Reviewby Theron Martin, Apr 3rd 2010
You're Under Arrest: Full Throttle
DVD - Collection 1
Crime waits for no woman, as Miyuki Kobayakawa and Natsumi Tsujimoto, aces of the Bokuto Traffic Section, soon discover. While returning from profiling training in America, Miyuki becomes involved with a boy who turns out to be an heir searching for his grandfather, and when the two run afoul of thugs, they naturally cross paths with Natsumi, who is fresh from her own training with the JSDF's Rangers. Later they must tackle cases including a babynapping connected to skillful car robberies, a retired and frustrated pro wrestler up to no good, a robber team who disguises themselves as taxi cab drivers, a wayward snake, and robots run amok. They also find time to get involved in more personal issues, such as Aoi's dread of her mentor's temporary return to duty from retirement, whether or not Chief has an illegitimate child, and Ken's attempt to write and deliver a love letter to Mitsuki. And of course Strike Man and Moped Mama show up, too.
After letting the franchise languish for five and a half years after the conclusion of the second YUA TV series in 2001 and the You're Under Arrest: No Mercy! OVA in early 2002 (which, incidentally, is now the only YUA property which has never been licensed for R1 release in some form), Studio DEEN revived it in late 2007 for another 24 episode TV run. Fans of previous series will find that, while there have been some updates, the content in the new series is pretty much same-ol', same-ol'; Miyuki and Natsumi are still the stars, most of the supporting cast remains intact, recurring characters still recur, and the series is still an irregular mix of humor and light drama as the Bokuto Traffic Section forges through professional and personal crises of varying degrees of seriousness. Newcomers need only know the character basics: Natsumi is freakishly strong and boisterous, Miyuki is the more reserved and proper technical whiz, officer Ken is hopelessly in love with Miyuki, and Aoi is actually a cross-dressing man, albeit one of the most effeminate ones you will ever encounter in anime. Clearly, though, Studio DEEN also decided to rethink the franchise for its newest incarnation, which has resulted in changes – some subtle, some not.
Although the principle cast remains the same, the supporting cast has been tinkered with. Gone – or at least absent so far – are several characters from the second TV series who were apparently deemed dead weight: jettisoning Saori is explained off by a transfer, Natsumi's Senior Officer boyfriend is not in the picture, and Ken's parents and the man with the little daughter who worked at their shop have yet to make any kind of appearance through the first twelve episodes. (None of them are much missed, either.) Amongst existing characters, the new season seems to be ignoring the (admittedly minimal) advancement in Ken and Miyuki's relationship towards the end of the second series and Natsumi's stint with the Special Assault Team is either being ignored or replaced with her stint of training in the Rangers. Time has advanced at least a bit, as the bridge that was under construction through most of the second season is now intact and the police station has a new electronic message pole outside. Fear not, though, as the police car and scooter are intact even though Natsumi pulls her braking/helping to turn with her feet stunt only once in this span.
More immediately noticeable differences crop up in the artistry. Studio DEEN has certainly taken advances of technical advances over the early-to-mid-2000s to produce a sharper product with better-defined colors and vastly improved quality control. They have also tinkered with the character designs a bit. While characters still look essentially the same as their respective versions in the first two series, a clear effort was made to tweak what was originally a very tame series in a sexier direction. Oh, the series still does not descend into overt fan service, but Miyuki and Natsumi both have slimmer, leaner builds which accentuate their busts a bit more, though Natsumi also looks to have gotten a wee bit of an augmentation, too. (See a comparison between the second season and third season versions of Natsumi here.) The series certainly makes an effort to show off the girls in sexier poses in the eyecatches, puts them in swimsuits for part of the opening, and focuses the occasional random shot on their chests – something that previous series did not do. The closer even adds in a yuri subtext which never shows in the series content. Whether or not this is a Good Thing will certainly vary from viewer to viewer, but less debatable is that the animation also gets a significant upgrade and new-to-the-franchise director Koichi Ohata is more willing to experiment with alternative camera angles.
The soundtrack fares better, too, with a hipper, more up-to-date sound that more consistently gets into the spirit of the show. Opener “Mighty Body” is energetic and upbeat if not particularly original, while closer “1/2” is passable but not memorable. All of the Japanese cast for the core cast members returns, although Ken sounds noticeably older in this series.
Sentai Filmworks is going back and dubbing some titles that they have already released sub-only, but at the time of this writing this title is not one of them. Still no English soundtrack and no Extras beyond clean opener and closer on the second of two disks. A couple of subtitle grammatical errors could be spotted.
The other minor change since the second series is that the stories in this one more commonly edge in a lightly dramatic, rather than lightly comedic, direction. That certainly does not force the series to take itself too seriously, however, as it still occasionally gets a little silly, such as the whole business with Aoi's former mentor vainly trying to make a man out of him or the reaction of the crowd to the villain in the robot-focused episode. It even descends into sappiness for the episode focused on the little girl who mistakes the Chief for her dead father. Little that the series does in these episodes is especially fresh or memorable, but if you were always a fan of the Bokuto Traffic Section's antics in the earlier series then that enjoyment is unlikely to fade here.
Overall (sub) : B-
Story : C+
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : B
+ Improved technical merits over earlier incarnations, increased sexiness.
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