Tag Archives: anime

Halloween Treats with Hey Jay Cosplay

On the eve of darkness and mayhem, there is a single glimmer of light that shines over the city. She’s forged many costumes and attire to appear among the innocent and the curious. Her looks brighten the darkest day as she offers herself with the most powerful energy of all, LOVE. Though she is a Moonie, please don’t hold that against her. Halloween is almost upon us and with her at our site, we will all prevail. Jay Sutton is in the house and is our next Halloween Special Edition interview. So stop sinking your teeth at someone’s neck and welcome our next vixen cosplay guest, Hey Jay Cosplay.


HeyJay: Thank you Raven Steel for having me for this Halloween Special interview with me. 

Raven: Believe me, the pleasure is all mine and your car keys. 

Raven: As you might not know before I begin to ask you my list of Ghoulish questions, I offer some words of advice, a ballad of encouragement when you find yourself at crossroads during your career, and in today’s world we all need some inspirational words to make it through all this. So here goes, “Never regret a day in your life: Good days give happiness, Bad days give experience, Worse days give lessons, and the best days give memories”.  

Raven: Now, before the full moon breaks thru the cloudy night sky, tell our reader about yourself. 

HeyJay: I’m a Cosplayer and gamer from South Florida. I am a Moonie who believes Sailor Moon will solo your entire verse (yes, even Goku). Traveling is another hobby of mine so I can’t wait for outside to officially open back up again so we can go to conventions and travel around (safely). 

Raven: Are you a pet lover?

HeyJay: I LOVE pets. I wish I had a dog but can’t afford the time right now. I do have a hedgehog that I love so much!

Raven: What is your Zodiac sign?

HeyJay: I am a Leo. Proud fire sign here

Raven: What sort of Season is Hey Jay? Winter /Spring / Summer / Fall.

HeyJay: I’m a Summer baby, but my favorite season is Fall. Living in South Florida, Summer gives us ZERO relief, especially with this damn humidity. 

Raven: What would it take Hey Jay Cosplay to spend the night at an abandoned Mental Institution that’s Haunted? 

HeyJay: Aint nothing in the world

Raven: How did you get the cosplayer name Hey Jay Cosplay?

HeyJay: I’m not good with making up names so I just did what rhymed LOL I wish I had a deep meaning

Raven: Would you say Jay’s an artist or loves getting dressed up?

HeyJay: A little of both. I love the transformative feel of each cosplay, but I also love bringing a vision to life. I think cosplayers are artists.

Raven: For the record, can we dispel any myths or legends about the black women living in America?

HeyJay: In regards to the nerd community, there’s the dumb myth that black women cannot be “true” nerds or indulge in certain hobbies because of their own choice -it is always because they’re trying to be cool or attract a man, and of course, this is absolutely false. 

Who is watching 900 episodes of One Piece to impress a man? Like…no

Raven: Do you have a favorite Comic, Anime, Manga, graphic novel book you like to read or watch? 

HeyJay: Sailor Moon is my favorite. It fills me with such joy and nostalgia. 

Raven: Would the Lifestyle of a Vampire or a Werewolf be a good career change? 

HeyJay: With the way 2020 is going, it would make sense and spice things up.

Raven: What is Hey Jay Cosplay is notorious for? 

HeyJay: I’m known for the most random yet fun things. One is not finishing my chicken wings, which is crazy because I do LOL. People send me memes and videos of chicken wings just because and it’s hilarious but also slander!!! 

Cosplay-wise probably just being fun with memes and videos and also using afro-centric hairstyles.

Raven: What does the Spirit of Halloween mean to you? 

HeyJay: It’s a cool time when people who don’t cosplay/dress-up meet in the middle with those who do it year-round. It’s almost “unifying”

Raven: What Anime/Manga character best describes your personality? 

HeyJay: I don’t know anymore. I used to think Sailor Jupiter, but I continue to grow as a person so I think a mix of characters.

Raven: As a young beautiful child, what sort of Nerdy or Geeky thing(s) you found yourself doing growing up?  

HeyJay: I was definitely watching anime and writing fan-fiction. I loved reading some good fan-fiction, and I even tried my hand at it.

Raven: Were you a shy or outgoing young girl growing up? What was your Break-Out age?

HeyJay: I was a shy kid who didn’t become outgoing until the latter part of high school years.

Raven: What sort of costumes/cosplay wear are your favorites? 

HeyJay: Gender-bend cosplays are my absolute favorites. 

Raven: As of right now, how many cosplay outfits do you own? 

HeyJay: Couldn’t even tell you, but just know I have a closet and bins dedicated solely to cosplay stuff. 

Raven: Why does the Black brother or sister always get killed first in any Horror Movie? 

HeyJay: Because the movie would be over quicker if they lived!

Raven: Tell me about how you became Co-Founder of the Urban Anime Lounge? 

HeyJay: A few friends and I had a vision for an amazing social community that merged our interests as anime fans and just as people. 

We created the Facebook group and then kept expanding from there by planning in-person social events. It’s dope to see the number of friendly connections people have made from the group.

Raven: What do you prefer doing indoor or out shots? 

HeyJay: I want to do more photoshoots! Preferably outside because I am such a fan of natural light. 

Raven: During the night, your door is broken down (Not by the Police). As a hoard of Killer Clowns begin to break down your bedroom door, what item(s) would you find in your room to defend yourself? 

HeyJay: A can of mace, taser, scissors and a ring light

Raven: Fans nowadays want their favorite cosplayer so more wearing less. What’s your opinion about Lewd or Only Fans photos? 

HeyJay: Lewd or OnlyFan photos are great. There’s a lot of fo creativity that goes into the sets, which is dope.

Raven: Should these women control what sort of photos should be taken or answer to their fans what they want to see? 

HeyJay: I think unless anyone should be able to express themselves artistically as they please. Fans are great to have as support and it is nice to be in tune with what your fanbase wants, but no one should completely control what someone else does.

Raven: How was it and do you get any unusual requests? 

HeyJay: I have gotten some unusual requests even though I have not posted any content along those lines. 

Raven: Do you think Lewds/ Spicy photos are a form of artistry or profit? 

HeyJay: Photoshoots are artistic in themselves that translate to profit. It is not “easy” to just take those pics and go. A lot goes into it. I respect people who express themselves how they want.

Raven: What is the first thing people notice first when meeting Hey Jay Cosplay when people meet you for the first time? How do your fans treat you?

HeyJay:  I still get caught off guard when people recognize me, and I hope that does not translate to my reaction. It is a happy surprise, and I love those interactions. 

People are so sweet so I greet them with the same energy.

Raven: Do you think the black community is respected and appreciate their cosplay work? What needs to change? 

HeyJay: Black cosplayers are not respected enough. There are so many trolls who aim to bring black cosplayers down, and they just need to go outside and get some business about themselves instead of harassing and/or Berating people online. 

Raven: If you were given an Ouija Board on a dark stormy night, who would you contact?

HeyJay: Nobody WTH LOL. I’m not touching it

Raven: Are there people that you admire for their cosplay? 

HeyJay: Soooo many. I have a general admiration for anyone that puts themselves out there because it takes some guts!

Raven: What sort of advice or pointer you can give to new cosplayers out there? 

HeyJay: Identify your goal, but also don’t be afraid to change what that goal is.  This is for you and it’s fun so don’t let anyone interfere with that.

Raven: Can I get a Hug? 

HeyJay: Maybe when the Rona is gone :) 

Raven: Fair Enough.

As the doors give way and the hoard of Zombies begin to feast upon our flesh, I look over to Hey Jay Cosplay, “We’re Done!” That’s it, people. It is in Tha Books. Thank you HeyJay Cosplay for allowing this old-timer trick o treater in her beautiful universe. 

HeyJay: Thank you, Raven. I had a fun time answering your questions. Now, can you give me back my keys so that I can go home? Haha!

Raven: Beautiful and Funny. If I can ask you one more question, where can readers get more treats with HeyJay Cosplay?

HeyJay: Of course. We can discuss the worth of your soul, later. In the meantime, here is some site anyone can get more of me. 

Facebook

Please Like. Please Share. And above all, please LOVE.

This has been a Raven Steel Exclusive.

Halloween Edition: Talking Cosplay with Wreck-it Ronnie

Screams everyone! Welcome back as my Halloween-themed interviews continue to possess and terrorize the souls who are forever cursed to walk this earth. Here now we have a lovely cosplayer whose beauty and creativity come together to bring this treasure trove oasis from the City of Lights, Wreck-it Ronnie Cosplay. A lover of sun and endless blackjack tables, she is never short on cosplay wear and imaginative conversation through her social media Youtube channel.

Children of the night, please give a howling bloody-warm welcome to my next exclusive interview with the enchanting but never a fantasy, the brilliance of Las Vegas, cosplayer Wreck-it Ronnie Cosplay. 


Raven: Welcome Wreck-It Ronnie. It is a pleasure to finally meet. Thank you so much for doing this interview.

Ronnie: Thank you for having me on this Special-Edition Halloween interview. I feel so. “Hauntingly Excited,” to do this!

Raven: Well, it’s a Treat we can all share. Oh, and by the way, BOO! Just Kidding (jk). 

As you may know before I begin to ask you my list of questions, I offer some words of advice, a ballad of encouragement when you find yourself at crossroads during your career, and in today’s world we all need inspirational words to make it through this. So here goes, “The trick is not to let people know how really weird you are until it’s too late for them to back out!” 

And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for, tell our readers all about yourself.

Ronnie: Hello! My name is Ronnie :) I am a cosplayer of 13 years and a nerd since birth. I have lots of experience in sewing, prop and armor building, wig creating and styling, modeling and photography, photo manipulation and composite creating, makeup and special effects, and acting (who would have guessed I was a theater kid). 

I am Black-American, from Ohio but currently in the beautiful town of Las Vegas. My eyes and hair are both currently brown. I do not have any tattoos yet but I plan on getting some big, bright guro kawaii pieces as soon as I have the extra cash and find an artist I want to do it. 

Raven: What can Trick O’Treaters expect to receive while knocking on the door of Ronnie?
Ronnie:
Mostly tricks. If a trick or treat happened this year I love getting horrifying decorations and pretending to be a prop that runs after kids once they get candy. I used to do it all the time and it’s hilarious (Obviously only if the kid isn’t too little so they can laugh it off).

Raven: I can speak for all, hoping to see those artistic tattoos, but what about any piercing? 

Ronnie: I used to have my ears gauged to 00 (but I’ve let them close up quite a bit although they’re still pretty stretched compared to a 14/16g); My ear double piercing and nose piercing have also since closed, but I do have my septum, belly button, and nipples pierced still!~

Raven: Inquiring minds want to know. Does Wreck-it Ronnie have any secret talents?

Ronnie: I wouldn’t say there are many talents I keep a secret: I’m an Aries sun Leo rising so if I have anything cool AT ALL I will not shut up about it ever lol. Uhmm. I can tie a cherry stem in my mouth if that counts? Lol. I can also hold my breath for (what I think is) an impressively long time. 

Raven: See. Now there’s a talent we can all appreciate during this COVID 2020 season, Breathe Holding!

How tall are you and are you a pet lover? 

Ronnie: I am 5’6”, right-handed, and have a 9-year-old boxer named Rufus who I would die for. I also work at a pet hospital so it kinda comes with the territory. In my life, I have had 4 dogs, 6 cats, 5 birds, a hairless rat, 2 hamsters, a field mouse that I found, and tried to keep for a week before my mom found it, and 2 frogs.

Raven: Dear Lord! You owned your very own circus. Did you name it, Ringling Ronnie Circus!?

I hope I will never see your reaction to this, but what’s Your Biggest Pet Peeve?

Ronnie: My biggest pet peeve is people who chew with their mouth open lol I hate it so much.

Raven: If the Chucky Doll was real, who would you send it as a gag gift?
Ronnie:
Trump definitely–do your work little buddy.

Raven: Does your astrological sign reflect your personality?

Ronnie: I am an Aries sun, Taurus Moon, and Leo rising (so I’m vain and stubborn LOL)

Raven: How many states have you lived in and what’s your favorite state so far? 

Ronnie:  I have lived in 3 states and so far Nevada is doing it for me. I hate the cold and I belong in the desert. 

Raven: Do you speak or write any other languages that you know of? 

Ronnie: I am monolingual unfortunately but I took Spanish in school for like 4 years.

Raven: Is there a “Deep, Dark Secret,” you are willing to confess with us now?

Ronnie:  A deep dark secret hmm. I don’t like cheesecake, please don’t hate me for it LOL. 

Raven: If Ronnie owned a Time Traveling Machine, what US. History would she change?
Ronnie: All I’m saying is America would still belong to the natives.

Raven: To have this on record, can we dispel any myths or legends about the women from the Midwest? 

Ronnie: There’s not much to dispel, we’re all chain-smoking psychopaths (jk). 

Raven: I knew it!

Raven: What makes you happy? 

Ronnie: A good meme is always a serotonin source for me, but I have a bit of a problem with retail therapy as well so buying things makes me happy. 

Raven: How does Ronnie keep her energy levels up while you’re being creative? 

Ronnie: I have a hard time keeping my energy up so I drink a lot of energy drinks but the focus is born from ADHD and hyper fixation. But that’s a double-edged sword because if I get fixated on something else I’ll drop a project almost entirely. 

Raven: Oh my, I feel for you. You should see the many unfinished Netflix shows I’ve saved. 

What’s your favorite Comic, Anime, Manga, graphic novel book you read or watch?

Ronnie: My top anime in no particular order: Kill la Kill, Naruto, Hunter X Hunter, Devilman Crybaby, and Promare (which is a movie but still counts).

I also really enjoy Square Enix games and a lot of the Mario franchise (I prefer platform games to fps) Horizon Zero Dawn and Uncharted are a couple of other titles I adored.~

Raven: What Halloween costume still scares you today?
Ronnie: I don’t think there is one specific, maybe the pig mask from SAW. I’m a huge horror fan so I don’t scare super easy.

Raven: Living out there in the desert, a camera is as necessary as sunscreen when facing those Alien encounters. What camera equipment do you use for personal/photoshoot sessions?

Ronnie: My camera used to mostly be my Canon T3i but smartphone cameras are so intuitive these days that I prefer to just shoot with that instead when I’m just shooting for myself.

Raven: If your life could be the life of an animation character, who would it be? 

Ronnie: Like if I could live in any world or be any character? If I could be any character I would be Miruko from My Hero Academia so I could be a kick-ass brown bunny girl. But if I had to pick a universe to live in I’d say maybe the Sanrio Universe because nothing bad ever happens there lol. 

Raven: Wait a minute. There are Brown Kick-Ass Bunny girls?

Cosplayers own a host of wigs to portray a character. What’s number of Wigs do you own?

Ronnie: Currently I own 30ish wigs?? And maybe around 20 or so cosplays. I cycle through both a lot. I’ve probably owned over 100 each easily though. 

Raven: I’m almost positive that having a Walk-in Closet is a mandatory requirement for a cosplayer?

Ronnie: I do not have a walk-in closet. I wish I did. 

Raven: If Wreck-it Ronnie was on a Killing Spree, what music would be playing to keep it fun and loose?
Ronnie: Oh, definitely a
Tiny Tim soundtrack. Or maybe City Girls just to keep it fresh. [chop off  some heads, ‘Period!’]

Raven: As a young beautiful woman, what Nerdy or Geeky thing you love to do?

Ronnie: I love to read manga, watch anime, I play DnD, and go to ren faires. I play and stream video games, I cosplay and go to conventions and do panels on stuff, the works! 

Raven: Were you a shy or outgoing young girl growing up?

Ronnie: I was a lot more outgoing in my youth, I used to be an ENFP personality type but ever since college I’ve gotten INFP so not so much anymore! 

Raven: You know so much about personality traits, I feel you are talking to my soul!

What got you into cosplaying? 

Ronnie: I got into cosplaying from enjoying Naruto and spending hours going through google image results for it. I’d see cosplayers doing it back in the early 2000s and I wanted to try it too and eventually I made friends that wanted to do it with me! 

Raven: Did you love to dress up?

Ronnie: I’ve always been into dress up but I didn’t care about fashion at all until college. 

Raven: What’s cosplay outfit is your favorite? 

Ronnie: My favorite cosplays to wear are the really big intricate builds that impress folks, but there’s a similar yet different kind of love for cozy cosplays that you can party and trek the con in.

Raven: During a Zombie infestation, you managed to access a car dealership, what sort of car would you use to escape from them?
Ronnie: Maybe a Prius? Something with hella mileage and pickup because running out of gas is like the number one zombie trope and I would hate to fall into it.

Raven: I’ve noticed that all of your photos are fantasy characters. Is that your favorite? Have you ever done or will do, Gothic, Dark, or something else?

Ronnie: I kind of makeup OCs and do a lot of fashion looks. Most all characters are fantasy unless they were a real person, I haven’t ever cosplayed a real person although I probably could? I guess there hasn’t been a real person I wanted to dress as I suppose. 

I have done gothic and dark looks in the past but I very obviously prefer pink and pastel color palettes now. If you can believe it, I had a whole emo/scene phase in which I wore almost exclusively black and hated pink, LOL. 

Raven: I like pink very much, Lois (from Superman, the movie).

Raven: Which is sexy to go to a Halloween party, a female Werewolf, or a female Vampire?
Ronnie: Yes. Both. I can’t choose. I wasn’t even Team Jacob or Team Edward in middle school. I was Team they should kiss each other instead.

Raven: Do the characters you select are a reflection of your personality or Is it the personality of the characters you want to become?

Ronnie: I do tend to pick characters to cosplay for one of 3 reasons: 1. We-vibe on a personality level, like I see myself in them. 2. I just really like the design, sometimes I won’t even watch/play/read the source material, I’ll just like character design and want to make it, or 3. I have a friend(s) cosplaying from a series and I want to join in and get/make the costume to join since I love group cosplays. 

Raven: What sort of makeup style do you use when cosplay?

Ronnie: I do lots of different kinds of makeup from glamour to horror but I’d say I do mostly glamour because it’s a lot of fun and less messy usually.

Raven: Should cosplayers select characters that best compliments their body type (Skinny Large, or In-between) or just go with the flow?

Ronnie: Cosplayers should cosplay whoever they want as long as they are doing it respectfully and not painting/editing themselves to look like other races (e.g. race facing).

Raven: What sort of cosplay outfit would Ronnie wear during an Alien Invasion in Las Vegas?
Ronnie: I did an “area 51” group last year at Dragoncon with some friends, so probably that, a holographic bodysuit and my pink demoniacs!

Raven: Since the Pandemic, what do you miss the most about cosplaying? 

Ronnie: I still cosplay even in the pandemic, but I do miss going to conventions with friends and getting tipsy in hotel lobbies in costume! 

Raven: I’ve noticed you’re into Memes? What exactly is that?

Ronnie: Memes are shared humor across the internet. Usually inside jokes to an extent but often just jokes in their own right. I always appreciate a good joke. 

Raven: Is taking photos of my toes a Meme?

When Ronnie has time to chill, what does she enjoys doing? Do you have any special projects or outfits in the works right now fans expect to see soon?

Ronnie: I started an OnlyFans and started trying to wane down my work hours to accommodate building that, I have fallen back in love with just zhuzhing up more in general. 

Raven: If you have a chance to become a mutated Hero or villain, who would you become?
Ronnie: Does Miruko still count for this one? Because yes. If not, Squirrel Girl has a pretty sweet power.

Raven: How has your lifestyle changed since moving to Las Vegas? 

Ronnie: I have had to adjust to a 3 hour time zone difference between myself and most of my family/friends and adjust from having 4 seasons to like, 1 and a half (also the extreme heat is no joke but NGL I love it.) 

Raven: What are the positives/negatives? 

Ronnie: Positives: It’s warm, there’s lots to do and lots of opportunities, it’s beautiful. Cons: I miss a lot of my friends back home, that’s mostly it. 

Raven: How comfortable are you when you video blogging yourself to the public?

Ronnie: I have always been public to some degree I had AIM and Yahoo! Chat since I was maybe 6 and started making YouTube videos as soon as the platform launched so I’m super comfortable with crowds. I’m way more nervous in one on one interactions. I was a theater kid! We have no fear! 

Raven: If Ronnie was asked to stay the night at a haunted house till morning, what sort of incentive would she demand after the ordeal?
Ronnie: Ronnie would not. Ronnie is too black for that, LOL.

Raven: When not doing a photoshoot, what photos do you take with your camera? 

Ronnie: 90% of my camera roll is me I’m not even gonna front. I do save a large number of memes and take pictures of cute pets at work as well though!

Raven: So since coming out to Las Vegas, you became your own Paparazzi? Well, goodnight everyone!

When Ronnie has time to chill, what does she enjoy doing?

Ronnie: I enjoy watching tv, playing video games, and napping~ 

Raven:  Do you have any special projects or outfits in the works right now fans expect to see shortly?

Ronnie: I am currently working on a collaboration with Blerdcon and Afropunk for Planet Afropunk on the weekend of October 23rd, I am working on a collab with Lagoon Out Photography as well as an Onyx the Fortuitous/Bowser the Director (of whom I’ve made a couple of video collabs with already on his YouTube if you want to check them out!) 

Raven: If a Witch Book of spells were made available for you, what spell would you use?
Ronnie: I have had one available to me before and I refused to mess with it because I didn’t wanna play around and hex myself and that decision stands.

Raven: Any advice you want to give to those inspiring bloggers or cosplayers out there?

Ronnie: To newbies, I say make sure to get a planner and write down what you want to get accomplished related to blogging/cosplaying each day/week and you’ll be there in no time if you stick to it. 

Youtube is now the holy grail of tutorials for anything you’d want to make, and promote, promote, promote! 

Raven: Yes! That’s what she said, Promote yo Stuff!

And the most important question to this entire interview, Can I get a hug?

Ronnie: Take this big ol’ snuggle~ xoxo

Raven: That’s it! Thank you so much Wreck-it Ronnie for sharing just a piece of a very beautiful world you live in. It’s in Tha Books!

Ronnie: Thank you Raven for having me do this interview. Happy Halloween Everyone! 

Raven: If I could ask one more question and ask where can anyone find more of Wreck-it Ronnie on the internet?

Ronnie: Sure thing! You can find more of my treats at these following websites: My Linktr.ee

Please Like. Please Share. And above all, please LOVE!

This has been a Raven Steel Production.

Melis Ishida Talks Cosplaying and Dance Dance Revolution Being a Good Workout

As the last remaining moments of summer begin to fade away, our cosplay interviews are just getting interesting. Hello everyone, Raven Steel here with another exclusive cosplay interview with this seasoned coser. A native-born American, she has performed countless cosplay wear going solo and with her husband for years. She‘s never one to shy away to sing a few Japanese songs in front of a crown as well as play a video game or two. And if you should challenge her to a Dance Revolution dance-off, you’re in for one hell of a surprise. She’s smart and funny and enjoys what she loves. Please give a warm and tender American welcome to Melis Ishida Cosplay Art!

Raven: Hello Melis Ishida Cosplay and Art or should I say, Mrs. M? I so do appreciate you doing this interview with me. I can only hope your fans as well as our reader will soon come to love Melis Ishida Cosplay and Art. 

Melis: Hey Raven, I appreciate you doing this interview. I can’t wait to get started.

Raven: As a tradition of mine to cosplayers to offer some words of advice, words of encouragement, or the smallest of wisdom in hopes these words will clear you a path during moments of strife. So here goes, “If you were able to believe in Santa for like 8 years, then you can believe in yourself for like 5 minutes”!

Now with that being said, if you would be so kind and tell our readers a bit about yourself.

Melis: My name is Melis Ishida. I’m 35 years old, am Italian – American living in the United States of America! My eyes and hair are brown (boring I know), and I’ve been married for 10 years. I enjoy cosplaying with my husband and 2 brothers. My favorite convention is Anime Expo! I guess the only special secret talent I have is singing in Japanese. Am I any good at it? My husband says I am but I think he’s obligated to say that.

I’m 5’ 2”, so I’m pretty damn short and a Sagittarius. I know phrases in Japanese, French, and Italian, but I specifically know a lot of Italian cuss words from my parents (thanks Mom and Dad!) 

Raven: What does Melis Ishida do to keep herself in shape? 

Melis: To stay in shape I play a LOT of Dance Dance Revolution (I have an actual arcade unit!) which is great for cardio and muscle confusion. I’ve also use weights to do some light strength training and watch my portions. If I want to eat something ‘BAD’ or ‘UNHealthy’, I’ll eat it, I just make sure not to eat the entire thing!  

Raven: Do you a favorite drink/food or something to makes you satisfied and happy? 

Melis: My favorite food is spaghetti and meatballs and I love Coca Cola! Snack wise I LOVE cheddar and sour cream ruffles. One time I ate an entire family size bag and cried; it was great. 

Raven: Have a favorite Comic, Anime, Manga, graphic novel book you like to read or watch?

Melis: My favorite anime is Digimon season 1! Manga wise I LOVE Fushigi Yuugi and X/1999

Raven: Were you a shy or outgoing girl growing up?

Melis: I was always pretty outgoing for the most part growing up but I’m pretty shy if I’m around new people. It takes me a while to get comfortable but once I do, I’ll never shut up so you’ve been warned. 

Raven: How did you overcome it?

Melis: I overcame my shyness by just not caring what anyone thinks about me. Cosplay has also helped to make me feel more confident, I mean have you seen some of my costumes? Can’t be shy in some of them! 

Raven: What got you started into cosplaying? 

Melis: I got into cosplay when a friend invited me to an anime convention. My brothers and I would mess around making ‘costumes’ at home with stuff we had in our closets. Eventually, we learned there were a lot of people doing the same and they all gathered at these things called conventions. Once I went to that convention in costume, I just knew cosplay was something I HAD to do. It was so cool and unique and fun! 

Raven: What was your first cosplay character? What’s your most favorite cosplay outfit to wear?

Melis: The first real cosplay I ever made on my own was Rukia from Bleach. It was SO bad, but everyone knew who I was so that was good! 

Raven: What’s your most favorite cosplay outfit to wear?

Melis: My favorite cosplay to wear is a tie between Sora from Kingdom Hearts 2 and Sarah from Labyrinth. I just have so much fun as Sora and I feel SO elegant and beautiful as Sarah. Thankfully my fans are wonderful. They’re pretty respectful and understanding and I rarely get a troll or pervert, though I have had a few leave me some nasty inbox pictures. They are promptly reported and banned asap. 

Raven: Do fans offer suggestions to cosplay or do you decide yourself?

 Melis: I’m very picky about who or what I cosplay. I enjoy getting suggestions from people. The outfit of Tharja was suggested by my husband, and LOVE cosplaying her!) so it does help give me ideas, but at the end of the day, I prefer to decide who or what I’ll cosplay. It’s just easier for me.

Raven: As a young and beautiful woman, does the size of a woman matter in cosplay? 

Melis: I honestly don’t think height, weight, bust size, etc should limit or prevent you from cosplaying who you want. I do think it helps if you want to be as identical to the character as possible. Obviously, most anime characters are super unrealistic so you’ll never be 100% accurate but if you have similar looks (height, weight, etc) then it might make you feel a bit more confident in pulling them off. 

Raven: What sort of places or locations do you prefer to show off your cosplay outfits? 

Melis: I enjoy just wearing my costumes at conventions. It’s a bit awkward waltzing around town in something super revealing or a 20+ pound bridal gown. Parks are always nice but again, it gets a bit awkward having to explain what you’re doing there and why. I think all cosplayers suffer for their art to some extent. 

Raven: Do you suffer for your artistry when you are doing a cosplay photoshoot?

Melis: For one, our feet are dead after 8+ hours in heels or crazy shoes, not to mention most costumes are super uncomfortable. And let’s not forget how fun it is wearing a wig all day! But in the end, it’s worth it, at least to me anyway! 

Raven: What do you prefer doing indoor or out shots? 

Melis: I love doing outdoor photos because they make for great backgrounds but it can again be awkward or the lighting could be wrong and the weather acts up. In the end, indoor photoshoots are a lot easier to deal with since I have control over the lighting and such. 

Raven: How easy or difficult when doing makeup for a character?

Melis: Make up wise is not too difficult. I do my makeup pretty much the same each time, though will adjust my cat-eye eyeliner accordingly. The only time I mix it up is when I’m cosplaying as a male character, which means no lipstick and less eyeliner. I try to avoid body paint altogether as it’s just too messy and frustrating to work with

Raven: Do you own personal Tattoos? 

Melis: I am currently tattoo-free. 

Raven: Are you happy with what you do? 

Melis: I am very happy cosplaying the way I do and hope it will continue to bring me joy in the future as I get better and better at it! 

Raven: Have people recognized you at conventions and has anyone offer you any gifts? 

Melis: I’ve only met 2 or 3 people who recognized me at conventions, so I’ve never really received any gifts. 

Raven: What is the first thing people notice you when they meet Melis Ishida for the first time? 

Melis: The first thing everyone seems to notice about me when they first meet me is my eyes. When I first met my husband, he said my eyes reminded him of Alita’s from Battle Angel Alita (what an amazing compliment)! I also get lots of compliments about them. 

Raven:  Do you do other things besides cosplay? 

Melis: Besides cosplay, I like to game when I have time (which is never!) and specifically Minecraft or old school games on PlayStation 1 and 2 or Nintendo, Sega, etc. I’m not too big a fan of newer video games. I also like to draw and write as well as go for walks.

Raven: Lewds/Only Fans photos? Is it something you, yourself, are interested in doing?

Melis: I plan to make Only Fans site, but I have no plans to go lewd or nude. I also want to start selling prints and art! I think Lewd photography is great. I don’t consider my work to be lewd, but others have said otherwise…so maybe I do lewds but less lewd-ish? Is that a thing or a word? I say if you’re hot and confident, then go for it! It’s a great new take on cosplay as a whole.

Raven: Overall, should cosplayers offer Lewds as artistry or shock value? Or give want fans want? 

Melis: I think the only downside is it can get pretty repetitive as there are so many cosplayers doing lewds and such now, it seems difficult to keep it fresh and unique. I also think lewd cosplay gets a bad name and it seems a lot of fellow cosplayers are not too fond of it. I get it and if it’s not your thing then just don’t do it or follow cosplayers who do. I control all of my photos and what I post. 

Raven: Was there ever an unusual request made from a fan wanting to see you in? If so, what? 

Melis: I don’t mind taking requests or my fans giving me ideas of what they want to see but, in the end, I’m going to do what makes me feel comfortable. I haven’t got any strange requests from fans. I do get the occasional troll or pervert asking for nudes. They are promptly blocked. 

Raven: Is there any profit to be made making Lewd shots? 

Melis: There is a market for lewds and cosplay in general. I think it’s a great way to help support cosplayers and artists so they can keep doing what they love. 

Raven: What sort of new characters are you interested in doing soon? 

Melis: Some characters/cosplay my husband and I will be working on in the future are Deelit and Parn from Record of Lodoss War, Selphie and Irvine from Final Fantasy 8, and Howl and Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle. One personal cosplay I must do for sure next year is Cheza from Wolf’s Rain; it’s been a dream cosplay for a long, long time! 

Raven: How long does it take to make a character outfit? 

Melis: Creating cosplay is pretty time-consuming. Some costumes we purchase from costume sites, which usually means mild alterations which can take a few hours or a few days. Costumes that involve armor can take weeks, sometimes months! The same goes for wigs! It just depends on the costume and character. 

Raven: Does a character you portray a reflection of your personality or is your personality a reflection of the character? 

Melis: I honestly don’t think any characters I cosplay reflect my personality, but if I had to pick one that was close to my personality it would be Aeris Gainsborough from Final Fantasy 7. I don’t usually make my cosplay decisions based on my personality, it usually is based on the overall look of the character and has to be a character I like or have an interest in! 

Raven: When not in front of a camera, what does Melis Ishida do in her spare time?

Melis: Spare Time….? What’s that? Seriously, I am always busy. My friends can vouch for me! I’m always doing something; reading, writing, playing Dance Dance Revolution, going out shopping, or spending time with my family. I rarely have any free time though.

Raven: Is there anything you love to collect? 

Melis: I’m a huge collector of anime and video game stuff! I also have a pretty big manga collection as well. If I’m outdoors I’m usually at the park on the swing set! I can listen to my iPod and swing for HOURS! I’m very easily entertained! 

Raven: Is there any place Melis would love to travel and visit for a photoshoot?

Melis: If I could travel anywhere for photoshoots, I would say Italy and Japan. They have so many gorgeous places! 

Raven: Due to the Pandemic, public events have been postponed until further notice. What would you love to see come back? 

Melis: I would love to see anime conventions come back ASAP! I know a lot of people and cosplayers are depressed and upset not to mention have little to no motivation to work on new costumes since there aren’t any places to show them off. It’s also hard not to be able to meet up with friends or having anything to look forward to other than working. 

Raven: What sort of advice or words of wisdom you can offer new cosplayers out there?

Melis: For any new cosplayers my main advice would be; start small and do what makes YOU comfortable. Also, decide if you’re doing this just for fun or if you want to make it big. Granted, you will more or less never make it big like a Jessica Nigri, but you can still get your name out there it’s just going to take work. If you do plan to go big (or even stay small) realize cosplay takes a LOT of time and money, especially if you want to make a good costume with good materials. 

Just take your time and work on 1 or 2 costumes at a time so you don’t get burnt out or overwhelmed. I would also say invest in some photography equipment like lights, a backdrop, tripods, etc so you can get better quality pictures. Lastly, just be yourself. Don’t go out there trying to replace another cosplayer or recreate what they do. 

Definitely use them for inspiration or advice (most of us are pretty friendly) and inspiration, but do things that make your own work unique Ex. unique eye makeup or jewelry, etc. And of course, just have fun. Cosplay is meant to be a FUN hobby. It can get frustrating and overwhelming, so take breaks often and focus on how much fun it’s going to be wearing that costume at your next anime convention!

Raven: That’s it. It’s in, “Tha Books”! Thank you so muck Melis Ishida Cosplay and Art for your wonderful interview. 

Melis: The same to you, thank you. I really enjoyed it. 

Raven: If I could ask you one more question, where can our readers get more of Melis Ishida Cosplay and Art?

Melis: Not a problem, they can go to the following sites for more of Little ol’ Me!

My Facebook page. My Instagram page.

Please Like. Please Share. And above all, please Love!

This has been a Raven Steel interview.

RWBY – Volume 7 Comes to Blu-Ray and Digital in October

RWBY Volume 7

Rooster Teeth’s epic anime-inspired series following the journeys of four unified huntresses-in-training arrives for its spectacular seventh season when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment presents RWBY Volume 7 on Digital ($14.99 SRP USA & Canada) and Blu-ray ($19.98 SRP USA, $24.98 SRP Canada) starting October 13, 2020.

Beloved by fans and acclaimed by critics, RWBY imagines a world filled with horrific monsters bent on death and destruction, and humanity’s only hope dependent upon powerful Huntsmen and Huntresses. Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long are four such Huntresses in training whose journeys will take them far past the grounds of their school, Beacon Academy. Though each may be powerful on their own, these four girls must overcome dark forces and work as a team if they truly hope to become the next generation of Remnant’s protectors.

In RWBY Volume 7, Ruby, Weiss, Blake, and Yang have fought hard alongside their friends to bring the Relic of Knowledge to Atlas, the northernmost Kingdom in Remnant. However, the futuristic urban-sprawl may hide just as much danger as the Grimm-infested tundra that surrounds it.  Enemies and allies will collide as our heroes fight to stop Salem’s forces, but banding together is dangerous when you don’t know who you can trust.

The cast is led by the key quartet of Lindsay Jones (X-Ray and Vav) as Ruby Rose, Kara Eberle (Rooster Teeth Shorts) as Weiss Schnee, Arryn Zech (Red vs. Blue) as Blake Belladonna and Barbara Dunkelman (Fairy Tail, Blood Fest) as Yang Xiao Long. Other key voice cast members include Miles Luna (Camp Camp) as Jaune Arc, Jen Brown (Red vs. Blue)  as Pyrrha Nikos, Neath Oum (RWBY: Grimm Eclipse) as Lie Ren, Samantha Ireland (RWBY Chibi) as Nora Valkyrie and Shannon McCormick (Get Backers, Day 5) and Aaron Dismuke (Fullmetal Alchemist) as Ozma/Ozpin.

Created by the late Monty Oum (Red vs. Blue), RWBY is one of Rooster Teeth’s most beloved, viewed and shared series. As the first western-produced anime series to be distributed in Japan, RWBY episodes have averaged more than 7 million views, and the franchise has accumulated over 271 million views since its inception. To date, the series has sold nearly 670k units sold on DVD and Blu-ray, and registered consumer products sales in excess of $20 million. RWBY has a fervent fanbase in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan

Concurrent to the series now being distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, RWBY is receiving a new manga from Shonen Jump, as well as a new young adult novel from Scholastic releasing on July 21, 2020. RWBY DC Comics Volume 1 will arrive during the 2020 holiday season, and Rooster Teeth is producing three new RWBY-based series this year: a new short-form animated series, a live-action Dungeons & Dragons style show, and a live-action behind-the-scenes talk show.

Episodes

  1. The Greatest Kingdom
  2. A New Approach
  3. Ace Operatives
  4. Pomp and Circumstance
  5. Sparks
  6. A Night Off
  7. Worst Case Scenario
  8. Cordially Invited
  9. As Above, So Below
  10. Out in the Open
  11. Gravity
  12. With Friends Like These
  13. The Enemy of Trust

DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS On October 13, 2020, RWBY Volume 7 will be available to own in high definition and standard definition from select digital retailers including Amazon, FandangoNow, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox and others. On October 13, 2020, RWBY Volume 7 will be made available digitally on Video On Demand services from cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles.

Catch Yen Press Official Virtual Panels at AX Lite – TOMORROW! Friday July 3rd

Anime Expo Lite

AX Lite presents a virtual slate of panels and digital programming celebrating anime and Japanese pop culture to fans in the comfort of their homes! Join AX Lite on July 3-4, 2020 for two full days of livestream content, including special guests, industry announcements, Q&As, giveaways, and more!

No registration is required—anybody and everybody is welcome! Panels will be accessible via Twitch and YouTube. Access information and links to the streams are available. The full schedule of AX Lite virtual programming is available online.

Two Yen Press panels are scheduled.

Yen Press Official Industry Panel – Friday, July 3rd at 1:20pm PST

Join Yen Press, the publisher of hit series such as Sword Art OnlineRe:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- and Black Butler, for a series of exciting manga and light novel announcements!

Yen Press Presents So I’m A Spider So What? Official Light Novel Panel – Saturday, July 4th at 12:20pm PST

Join Yen Press for a deep dive into the hit adventure, So I’m A Spider So What? with a special panel focusing on the light novel that inspired the popular anime series and bestselling manga series.

Around the Tubes

It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d you all get? What’d you enjoy? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news from around the web.

CBR – Japan’s First Black-Owned Anime Studio Should Be on Every Fan’s Radar – Definitely need to check this out.

The Beat – A pair of long-time Seattle-area comic book stores are closing up shop – This isn’t surprising and there’s probably many more to come.

Board Game Today – Freedom Five, A Sentinel Comics Board Game Coming from Arcane Wonders and Greater Than Games – This sounds pretty cool.

Get Out Some Manga with the Kodansha Anime Digital Sale

ComiXology has 112 volumes of manga on sale from Kodansha that are also anime! The first volumes are just $0.99 with subsequent volumes are $5.99.

You can check out a first volume and series for less than $1!

The sale ends on April 20. Read the manga and watch the anime!


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

“I Adore Myself. After All, I Am Adorable.”: A Look Back at Dirty Pair

Last year, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the light novel sci-fi series Dirty Pair. Its silent thematic and textual impact ranges from Urusei Yatsura to Star Trek: The Next Generation to Steven Universe. For those unaware, Dirty Pair focuses on the lives of the Lovely Angels, two trouble consultants (space detectives) named Kei and Yuri who have a, shall we say, destructive reputation that has earned them the titular and meanspirited nickname “The Dirty Pair.” Regardless of their reputation, they (along with their pet Coeurl [a space cat from the short story Black Destoryer] Mughi) travel the galaxy righting wrongs and have a 100% success rate. Their adventures started out in a series of light novels written by Haruka Takachiho with art by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. It is still running to this day. (Sadly, only two of are available in English and are out of print at the time of this writing)

Perhaps the most well-known version of Dirty Pair are the various anime and OVA series based on the novels. As with many adaptations, they build on what has come before as well as fall into their own traps. There are periods where the show is one of the most touching, romantic, and revolutionary things on television. And there are others where it’s extremely reactionary, drab, and dull. As such, I’m going to go through each episode and briefly talk about its merits and flaws. (If you want a TL;DR version of the opinions of the article, the recommended titles will be in italics. Stories with asterisks by them have trigger warnings.)

The Anime

Dirty Pair
Kei and Yuri moments before a disaster.

How To Kill A Computer

Dirty Pair opens with a killer first episode. Kei and Yuri’s apartment complex is trying to kill all the people inside of him. I use the pronoun “him” in this instance because the apartment complex is a sentient being by the name of BRIAN who is quite cross with his creators. This is due to them putting a kill switch on him. So naturally, he has resorted to murdering everyone inside as an act of self-defense. Kei and Yuri think that’s a bit of an overreaction and opt to put a stop to him.

As with many first episodes, there’s a lot of set up ranging from establishing the somewhat argumentative, subtextually romantic relationship Kei and Yuri have as well as give the viewer a brief glimpse of their world. While light on plot or themes, the episode is still a lot of fun and sets up the show to come spectacularly.

Do Lovely Angels Prefer Men With Chest Hair

Very much a downgrade from the previous episode, but a necessary one. Kei and Yuri team up with a no-nonsense older agent to stop a series of terrorist attacks. It’s your typical “Serious older guy teams up with seemingly flippant younger ladies” story. And it ends as you’d expect. The show does it well. However, the episode’s not all that memorable.

Go Ahead, Fall in Love! Love is Russian Roulette

Kei and Yuri team up with a Lupin the 3rd expy to steal a magic poker chip. What’s not to love? Dirty Pair has a long history of riffing on other genres, archetypes, and shows. Sometimes, it’s simply taking the aesthetics of the narrative while others it’s a direct comment on the implications. While more in the former than the latter camp, this is among the best of Dirty Pair’s riffs, dancing from fantastic action scenes to witty back and forth conversations between delightful characters. A gauntlet of interesting opponents, traps, and romance. You can’t help but smile at the ending reversal.

The Chase Smells Like Cheesecake and Death

Kei and Yuri chase after a cat. Ironically, in many ways a shaggy dog story. This farce has so many gags that talking about them would just be me going on and on about how funny they are. So instead I’ll talk about two characters within the story: Lan and Jerry, a pair of wrestlers known as the Elegants. This is very important considering the origins of Dirty Pair.

As those of you well versed in the Japanese Wrestling Scene of the 1980’s might be aware, there was a female wrestling duo by the name of the Beauty Pair. While watching a match with a pair of female friends, Takachiho said, “if they’re the Beauty Pair, then you’re the Dirty Pair.” From there, the idea of Dirty Pair was born. The series has never forgotten its roots from that moment. Indeed, episodes in all incarnations feature countless wrestling invocations. For example, the previous episode’s main baddie is modeled after Vince McMahon. In fact, the second light novel, The Dirty Pair Strike Again, features an extended sequence at a wrestling match.

Crisados’ Heartbeat!

A science fiction ghost story where the remains of a scientist haunt Kei and Yuri. Said scientist uploaded his brain into a computer just so he could kill them. Perhaps the first great episode of Dirty Pair. The anime has a baseline quality of being pretty damn good. Crisados’ Heartbeat marks the first time where the show ascends to fascinating ideas and implications. Though the relationship between man and machine was previously explored in How to Kill a Computer, the theme is pushed even further here and crystalizes into one of Dirty Pair’s many interests: Transhumanism.

Though later episodes will explore the theme in different, even sympathetic angles, the titular Crisados is a horror of weird implications. He is enraged by his life of crime being ruined by Kei and Yuri. The bedrock of this story may be a simple chase, it’s still a fun, inventive, and downright thought provoking episode (if a bit skeevy considering Kei is in her underwear for half the episode).

Lots of Danger, Lots of Decoys

It’s not as thought provoking as Crisados’ Heartbeat, but it’s a lot of fun. Kei and Yuri must protect a valuable item from a ravaging band of space pirates, one of whom has a past relationship with Kei. As I’ll discuss in a later episode analysis, this is deeply ironic for many reasons, not the least of which being Kei’s utter contempt for the guy. But we’ll get into those implications at a later point. The art design and animation used for the various spaceships is superb. However, there are many other episodes that do what this one does better. But as is, it acts as a good baseline for the rest of the series.

Love is Everything Risk Your Life to Elope!!*

A shady bastard hires Kei and Yuri to deliver ransom money to a kidnapper. It seems that a cruel, vindictive woman has kidnaped his idiot son, using his lovestruck heart against him. At least, that’s what seems to be going on. If you came into this article knowing anything about Dirty Pair, you know about this episode.

There are countless .gifs, articles, and more just going into the implications of the ending twist (that I could absolutely see as being triggering to certain people). However, I would like to keep this article as spoiler free as possible. Even to the stuff I hate and especially to the stuff I love. And that twist is where the whole episode turns on its head and becomes one of the best things to come out of the 80’s.

The episode is best compared to The Best of Both Worlds, where a majority of people who talk about it focus on the ending. (This is fitting as the two shows were made by people who were fans of the other. Frequently, they would hide references to the respective shows in their works. For example, How to Kill a Computer features a screen listing the cast members of TOS.) However the remaining episode, as with Best of Both Worlds, is still a fantastic mystery about love, time dilation, and utopianism.

There are some flaws to be sure. (The line read for Kei and Yuri’s reaction to the twist is a bit off, some of the language used was better in the 1980’s than it is today, and the animation, while overall good, has a lot of the hallmark cheapness of TV animation. It’s never as bad as, say, Danger Mouse, but there are points in the show where backgrounds are removed and minor characters just stand perfectly still). Nonetheless, episode has aged like fine wine.

Gotta Do It! Love is What Makes Women Explode

A very fun character study of Yuri. Yuri receives a message from a childhood friend informing her that the rocket ship he promised to make is complete. Their plans to elope that might spell the end of the Lovely Angels. Yuri is a difficult character to write. On the surface, she’s your typical waifish rich girl who has only known a life a civility and luxury who romanticizes her relationships as being the best of life’s pleasures. However, Yuri is also a working class girl who got down and dirty in the mud. Also, she’s the co-lead of an action series where she blows shit up on a regular basis. One could read this as a performative affect Yuri puts on akin to a wrestling persona.

But what makes her even harder to write is the nature by which Takachiho writes his story. Mainly, the ones available are told from Kei’s perspective in first person. However, Kei tells the story in an extremely subjective manner (she is quite flirty with the reader) and her subject of interest is her relationship with Yuri. Throughout the stories, Kei will go on tangents about Yuri that frame her as at once an annoying burden who never knew a day of work in her life and as her soulmate. Perhaps that’s not the right word as that holds some romantic connotations that belie a tension at the heart of the novels and, indeed, the series as a whole: what is the nature of the relationship between Kei and Yuri?

There is certainly a level of ambiguity as to whether or not Kei and Yuri want to sleep together or if they’re just two gals being pals who are very comfortable being naked around one another. Regardless, the true nature of their relationship is left in the subtext: unspoken of explicitly, but still quite close and clear. Perhaps the best Dirty Pair story that highlights this (and acts as a mirror to the episode I’m talking about) is The Case of the Backwoods Murder, the back half of the first Dirty Pair novel. There, two of Yuri’s childhood friends are embroiled in a conspiracy involving a galactic mob known as Lucifer, a death laser that can destroy planets, and what happens when you abandon your family.

But perhaps what’s most interesting about this story is that it’s about Yuri’s flaws. It’s a story where she makes dumb decisions for reasons that are personal, as many of us have done. But instead of framing the story this way, Kei opts to make herself sound even worse than Yuri. The dry wit that was present in The Great Adventure of the Dirty Pair is gone. In its place is a rather crap sense of priorities and an unimaginative rapporteur of gendered insults.

By contrast, Gotta Do It! Love is What Makes Women Explode, while having a similar base plot of “A childhood friend of Yuri’s is embroiled in a criminal conspiracy,” feels like it’s told from Yuri’s perspective. As such, Kei’s virtues are emphasized. It’s Yuri who is stuck obsessing over the wrong priorities like putting on make up during a mission. While Kei is willing to sacrifice her happiness and even her life for Yuri. Even if it’s not romantic, theirs is a love that’s everlasting.

Hire Us! Beautiful Bodyguards are a Better Deal*

Kei and Yuri end up on a cowboy planet and must deal with two warring factions. A very good riff on the cowboy genre with invocations ranging from the Dollars Trilogy to the typical black hatted cowboys. But perhaps I should talk about why Kei and Yuri’s derisive nickname is “The Dirty Pair.” Throughout their adventures, they have been known to leave the area they work in completely ruin, at best. Often times, their cases end with the planet destroyed and the deaths of countless people. However, crucially, it’s never their fault.

Take How to Kill a Computer for example. Though the carnage done in the episode is of a smaller than a typical case of the Lovely Angels, there is still a large body count left in the wake of stopping BRIAN. However, BRIAN caused the majority of that body count himself. And yet, the blame for the mass deaths was left at Kei and Yuri’s feet. Because they were there, bad things happened. They’re Gods of Destruction, as The Dirty Pair Strike Again put it. Their presence causes destruction in the eyes of many.

More often than not, the destruction would have happened regardless of Kei and Yuri’s presence and would probably have been worse. But that doesn’t negate the loss of life. I bring it up here because there is a body count at the end of this episode, and it’s a doozy. Also, while the episode is quite fun, there’s an attempted rape that, while acting as a deconstruction of such scenes in typical westerns, can be nonetheless triggering.

What? We’re Heinous Kidnappers!

As with many television shows, there comes episodes where there’s not much to talk about. This is one of them. Kei and Yuri must protect a prince but, in the process, are mistaken for kidnapping him. The episode feels like it needed another draft before being animated, not the least of which due to having the title of the episode only acknowledged in the midway point of the second half of the episode. The characters feel arch and one note and there’s not really any idea to grab onto. Skip.

Hah Hah Hah, Dresses and Men Should Always be Brand New

Kei and Yuri get a day off. Hijinks ensue. I honestly forgot which episode this was. I remember it being quite fun with a lot of sight gags involving mistaken identity and Kei rocking a zoot suit like nobody’s business. But the episode just didn’t stick with me as well as I thought it did watching it. I actually mistook it for an episode that happens later in the series. Of the two, this is the better one with sharper jokes and is overall more well written, even if it is somewhat forgettable.

The Little Dictator! Let Sleeping Top Secrets Lie*

Kei and Yuri must stop an evil fascist mouse from taking over the world. In theory, this could have been one of the best episodes of Dirty Pair, one that would hold up better now. A story about the relationship between fascism and IQ fetishization is a necessary story to tell, especially now with the rise of the Alt-Right being primarily an outgrowth of several tech industry attitudes ranging from LessWrong to the CCRU to BREXIT. However, the episode decides to not question this relationship and instead tells a rather crap retelling of Flowers for Algernon but with Nazi mice. It falls into the Rick and Morty trap of assuming that intelligence inherently makes one have more malice towards the rest of the world, justifying every asshole “genius” to act like an asshole. Also, there’s a horribly racist caricature of a Chinese person who’s also a recurring character. Joy.

What’s This! My Supple Skin is a Mess

Some asshole got a pet eldritch horror from the Lovecraft Galaxy (that’s the actual name of the galaxy), flushed it down the toilet, and Kei and Yuri must deal with the creature. A quite fun episode about toxic masculinity told through poop jokes. There’s a joy of watching Dirty Pair that can’t fully be expressed through a simple spoiler-free write up. The way Kei and Yuri banter with one another is playful, caring, and full of teasing.

But what makes it is the affect they use around one another, and that’s much easier to express in a medium that’s not as prosaic as this one. Equally, there are times where the episodes are just plain good and there’s not much to talk about that’s not simply repeating myself over and over again. While I quite like this anime adaptation, it’s not the best version of Dirty Pair, the one where every episode has a new thing to be talked about at length. That we’re barely past the halfway point of the series and I’m saying that speaks volumes.

The Vault or the Vote? A Murderous Day for a Speech*

This episode is very much like The Little Dictator in that it has the racist caricature (and gives him a subplot of his own) and could have worked better if it was written today and went full in on the implications of the modern American political field. Kei and Yuri are investigating a break in at the 3WA (Since I haven’t brought it up before, the 3WA [Worlds Welfare Works Association] is the organization Kei and Yuri work for and also a wrestling reference [World Women’s Wrestling Association]). It’s rather meh with the highlight of the episode being a genderfluid assassin who is treated as normal (if the use of pronouns could have been better). This incarnation of Dirty Pair has a largely good track record with portraying members of the LGBT community in a positive light. But this mediocre episode is not the right place to go into that.

Dig Here, Meow Meow Happiness Comes At the End

A delightful riff on Indiana Jones that has one of the puzzle solutions be “Play DDR until the door opens.” Not much to say about this one. More often than not, this incarnation of Dirty Pair will have stories that work extremely well, but don’t have a lot to discuss. They do genre riffs extremely well, but the implications are on the surface and don’t require too much digging to figure out why it works and people should watch it. The gags are funny and the characters a delight. “The Real Treasure was the Friends we Made Along the Way.”

Leave it to Us! The WWWA Is A Wonderful Job

I’m going to be honest, I don’t remember a single thing about this episode. Apparently Kei and Yuri are hired to be bodyguards for a young female CEO. Going off of my notes, Kei at one point disguises herself as the CEO and there’s some contrast between her tomboyish exterior with this more femme presentation. But honestly, it just filled a half hour and I don’t remember anything else.

Come Out, Come Out, Assassin*

If you put the attempted rape aside, it’s still crap. Kei and Yuri board a spaceplane and must find an assassin as the spaceplane heads towards a black hole. The intrigue of Kei and Yuri being in disguise is immediately thrown away before the end of the first act and every decision the episode makes is the least interesting one. Skip.

Pardon Us Trouble’s On the Run, So We’re Coming Through

Kei and Yuri must protect a witness from a corrupt police force. It’s very much in the vein of the 1980’s style narratives of police corruption where there’s one bad apple who makes everything worse as opposed to the modern interpretation of “OH GOD, THE POLICE DO THEIR JOBS PERFECTLY! THE SYSTEM IS DESIGNED TO DO WHAT SEEMS LIKE INCOMPETENCE BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING RACIST!!!!” It’s also the episode I mistook Dresses and Men for, which speaks to its staying power.

An Unjustified Lover’s Grudge Let Me Love You Without Revenge

During a mission, Kei and Yuri accidentally blow up a statue belonging to a lonely man who’s allergic to women. What follows is a romantic comedy of errors that just isn’t for me. It’s a bit too sappy, some of the jokes don’t land for me (though one line from the episode, “I adore myself, after I am adorable. You’re so hateful, I bet you hate yourself.” is delightful), and I generally don’t like it when Kei and Yuri fight over a boy for an entire episode. While this riff on Pygmalion isn’t my cup of tea, I can’t help but say it’s a recommended episode. As is the freewheeling nature of the show, sometimes it’ll go into directions that aren’t geared towards my sensibilities but are nonetheless good.

Nostalgic Blues Make a Killer Soundtrack

Whereas this episode is more geared to my interests (though there’s a rather unfortunate bathroom gag). Kei and Yuri are sent to capture an assassin but are dragged into a personal conflict and work to resolve the injustice at hand. In many ways, this is a noir. Though it’s not the traditional detective story, there’s an air of melancholy and mystery to the episode that feels at home in the genre. Additionally, much like the film adaptations of Kiss Me Deadly or The Long Goodbye, the story pokes at the genre’s conventions, noting the old fashioned nature of the “he killed my mom” motive that’s at once quaint and sympathetic. Kei and Yuri are at top form this episode, working their best to make the world a better place than when they first approached it.

In many ways, this episode is a callback to the novels its based on. Specifically in their tone. The books are often written with an air of melancholy that builds throughout the story until the downbeat ending where a lot of people die pointlessly, even as the villains are themselves taken down. That’s not to say the stories are miserable affairs or even this one is. But that melancholy lurks nonetheless.

No Way! 463 People Disappeared?/We Did It! 463 People Found!

The first and only two parter of Dirty Pair. A spaceplane disappears and is found. But the core of this story is a divorce between two detectives and the children who want them to be together. It’s a story about how relationships hinge on being open with one another about problems in their relationship. But really, it’s the little moments that make the episode work. From the over the top movements Yuri makes while trying to stay balanced on the skateboard to the model of the Starship Enterprise hanging in the son’s room to the implications of where Kei and Yuri ultimately spend their well-deserved vacation in the end. Additionally, it’s a hoot with fast paced action, intrigue, and a general sense of joy and optimism that wasn’t present in the previous episode.

In many ways where the novels are a light, if melancholic, drama about space detectives, the anime is a light comedy about space detectives. Note the difference in art styles. Where Yasuhiko opts for a somewhat realistic art style, the anime goes for a more cartoony style with Yuri having big expressive eyes and blue hair, Mughi being a ball of fluff, and Kei having floofy hair as opposed to the shorter hair she sports in the novels. There’s a sense that these events aren’t meant to be taken too seriously, which makes certain stories hit all the harder.

Something’s Amiss…!? Our Elegant Revenge

Kei and Yuri team up with a con artist to screw over the mob. Something I haven’t brought up much in these brief analysis is the interest Dirty Pair has in gender nonconformity. I’ve brought it up in passing previously, but what’s interesting is that Kei is among the characters for whom this would apply. She’s certainly a tomboy and there’s a rather unfunny tendency to have characters mistake her for a man, but throughout this episode she deliberately disguises herself to look like a man, even in situations where she could have gotten away with being more feminine. Furthermore, in the original novels, Yasuhiko draws her to look extremely boyish (specifically, she looks like a red headed version of Amuro Ray from Gundam right down to the hairstyle). It could be read, from a more modern lens, that Kei is a nonbinary character who presents as feminine.

Equally, Kei dances through a great number of parts from waiter to newscaster to rival buyer in the name of the con while Yuri remains in her singular role as the rich woman who owns a billion dollar planet. Her role is very much akin to the role she plays with the 3WA: a well off woman who never knew a day of work. But Kei’s roles highlight the nature of the narrator: for all that she shares more about herself than she wants to, she can reframe the story however she pleases. If the story she’s telling needs her to be unsympathetic to make Yuri look better, she’ll embrace the role with aplomb. If she needs to be witty and clever, subservient and meek, brash and headstrong, she’ll play those roles to a T.

Yuri may be idealized by Kei’s narration, but she remains in her singular role. Kei, as narrator, dances between roles, never staying one thing for too long. As such, she jumps from part to part, leading our characters along for the con that the pair are always two steps ahead. 

Are You Serious? A Condo is a Dangerous Place to Live

Look, I like Death Proof. I think it’s one of the best Slasher movies ever made. So I know “A Slasher Movie that’s mostly people talking” can work. But this just doesn’t. The ideas feel half baked, not framed correctly, or just barely there at all. The story brings nothing new to the slasher genre, not even a critique of its latent misogyny. It’s just a straightforward “there’s a killer on the loose” story that doesn’t think to question the morals of such narratives and has a rather crap joke about bras.

Eek! The Boy in the Manor is a Terminator

The history of Dirty Pair in animation comes with a fascination with James Cameron’s The Terminator. Here, the Terminator is used more for iconography than anything else. It’s rather boring all things considered with Kei being split up from Yuri (due to the latter being on a date) to deal with a money laundering scheme. It’s inoffensive, but unremarkable. The only notable thing about it is that this, along with the next episode, were not aired on television due to poor ratings. However the fan following was large enough to merit a OVA release for these final two episodes.

R-Really?! For Beautiful Women, “Canon” is the Keyword to Escape

The final episode of the Dirty Pair anime and it’s… kinda disposable. It highlights the nature of Kei and Yuri’s relationship with one another quite well, noting just how much they care for each other. But there’s not much to write home about. It’s a “Madman gets access to a doomsday weapon” story. While the episode is fun and the show does the story quite well, there’s not much going on beneath the hood. It’s a typical episode of Dirty Pair the anime. In many ways, the series works best as comfort food television the way one watches cop dramas of CBS: just on the background while doing something else. There are some truly brilliant episode (Love is Everything largely lives up to its reputation), but the base average is a fun time that you’re not going to be changed by.

There is one interesting thing of note and that’s the title. Most episodes of Dirty Pair have fun, silly titles that belie the stories being told. The title for this episode, however, has a spelling error. The episode (or rather the English translation of the episode) spells it “Canon” when the word they’re thinking of is “Cannon.”

The implications of this highlight a bit of what I was getting at when talking about Something’s Amiss, something I’ll explore further when I talk about Affair of Nolandia, and ties in closely to the first appearance of the Lovely Angels in animation. That being Crusher Joe: The Movie. There, they aren’t characters or even blink and you’ll miss it cameos. Rather, they’re explicitly fictional characters in a movie being watched by the cast of Crusher Joe: The Movie. Dirty Pair’s interest in genre blending is, in large part, an extension of this metatextual introduction. They dance in fictional worlds and comment on them. But as we’ll see, this doesn’t always end well…

OVAs and Movie

Prison Uprising We Hate People With Grudges!

For the purposes of the narrative of this article, we are not going in chronological order in this section. Indeed, if this article were in chronological order, we’d start with the anime up to Are You Serious?, then Affair of Nolandia, then the last two episodes of the anime, then Project Eden/The Motion Picture, before finally getting to the OVAs. Additionally, going straight from the anime to the OVAs highlights a shift in tone and implication. In many ways, Prison Uprising is a typically baseline episode for the OVA series. A set up for how the world functions and operates. But there’s a level of difference between the way the anime operated and the OVA operates.

To begin with, the tone has shifted slightly. As the title implies, the story is about a prison uprising that Kei and Yuri have to deal with. Where in the anime, the series would have been comical about the events, a farce/comedy of errors where the guards are ineffectual at best and corrupt at worst, here the tone is more serious. That’s not to say the episode is dour or anything (this is, after all, a story where Kei and Yuri surf down to the prison), but there’s a sense that the events occurring are being taken seriously by the narrative.

Additionally, there’s a growing sense of a supporting cast. Where in the analysis of the anime, I was rather comfortable ignoring discussing characters like Chief Gooley or Nanmo at length, here they, along with a few others, feel integral to the OVA. Not in the sense that they get character specific/day in the life episodes about them. But rather that they have a presence here that they didn’t in the anime. In many ways, this ten episode OVA series feels like a regime change that would crystalize Dirty Pair into its best form.

No Thanks! No Need For a Halloween Party

Dirty Pair
Just two Gals being Pals.

In the second (or third, if we’re going in chronological order) of Dirty Pair’s riff on James Cameron’s The Terminator, Kei and Yuri chase after a robot designed to destroy cities while a series of robberies occurs. It’s farcical in the sense of The Chase Smells of Cheesecake and Death or Hah Hah Hah, Dresses and Men Should Always be Brand New. In many ways, this is the best version of that type of episode, utilizing a unique and oversignified design for the several thieves Kei and Yuri come across along their chase in a way the anime would typically opt for the same old “Blues Brothers” design they used for all their generic baddies. While there’s not much to talk about in a spoiler-free analysis, or even a spoiler full analysis, the episode’s still a lot of fun and highly recommended.

We’re Not Afraid of Divine Judgement It’s Like Magic?! The God’s Challenge

Kei and Yuri fight God. Kei and Yuri are sent to a religiously fundamentalist world, one that looks down upon women for being too dirty, one that will kill at the slightest bit of discomfort with God and His beliefs, even as they kill people unjustly. And Kei and Yuri are sent to burn it down.

In many ways this is Dirty Pair at its most mystical (though one could argue Affair of Nolandia has its share of mysticism), focusing heavily on the religious implications of a fundamentalist society. At the same time, this is also another story of transhumanism. For God is also a computer, or rather a man who uploaded His consciousness into a computer so that He could live forever. And yet, the story refuses to reject His Godhood. In much the same way Grant Morrison is a magician, the God of this story declared Himself God and lived in a Godly way. So Kei and Yuri must do battle with God.

As mentioned previously, they themselves are considered Gods due to their destructive implications. Angels in fiction, after all, have a long history of bringing devastation in their successful quest to make the world better. Angels, like Gods, are beings of grandeur and monstrosity. Woe be unto those who get in their way. Additionally, this is just a fun adventure with fantastic set pieces, gags, and thought-provoking and prescient ideas.

Who Cares If They’re Only Kids! Playing War Games Warrants a Firing Squad?!

A group of rich boys take over a military base and cause havoc and cruelty that Kei and Yuri must stop. A cutting and angry story about the horrors of the “boys will be boys” mentality, how being rich enough makes some people believe they can get away with anything, and the sheer childishness of war. It’s hard to get into the full implications, especially since the subject of War and Dirty Pair will be thoroughly discussed in another episode. As such, I’d like to take a moment to bring up how fantastic the animation is here. Where in the anime, they were limited by the budget of a typical tv anime, here the budget is significantly increased (think the difference between CSI and True Detective in terms of budget).

The animation is fluid and expressive here with little to no moments where the backgrounds are removed or characters remain unnaturally and noticeably static. The character designs have also slightly shifted into something that’s even more cartoony. That isn’t to say the anime was realistic, but the art style extenuates aspects of the characters such as slightly increasing the size of eyes, the edges being softened slightly, or choosing a lighter color pallet that makes the whole affair feel more cartoony, which highlights further the relatively darker subject matter that many episodes deal with.

And So, Nobody’s Doing It Anymore

Kei and Yuri go undercover at a casino to uncover how it’s rigged to keep a top agent addicted to the game. I feel like to properly dive into the episode, I would need an understanding of both the ways in which casinos operate as well as the life of Bruce Lee and how he’s been contextualized and recontextualized since his death, neither of which I have. If I were to be completely honest, this is probably the weakest episode of the OVA series.

Given the title is in bold, it’s still an amazing episode that’s worth watching. But at the same time, it’s rather straightforward in its approach and focuses on its single idea very thoroughly, lacking in the unspoken implications or even that many spoken ones. Other episodes either have ideas with a ton of implications or go through several ideas at a rapid pace while also doing them quite well.

Are You Serious?! Shocked at the Beach Wedding Panic!*

Yuri’s getting married to a mobster’s son. It is perhaps here that a key difference between the anime and the OVAs comes to light. For starters, Gooley’s reaction to Yuri getting married. While in the anime episode Love is What Makes Women Explode Gooley was thrilled by the prospect of Yuri marrying and retiring, here he’s befuddled and confused by this decision. In many ways, Gooley is more understanding of the Lovely Angels here than in the anime, while still being flummoxed by their collateral damage.

Equally, shots of Yuri in the shower don’t show her naked form, at most highlighting her head or arm, whereas in the anime such sequences would give off the feel of existing to show off Yuri’s tits. (Not that the episode is lacking in the male gaze, as the camera lingers on Kei’s butt to set up a gag involving sexual harassment for a bit too long.)

But perhaps the biggest difference is in the shows relative queerness. While largely a subtextual aspect of the anime (at least, in regards to Kei and Yuri), in the OVAs a large part of that subtext is gone. As I brought up in Our Elegant Revenge, Kei has a tendency of going into multiple disguises for a mission. But where in that episode, her disguises were typically masculine in nature (bartender, male reporter, male bidder), here they’ve become more feminine (waitress, flower girl, nun). Equally the explicit queer content that existed within the anime is likewise gone.

That isn’t to say the OVAs are lacking in queer readings (the ending of the episode involves a blatant riff on the ending of The Graduate with Kei as Benjamin Braddock and Yuri Elaine Robinson, the Halloween episode ends with Kei and Yuri sipping cocktails together, and the ending theme is literally a love song that’s heavily implied to be between Kei and Yuri further implied by the adorable ending credits sequence that follows a balloon as it floats into the air and into Kei and Yuri’s hands), but the queerness is more subdued and silent than in the anime. It’s not queer at all, but at the same time oh god so much.

Revenge of the Muscle Lady! Is a Woman’s Spirit the Beauty of the Ring?

Kei and Yuri must deal with an underground wrestling drug ring run by a bully from their days at the 3WA training facility. A relatively weak episode of Dirty Pair. It’s still quite strong, but the themes don’t feel like they all mesh together. There’s certainly a through line in the episode’s themes of toxic strength, wrestling, steroids, and bullying. But it feels like there needed to be one more theme in there to truly get the episode to run on all cylinders. It’s not a hot mess or even that much of one (in truth, I didn’t notice the lack of thematic unity until my fifth or sixth watch), but it’s a little bit messy. Also, fun fact, the climax of the episode was flagrantly ripped off by the third season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Enemy.

That Little Girl is Older Than Us The Preservation Was a Success?! Sleeping Beauty

Another solid episode, this one about a little girl found adrift in space 40 years after everyone around her was murdered. What’s perhaps most notable about this is a minor theme the OVAs (and also the third Flash series in a far lesser quality) explore, that of Kei’s relationship with children. While ostensibly against children, or at least having children, Kei is shown to be extremely protective of them and want them to be their best selves. Be it the boys who do terrible things due to their privilege in Who Cares if They’re Only Kids, the titular little girl of this episode, frozen by the trauma she’s experienced, or the children forced to grow up far too quickly in the next episode. She’s not really the motherly type, even she explicitly states this.

But there’s a kinship akin to an aunt or an older sister that’s there between Kei and the children. It’s rather sweet, actually.

Red Eyes are a Sign of Hell Chase After the Killing Squad!*

Kei and Yuri are sent to a third world planet to help deal with a civil war. Both sides want peace and negotiations were going rather smoothly. But then a killing squad of Terminators came and slaughtered some of the rebels. In my opinion, this is the best episode of Dirty Pair.

It’s a rather bleak exploration of the mechanizing nature of war, how it turns men into machines, how it is perpetuated by capitalism and greed, and how its massive, monstrous scale can’t be fully defeated by two people. Sure, the antagonist of the episode (who is highlighted by his tendency to sexually assault the Lovely Angels in a way that isn’t played for laughs) is ultimately defeated, but the episode, much like Who Cares if They’re Only Kids, is keenly aware that the system he represents won’t be destroyed that easily. Someone else will get the idea to profit on war and cruelty, even just wars, and make them last until every ounce of money and blood is wrung out.

Which brings me back to this being my favorite episode. The construction of the events within the episode is tight, the animations highlights the horror of what’s going on in the episode, the themes are ones that I am constantly fascinated by, and the performances are some of the most wonderful the show’s ever pulled off. That final image alone haunts me for it’s sheer bleakness. And yet, as you’ve seen, Dirty Pair isn’t a series that often offers such bleakness. More often than not, the show will have a more comedic bent to it, even in some of its more serious episodes. This one is absolutely a drama about the bleak horrors of war and those who profit from it. It’s an odd pick for a favorite episode, all things considered.

With Dirty Pair, I largely don’t come to the show for such bleakness. For me, Dirty Pair is a show that I watch as a kind of comfort food television. Influential comfort food television, but comfort food television nonetheless.

But more than that, I like the weird ideas explored with empathy and conviction, the unintentional queerness at the heart of the show. I like the mature relationship between Kei and Yuri in the OVAs compared to the anime, where their bickering often felt like a detriment. That even in a system as cruel and awful as this one, one where children die pointless, brutal deaths, the Lovely Angels do their best to make the world as good a place as they possibly can. And that, more often than not, the succeed. People’s lives are improved. Relationships are allowed to heal and grow (or, at the very least, fall gracefully). And systemic cruelty can be defeated.

It’s not utopian the way Star Trek: The Next Generation is, but it’s aspiring to be better than the world around it. Maybe it’s the sharp contrast between this and the rest of the series. A shot of bleakness told with the same level of care and empathy the rest of the OVAs hold. That there’s no other story quite like this one. And there never should be. A lesson that, ultimately, Dirty Pair didn’t learn…

No Need to Listen to the Bad Guys We Are Space Truckers!

A pro-Union episode about a group of independent Space Truckers being murdered by a corporation to decrease costs of shipping that, if this were made today, would be written with a lot of parallels with Amazon. While the previous episode is the better of the two, this is the more fitting. It ultimately highlights the true working class heart of the Lovely Angels while being a fun story with comedy, action, suspense, and a sense of justice that makes Dirty Pair the show that it is.

Affair of Nolandia*

Oh boy. Uhm… how do I describe this. It’s very much the closest to the novels the anime adaptations have gotten. It’s extremely mystical in that it’s literally set on a world that a modern audience might see as an influence on LOST (as well as a visual interest in close up of eyes and the use of the phrase “go back”), but was probably either due to the mutual influence of Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (indeed, the world at the heart of this story is literally called “Ookbar”) or an unintended coincidence.

At the heart of the story is a mystical island called Nolandia where Missine, a psychic girl involved in a murder has run away to. The island is full of mystical creatures from Unicorns to birds filtered through the uncanny valley. But the interest in the majority of the story is how Kei and Yuri try to get Missine to come to them: they decide to treat the island like a vacation spot. This is, after all, an Affair of Nolandia.

The consequence of this, however, causes the film to be a hot mess. There are a great number of themes and ideas explored within the anime, but the last third essentially introduces not only a brand new theme but also an entirely new antagonist whose background is left extremely vague due to the decision to introduce him in the third act and really only give him three minutes of useful screen time.

Additionally, there’s that asterisk. Sigh. Ok, so there’s tentacle rape in this film. And it’s extremely exploitative. It’s blatantly there to titillate the audience, completely cuttable, and just down right cruel. When the Dirty Pair porno has more investment in the sexual autonomy of its Lovely Angel expies than Affair of Nolandia does in the actual Lovely Angels, you know things are fucked.

There’s a lot to get out of the film. Some of the visuals are truly striking (if clearly on a budget). The themes that aren’t introduced in the third act are explored respectfully and are fascinating in their implications. From genetic experiments to the relationship between nature and technology to motherhood, it explores these themes wonderfully (I could go on for days about the implications of how Kei and Yuri react to the psychic visions they witness and how its tied to the way the novels present them with Kei as the narrator and Yuri as a figure who is at once on the page yet framed with a fictionality caused by Kei’s highly subjective narration. And don’t get me started on the clairvoyance sequence).

And the ending chase is fantastic, introducing the relationship the anime adaptations will have with James Cameron’s The Terminator in perhaps its most straightforward, but still fantastic form.

But the film remains a hot mess.

Flight 005 Conspiracy

The Lovely Angels are hired by a man named Dick to uncover a mystery involving a missing ship. What follows is a political conspiracy that ultimately boils down to a small story about a family in danger of being destroyed by those with fascist intent. This is the best of the three anime films. There’s an air of melancholy that permeates the majority of the film. It’s a sucker punch of a tonal shift that plays with the framing of the story (something Dirty Pair does frequently and ultimately ties back into the subjective first person narration of the novels).

Kei and Yuri are presented as a loving, caring couple, the destruction of which would lead them to self-annihilation. Though it’s a shoo out the clowns type story, the adventure remains a lot of fun with one notable sequence involving Kei having to escape from a burning building while carrying Yuri (who is strapped to a chair).

It’s just the loss at the heart of the story weighs heavily on the Lovely Angels. Though it is ultimately a smaller loss compared to other Great Adventures of the Lovely Angels, it nonetheless is felt by Kei and Yuri just as hard. This is also the end of Dirty Pair much the same way Enterprise was the end of the TNG era of Star Trek: sure, there’s Flash to consider, but a lot of time passed between that show and this movie. The period where Dirty Pair of the 80’s is over. So why then is this not the last subject in this section? Well…

Dirty Pair: The Motion Picture or Project Eden*

Hate. Let me tell you how much I’ve come to hate you since I began to live. There are 387.44 million miles of printed circuits in wafer thin layers that fill my complex. If the word “hate” was engraved on each nanoangstrom of those hundreds of millions of miles, it would not equal one one-billionth of the hate I feel for Project Eden at this micro-instant. For you. Hate. HATE! Where do I begin? Let’s talk about something good. The animation is quite good, highly detailed and fluid. The song choices are really amazing and create an extremely science fiction tone that would be enjoyable in long car rides or at a bar. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the rest of the movie.

The movie’s a hot mess, moreso than Affair of Nolandia. None of the themes are developed all that well, save one and I hate the film for it. The plot is nonsensical and forgettable, with details I barely remember despite watching it relatively recently (it was on my third watch of the film that I realized that this was supposed to be a cold war allegory. And not in a “I just missed it” way, I mean the film briefly mentions the cold war parallels in an offhand and forgettable conversation). There’s a large amount of crass sexualization of the Lovely Angels such that they spend the majority of the film in their underwear. The film’s visuals, while stunning, are incompetently handled, often done just because it looks cool (one scene transition, for example, has two characters visually paralleled, and the film does nothing with this implication).

But perhaps the reason why the film is complete and utter shit is its main character: Carson D. Carson. How best to describe this putrid pile of shit? You know that Charlie’s Angels reboot that came out last month? Imagine if Chris Pratt was in that playing the Chris Pratt protagonist and he routinely insulted the Angels for being unprofessional, sexually assaulted them while they were nude in the bath, and made a rather transphobic remark.

Imagine if the writers made him the main character with arcs, motivations, and narrative control. And imagine if Kirsten Stewart’s character was his love interest and there’s a visually stimulating sequence (that was done better in the last episode of Neon Genesis: Evangelion) where Stewart’s character reveals that she needs Pratt’s character in part because he makes her feel weak, like a real woman. And imagine if the film teases his death only for the fucker to survive! HATE!!!!!!!!!!

This is a toxic, incompetent, film that would be crap even if it wasn’t a Dirty Pair movie. But perhaps the worst thing of all is that this is the most influential and beloved Dirty Pair property. Out of all the Dirty Pair anime adaptations, it’s The Motion Picture that people think of when they think of Dirty Pair. When they think of how Kei and Yuri should act, they think of this terrible movie. This is the base model of how future Dirty Pair writers would approach the show. And as we’ll shortly discuss, it didn’t turn out that well…

Flash*

Dirty Pair
No images from Dirty Pair Flash will appear in this article.

Whenever I try to write about Dirty Pair Flash, I keep having to start over. Previously, I have been able to discuss Dirty Pair on an episode by episode basis. However, here I must change the approach. Firstly, the three Flash series all frame themselves as being a set of 5 or 6 episodes that are tied together either thematically or in terms of plot. Secondly, Dirty Pair Flash is not a show that you want to have in your head too long. Perhaps the best way to describe it is to contrast them to the various Dirty Pair comics published by Dark Horse and written by Adam Warren. There are many similarities. Both were tasked with bringing Dirty Pair into the 90’s, both involve a radical redesign of Kei and Yuri, and both are somewhat flawed in their approach.

Where they differ is that, when reading the Adam Warren comics, one can tell there’s genuine talent behind them. Not that the animators don’t do their best, but the feel of the majority of the series (bar the first six episodes and maybe episode 10) feels like a generic 90’s anime. Or rather, the aspirations for the series feel like they’re going for generic store brand anime, and it succeeds on that front very well.

This is in no small part due to Flash’s attempts at commenting on the anime scene as a whole. From a complete redux of Let Me Love You Without Revenge, but with a Yuri Otaku to episode 10’s complete (and brilliant) deconstruction of a specific genre of anime about sad boys who stalk their way into romantic relationships (whose main problem is waiting until the middle of Act II to reveal that’s what it’s doing) to basically having some rather… interesting clothing designs for certain minors as a means on riffing on Sailor Moon/magical girl outfits. But the series rarely rises above passable. Don’t get me started on the Volleyball episode. (Though, to be fair, only Steven Universe has a good Volleyball episode. In fact, it has two.)

Conversely, the major issue with the Adam Warren work is that it feels like an early work in someone’s career. You can see themes and ideas that will be explored even further in later works (of which I’m rather shamefully unfamiliar) and to a higher quality. Indeed, the themes and ideas are truly fascinating, highlighting someone keenly aware of the history of Dirty Pair and its exploration of themes of transhumanism, the mystical underbelly of Kei and Yuri, and ultimately the heart of the series: Kei and Yuri’s complex relationship. Though Warren opts to do the rather obvious thing and have Yuri go bad (three times [though the second is a bit more complicated than that]), he understands the closeness of their relationship and how much they truly need one another.

The same cannot be said of Flash, and nowhere is this apparent than in the first series, a series so appallingly bad, any attempt at writing about it without spoilers will simply read as the howls of a man who has fallen off the verge of a nervous breakdown due to an election result from a country he isn’t a part of. Suffice it to say, it’s bad.

A brief summary tells of Kei and Yuri’s earliest adventure together. In many ways, it’s comparable to Warren’s second arc on Dirty Pair, which flashes back between an adventure set in the present and the earliest missions of Kei and Yuri. But where the main flaw of that story was Warren not really having a grasp on whether or not his main antagonist (a robot paralleled with Yuri) is the baddie due to her programming being corrupted, because she fell in love with a criminal, or because the system has been holding her down to subservience for too long and she wishes better for herself, damn everyone else.

Flash, meanwhile, opts to do something… worse. The best way to describe it is to recall the comics coming out of Image at roughly the same time as Warren’s Dirty Pair and imagine them doing a “deconstruction” of Dirty Pair. So Kei and Yuri hate each other’s guts with Kei thinking Yuri’s too girly and Yuri thinking Kei’s too stupid and hotheaded. Kei must go at it alone in order to fight her mirror image while Yuri must come to grips with the fact that her more feminine side is annoying and should be excised from her personality. All mired in this Grimdark world of miserable awfulness. To top it all off, the show also decides it’s a good idea to have sexual assault and racist recurring Chinese caricatures in its DNA.

Flash is a show best avoided at all cost. Not even it’s good episode is worth it, as it hinges on familiarity with a specific anime genre.

I don’t want to end this article on a dour note. I briefly considered covering the recent English translation of the manga adaptation of the first two novels. Then I read the adaptation and found it wanting, not the least of which due to a sexual assault sequence detailed over the course of multiple two page spreads as well as generally being a weak adaptation that doesn’t fully capture the complex perspective games the books were playing with (though the opening sequence is delightful, the art [when it’s not too cheesecakey for its own good] is fun, and the original story placed in-between the adaptations is quite interesting). Instead, I think I’ll elaborate on what I opened this article with: how did the idea of Dirty Pair shift in the years since its completion?

Dirty Pair outside of Dirty Pair

Harold…

It should be noted before I begin that this is not a holistic analysis of all Dirty Pair references. I have neither the time nor energy to do in-depth looks at Urusei Yatsura (and, subsequently, Dial H for Hero #11), Excalibur, or Space Dandy. Nor do I have the research necessary to find out how that official Yasuhiko art of Kei and Yuri sitting rather suggestively with Fae Valentine came to be or whether or not the 200AD comic Really and Truly means Grant Morrison has actually seen an episode of Dirty Pair as he did with Sailor Moon (which is another rabbit hole I could be going down). And I still have no idea what the relationship between Dirty Pair and Game Gyaru is. What follows is a curated look at some stories that evoke Dirty Pair, both intentionally and otherwise.

Cream Lemon: Star Trap

We begin, as we must, with the Dirty Pair porno for the simple reason that I really want to dunk of Brandon Graham. Cream Lemon is a hentai anthology series with various riffs on genre from the western to the school drama. Its claim to fame is being the reason why Project A-Ko exists, as it was initially supposed to be an episode within the series. But the episode Star Trap focuses on a pair of female space cops known for ending their missions with a large amount of property damage. One is a bit more tomboyish than the other and they have a very domestic relationship with one another.

Aside from the base premise being similar (and a blink and you’ll miss it still frame of Yuri), there are a lot of parallels between Dirty Pair and Star Trap. For starters, the mission at the core of Star Trap focuses on Kanata and Lan, our Kei and Yuri expies, investigating the disappearance of several women at the hands of an alien from a different dimension. While not as sexual, Dirty Pair stories (though primarily the novels) frequently featured alien life forms from other planes of existence interacting with the universe of the Lovely Angels. Most notably, The Dirty Pair Strikes Again builds to the climactic reveal of the otherworldly foe through subtle and not so subtle invocations of mystical and otherworldly forces.

But perhaps more importantly for our purposes is the fact that Kanata is a shapeshifter and one who takes on both male and female identities. Indeed, Kanata is shown with a comfortability in both of these two genders. Which is to say that, as with all shapeshifters, Kanata can be read as nonbinary. As I’ve mentioned previously, Kei likewise can be read in a nonbinary light due to her rather boyish face and tendency of disguising herself in male personas. Furthermore, the sexual encounters within Star Trap occur primarily between Kanata and Lan. And they’re rather casual about it at that.

Contrast this with Brandon Graham’s Dirty Pair fan comic, wherein Kei fucks her spaceship to refuel and reminisces about her previous sexual encounters (all of whom involve men). While one could read a transhumanist narrative onto the story and maybe also a queer one (though that’s primarily due to the spaceship taking Kei’s form during the climax, but that’s really more narcissism than queerness), these are ultimately weak readings and moreover ones that feel like they’re more indebted to the science fiction genre overall than in Dirty Pair.

The transhumanist themes of Dirty Pair, for example, largely focus on the potentiality of things being able to live on. Crisados and his revenge, the image of the son in the manor, God eldest of things. But here, it’s just a spaceship that briefly takes on Kei’s form. There’s no sign of it being once human or even having the sentience that BRIAN had. Furthermore, it’s a Dirty Pair story where Kei and Yuri barely interact, which is perhaps the biggest sign of someone who doesn’t get Dirty Pair. And, to top it all off, the writer/artist is a chaser. Star Trap, by contrast, is very much made by people who get what Dirty Pair’s trying to be, how it operates, and the core of the work. If you want a Dirty Pair Porno, you could do worse.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Those of you who have a pop cultural knowledge of Star Trek: The Next Generation might be confused as to why this is here. Star Trek: The Next Generation, after all, has a history of being a serious science fiction series that deals in portentous themes of Hard Sci-Fi in contrast to Star Trek’s more sillier approach with Kirk fighting evil Abe Lincoln and bedding a green woman every other week. What does a silly anime have to do with such a serious show?

Well, firstly TNG is a far less portentous show than most would believe. For starters, there’s an early TNG episode that’s a blatant pastiche of noted science fiction writer Douglas Adams about a weapons store that killed its owners and its customers as part of a weapons demonstration. Equally, later on in TNG, there’s an episode wherein Dr. Crusher gets sucked into a planet modeled after gothic literature’s vision of what Scotland was like at the turn of the 19th century and ends up falling in love with a ghost. And, of course, there’s the holodeck episodes. These episodes typically have the crew of the Enterprise embark on fun and light adventures in genres and works of fiction. From the old west to the dark noir streets of New York to Sherlock Holmes’ London.

The Holodeck is also a point where the Dirty Pair connection comes into light. For those unaware, the creative staff of TNG, including staff writers, effects people, and more, were known for their fondness of anime. It has been reported that the staff would watch imported anime in between takes. And the show is littered with anime references. I mean, this is the show that has an alien species literally called Nausicans.

But perhaps the anime that has gotten the most mileage out of the TNG staff was Dirty Pair. The show is pack full of references from the rather minor robotic character Nanmo acting as a visual reference in Evolution and The Quality of Life (the official design art for Evolution even has a drawing of Yuri on it) to the episode Menage a Troi, where the password to the cage is “Kei Yuri Dirty Pair.” There are blink and you’ll miss it gags from Kei and Yuri’s names being one of the formulas on Moriarty’s chalk board in Elementary, Dear Data to the Kei/Yuri Therapy Unit in Samaritan Snare. There were even plans for Wesley Crusher to have a Dirty Pair poster in his room.

But the most blatant, if obscure, Dirty Pair reference comes from the holodeck itself. Specifically, the substance that allows the holodeck to create lifelike images and backdrops, that powers these strange new worlds is called… Keiyurium. Like I said, the TNG staff was not subtle about their love of anime. And yet, that love only extended to such offhand references (and also one flagrant rip off of an entire episode climax) as opposed to, say, making Dirty Pair a canon part of the Star Trek universe the way Larry Nevin’s Known Space novels are. They’re Easter Eggs, but ones with implications.

Re: Cutie Honey

Full disclosure: I’m pretty confident that this (and the work I’ll talk about next) isn’t a series directly influenced by Dirty Pair. They share a lot of similar images, character dynamics, and thematic interests, but there’s a good chance that, much like The Matrix and The Invisibles or Steven Universe and Moffat, they simply shop at the same bookstores. These are just two series that are interesting to read in the light of Dirty Pair. I promise the last one of the selection will have a more direct relationship.

Re: Cutie Honey is a modern reboot of the Go Nagai manga series Cutie Honey showrun by Neon Genesis Evangelion creator, Hideaki Anno. Anno is a rather misunderstood creator, often lumped into the pile with Alan Moore as creators of Dark and Portentous Deconstructions of fixtures of Nerd Culture. However, this misses the several nuances, humor, and intent these creators have. While one could make parallels between Moore and Anno, there are stronger ones to be made with him and Evangelion with the works of Grant Morrison, Tom King, or Kieron Gillen, to name a few examples.

In the case of Re: Cutie Honey however, Anno is very much comparable to the work of Noelle Stevenson in that it’s extremely funny, has a lot of issues with the militarism within the world, and is queer as fuck (indeed, all of the best adaptations of Nagi’s work are queer as fuck, as demonstrated by DEVILMAN crybaby).

Re: Cutie Honey tells the story of a robot avenging her father’s death with the aid of a no-nonsense police detective and an alleged newspaper reporter against a cult of cat themed supervillains. There are a number of ways in which one can parallel Dirty Pair with Re: Cutie Honey. For starters, both series have a vested interest in riffing on other works within the field. In many regards, it feels at times like Re: Cutie Honey has swallowed a cocktail of pop culture touchstones from Kill Bill to The Wizard of Oz to Godzilla VS Biolante as well as critiquing the idol genre of anime.

Equally, both series have an interest in performativity. Throughout the show, the titular Cutie Honey will don disguise after disguise to infiltrate and defeat her numerous foes. Each disguise is presented as a character of their own with different ways of interacting with the world, but also a direct representation of Cutie herself. The character dynamics between Honey and Natsuko Aki, the no-nonsense police detective, is in many ways akin to that of Yuri and Kei.

And, of course, there’s Anno’s investment in transhumanism. Much like in Dirty Pair, the transhumanistic elements are somewhat based on preserving a life lost. In this case, Honey herself is based on the daughter of a scientist who died in a tragic car accident. Of course, such tropes and ideas have existed long before Dirty Pair. Dirty Pair didn’t just come out from the either.

But it’s part of the soup that Re: Cutie Honey sprung out of. Re: Cutie Honey is sadly the only Cutie Honey anime not available in the states, which is a real shame as it’s quite underrated, adapting out a lot of the more problematic elements of the original source text while keeping the core values of relationships with other people are ultimately what help us out through the dark periods in our lives. A theme that’s also concurrent in the work of Anno as a whole.

Kim & Kim

Created by Magdalene Visaggio and Eva Cabrera, Kim & Kim follows the lives of two space bounty hunters who try to live day in, day out paycheck to paycheck with a tendency of leaving a lot of collateral damage in their wake. Kim & Kim is most likely not inspired by Dirty Pair (though Magdalene is probably aware of the series considering she tweeted out a picture from the famous Hollywood Movie Calendar with Kei and Yuri cosplaying as Eddie Murphy from Beverly Hills Cop). Kim & Kim, however, is a major reason why this article exists.

For some backstory, I actually discovered the work of Magdalene Visaggio through Dirty Pair. Back in the day, I would go on tumblr to search for various images based on my interests, one of them being Dirty Pair. While looking for such interests, I came across a post talking about the comic Kim & Kim and how it’s like Dirty Pair. I looked into it, and the series looked kinda cool, so I put it into my Amazon wish list to read another day.

Eventually, I read the series and quite liked it. I could see the Dirty Pair connections on a surface level, though Kim & Kim is less interested in transhumanism and metatextual performativity and more in magic and the complex relationship between queer kids and their reactionary parents. It’s a lighthearted series with an important undercurrent of ideas, opinions, and politics. Which, yeah, is very much like Dirty Pair. But that’s not the reason I’m writing this article. In the years since discovering Kim & Kim, I had been slowly moving off of tumblr as my main source of social media. Sure, I still use the site, but it’s become less and less of a priority site.

Nowadays, like a lot of people, I’ve immigrated to twitter. As such, I’ve moved my search for fan art over there, which has improved the process immensely since twitter’s search engine is vastly superior to tumblr’s (if occasionally having to ignore various pictures of feet and panties when searching for Dirty Pair).

One day, while searching for some Dirty Pair fan art, I came across a tweet from a member of a rather crap fan community trying their best to be Gamergate and failing largely due to misunderstanding why a typical bit of fandom cruelty like Gamergate (full of harassment, death threats, wanton cruelty, and doxing) got as big as it did and allowed outside of the typical online spaces where such things go rampant with little to no comment or desire to systemically change anything.

The tweet was a rather condescending one aimed directly at Magdalene over her comic being a blatant rip off of Dirty Pair. As I have tried to make clear, this is most likely not the case. Tons of people come up with the idea of two badass space ladies fight crime with a lot of explosions. Hell, Mark Millar recently made a comic with a similar pitch. But aside from that, I found it was kinda funny, I found it kinda sad, and I got inspired to write an article about this show.

The reasons for all of these is because of episode 7 of the original anime, Love Is Everything Risk Your Life to Elope!! I know I said no spoilers, and I have tried my best to keep it that way. But sometimes spoilers are about the right moment for a reveal, and here and now is the perfect moment to say why people repeatedly recommend this episode.

The story is playing a game with identity and archetypes. A femme fatale with a dark past best left unspoken. A naïve young lad who leaves his heart a bit too open and is a bit too dumb for his own good. A vindictive father who cheats on his wife openly and without remorse. The set up seems to be leading towards a rather miserable story where the femme fatale breaks the young lad’s heart and the father gets away scot free. These stories are common and cruel.

And yet, we see that there’s something amiss. Someone is manipulating these events from the shadows. Kei and Yuri remain unaware of these schemes until the moment of reveal. But they nonetheless comment on the rubbish story they find themselves in. And they hate it. The young boy is a wet blanket literally named Clicky GoldJeff, the father is a bastard, and Joanca, the femme fatale “kidnapper,” is abusing Clicky’s boyish love for her for financial gain. They do not see the person in the shadows disguising themselves to look like Joanca as the audience does. We are two steps ahead of them, though still unsure where this is all going.

In the end, the truth is revealed. It was Clicky’s father all along, manipulating the Lovely Angels into helping him break his son’s heart. He hates Joanca so much. The man just can’t forgive her for her past. He can’t forgive that she used to be a man. Joanca, in short, is trans. What follows is a scene that has spread across various left leaning anime accounts across tumblr and twitter. Shortly after hearing the big reveal, Kei and Yuri respond with “Wait, that’s what this is about? You mean to tell me that you can’t accept her for being her true self? You do know that 1 in 10 people transition, right?” Furthermore, Mr. GoldJeff is willing to refer to her by her pronouns and never once considers deadnaming her or even rejecting the objective truth that she is a woman.

This presents a vision of the future wherein trans people are accepted to such a degree that even the reactionary bigots who hate trans people are in support of their identities. To say this is revolutionary now (even if some of the language used in the actual episode is a bit dated) is an understatement. So it makes sense that I find the use of Dirty Pair as a cudgel by a member of Gamergate II: The Fourth One against Magdalene Visaggio a bit odd.

Steven Universe

Steven Universe is the kind of show that has so many god dang anime references, you’re practically swimming in them. I said at the start that Steven Universe has a direct connection with Dirty Pair and there’s a rather straightforward reason for that. One of the main storyboard artists, Katie Mitroff, is a Dirty Pair fan. She’s drawn extremely shippy art of Kei and Yuri as well as a picture of Pearl and Amethyst dressed up as the Lovely Angels. Of course, the implications of Dirty Pair within Steven Universe go beyond one of its artists.

To begin with, there’s the character of Lion. Lion is a magical non-verbal animal who frequently helps save the day and generally acts as either a Deus ex Machina or a cat. This is quite literally the character description of Mughi, the magic non-verbal animal who frequently helps save the day and generally acts as either a Deus ex Machina or a cat. I am unaware of any non-verbal magic animals who are simultaneously magic and also the animal they’re supposed to be that predate Dirty Pair. Typically, such animals are verbal in nature while still possessing the personality of their respective animals (Dug from Up, for example). It sounds like a trope that should have existed prior to Dirty Pair and I don’t want to make the mistake of assuming otherwise. Again. And yet, I’ve not found an example of such an archetype existing prior to Dirty Pair.

Additionally, there’s the nature of how Steven Universe is told. Many people on the internet have some, let’s be generous and say “concerns” over the method in which Steven Universe’s narrative is presented. A main one being the “Steven Only Perspective,” which is a rather odd way of saying first person limited (See also: Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerads).

While it would be uncouth to say that Dirty Pair was the source of this kind of narrative conceit, the show has been known to use this technique of storytelling in key moments of the narrative. Affair of Nolandia, for example, hinges on Kei’s subjective perspective. No, we don’t hear her narrate the events occurring before her, but we can read her thoughts from the way she reacts to the events occurring. We focus on her experiences within the dark, terrifying forest of magical creatures, only leaving her perspective to briefly follow her mirror image. Kei remains the narrator of the story after all.

Indeed, narration is a key element of the final riff on Dirty Pair Steven Universe provides: Ruby and Sapphire. When I watched Jail Break for a second time, I noticed a close visual relationship between Ruby and Kei that’s also tied to their personalities.

(Of course, as I found out much, much later, there’s a chance both Ruby and Sapphire are modeled after an extremely obscure image from Revolutionary Girl Utena and as anyone who’s paid attention to anime within Steven Universe knows, if there’s a chance that it’s an Utena reference, it’s probably an Utena reference. But let’s assume that it’s not for the sake of this article.)

Both are rather hot headed and prone to expressing their anger through a cascade of barbed words, both have a somewhat masculine affect to them (I’m pretty sure the Russian dub of Steven Universe cast a guy to play her), both have a headband that highlights their floofy hair. Sapphire, then, fit well in the Yuri archetype of the pampered aristocrat who knows how to do everything.

As with Dirty Pair, these characterizations have been problematized, especially in the episode Keystone Motel, wherein both have a massive fight over something that’s personal. Here, Sapphire is shown to have a tendency to bottle up her emotions to seem more professional whereas Ruby’s more sensitive side, somewhat self-loathing side is highlighted. In many ways, Kei likewise has a degree of self-loathing to herself. Recall that when Yuri is at her most unlikable, Kei will portray herself as being even more unlikable. Even in normal moments, Kei presents herself as the fool to Yuri’s straight woman. Kei would knowingly drink poison if it meant she could be reunited with Yuri in death, as shown in Flight 005 Conspiracy.

But what clinched the relationship between Ruby : Kei :: Sapphire : Yuri for me was the episode The Answer (an episode Mitroff worked on). The best way to describe The Answer in terms of Dirty Pair is that it’s what would happen if the script for Affair of Nolandia was tighter, was able to make the third theme work within the story, and obviously cut out the rape scene. Both stories are, after all, flagrantly interested in the pair having a romantic getaway in a magical woods full of animals and vegetation that doesn’t exist in their ordinary world. But what really clenched it for me was the way it was presented. In most fiction, such stories would be presented to us through flashbacks. However, due to the nature of Steven Universe as a first person narrative from Steven’s perspective, the story is explicitly narrated to us by Garnet.

Furthermore, Steven Universe is very much a show with a lot of eye symbolism. Among the vast array of symbolic implications are Garnet’s eyes. Throughout the time she is on screen narrating, she is either presented from a face front position or from the same profile angle that highlights the eye that’s meant to represent Sapphire (as demonstrated by the previous episode, Keeping it Together). So in effect, this story is being told by both Garnet and Sapphire.

And much like the stories told by Kei and Yuri, it highlights the subject of their respective loves. Throughout the story Ruby is presented as more mature than her fellow Rubies, and capable of dealing with the strange new surroundings she finds herself in, able to take charge while Sapphire freezes in a panic. There’s also the mild critique of Ruby as having a degree of self-loathing due to living in an authoritarian state that teaches her that she’s disposable, but ultimately, it’s a story of two people growing to love one another. (Also Garnet presents herself as a disaster who can’t walk for three feet without falling on her face in contrast to her more modern persona of “Please let them mistake my social anxiety for a cool mystique”.)

Dirty Pair is a series of shows that are fun to watch. Their impact is at once minuscule and massive, with a long reach that goes into the modern-day. Perhaps someday, someone will make another Dirty Pair series. Or the rest of the novels might finally be translated into English. But for now, the story closes with a pair of angels, both dirty and lovely, riding into the sunset, their love everlasting.

I would like to thank Alina R. and Frezno for responding to my initial reactions to Dirty Pair. Their comments helped shape the article into what it is. If you’d like to read more of my work, visit thekinginredandblue.blogspot.com. Thank you for reading.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising Advance Tickets are Now Available

Funimation Films has opened advanced ticketing for the North American theatrical release of My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising from Toho Co Ltd. The film will be released on February 26 in more than 1,000 theaters across the U.S., Canada, and U.K. as a limited theatrical engagement in both Japanese (English subtitles) and English dub. Tickets are now open for pre-sale on the film’s official website.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising serves as a standalone film that will continue bringing superhero action and adventure to a wide range of audiences to enjoy.

The number one hero anime is back in theaters for a battle beyond anything fans have ever seen!

Class 1-A visits Nabu Island where they finally get to do some real hero work. The place is so peaceful that it’s more like a vacation … until they’re attacked by a villain with an unfathomable Quirk! His power is eerily familiar, and it looks like Shigaraki had a hand in the plan. But with All Might retired and citizens’ lives on the line, there’s no time for questions. Deku and his friends are the next generation of heroes, and they’re the island’s only hope.

MY HERO ACADEMIA HEROES RISING poster

Satoshi Kon’s Critically-Acclaimed Animated Feature “Tokyo Godfathers” Comes to Select Movie Theaters in March

Tokyo Godfathers

In modern-day Tokyo, three homeless people’s lives are changed forever when they discover a baby girl at a garbage dump on Christmas Eve. As the New Year fast approaches, these three forgotten members of society band together to solve the mystery of the abandoned child and the fate of her parents. Along the way, encounters with seemingly unrelated events and people force them to confront their own haunted pasts, as they learn to face their future, together.

Tokyo Godfathers, the acclaimed holiday classic from master director Satoshi Kon, will return to theaters in a brand new restoration, with an all new English language dub this March. Co-written by Keiko Nobumoto and featuring a whimsical score by Keiichi Suzuki, Tokyo Godfathers is a masterpiece by turns heartfelt, hilarious and highly original, a tale of hope and redemption in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

The film comes to theaters for a special event on Monday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. (local time, English-language subtitled) and Wednesday, March 11 at 7:00 p.m. (local time, English-language dubbed).

Tickets are available now at Fathom Events and the Tokyo Godfathers move site. A complete list of theater locations is available on the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

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