You're Under Arrest: Full Throttle
Fresh off training; Miyuki in forensics and Natsumi in the Japanese Defense Force, the both of them return to Tokyo to resume their work at the Bokuto Police Station. Naturally, the two of them literally drop in on a kidnapping case, which pretty much sets the pace for their work from then on.
One of the really neat things about the OAV and the TV series that made up the first season was the rather sedate pace of the show itself, and how, even with that, our two main stars Miyuki and Natsumi could liven up any situation and make it fun. Through these girls, You're Under Arrest became my favorite buddy cop show. (Not that I had a lot to choose from, mind you, but it's still saying a lot.)
It's also saying a lot that a show can be great, but still disappointing. And that is, sadly, the case with this latest incarnation of the You're Under Arrest series.
But if there's one thing that HAS improved, then that would be the art and, well... maybe not so much the animation. Studio Deen has always been the animation team behind the show, but even going from the first season (barring the OAV) to the second shows a significant improvement in the art style. You can attibute this partially to the style of the art itself, since I wouldn't say that either season are known for being slouches when it comes to making action sequences look good, regardless of the budget they have at their disposal. But, while the animation was a good step up in the second season, it reverted back to "sorta-kinda ok" in Full Throttle. Part of this can be explained by jucidious use of CG, not all of it looking particularly good. And, curiously enough, the cars you see in this show are all regular cel-animation, which often mean cel pans. This, sadly, being an aspect where CG could have done a lot of good.
Anyway, if you need a visual cue to just how much the art has changed, take a look at Aoi (aka Belldandy-kun.)
As characters go, he has also gone through a change, one that quite frankly finds the new term "Urd-kun" more suitable than "Belldandy-kun". That is, if Urd was somewhat less forward and... well, less sexy. Fast & Furious (earlier know as "the second season") had a more secure, straightforward Aoi, and his persona, as it is, carries over to this season mostly intact. And, like in the two seasons before, Full Throttle gives Aoi an entire episode to himself. (Although, unlike the second season's Aoi-centric episode, the one in this season is actually very good.)
Sadly, the almost complete lack of change in the other characters account for most of the disappointment I have over this show. Barring possibly Aoi, the one who has done the most change is Miyuki and Natsumi, and you can't really say they've progressed much at all. In fact, I'd say Natsumi has lost as much as she's gained. She's always been portrayed as kind of a force of nature, strong and straightforward. But for some odd reason, the longer the show has progressed, the dumber she becomes. In the first season, she did at least have some sense of wit and at least a rudimentary understanding of what is a good idea and what isn't. In Full Throttle, she doesn't seem to understand why tipping a lot of cars on their sides would be a bad idea, and here more than ever she just seems to be there to flaunt that power. I can't be the only one who miss the sneaky Natsumi, can I?
But worst of all -- the most irritating part in You're Under Arrest -- is the episodes that are centered around Miyuki and her almost-boyfriend Ken Nakajima. Again, I have to bring up the second season, which had most of the last arc agonizing over Ken's failures to get his feelings across. Kosuke Fujishima might not know his left and right in romantic dramas, but even Ah! My Goddess had Keiichi and Belldandy tell each other that they loved each other, or even get to do things with each other, largely uninterrupted. Well, don't expect the same here. After the huge drama that ended in one of the most unrewarding romantic conclusions -- which is to say, it DIDN'T conclude at all -- it's really punishing to watch these two resume their awkward attempts at telling each other how they feel, only to have their friends mess things up because they absolutely have to be there to see it, and because Ken KNOWS they're there watching, which makes him nervous, which again makes him stutter and stall long enough for another intervention to drop by and putting an end to his plans. If you're watching this show for these two, then don't. It's not worth the aggravation.
Thankfully, at its best, Full Throttle can still hang with the cool guys. These are the various episodes that work; when the guys are on the job, and when Miyuki and Natsumi get to strut their stuff, preferably behind the wheel of their car. Most of them seems to be centered around crimes, which does make me miss some of the variety of the earlier seasons -- accidents or situations with extreme weather -- but that's more of a nitpick. Of course, Strike Man also makes an appearance, but this only serves to remind me just how much I really miss his dub voice.
It feels weird to be saying this, but You're Under Arrest follows the trend of dropping in quality the longer it goes on. It does so far less than most other movies or shows, but it's still a drop of quality regardless. If a show isn't willing to let their characters evolve and/or develop, it needs to portray more of the facets of the world they're living in. Full Throttle is still quality stuff, but, much as it pains me to say so, even quality stuff can get old after a while.
A weak four star. It's good, really. If you just watched the second season, though, you might want to wait a while before starting on this. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Most of the policework in the show comes with a certain amount of violence, the "worst" example being the episode with the drunk girls getting assaulted by robbers driving around in a fake taxi. That's as far as the show goes with the violence, though.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, Japanese with English subs only
Review Status: Full (24/24)
You're Under Arrest: Full Throttle © 2007 Studio DEEN, Kodansha, Bandai Visual
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