This was a presentation given at the Anime Central 2004 convention, held in Rosemont, Illinois, to observe the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first appearance in print of the Lovely Angels. The text and images were prepared by Nozmo and kindly presented at a program event on 16 May by Matthew Wade.

 

Takekawa Kimiyoshi was drawn to story writing at an early age and was already putting novels together in high school in the mid-1960s. His influences were chiefly Japanese and translated American science fiction novels of the 1950s and 1960s. While in college, he went to a science-fiction convention for the first time and met a number of other fans, including the people with whom he co-founded Studio Nue in 1973. That year, he made his debut under the name Takachiho Haruka, with the space-opera novel, Crisis on Planet Pizan, the first Crusher Joe story. This and the novels that soon followed were not immediately popular, but caught on after the appearance of Star Wars in Japan in 1978. In the meantime, Studio Nue also became involved with character and mecha design for animation and worked increasingly with the fledgeling Nihon Sunrise production company.

Probably in 1978, Studio Nue received a visitor, the British-Australian SF author, A. Bertram Chandler. As something to entertain their guest, Takachiho and two of the staff members, Tanaka Yuri and Otoguro Keiko, took Chandler to a World Women's Wrestling Association match, where the very popular tag team, the Beauty Pair, would be competing. Something happened during that match which prompted a remark from Chandler to the effect that "those two in the ring may be the Beauty Pair, but those two with you should be called the 'Dirty Pair'!" This gave Takachiho the idea for a little story.

His editor wasn't too excited by his proposal, though: to that time, no story in any medium with two female main characters had ever been successful in Japan. Upon thinking abot the idea a while (possibly in the bathtub, where he says he gets many of his ideas), Takachiho created a team wih contasting personalities. Yuri embodies the traditional, aristocratic ideal of Japanese beauty with her pale skin, long hair, and (at least outwardly) gentle and pleasant demeanor. Kei is based on the centuries-old figure in Japanese comedy of the unrefined woman from the rural provinces, with her assertive, no-nonsense manner, rough language, and penchant for straightforward actions. The author made them a pair of 19-year-old criminal investigators, code-named the Lovely Angels and employed by the Worlds' Welfare Work Association, a for-profit organization under charter to the United Galactica federation, which deals with matters of planetary significance by commission. He placed them in the Crusher Joe "universe" in the year 2141, about twenty years before Joe's team is active.

In referring to their origin in tag-team wrestling, Takachiho had his space-going detectives involved in high-action cases. Their special ability is a limited clairvoyance about critical details of their investigations, which gives them a remarkable success rate in solving their cases. The price they pay for their gift is incredibly bad luck when circumstances get out of control (which happens often): large-scale destruction frequently follows, usually caused by the villains, but which leaves our two young Trouble Consultants unscathed. The media and the public, not being close to the situations, comes to regard the Lovely Angels as anywhere from a jinx to a menace to humankind, and so quickly dubbed them "The Dirty Pair."

The first novella, The Great Adventure of the Dirty Pair, is almost a parody of Takachiho's Crusher Joe stories, maintaining a certain light-heartedness amidst dangerous and sometimes dark situations. Appearing in SF Magajin in Feburary of 1979, it was, possibly to everyone's surprise, a hit with Japanese SF fans, winning a Seiun (analogous to the American Hugo Award) for Best Short Story in 1980. It was followed later in 1979 by a longer novel and the two stories were compiled into a book published in 1980.

While Takachiho continued to work on his now popular Crusher Joe novels, Sunrise chose to produce a feature film about the characters in 1983, with Takachiho and animator/illustrator Yasuhiko Yoshikazu co-writing the screenplay.

They apparently decided it would be fun to drop a cameo by the Lovely Angels into the movie; this animated appearance by the Pair caused enough of a stir among fans to lead Sunrise to consider a series for television.

Dokite Tsukasa was tapped to direct the show, having worked on Urusei Yatsura early in the decade before coming to Sunrise and working with Yasuhiko on Giant Gorg. Design work was carried out during the summer of 1984, but there may have been production complications (it was a busy time for Sunrise), because the broadcast on Nihon Terebi (NTV) didn't start until July 15th of 1985, too late to complete a 26-week run by the end of the year. Whatever the reasons for the TV series not being renewed, it was a huge anime fan favorite and the last two episodes still owed were completed during 1986 and released as an OVA set on January 1, 1987.

Dokite's rather comedic Dirty Pair series was not much of a hit with the fans of the print stories, so Norandia no Nazo <The Riddle of Nolandia> was created during the last four months of 1985 as a sort of compromise between the two versions, with its somewhat less cartoony character designs and darker plot. Despite a fairly good story-line, the hurried production schedule shows, so this OVA, released near the end of December 1985, has never enjoyed the popularity of other DP anime outings.

The fan interest was still definitely there, however, which encouraged Sunrise to enter into production of a theatrical film feature, simply called Daatipea: Gekijouban <Dirty Pair: The Motion Picture> (but known to most of its fans outside Japan as "Project E.D.E.N."), which was released on March 14, 1987 as part of a double-bill with the baseball anime feature, Bat & Terry. Takachiho had in the meantime published two more novels in SF Magajin during 1985-87, along with a short story coinciding with the release of "E.D.E.N." He also began to take more of a hand in the animated version of his creations, being "project coordinator" for the Daatipea feature;

having some involvement with the 1987-88 ten-episode OVA series (with his short story, "Soshite Daremo Shinakunatta" <And Then No One Played>, adapted as the fifth episode); and being the story/dialog editor for the OVA, Bouryaku no 005-bin <Conspiracy of Flight 005>, released on January 25, 1990.

Continue with this story