“And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time/’Till touchdown brings me ’round again to find…”: No Need to Listen to the Bad Guys. We are Space Truckers!
What could I possibly say? This was perfect. A perfect story serving as a perfect capstone to a perfect show. Words fail me trying to convey the mixture of emotions I’m feeling right now.
There really could have been no better way for Original Dirty Pair to go out. A finale that knows it’s a finale and knows the promises it must reaffirm. Who else could Kei and Yuri be but Space Truckers? Sure, they’re technically undercover again, this time to infiltrate an independent truck company on the verge of folding due to corporate pressure, but it feels a little bit different this time. There’s no obvious diegetic guise the girls slip into here, and they certainly don’t seem to be acting very hard. Indeed, Kei and Yuri are for one final time handled perfectly, and this might be the story that shows their relationship in the best and purest light. They’re just being themselves here, which is the boldest, most brazenly revolutionary thing they can do. And they clearly relate to and empathize profoundly with the truck drivers, and why wouldn’t they? They share a common bond as travellers on the cosmic highway, as fated to be alone together as they are to constantly journey from place to place. The title “No Need to Listen to the Bad Guys. We are Space Truckers!” couldn’t have been more accurate: It’s as apt a summary of the episode itself as it is a crystal clear statement of purpose for Dirty Pair on the whole.
(And notice how, in the teaser for this episode, it’s *Yuri* who gets the most excited about becoming a trucker, saying it’s something she’s “always wanted to do”. Try as she might to pass herself off as a romantic, refined Yamato Nadeshiko heroine, at heart Yuri is just as much a working class wanderer and voyager as Kei is, and her true colours shine the brightest and most vibrant of all.)
We’ve seen Space Truckers in Dirty Pair before, in “Lots of Danger, Lots of Decoys”. But that episode, much like the TV series it’s from, had an extremely goofy, tongue-in-cheek tone to it. That wasn’t a bad thing, and a lot of the first Dirty Pair show was laugh-out-loud funny. But this time it’s played a bit more serious and a bit more sophisticated. Not that there aren’t still laughs to be had, of course, but the comedy tends to come more in light doses delicately woven into the fabric of the narrative itself, rather than shoved front and centre in slapsticky glory. There’s an elegance, nuance and sense of mature dignity to the writing here that really sells the quiet tragedy of Uncle Jayd and the truckers, and Kei and Yuri effortlessly fit right in. This has been a signature of Original Dirty Pair from the beginning, but it’s so very important that this episode in particular embodies this sophistication as well as it does, because of its delicate subject matter.…