The stories take place in the years 2138-43, by which time humanity has spread across some few thousand star systems. A corporation called the World Welfare Works Association (also WWWA or 3WA) helps member systems of the United Galactica (UG) federation deal with various planetary-scale problems, for profit, by sending agents called "trouble consultants". Probably the most high-profile arm of the organization is the Criminal Investigations section, which works to solve crimes or mysteries. The series focuses on a team of trouble consultants in that section, named Kei and Yuri, who have a reputation for leaving a trail of destruction behind them, for which they are known publicly as the "Dirty Pair".
The franchise has bounced across multiple formats and production companies, resulting in (so far) eight novels and a few shorter stories, a television series, two OVA series, two OVA features, a feature film, a number of graphic novels, and two short Japanese radio series. The series won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 1985.
Kei and Yuri are the two voluptuous members of Trouble Consultant team 234, code named "Lovely Angels". Almost every mission they are involved with ends up in disaster, but not failure (they'll catch the crook, but a city may be destroyed in the process), and thus they are more generally known as the "Dirty Pair", a nickname they hate. They are always cleared of any wrongdoing by the 3WA's Central Computer because the extreme damage is never actually their fault (though their mere presence has been known to make things worse). In some but not all continuities, they have joint ESP powers, usually limited to precognition. This talent was the reason they were recruited in the first place.(This is alluded to in the Adam Warren Collection "A Plague Of Angels")
- Kei: a hot-headed tomboy with red hair and tanned skin who wears a silver-white uniform. Favors large weaponry and prefers to "shoot first, ask questions later". The more aggressive of the two, she is also the bustier of the pair and is attracted to manly, muscular men. She has been voiced by Kyouko Tonguu (Japanese), Lara Cody (English, Streamline Pictures dub), Pamela Lauer (English, ADV Films dub)
- Yuri: Japanese in ethnicity, wears a golden-yellow uniform. Often uses non-gun weaponry such as energy whips. While the more feminine of the two, she is known to become very violent when crossed. She is the more bottom-heavy of the team and is also a coy flirt who prefers cultured, refined men. Her most recognized weapon is the Bloody Card, a technologically-enhanced throwing card that can be used to take down several people at once. While Yuri often uses it in the novels, it only appears in the anime a few times, once in Affair of Nolandia, in Flight 005 Conspiracy, and in episode 6 of the OVA series. In that episode, it is used by Madame Beryl instead of Yuri. In the comic series, it is used in the stories "Biohazards" and "Start The Violence". She has been voiced by Saeko Shimazu (Japanese), Wendee Lee (English, Streamline Pictures dub), Jessica Calvello (English, original ADV Films dub), Allison Sumrall (English, replacement ADV Films dub)
- Mughi: a Coeurl, a large cat-like creature (in the OAV series, he is shown to be genetically engineered, though not to what the designers intended) who sometimes accompanies the Dirty Pair on their missions. He has some proficiency with electronic devices, Kei and Yuri usually relying on his help as co-pilot or gun-runner while their spaceship the Lovely Angel orbits the planet they're on, but typically takes a passive role in the Dirty Pair's adventures. In the anime series, Mughi is depicted as more like a cat or small furry pet than the somewhat threatening creature seen in the novels. Mughi's name has been said to be an acronym for "Military Unit of Genetic Higher Intelligence", according to the character designer.
- Nammo: a small robot owned by the Dirty Pair in the TV series. Usually referred to as a "she", Nammo communicates through beeps and whistles and has one known arm, as well as the ability to fly in space, operate and repair vehicles, and use hand weapons. She has been rebuilt at least once, when she hinted for the weaponless Pair to rig her body to self-destruct by handing over her memory disk. They sent her chassis into the bowels of the machine that trapped them, leaving only her memory disk and her tennis shoe-like feet behind.
- Chief (Andrew Francis) Gooley: Kei & Yuri's immediate supervisor. He has the unenviable task with assigning the Lovely Angels assignments, as well as writing the paperwork on the damage they cause. While they cause him much grief (and stomach pains), he still cares for them greatly and is confident in their abilities. They, in turn, are fiercely loyal to him, even disobeying orders in order to rescue him.
- Calico: Gooley's right hand man in the TV series. A former TroCon himself (capacity unknown, Trouble Consultants can also be accountants and lawyers), he has at least one episode to show he still has what it takes, though he proves to be more trigger happy than Kei.
- Madame Beryl: Appearing in the OVA series, she is a retired TroCon of legendary status. Only one of her cases was never solved until the Lovely Angels stumble across the missing clue. In another appearance, she proves she is still able to hold her own with the Bloody Card. She appears in the series as a classic grandmotherly type wearing a cheongsam.
- Dr. Q: Appearing in the OVA series, Dr. Q is the scientist responsible for the creation of Muhgi, as well as some of the high-tech devices and weaponry the Lovely Angels use. However, his genius is questionable, since his brilliant devices have a tend either to malfunction, or blow up in the Angels' faces.
Origin of names
The instigation of "the DP Concept" was a visit to Japan by the British Australian SF author A. Bertram Chandler, probably in 1978. On his itinerary was a stop at the young Studio Nue, which Takachiho co-founded. As something to entertain their guest, two of the staffers there, Yuri Tanaka and Keiko Otoguro, hit upon the idea with Takachiho of taking Chandler to a tournament of the All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling organization, which was a member of the World Women's Wrestling Association (WWWA). The card included the highly-popular wrestling (and singing) team, the Beauty Pair. Something that passed among the foursome during that match led Chandler to remark to Takachiho something to the effect that "the two women in the ring may be the Beauty Pair, but those two with you ought to be called 'the Dirty Pair'."
This became the germ of an idea for a novella Takachiho decided to write, transplanting the rough-housing of pro-wrestling to the realm of space-opera mystery stories, with which he already had experience in his already successful Crusher Joe series. The team code-name "Lovely Angels" is also play on the names of certain women's teams of the time, such as the Queen Angels.
An anime TV series based on the novels, simply titled Dirty Pair, ran for 24 episodes that aired on Nippon Television affiliates from July to December 1985. For complicated reasons[which?], two remaining episodes were produced during 1986 and released as OVAs on 1 January 1987. The TV series has been licensed by Nozomi Entertainment.
- Affair of Nolandia 1985
- Dirty Pair 10 episodes, 1987–1988
- Flight 005 Conspiracy 1990
- Dirty Pair Flash three series totaling 16 episodes, 1994–1996
- This series starred alternate versions of Kei and Yuri, and the story premise and character designs are very different from any of the other versions.
- Project Eden 1986 (known as simply "Dirty Pair" in Japan)
The American comic company and manga translator Studio Proteus acquired rights to create comic versions of The Dirty Pair in 1989; the first two graphic novels were published by the since-defunct Eclipse Comics. Later the rights were transferred to Dark Horse Comics. The first three series were written by Toren Smith and Adam Warren and drawn by Warren—after that Smith left the project and Warren took over writing completely. These stories have a much more cyberpunk style than the other versions; the later stories, starting with Fatal but not Serious, move into the transhuman subgenre.
- Biohazards: four issues, December 1988–April 1989 (trade paperback TPB, 1989; 1998, reissue)
- Dangerous Acquaintances: five issues, June 1989–March 1990 (TPB, 1991; 1997, reissue)
- A Plague of Angels: five issues, August 1990–November 1991 (TPB, 1994)
- Sim Hell: four issues, May–August 1993; colorized reissue, May–August 2001 (TPB, 1994; 1996, second edition; 2002, colorized reissue)
- "I Honestly Hate You": eight-page short story originally published in August 1994 in the (annual) San Diego ComicCon Comics, #3 (reprinted in 1998 Dark Horse Comics reprinted TPB of Biohazards)
- Fatal But Not Serious: five issues, July–November 1995 (TPB, 1996)
- Start the Violence: one-shot, May–July 1998 (TPB, 1999; also included in Run from the Future TPB)
- Run From The Future: four issues, January–April 2000 (TPB, 2002)
- "A Big 'Merci Beaucoup'".: six single pages originally published May–August 2001 in the back of each colorized reissue of Sim Hell, also in the back of the colorized Sim Hell TPB reissue (2002).
The light novels are written by Haruka Takachiho with illustrations by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. The first four books were originally serialized in the Japanese publication SF Magajin. The light novels have begun to be released in English translation from DH Press (Dark Horse): the complete first book appeared in September 2007, and the second book appeared in March 2008. English translations previously existed only for the first story (published as one of a series of short books for Japanese students of English) and the fifth book, which was originally released in Japanese and English translation on the Microsoft Network during 1997–99.
- ダーティペアの大冒険 (Daatipea no Daibouken <The Dirty Pair's Great Adventures>, 1979; book: 1980)
- ダーティペアの大逆転 (Daatipea no Daigyakuten <The Dirty Pair Strike Again>, 1985; book: 1985)
- ダーティペアの大乱戦 (Daatipea no Dairansen <DP's Rough and Tumble>, 1985–87; book: 1987)
- ダーティペアの大脱走 (Daatipea no Daidassou <DP's Great Escape>, 1991–92; book: 1993)
- ダーティペア外伝 独裁者の遺産 (Dokusaisha no Isan <Legacy of the Dictator>—Dirty Pair Side Story #1, 1997; book: 1998)
- ダーティペアの大復活 (Daatipea no Daifukkatsu <DP's Great Resurrection>, 2004)
- ダーティペアの大征服 (Daatipea no Daiseifuku <DP's Great Conquest>, 2006)
- ダーティペアの大帝国 (Daatipea no Daiteikoku <DP's Great Empire>, 2007)—conclusion of the preceding novel
A fifth version of the "DP Concept" made its debut on 1 October 2006 in a 26-week radio series on FM Osaka, entitled "Lovely Angel: Kei & Yuri". A streaming Internet broadcast of successive episodes became available beginning 15 October. The story involves a case in which the Lovely Angels assist the FBI on a case which takes them along the route of the old Route 66. The series features Horie Yui as Yuri and Minagawa Junko as Kei. While Takachiho participated in the selection of the voice artists, he was not involved in the writing for this series. (Additional information on the series, in Japanese, can be found at Nihon Sunrise's site: .)
A second radio series, "Daatipea91: Kunoichi" began on FM Osaka on 15 October 2007. This time written by Takachiho himself, it places eighteen-year-old Kei and Yuri in Japan in the year 1791 as student ninjas who find themselves embroiled in political affairs of the period. Horie Yui and Minagawa Junko reprised their voice roles. Again, a streaming broadcast was available. This series was re-broadcast during March to April 2009. 
In popular culture
|This "In popular culture" section may contain minor or trivial references. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject's impact on popular culture rather than simply listing appearances, and remove trivial references. (February 2010)|
In issues #18 and #19 of Marvel Comics Excalibur series, during the Cross-Time Caper, the Dirty Pair are parodied. Kei is named Rico while Yuri is named Kay. Both are part of the "Dirty Angels" strike force. Rico and Kay call themselves the "Lovely Pair". The comic lampoons Kei's use of heavy firepower and in issue #19, playing up their penchant for grand "accidents" in which the two blew up the Pitte Stoppe after the pair's anti-matter rifle detonated. This, of course, led to a mob coming after them which the Excalibur team was able to save them from. Both characters were drawn in anime style by Dennis Jensen (issue #18) and Rick Leonardi (issue #19). Both issues were released in 1990.