17 February 2010 | BrianDanaCamp
"Dirty Pair: Affair on Nolandia" – Below-par animated space adventure
"Dirty Pair: Affair on Nolandia" (1985) is an Original Animated Video (OAV) spun off from the Japanese animated "Dirty Pair" TV series from the same year. It's a 57-minute adventure set on a planet where Kei and Yuri, attractive young female crimefighters known as the "Dirty Pair," are investigating the murder of a young woman and the disappearance of a young girl, after the woman had called for help from WWWA, the intergalactic police agency which employs the Dirty Pair (so named for their tendency to leave lots of property damage behind after solving cases). The local police chief, Samara, sends the two to a jungle plateau called Nolandia where the psychic young girl, Mizuni, is believed to have fled. Adventures in the jungle include encounters with all sorts of bizarre animal and vegetable creatures, including a golden pony with a blond mane, as well as surreal nightmares that find the girls under some kind of hypnotic attack. In one of them, a nude Kei is attacked and enveloped by a tentacled tree-like creature. Eventually they find Mizuni and earn her trust by appealing to her childlike instincts. Their pleasant idyll is interrupted by an attack by soldiers working for the planet's powerful tycoon, Olan Garcia, who, it turns out, is involved in bio-genetic experiments to create advanced new beings, like Mizuni.
All this happens in the first 35 min. Then the action shifts back to the city where Kei and Yuri, with the help of Samara, go after Garcia and the bad guys in a padded-out series of urban chase scenes involving all manner of vehicle and public transportation, including bus, subway, monorail, motorcycle, bike, and roller skates, leading to a final confrontation at the city's spaceport. It's all beautifully animated, but none of it advances the narrative much. All it does is take what should have been a 30-minute TV episode and expand it to one-shot OAV length. And it gets really silly at one point when Yuri is confronted by an army of thugs and she dispatches them by pulling out what looks like a plastic playing card and throwing it at them, hitting them all in an unseen maneuver and knocking them out. We've never seen the card before so we know nothing about its properties. It's just a ludicrously contrived moment that diminishes the whole finale. This entry is easily the least compelling of all the "Dirty Pair" anime episodes I've seen. Worse, the scenes on Nolandia require the girls to wear bulky combat suits instead of their trademark bikini-style uniforms. (Which is why, I'm sure, the animators inserted the nightmare nude scene and a semi-nude sunbathing bit into that sequence.)
I've never seen any of the "Dirty Pair" TV episodes, but I've seen the two hour-long OAV episodes (this one and "Flight 005 Conspiracy"), the feature film, PROJECT EDEN (1987) and eight of the ten half-hour OAV episodes from 1989. At this point, I tend to single out the latter OAV series as the best of the "Dirty Pair" that I've seen.