Lovely Angels

I’m a fan of stories featuring strong women. While I recognize that physical strength or proficiency with weapons is not the only way to be a strong person, my love of action stories does mean I enjoy a story with women who fall into this category. While in Bisbee, Arizona’s wonderful Meridian Books and Comics a few weeks ago, my wife’s eyes happened to fall on the book, The Great Adventure of the Dirty Pair.

I immediately recognized the title and the women on the cover from an anime series of the mid-1980s. What I didn’t realize is that the anime series was inspired by a series of novels by Haruka Takachiho. The book my wife found was an English translation of the first two novels published in 2007 by Dark Horse Books. For those not familiar with the books or the anime series, the “Dirty Pair” are Kei and Yuri, two young interplanetary agents in the distant future who investigate crimes for the World Welfare Works Association or WWWA. They’re essentially female James Bond types who travel in their own space ship with their pet Mugi, which is essentially an intelligent, alien cat. Their code name is “the lovely angels” but because they’re famous for leaving death and destruction in their wake, they’ve come to be known as “the dirty pair.”

Unlike many anime series, each episode of Dirty Pair is a self-contained adventure. Kei and Yuri often find one mystery that leads to a bigger mystery or find that a tactical situation has gone out of control and they must go in guns blazing while wearing their battle bikinis. At least the novels explain that their outfits do include a transparent polymer that protects them while giving them the appearance of lots of exposed skin.

What I love about the series and the books is that Kei and Yuri are strong, well defined characters. Kei is more hot-tempered and impulsive while Yuri is more thoughtful. It’s fun to see their camaraderie and how the situations regularly blow up for them to cause damage worthy of a contemporary superhero film. What I find a little annoying is that at times it feels like Kei and Yuri are Betty and Veronica from Archie comics each competing for the next cute boy, even in the midst of worlds blowing up around them.

One key difference between the novels and the anime series is that in the novels, Kei and Yuri have clairvoyant powers. If they concentrate and then hold hands, they can get a precognitive clue to the mystery they’re trying to solve. The only time I know this appears in the anime is in the movie, Affair on Nolandia. Of some note, this movie seems to be one of the least popular Dirty Pair stories, but it does feel like it takes most of its beats from the books.

The first Dirty Pair novels were serialized in 1979 in the Japanese magazine SF Magajin. This means Kei and Yuri started kicking butt the same year as Ripley in the American Alien franchise.

The Dirty Pair novels are fun if you’re a fan of the anime and curious about the story’s history. The anime is fun if you like diverting science fiction stories with plenty of gun battles and explosions. Just don’t go in expecting a lot of depth. You can find strong women who will tell more thoughtful stories in other places.

If you want to explore some of the strong women characters in my stories, you might enjoy meeting Fatemeh Karimi and Larissa Crimson in my Clockwork Legion Series. You might also enjoy meeting Suki Mori, Fire Ellis, and Kirsten Smart in my Space Pirates Legacy Series or Marcella DuBois, Jane Heckman, and Mercy Rodriguez from my Scarlet Order Vampire Series.

Favorite Heroines Giveaway Hop

Welcome to this special edition post that’s part of the Favorite Heroines Giveaway Blog Hop. I am giving away an ebook copy of my novel Lightning Wolves. Keep reading for details!

favorite heroines

My favorite heroine is Larissa Crimson, a character in my wild west steampunk novel Lightning Wolves. When we first met Larissa in the novel Owl Dance, she was a bounty hunter because in 1876, people didn’t hire women to be sheriffs or marshals and she wants to bring justice to the western frontier. The healer Fatemeh Karimi recruits her to help stop the Russian invasion of Denver. In that battle, Larissa meets an expatriate Mexican professor who calls himself Maravilla. Professor Maravilla has built owl-shaped flying machines capable of combating the Russian airships.

Larissa

Although she’s good with a gun, Larissa’s real strength is her intelligence. After the Battle of Denver, she teams up with Professor Maravilla to see if science, rather than the gun could be a more effective tool for justice. When the United States Army returns to ask for Professor Maravilla’s aid again, it’s Larissa who goes with them to build the lightning wolves of the novel’s title.

SummersLightningWolves

As I mentioned at the top of the post, I’m giving away an ebook copy of Lightning Wolves. Don’t worry if you haven’t read Owl Dance. Lightning Wolves is designed to stand alone. In the novel, Russians have invaded the Pacific Northwest and are advancing into California. New weapons have proven ineffective or dangerously unstable and the one man who can help has disappeared into Apache Country, hunting ghosts. A healer and a former sheriff lead a band into the heart of the invasion to determine what makes the Russian forces so unstoppable while a young inventor attempts to unleash the power of the lightning wolves.

To find out why Larissa is my favorite heroine, click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. I will draw a winner first thing on June 25. Good luck!

Click the button to continue on and see other stops on the blog hop. Remember, there’s a giveaway at each stop: