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Cartoon Intro Cavalcade: “Dirty Pair: Project Eden” (1986)

by on December 12, 2012

The opening credits sequence to the Dirty Pair: Project Eden OVA movie are a tantalizing blend of sex, technology, and spy thrillers, along with some bracingly bizarre images and segues. It reminds me of the best Maurice Binder opening sequences to the James Bond movies, using powerfully evocative imagery to create a distinctive artistic statement that establishes your expectations for what you’re about to see.

(WARNING: Silhouetted cartoon nudity in the sequence below.)

The echoes of Maurice Binder are pretty overt from the silhouetted naked women engaging in assorted dangerous activities, all sprinkled throughout the opening to Project Eden. They’re mixed in with science fiction elements of stars and ultra high-tech, and the pastel color palette gives everything a sheen of strangeness. The movie’s leads Kei and Yuri are formed from a jet of flame and their names are carved into the screen from an off-screen laser. A pursuit is painted with shadows: one woman is hunted, and then another is a hunter, with the unmistakable silhouette of a gun in her hand. Those images are echoed later in the sequence when a woman’s high kick is visible in bands of light slashed out of the shadows by the window blinds. A languid nude figure in a bed turns to a futuristic cityscape, and a flying dagger makes a kiss turn deadly. A seemingly drowned body turns out to sinking to the bottom of a cocktail glass, and a glamorous smoking woman shifts suddenly to technological body horror. The whole sequence is drenched in that heady mix of sex and violence that made the James Bond movies so transgressive in their day (and still are, as with the recent Casino Royale), with the added elements of technology establishing the setting of a far-flung future.

The visuals, color scheme, and the music really date this opening sequence to the 80’s, which I don’t really view as a bad thing. Real style still communicates despite any dated elements, as demonstrated by this sequence as well as the many classic movies approaching retirement age. I wish I could say that the sly, sexy come-on of the opening credits was fully sustained by the Project Eden movie itself, but it wouldn’t be the first time that an opening credits sequence made promises the movie couldn’t deliver. More than a few James Bond movies suffered from the same problem.

Dirty Pair Original TV Series © Takachiho&Studio Nue • SUNRISE | DIRTY PAIR © Takachiho&Studio Nue – SUNRISE. Video clip used with permission. Visit the official Dirty Pair website for more information about the series and the recent DVD re-releases from RightStuf.
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