Reviewby Theron Martin,
You're Under Arrest: Fast and Furious
Sub.DVD - Collection 2
Miyuki and Natsumi once again (mostly) take center stage as the Bokuto Traffic Section continues to deal with a plethora of sometimes-serious, sometimes-quirky professional and personal issues. A string of car snatch-and-grabs forces the always-tentative Ken and Miyuki to go undercover as a couple to try to catch the crooks, while later Aoi goes giddy over a potential Internet romance and Ken's father and stepmother have a brief falling-out. An apparent haunting gets most of Traffic Section jittery, even moreso than Natsumi believing that a coworker has taken an unexpected romantic interest in her.
People eventually progress with their lives, however, and when Natsumi gets the chance of a lifetime, Miyuki struggles with the impending reality of losing her partner and close friend. What will that mean for Bokuto's best team, and what side effects might it have on Ken and Miyuki's relationship? Will Ken ever get bold enough to make his true feelings known?
As the second half of the second (2001) YUA TV series, the cast of regulars and recurring oddballs has been so well-established for so long that the franchise is in serious danger of becoming stale. Thus it turns its focus squarely towards relationship matters for a more dramatic finish.
A few typical early episodes offer decent humor value and some light action, and had the series continued in that vein, it might have been able to limp through its remaining half solely on those merits. Instead the creators decided that it was time to advance the status quo another big jump, beginning with Natsumi's transfer offer towards the end of the first disc. It is a logical story progression for an officer of Natsumi's enthusiasm, aggressiveness, and formidable abilities, and it provides the kind of shake-up that the series desperately needed to break free of its rut. In surprisingly effective dramatic fashion, it forces Miyuki to take on Saori as her new partner and confront the nature of her relationship with Natsumi. It also forces her to examine where her romantic feelings might lie as she seems to consider an option other than Ken. While Ken brings some of the blame onto himself with his timidly tentative actions and by jumping to some (understandable) conclusions, it is hard not to feel for him as he watches the woman he adores seemingly slip away from him. Sorting out these issues in full dominates episodes 19-23 and peaks in episode 24, with episode 25 serving as a rousing wrap-up of sorts. Episode 26, the actual end of the series, seems at first to be the requisite hot springs episode, but it does not produce the expected barrage of fan service and instead caps out the relationship development along with offering the set's most intense dose of action.
Of course, YUA is hardly the first comedy series to turn serious in its later stages to resolve plot issues, but this one succeeds better than some others because of some above-average writing in that plot arc; that the series actually takes itself seriously while sorting that out helps greatly. The writing in the set's earlier episodes impresses far less. A few of the most colorful recurring characters, such as the Moped Mama and Strike Man, pop up on occasion, although their contributions are never more than mindless stupidity.
Studio DEEN's artistic effort is typical of the time period in which the series was made. Artists were still struggling to get 2D CG-rendered artistry to look right on a TV series budget and schedule, and that shows in the regular minor problems the series has with its character animation standing out too much against its backgrounds. Some episodes also have much more readily noticeable lapses in quality control, where characters get distinctly rougher in design for a time, but at other points the character rendering has flashes of greatness. In general, though, this is a mediocre overall artistic effort paired with heavily shortcut-laden animation.
The soundtrack is similarly mediocre. Although it does work well in a few places, just as often it stumbles along, sounding like background music from a dating sim. Neither the opener nor the closer, which are the same as in the first half and remain constant throughout, is likely to dazzle anyone. While the soundtrack can sound good at times, it is mostly forgettable.
Sentai Filmworks' release of this second half is par for the course for them: no English dub, only clean opener and closer for Extras, and 13 episodes crammed onto two disks in a regular-sized DVD case. At least the subtitles are free of errors.
YUA offers almost no hint of fan service and generally keeps itself so clean that, with the exception of one episode, the greatest danger factor is a little girl nearly getting run over by a car. Of course, this is based on the work of Kosuke Fujishima, so that is to be expected; the gentle touch of Ah! My Goddess and its creator's passion for quirky vehicles certainly resonate here. Whether or not long-time fans (who are probably the only ones still watching at this point) accept the shift to more serious content in the midst of this set is another story. If Natsumi, Miyuki, and/or Ken are your main reasons for watching the franchise then the serious parts should work for you just fine. Others may find them a tedious distraction.
Overall (sub) : B-
Story : B-
Animation : C+
Art : B-
Music : C+
+ Surprisingly effective serious turn, likable central characters.
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