Review: The Little Dictator (Dirty Pair #3)

Little_DictatorEvery oncein a while, I like to revisit the past to re-examine things I treasure. Sometimes they are things I still have. Sometimes they are only memories. But whatever form they currently hold, they are special because they made huge changes in my life and influenced much of what followed. As for how huge said changes were, well, I wouldn’t learn that until much later.


This is one such thing: the very book that got me into anime back in the day. I just happened to be at the comic book store (one that sadly is no longer there) and I spotted this book sitting in a prominent spot on a display shelf. I found the art and character designs highly attractive, and after taking a look at only the first few pages, I knew I had to have it. And soon afterwards I was busy tracking down the other books in the collection.

The Dirty Pair hold a special place in my heart not only because they’re the first anime characters I ever became a fan of, but also because their series is a great one just by itself. The stories are of a sort that just aren’t written anymore. They have a fine balance of plot, action and humor. Sure, the animation was a little choppy by today’s standards, but the series holds up really well. And when it’s in book form, the animation quality doesn’t matter anyway!

Haruka Takachiho‘s ferocious female duo are probably better known for their OVA adventures (especially Dirty Pair Flash, a sort of “alternate take” on the franchise) than the books from which they sprang, but for me, the long and beautiful association began with these Film Comics published by Viz. And what is a “Film Comic“? It is nothing more than a comic created from stills taken directly from television episodes. Arrange them as panels on a page, add speech balloons and some onomatopoeia, and voila! Instant comics!

 

This time around, Kei (the tomboyish redhead) and Yuri (the dark-haired beauty) have their hands full dealing with a mouse bent on world domination, and to state the obvious, fighting such a small, elusive foe is quite a challenge. The Pair have faced everything from petty crooks to psychotic killers to vengeful computers in their adventures, but this was quite different. Much of their time is spent trying to figure out just how to get the better of their diminutive nemesis without getting on each other’s nerves in the process. Their ultimate solution is one that is clever and well-handled and it left me with a big, goofy grin on my face. In a word, it was fun.

It’s a shame more of the episodes weren’t made into Film Comics, but I imagine there wasn’t enough money in that. Too bad. I’d have bought them all. And any fan of the Dirty Pair who can get their hands on these books should. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

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