Anime remakes are not all too common, but it often surprises me what kind of shows end up getting a second chance. That remains true to this very day with remakes like Shaman King, but even in the old days we’d see productions like Dirty Pair Flash.
Flash is a remake/reimagining of Dirty Pair that aired in 1994; 9 years after the original started, but only 4 years since it officially concluded. Not only does it feel a bit too soon to reboot the franchise, it is also about as “reimagined” as you can possibly get. The two series are almost polar opposites, which sadly means that Flash lacks almost everything I really enjoyed in the original.
Nowhere is this impact more noticeable than in the protagonists. There was a lot about Yuri and Kei that I enjoyed. They were two cool, sexy women who worked well together, had great chemistry, and were perhaps the most skilled operatives the WWWA had, in spite of their bad habit of causing collateral damage wherever they went. Flash retains and doubles down on them being sexy, but otherwise completely flips the setup around.
Yuri and Kei are now two incompetent rookies at the WWWA, who also completely hate each other. Yuri is a workshy sloth who is more concerned about her dates than saving the world and Kei is an unreasonable hothead whose only actual skill—marskmanship—is self-sabotaged by a gun she has completely ruined by installing too many modifications. Most of their dialogue together descends into pointless screaming and they are so incompatible that they frequently end up endangering or even betraying each other throughout the series.
I get what they are going for here. Instead of a story about the adventures of two intergalactic heroines, Flash wants to tell the story of how the protagonists get to that point. I get it, but I don’t like it.
Showing us the less-spectacular early years of The Lovely Angels’ career would’ve been fun for an episode, but an entire spin-off series is very overkill. Reimagining Yuri and Kei as two obnoxious, self-centered teenagers is just not very fun or endearing, especially when their designs are made less memorable on top of that. Their personalities are too simplified and the character development is too clumsy in its execution.
There are definitely improvements throughout the series, but my first impressions were so poor that I began to feel irked by every perceived shortcoming; a large pile of little complaints. And some of these are very subjective or based in my existing love for Dirty Pair, so somebody else might look at these and actually see them as improvements. I personally disliked the bog-standard cyberpunk universe, but others might be really into that.
Flash couldn’t do anything right by me, so when the season 1 finale also fell flat, I opted not to watch the subsequent seasons. Sci-fi aficionados or people going into the series fresh may be more open-minded, but my expectations were simply too high after Dirty Pair was such a surprise hit.