You're Under Arrest
Tsujimoto Natsumi is brash, outspoken, headstrong, and one of the best motorcycle traffic cops in Tokyo. So when she gets partnered up with calm, contemplative, and meticulous Kobayakawa Miyuki the first day of her new job at Bokutoo precinct, she balks. The two are complete opposites -- and it doesn't help that Miyuki keeps trying to be so blasted nice to her. Anyone with half a brain (Natsume included) would swear that it will never work, and that the newly formed partnership is doomed from the beginning.
But surprise of surprises -- it _does_ work, and the two quickly become the best of friends. Look out, those who speed or run red lights -- Miyuki and Natsumi are on call, and between the two of them there's no case they can't handle!
A warm and fuzzy cop show?? You'd better believe it. You're Under Arrest! is a lighthearted buddy series set in a utopia where maintaining the little foibles of friendship is tougher than actually catching traffic offenders. If there was ever a feel-good cop show of the 90s, You're Under Arrest! would be it. Cute, sweet, and heartwarming, this series is everything a cop show usually isn't.
"How?" you may ask. A good portion of the answer to that question lies in the scope of the series, which could best be described as "scale model anime." All the elements usually associated with a title of the same ilk is there, but on a level a couple of orders of magnitude _smaller_ than it's usually portrayed. Natsume and Miyuki don't chase bank-robbers or serial killers -- they target traffic offenders, people who speed or maybe run a red light. The most "evil" character in the series is a guy who likes to speed on the highway when it rains. There are conflicts and tensions between the members of Bokutou precinct, but they almost always get resolved within the next few minutes, and they're never that serious to begin with. It's almost silly, the way the characters make such big deals out of all the little things that happen, but it somehow works, and it's definitely very cute.
Not everything in this series is scaled down, however. Character design, for example, isn't skimped one bit. Natsumi, for all of her brusqueness and rough edges, is essentially a sweetheart down inside, and if I ever really met someone as sweet as Miyuki, I'd probably have to visit the dentist right away. The character designs are idealized without inducing cynical disbelief in the viewer. You know they _can't_ be real, that they're _too_ nice, but you root for them anyhow because you somehow _want_ to believe in them nonetheless. The smart, sharp animation and art will definitely make you sit up (some of the best I've ever seen in an OAV series), and the lighthearted but well-executed soundtrack definitely adds to the viewing experience.
Sure, it's a bit silly at times and often commits the crime of "making mountains out of molehills," but there's no question about it: You're Under Arrest! is a fun little series just about _anyone_ can watch and enjoy. Too bad they couldn't scale down the price, too (seventeen dollars for a half hour episode?? Argh!).
Recommended Audience: Amazingly enough (or not, depending on how you look at it), there's nothing I could find that could be considered objectionable in this series. There are a few rather exciting car chase scenes, but virtually no crashes, and no one ever gets hurt. Fun for the whole family.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (4/4)
You're Under Arrest © 1994 Fujishima Kousuke / Kodansha / Bandai Visual / Marubeni
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