Running late on her first day as a patrol woman for the Bokuto Police Department, spunky moped rider Natsumi Tsujimoto decides to take several shortcuts, only to be chased down and cited by mechanical genius and expert police driver Miyuki Kobayakawa. Upon arrival at the precinct, Natsumi finds out that her new partner is the same woman who ticketed her earlier. At first, she doesn't trust Miyuki, but in a short period of time, they develop an unbreakable friendship that overcomes traffic accidents, reckless drivers and even the strongest typhoons to hit Tokyo.
You're Under Arrest follows the happenings of a police station and in particular those officers of the Traffic division. Aired as an OVA, this later came to be the first 4 episodes of the TV series bearing the same name. However, this review will assess it's performance as a stand-alone.
- ANIMATION -
As expected from an OVA the animation quality is superb; with great detail taken in facial expression and general movement fluidity. The backgrounds are also of high detail and do not have that colour tone difference otherwise common to most televised series. Fujishima Kousuke being an avid motorsports enthusiast, made sure that You're Under
Arrest featured excellent animated footage of cars, motorbikes and other mechanicals. It was an obvious match for his love of cars and anime that brought us this series.
- SOUND -
The soundtrack is mellow most of the time, but with a gripping 'suspense/action' theme used during the chase sequences, you soon find your own heart beating with expectation! In terms of effects, this is mostly focused on traffic/vehical related sounds (drifts, revs, gear changes etc.). Do not expect to see/hear any firearms - disappointing, seeing as this is a police anime. The dub version is well directed despite some dialogue adaptation.
- CHARACTERS -
The story revolves around a partner relationship so you should expect a lot of time dedicated to the two leads. Although only 4 episodes, you get a flare for the cast's own personalities, which are very distinct to the point of perhaps being stereotypical. Eitherway, the designs show a unique style characteristic of this mangaka, but tend to inevitably resemble characters from his other titles (Ah My Goddess!).
- VALUE & ENJOYMENT -
As mentioned, You're Under Arrest tries to showcase the human drama of police officers and their daily relationships. With this in mind, it does not boast of much action apart from car chasing so hardcore police-drama viewers might be disappointed. The storyline although split into 4 episodes, should be viewed as 2 plots each coming to a conclusion by the end of the OVA.
Personally, I consider this an 'all-rounder' because it manages to fit various elements (romance, comedy, drama, action) into a light-hearted, realistic storyline. Because of that, I would not be surprised if you would still enjoy a rewatch of this come a few years time... I know I did.
Finally, the excellent animation alone makes for a worthwhile watch, so its short duration becomes a bonus.
"This police station has been running a lot more like a soap opera," - Chief Kachou (Episode 3)
1994 was a pretty good year for anime titles. There was the Studio Ghibi film Pom Poko, a story centered around environmental issues. The Street Fighter movie, based on a wildly popular videogame series, briefly fumbled its way into the spotlight. 1994 also introduced the anime world to Marmalade Boy, a well-known school-oriented series. Finally, `94 was the year in which television networks came across a mini-series, a hidden gem if you will, titled You're Under Arrest (YUA). When people think of police shows, they conjure mental images
of good-cop/bad-cop roles, of homicides and kidnappings, and of undercover officers raiding a criminal hideout. You're Under Arrest doesn't conjure these images in viewers because it's the complete opposite of the typical cop series; this is a show where comedy is at the forefront instead of action, where the only serious crime that people commit is reckless speeding, and where the officers are more concerned with maintaining friendships than anything else (and please don't mention anything to do with romance to these people. They're really serious about that). With these factors inserted into the plot, this anime explores the adventures of police officers Natsumi and Miyuki for four enjoyable episodes.
While You're Under Arrest is certainly an enjoyable OVA, it is not without its flaws. The acting in the series isn't the best, the supporting characters are relegated to a couple of unimportant lines, and (if you want to be really critical) the animation looks a little dated to me, even for an anime from the early `90s. However, I can brush past those flaws thanks to the five main characters. Miyuki is a gentle officer/driver with good looks and a hobby as a mechanic (Basically, she's Winry Rockbell before Winry Rockbell). Yoriko, a goofy gossiper who proves to be the series' best voice actress, is that one bespectacled female that you seemingly must have in order for an anime to be called an anime. Ken is my favorite character, a sunglasses-wearing tough-guy/motorcyclist who really loves Miyuki and is affectionately nicknamed "Kenny" by the other officers. Chief Kachou doesn't really do much besides giving out orders and pondering over situations (I just act like the guy's not there). By far the most interesting character of the bunch has to be Natsumi, the protagonist. She's a hotheaded slacker with purple eyes, impulsive tendencies, an infamous reputation for oversleeping, a habit for getting drunk, and impeccable skills as a motorcyclist. The other main characters are appealing, besides the Chief, but Natsumi is simply beyond that.
I don't know exactly where I would place You're Under Arrest on my anime list (pun intended). I don't speak of this series with the mystified reverence that I do for Monster not with the unbridled hatred that I have for Inuyasha. You're Under Arrest instead settles in a special category for me, one without severe criticism or deep analysis. Here's the best way I can explain my appreciation for YUA. For me, this anime induces a wave of nostalgia, even though it's my first time finishing this. Maybe it's the beautiful theme song which really grew on me or the show's lively soundtrack with a hint of jazz that does it for me. Maybe it's You're Under Arrest's lighthearted atmosphere sprinkled by some truly touching moments that hypnotizes me. Maybe it's the excellent episode 4 (titled "On the Road... again") or the amazing sequence that occurred in the episode, where Ken rides his motorcycle out from the raging flames that causes me to write so passionately about this. Maybe it's the fact that YUA is completely appropriate for children (believe it or not, this doesn't occur often in anime), besides the cursing that pops up once-in-a-blue-moon that makes me love it so much. Regardless, You're Under Arrest is the perfect title for this OVA. It captures you, alternately thrilling you and pulling your heartstrings along the way.
This anime absolutely blew me away. Coming into "You're Under Arrest" I just expected some standard buddy cop cliches, mixed in with some anime ones. And boy does it deliver that and so much more. There's car chases taking you through beautifully animated scenery, there's romance arcs that actually keep you interested even though they only have 4 episodes to work with, and there's even character development that's realistic but still draws you in.
As a huge fan of 70s and 80s cop shows, the cliches in this don't bother me one bit and are perfectly executed. There's a car chase at least every episode, there's
your standard partner drama between the two main protagonists, they even have a fan club of small children to cheer them on. If you like car chases and you like anime, this is THE OVA for you.
You're Under Arrest is a pretty fantastically made classic OVA that I really enjoyed. Let's go over what makes it so special.
First and foremost, I like to point out the art. There are some really great moments here & there that are just fantastically animated, and gorgeous to look at. If you're looking for some impressive Sakuga, you've come to the right place. There are a lot of slower moments where not as much happens, and those parts aren't quite as nicely animated, but the artists still keep things looking clean & consistent throughout. I think the character design is a bit typical, but it's
also unoffensive and works well enough for the characters portrayed.
Speaking of the characters, they are an interesting bunch, all with different, charming personalities and it's really nice to get to know them over the course of these four episodes. The characters don't grow much, that is to say, they don't change or learn life lessons or anything, but the show does a good job of painting them as they are, and letting the viewer really get to know them through effective dialogue and good characterization. They're not the most interesting characters in the world, but they are a fun bunch.
The story, I'd say would be the weakest part. Each episode has a different story to it, and there's a good variety to the type of plots you'll see... However, it all feels very standard. There's no surprises to the type of tales they craft here. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as all of the episodes are well written, and the characters are interesting enough to pull the story along, but the story itself is very basic, and ends up being just a fun, easy-to-consume kind of thing.
The soundtrack to the show is great, the opening theme is an eclectic, classic, upbeat J-pop track that I couldn't help but get super pumped about whenever it came on. The tracks they play during the show give off a very police drama vibe, which gives it exactly the right tone for whatever scene they're in. The Japanese voice actors did a fantastic job portraying their characters, and the sound effects are subtle when they need to be, and big and exciting sounding at other times. The whole thing is mixed great, and there's really no faults I can find with the audio design whatsoever.
Overall, I really enjoyed this OVA. In only 4 episodes it introduced these characters and made them really likable, gave us some lighthearted & fun stories, some action-packed & incredibly well-animated action scenes, and overall just left me with a really good feeling. I'd recommend the show to just about anybody, but especially those who are into good looking animation, or those who are just looking for a fun, easy-to-digest cop show.