By chance, Ryo has slipped from the 1980s into the future, and is trying to get back. In the interim, he's working for the police force of the future, solving cases by applying his unique and often comical approach.
Future Policeman Urashiman is one of the more unique anime series to come out of the 1980's. Given that it's from that time frame, the artwork looks a little dated and the technology of the future may appear to be anachronistic compared to that of today. However, the series makes up for the flaws largely due the interactions between the antagonist (named only Fuhrer) and the protagonist (Urashiman). There is a backstory between the two that is explained in the series, but for the first half the show has a "crime of the week" feel to it.
The character development of Fuhrer simply makes the show
work. Most of the time, Urashiman and his fellow policemen interact with a villain called Ludvich. Ludvich, given more episodes to himself, could have become one of those villains that you root for. However, the series decided to go with Fuhrer (Ludvich's boss in crime) and it was the best choice.
Without spoiling too much, Fuhrer is a man who could be over 100. It's hard to tell but we know that he's old and he uses scientific means to extend his life. Fuhrer wants to use Urashiman's power to travel back in time in order to revitalize his body so that he won't have to face death. Urashiman becomes sympathetic to Fuhrer as a person, despite the fact that Fuhrer leads the largest crime organization in the world and Urashiman is a policeman who is constantly opposing that organization. No other series that I know of develops a situation in which the two opposing forces in the plot appear to be close to ending their hostilities and moving in a different direction.
The supporting characters are about you might expect out of an anime show. Claude is a dashing police officer who likes to pick up the girls. Sophia is a former nun now turned police officer who still makes religious references now and then. Gondo, the chief of Urashiman's police unit, is an old fellow who is constantly shouting and ignoring his blood pressure. Urashiman's cat, Mya, also plays a role in the series since he (or she) came along for the time travel ride as the series began. It's unknown whether Mya has the same powers as Urashiman, but if so, the series isn't telling. Stinger Wolf is the guy on the scene for Necrime- the organization run by Fuhrer- and he is more often than not the one who leads the physical fighting that goes on. Not much is known about Wolf and not much is said one way or the other. He simply appears to be a guy who is in it all the way for the bad guys.
The music within the show is very good. I particularly enjoy hearing Necrime's theme because, unlike a lot of police animes I've seen, the villains are just as important to the story as the heroes. I'm not a fan of the opening and closing themes, although this was the early 1980's so I can't really hold that against the series. Other than that, I found the soundtrack to be good enough to hold its own although it wasn't what I would call revolutionary.
Despite this, the series was not given an American release- perhaps because the title "Rockin' Cops" was too much of a departure from the original intent of the creators. The series itself seems to be one of many Tatsunoko Production projects that slipped under the radar for the most part.
The series was made in a time when Japan took it's science fiction seriously and allowed a lot more room to navigate than they do today and the result is a free-form futuristic show that combines elements of police work, time travel and pathos on the part of the villains. At 50 episodes, the series is exactly as long as it needs to be and it provides a fun romp through a possible future through the perspective of a 1980's-era boy and his cat.