You're Under Arrest: Full Throttle Collection 1 is my first experience with the
You're Under Arrest franchise. This set collects the first 12 episodes of the third
season. I was a little concerned about jumping in during the third season, but those
fears were alleviated a few minutes into the first episode. You're Under Arrest
is an episodic, slice-of-life series designed for viewers to pick it up at any point
and quickly become familiar with the characters.
You're Under Arrest is based on the manga created by Kosuke Fujishima, the man behind
the Oh My Goddess! series. The story takes place in the Bokuto Police Station traffic
division and tends to focus on the adventures of the intelligent Miyuki and the
ridiculously strong Natsumi. Full Throttle begins with a nice two-episode arc. Miyuki
returns to Japan and meets a little American boy on the plane. The boy's father
recently died leaving him heir to a fortune and a powerful company called the Hammond
Group. He has led an isolated and deprived childhood. He is searching for his samurai
grandfather to learn to become a strong warrior, but other family members are fighting
for custody. Miyuki and Natsumi make it their mission to help the boy find his grandfather
to ensure that he goes to someone who truly cares for him.
There are some great episodes in this set--especially a few of the latter episodes
that focus on the secondary characters. Being new to the series, I was quite surprised
to learn that Aoi was, in fact, a cross-dresser. The episode that features Aoi has
his former police partner return from retirement. Aoi's partner wanted him to become
more of a man and he sets forth to train Aoi and the rest of the Bokuta Station
in fighting techniques. What follows is a great tale of acceptance that I consider
the best in this collection. Another great story has Nakajima turning the seemingly
simple act of handing a love note to Miyuki into a painful adventure. There is also
a touching episode about a little girl who believes that Chief is her recently deceased
father. If it weren't for Yoriko's grating voice, the episode that highlights her
difficulties in finding "Mr. Right" would be ranked right up there with the best
in this collection.
This set, however, includes many stories of variable quality and low rewatchability
like the one where Natsumi faces off with a washed up former pro wrestler who is
stacking cars that are illegally parked. Some of the more average episodes include
Miyuki dealing with a snake that has taken a fondness to her, another one has the
Miyuki and Natsumi tracking down a car thief who took off with a mother's baby,
and finally, the Bokuta Station plays a heated game of baseball that brings back
an old nemesis: Strike Man! Easily, the low point of the collection is the episode
about robots which is nothing more than pure filler.
You're Under Arrest episodes are quite formulaic: present a set of characters with
a relatively normal situation, escalate it to outlandish proportions, have the characters
solve the situation with a happy ending, and roll the credits. Few, if any, episodes
deviated from this formula, but a comfortable template is not necessarily a bad
trait. There were just times where it seemed like the writers tacked on an over-the-top
villain or crisis as a mere afterthought soley to keep the formula alive.
One reason that I watch anime is to become immersed in the characters and stories
that develop over the course of a season (or across multiple seasons). I quickly
became familiar with the characters in You're Under Arrest, and came to enjoy a
few of them, but I never sensed they had any direction. The characters never really
grew, no relationships were furthered or strained, and there was no overarching
conflict that had to be resolved. Nothing. Each episode is simply a day in the life
of the Bokuto Police Station traffic division. It's not bad--very similar, in fact,
to an average sitcom. There were a few fantastic individual episodes; I'm just not
convinced that I'll ever have a reason to put these DVD's back into my player.
This is a show where I'd be happy to watch random episodes as they aired on
Sound: This DVD only has one language track: Japanese 2.0 stereo sound. The sound
quality is adequate for the sitcom style adventures of the Bokuto Police Station.
Most of the Japanese voice actors sound good and fit the characters well. The voice
of Yoriko, however, sounded small and overly whiney. While the voice was cute at
first, it grew quite annoying in episodes that featured her.
Video: The video is presented with in 1.78:1 ratio anamorphic widescreen. The visual
quality of this release is very good. The animation is sharp, modern looking, and
shows no noticeable artifacting. This series uses some CG and it can be distracting.
In particular there is a scene in the episode where Nakajima attempts to give Miyuki
a love note where they use CG to show Miyuki slowly turning her head. The result
is jarring and looks absolutely horrible. How did the producers ever consider that
Extras: There's not much here. All that's included are a textless intro and closing
credits and a few trailers.
Bottom Line: You're Under Arrest is an enjoyable, light, flighty, episodic, sitcom-like
anime that is best viewed in small doses. Newcomers to You're Under Arrest have
nothing to fear about jumping in with this season; all of the main characters are
re-introduced in the first episode. What isn't explained about their personalities
and motivations all quickly become apparent to the new viewer. Each episode is a
self-contained story and, taken as a whole, this collection is a mixed bag. There
are a few excellent episodes, some boring ones, and the rest lie somewhere in-between.
Even though most episodes are enjoyable, the extras are lacking and the rewatchability
of the entire set is low. Rent It.
Bobby is a programmer by trade and a wannabe writer. Check out his other reviews here. You can also check out his blog about harmless nonsense or follow him on Twitter