due to a demented, overly theatrical mad scientist named Wattsman (who has his own theme music: "Oooo, Wattsman!") tinkering with accelerated evolution. Throw in his manservant Bruno and the macho thief Carson D. Carson, and the mayhem and mirth ensues.

The two hallmarks of Japanese animation--wooden character animation, and gosh-wow dynamic action scenes--are both here, but the first is largely overshadowed by the second, and by some creative staging. The English dub is surprisingly good--with the exception of Bruno, everyone plays their parts well, to the point where you don't even notice that it was originally in Japanese.

A good film, and a good dub: what more can you ask for?

Originally printed in fps #6 (Summer 1995)