Viewing posts tagged Dirty Pair TV Series
Even the best of shows can have bad days. Yes, unfortunately, it is in fact possible for Dirty Pair
to go off the rails, and this is a good example of what it looks like when it does. The streak is over: For the first time, we've come across an episode of this series that doesn't really work.
The basic premise is a sound enough one. Throwing Kei and Yuri into a high fantasy story and seeing what happens is an entirely reasonable idea for a Dirty Pair
episode, especially in the context of the way the genres of high fantasy and science fiction have evolved over time. Though the most famous iteration of it began as technophillic futurist speculative fiction about logic puzzles, sci-fi as of the 1980s is a profoundly different thing. This is in part due to Star Wars making it OK again to do sci-fi stories on a mass-market scale not in the US Golden Age Hard SF vein, but other ways of doing high-tech stories about starships and space travel and things like that have always existed. This secondary tradition is one Dirty Pair is ...
After spending the last two weeks firmly and confidently declaring what it is, what it's about and what it can do, Dirty Pair
is now free to go back to gleefully playing around with other shows. And it pulls a real doozy of a meta-romp this time: For my regular readers, one way to read “Hire Us! Beautiful Bodyguards are a Better Deal” is as Dirty Pair's interpretation of the “Gunfighters”/”Spectre of the Gun”/”Living in Harmony” trilogy we looked at *way* back in 1968.
A brief refresher: Long about the same time in the late 1960s, Star Trek
, Doctor Who
and The Prisoner
all did essentially the same story where the show's hero (or heroes) became trapped in the narrative of a Western movie where either circumstances or some external influence conspire to force them into becoming killers (well, The Prisoner
didn't really as “Living in Harmony” was hastily adapted from an episode of Patrick McGoohan's other show Danger Man
, but that's beside the point). The crux of those stories was that while each show in some way acknowledged the performative nature of its ...
You would think Dirty Pair
would have a hard time topping that. I mean, we've been on a pretty unbelievable streak since episode 3, and that's gotta be the pinnacle, right? No show, not even one this good, can keep that kind of momentum going for any longer, especially not after what we just saw. And, truth be known, “Gotta Do It! Love is What Makes a Woman Explode” is more low-key than “Love is Everything. Risk Your Life to Elope!!” was, though there's more property damage this time if that's your thing.
Yeah, but that doesn't matter. No need to worry; this is another unabashed masterpiece.
And yet I have to be extremely careful with this one. This is a story that's at least in part about the differences between Kei and Yuri, it's altogether too easy to pass value judgments when doing this, and plenty of people have. Yuri is without question the most popular of the two Lovely Angels, especially in Japan, and I could see a loyal Yuri fan being royally pissed off at what happens here. In approaching this piece ...
An artifice is a kind of symbol, in that it is meant to stand in for something else. An artifice is a symbol that is caricatured to emphasize certain truth-facets of the thing it represents. A spectacle is a kind of artifice, but a spectacle, following Debord, is an artifice that abandons truth in favour of the hollow simulacrum of truth, that is, falseness. Vacuousness. However, an artifice that knows itself, indeed, even a spectacle that knows itself, is an artifice that invokes truth and, in so doing, thus invokes its own true self.
Goddesses and ideas live on within words.
The pipe organ towers over Clicky Goldjeff's wedding. It is, in fact, a literal “tower”, one and the same with a skyscraper that serves as yet another defining feature of Elenore City's skyline. It appears to rise from the Earth itself, the blinding concrete and steel as much a part of the world as any natural object. Clicky, the son of a massively powerful cruise line mogul, is being married off to at least a dozen women, with the hope this will keep his “wandering eyes” at bay. The ...
As a genre, science fiction, especially science fiction that is in some way descended from Golden Age Hard SF, seems largely focused on the machinations and inner workings of giant, authoritarian, monolithic institutions. Be it some futuristic extrapolation of the army, the navy, the intelligence sector, the police or huge, sprawling technoscience corporations, science fiction seems one the whole unsettlingly comfortable with mulling about the halls of power, likely owing to the genre's futurist roots. Remember, James Blish, a member of the influential group of sci-fi writers the Futurians and the guy who novelized the original Star Trek
series, thought, somewhat bewilderingly, that Pfizer would usher in a Trotskyist revolution so long as we pledged support to them and bought their products.
This is, suffice to say, equal parts untenable and unacceptable.
There are exceptions to this trend. The first two Alien movies, arguably The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
and Red Dwarf
, bits and pieces of Doctor Who
at various points in its history. Star Trek itself tends to go back and forth on this: Though the point of the franchise is very much that the Federation is anything ...
And the first thing they do is completely torpedo each and every one of our expectations.
“Criados' Heartbeat” is unbelievably subversive, even for this show. With its ominous countdowns, imposing and mysterious antagonist and seeming dramatic, game-changing plot twists, this is the kind of episode most shows would save for their season finale. And Dirty Pair
casually tosses it at us five weeks in with another twenty to go. But we'll get to all that later-This episode works on a multitude of different levels, so let's take a look at the most obvious one first. One thing old school science fiction buffs like about Dirty Pair is its musing on trans/posthumanism, typically in the classic cyberpunk sense of body modification and upgrading or augmenting the human form through emergent biotechnology. This is the most visible in Adam Warren's Dirty Pair adaptation for Dark Horse comics, but it's a theme the franchise on the whole is known for, and, it's worth noting, one it hasn't actually looked at before now.
This manifests, obviously, in Criados himself, a literal mad scientist who, upon committing suicide two years ...
It would be one thing if all Dirty Pair
did was ramble through different film and literary genres parodying and riffing over them in the process. It's reliance on Long 1980s postmodern cinematography notwithstanding, that would not be an especially novel concept. What Dirty Pair
needs to do is to carve its own niche within the televisual landscape of the era: Not just making witty commentary, but delivering its own unique message about what science fiction means in this day and age. The books are very upfront about declaring that it's Kei and Yuri's purpose to usher humanity into a new era, by fire if necessary, but the anime does seem to prefer building to this ultimate revelation a bit more methodically.
We will, of course, eventually get there, and sooner rather than later. And while “The Chase Smells Like Cheesecake and Death” at first seems like a complete romp, this episode is in truth another step towards that (I mean, it is
a complete romp too, but it's more than that). This is another great example of how postmodern cinematography and knowing constructed artifice can be used ...
The Dirty Pair anime is often seen to be heavily influenced by spy-fi, in particular James Bond. There's been a whiff of gadgetry about the franchise from the beginning, of course, and the Angels certainly act, at least superficially, like what we'd commonly think of as high-tech secret agents. But the link is much clearer on the TV show, even down to the obvious lineage in its title card logo. But Dirty Pair
doesn't reference James Bond just to reference it: Just like its parent series, the anime is as much about its medium as it is a part of it, actively going out of its way to send up television genres, and, in this case, the show is taking TV spy-fi and turning into an experimental laboratory for postmodernism.
In this regard, the better point of comparison isn't James Bond, but rather Danger Man
and The Prisoner
, which “Go Ahead, Fall in Love! Love is Russian Roulette” seems immediately reminiscent of. The opening moments are right out of a heist movie, with a super secret super spy breaking into a highly fortified vault to steal an important-looking ...