Youíre Under Arrest

OAV - 4 episodes - & TV - 47 Episodes

From the mind behind Oh! My Goddess! comes this equally light hearted and equally mechanically intricate story of the traffic police from Tokyoís Bokuto station. There are also some special episodes and a movie, but theyíll have separate reviews.

Natsumi is the new transfer to Bokuto, an amazingly strong motorcycle riding tomboy. She gets partnered with the shy car fanatic Miyuki, and the pair bring their own unique style of law enforcement to the station. Along with them are Ken Nakajima the motorcycle cop (and Miyukiís would be other half if they ever stopped stepping around the issue), Yuriko: the stationís main gossip and the cool headed station chief along with a slew of other officers. And itís not long before another transfer comes along either: Aoi Futaba, the gentle and very attractive young woman who just happens to be a man. Between them all they manage to keep the roads safe in spite of hijackers, thieves, crazed old women and even a self proclaimed superhero!

To all intents and purposes this show has two different parts. The OAVs and the stuff broadcast on TV. The OAVs quite simply have some of the best animation Iíve seen in a traditionally animated show outside a cinema, but more on that later. This portion of the show is quite light hearted with a vein of action and drama running through them thanks to the great car and bike chases and the reasons behind them. Compared to the TV material the characterisation suffers a little but it works well to set everyone up with the less than normal character styles you have here. The stories are fun but rather thin when you peel away the flashy exterior. They do get the blood pumping though since the stories they tell have that drama running through them.

The TV stuff obviously doesnít have nearly the budget of the OAVs as the animation and drawing quality shows. Since they don't have the budget to animate big chases they concentrate on the characters and how they interact, with the opening episode being Aoiís introduction which gets things going nicely! The feel of the show now turns more comic with sillier but more involved plots, with very few episodes reaching the dramatic and more serious level shown in the OAVs. They substitute the chase excitement for comedy fun, and while some will think it goes too far sometimes it does generally work pretty well. Sometimes the characters seem to get short handed even in their own profile episodes, but thatís to be expected when a light hearted show deals with such material as Aoiís love life (the poor girl doesnít get a break, often being comic relief) or other wider reaching issues.

Naturally such issues will limit the shows appeal somewhat but thereís nothing to object to here. Crossdressing, mild nudity and comic violence are the limits so older kids and up here. Thereís something for everyone as long as you want something fun and not too taxing.

As mentioned before the animation depends on what part you watch. The animation and drawing style in the OAVs is nothing short of superb for a non theatrical show and the car chases are some of the best that have been animated for television. The detail is impeccable. The TV on the other hand looks very mediocre by comparison, especially in the first twenty or so episodes. It does pick up as the show goes on, and every now and then you have an episode that has a slightly different style and often will look pretty good (the beach volleyball episode has some great character animation and camera work compared to the norm here) but overall the appeal of the TV material is the characters and story, not the visuals.

Having seen the interviews with the dub cast itís a shame to say that the dub isnít one I recommend. Theyíre all nice people and watching them perform was great, but in the show itself it just doesnít work a lot of the time. Some of supporting characters can be painful, and the main characters, while all fitting their roles, just donít sound real enough. The whole thing is hammed up a little too much. After watching the entire thing dubbed you do get used to the voices, but they still sound forced even when you know them instinctually as the voices for those characters. Yuriko is supposed to be whiny but she just sounds that much more annoying in English than Japanese, and Aoiís high, soft voice makes her sound too much like a blushing violet. Sure sheís the most feminine of the cast, but her voice wasnít that high in the Japanese which makes sense with her being a man, and she still sounded gentle and feminine there. There are exceptions however. Miyuki and Natsumi as our leads do a reasonable job, and characters who are meant to be over the top such as the baseball obsessed Strike Man come off very well with some very good lines to go with their OTT delivery.

This show isnít going to change the world, but itís fun and the cast works together very well. Itís safe to say that if you liked Oh! My Goddess! then youíll like this and visa versa. The OAVs that make up the first four episodes should be seen at least once even if you only rent or borrow them. If you like the characters and donít mind it taking a lighter and sillier turn then the TV material could well be for you, and while there is an awful lot of it it never gets stale thanks to occasional new characters and some creative plot material. In any case I highly recommend the OAVs and anything else is up to your taste in characters, comedy and the size of your wallet!

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