Nozomi Cover Art – Dirty Pair OAV Series

Despite a real Idiot Ball moment in the second act episode 8 That Little Girl is Older Than Us. The Preservation Was a Success?! Sleeping Beauty is a great Dirty Pair OAV episode.

Sleeping Beauty opens with a space liner emblazoned with a White Swan emblem cruising through space. Dr Gray Nea[1] gets a drink from a waiter as masked, armed men burst into the lounge with gas grenades. Dr Nea flees to a stateroom to rescue his daughter Tia as she plays with a plushy[2].

As they leave the room a chip falls from the plushy under a vent in the wall at floor level. Tia sees this, Dr Nea does not.

Dr Nea is putting Tia into an escape capsule when one of the attackers enters the escape room. Dr Nea throws a phone at the attacker, dislodges his helmet, and Tia clearly recognises him. Alas,  Dr Nea is then shot but manages to seal Tia’s capsule and eject her from the ship.

Cut to the title card, and then to the Lovely Angels returning home from an easier than expected mission aboard the Lovely Angel when they detect an emergency signal. Naturally, the Lovely Angels find Tia’s capsule with her in cold sleep.

The raid on the liner was the notorious White Swan incident that took place 20 years ago. Which the Lovely Angels haven’t heard about because it was before they were born[3]. So Tia, despite still being a child, is actually older than them.

The White Swan incident is one of the legendary trouble consultant Madam Beryl’s few unsolved cases, and solving it now is a chance for the Lovely Angels to prove that they’re on her level. Beryl does provide a briefing: All 832 passengers and crew on board died of gas poisoning. The only exceptions were Dr Nea who was shot, and Tia who was missing. Dr Nea also left 42731 on the floor written in his own blood as he was dying.

So Tia is a major witness that Madam Beryl didn’t have access to. Well, a major witness if they can get her to actually talk. Kei does her best, but there’s no luck to be had.

Meanwhile Yuri finds Dr Nea’s assistant Bill Jones who is now running a successful company producing the fluid circuit originally developed by Dr Nea. Bill was, apparently, not on the flight.

Taking Tia to meet Bill is revealing: he’s obviously now an old man, is shocked by Tia’s appearance, and the still silent Tia attempts to hide from Bill behind Kei. The conversation isn’t particularly productive, but there’s plenty of visual cues that the Lovely Angels clearly pick up on. They refuse Bill’s attempt to take custody of Tia.

The trio are attacked, briefly, as they return to headquarters.

Next up is a visit to the liner. This is nicely staged scene with a fairly spooky effect: the liner is still in darkness, and there’s no gravity. So you have Kei, Yuri, and Tia floating through in spacesuits and lighting up CSI style chalk outlines on the floor. Tia pulls away and heads for her stateroom.

Tia recovers the chip and puts it into her plushy and gets sound playback[4]. In essence this thing is arguably a Furby[5]. It does however have a number pad inside, and Kei types in 42731 and is duly rewarded with a recording of Dr Nea’s suspicions about Bill, including that he was on the flight despite the records to the contrary.

The liner is attacked and destroyed but the trio make their escape and return to the Lovely Angel.

OK, this is where the Idiot Ball comes in. When the Lovely Angels return to confront Bill in his office, they take Tia along. Sigh.

I understand why this was done: the final sequence with Tia being taken hostage is one of the better action sequences in the Dirty Pair canon. It’s a chase through a factory that finishes on a bridge over toxic chemical vats and ends exactly how you’d expect. It’s a great sequence, but it’s hard to forget that the Lovely Angels took a little girl to confront someone they were going to arrest.

This also, finally, gives Kei a bit of a payoff in her attempts to connect with Tia that’s quite satisfying to see. The episode ends with Madam Beryl taking custody of Tia[6].

Overall this is quite a well-constructed episode with a tightly plotted story, and surprisingly good character work for Kei. One possible failing is not doing enough with the implications of cold sleep, but there’s limits to what can be fitted into 24 minutes. Just ignore the Idiot Ball when it swings through and you can have a lot of fun with this episode.

The battle bikini percentage rises to 94%.

Next up: Red Eyes Are the Sign of Hell. Chase After the Killing Squad!

[1] These names are being provided out of sequence because it’s easier to write the review that way.

[2] The plushy is a kinda sorta cow like thing.

[3] I think whenever it comes up on screen the Lovely Angels are about 18.

[4] We’ll skip over the sound working in an abandoned liner that probably doesn’t have an atmosphere anymore.

[5] Hands up if you knew what a Furby was without clicking on the link.

[6] Because, seriously, would you give Kei or Yuri custody of a kid if there was someone else available? Gooley even says as much.