17 February 2010 | BrianDanaCamp
Dirty Pair caught up in action-packed high-tech anime adventure
"Dirty Pair: Flight 005 Conspiracy" (1990) is a Japanese hour-long made-for-video animated film (known as OAV, for Original Animation Video) in the "Dirty Pair" series that began with a group of novels by Haruka Takachiho, followed by an anime TV series (1985), an early hour-long OAV in 1985 ("Affair on Nolandia"), a theatrical feature film in 1987 (PROJECT EDEN) and an OAV series of ten half-hours in 1989. The "Dirty Pair" of the title are Kei and Yuri, attractive WWWA agents who got their hated nickname not for their provocative bikini-style uniforms, but because of their tendency to leave much property damage behind in their wake. Of the "Dirty Pair" entries I've seen, "Flight 005" is the most focused on the nuts and bolts of investigation. While the girls get a couple of opportunities to engage in their trademark flirtatious behavior, their routine here is mostly business as they pursue leads and engage in frequent shootouts and chases, surviving assorted explosions and assassination attempts.
Their assignment is to visit a three-planet system to investigate the disappearance of 300 passengers, including a renowned scientist, after a space shuttle making the trip from one planet to another exploded before landing. No trace of the passengers has been found, nor have any family members come forward to make claims or demand inquiries. The missing scientist had been working on something called "liquid igneite," a substance that has enormous implications for space travel and military use. The plot gets awfully complicated as the girls doggedly follow clues and interrogate interested parties on three different planets. They soon single out one planet's intelligence agency as the power behind all the murky goings-on, but further investigation finds out that it's not so simple.
If you're looking to hear witty banter and watch the girls come on to any and all cute guys they meet, you're better off sticking with the TV series or the ten-part OAV series. There's a little of that here, but it's mostly action all the way and quite well-staged action at that. There are shootouts galore and a spectacular chase in the desert when the girls, driving an air-car, are forced off the road into the waiting clutches of an army sent to get them. Later, the big finale is staged at a secret space platform housing a top-secret lab. The girls sneak aboard disguised as workers and rescue some important characters and have to drive, fly, and shoot their way out. Throughout the course of the hour, the girls kill a lot of opponents and spill more on-screen blood than usual for this series.
I have to say it all gets a little too intricate and high-tech for me. It's an okay story and is very well laid-out and masterfully produced, far superior to "Affair on Nolandia," the earlier hour-long one-shot OAV, but I found it a bit wearying. I like it when the girls relax, flirt with guys, have drinks and take baths. I like to see their non-action side displayed and we don't get enough of that here. If I had to pick and choose which ones I like best from all of the Dirty Pair franchise, I'd go with the 1989 OAV series, particularly the first two episodes.