We endured many terrible things that came out of the 90’s like double denim and greasy grunge hair but at least the decade had some awesome anime! In fact this is probably one of the most enjoyable anime I’ve watched for a while (well technically re watched but whatever). You’re Under Arrest actually started as a manga in the 80s but the anime screams 90s right in your face. Do you long for something a little more normal/mature but with the finesse and art style of anime? Well look no further Natsumi and Miyuki have got your back… Unless you speed, then they will run you off the road.
So I’ve only watched the first 4 episodes/OVA because I had a vague memory of some cool police show I watched as a kid from a super jumbo anime box set my parents got me for Christmas one year. Watching it again I can safely say this is one of the stronger anime I have watched for a while.
It starts out with Natsumi (shorter hair) starting her first day late at the Bokuto Police department, specifically the traffic division. Natsumi is cut from the lively, breaks the rules, goofy character set and drives a moped through ‘shortcuts’ to make it on time. She is then chased down by the police, amazing impression so far. Pretty sure the police have to also obey the law as well but what do I know? The woman chasing her is actually her partner to be Miyuki, she’s the cool, calm and reserved to Natsumi’s craziness and is also a mechanical genius.
At first Natsumi isn’t sure about having such a tight-laced partner, despite only knowing her for a few hours and the girl fixed your bike and everything jeez Natsumi! But after a man with a modified red mini shows up claiming to have planted ‘fireworks’ that will go off in an hour, they put aside their partner troubles and use teamwork to try to get him. After this they become firm friends and we can continue with the day to day running of the police force.
There are also strong supporting characters in Ken, a motorcycle cop surgically attached to his sunglasses who’s the big softie and love interest for Miyuki. Also Yoriko who generally works on the phones but is also the office rumour mill and lastly the chief who generally is a terrible chief although we’re meant to think he’s amazing xD
This anime shines in so many ways! Firstly the characters are realistic, they have fights and squabbles for example there is a misunderstanding when Natsumi comes back in the morning with Ken after being out all night, of course Miyuki thinks the worse but then rationalises what they were doing together (Natsumi trying to cheer Ken up and them getting lost). It is perfectly understandable why she is upset but then Miyuki recognises that she needs to be rational and makes up with both of them. She even admits she can’t get upset if she doesn’t even know whether she wants a relationship or not. I know this doesn’t sound like much but in most anime that would last like 10 episodes with a lot of crying and extra misunderstandings xD
Watching the day to day lives of people in an office may sound dull especially traffic police, but they keep it varied and interesting as road safety is actually pretty damn dangerous! With the crazy drivers, weather conditions in Japan (typhoons) as well as keeping us entertained with the characters interactions. Having worked in an office it’s a little more idealised (of course) but all the basic parts are there, gossip spreads like wild fire, everyone becomes invested in couples getting together etc. So far everyone has been pretty reasonable and rational, they have misunderstandings but these are fixed after a bit of communication without unnecessary drama. Miyuki and Natsumi’s relationship is portrayed really nicely as they genuinely care for each other and look out for each other like real friends would especially ones who work a dangerous job together.
I guess for me this anime represented something different, it was more like watching a good cop show and removed a lot of the annoying anime clichés we have to deal with today. It was mature and looked at adults working their day to day lives rather than teenagers trying to find themselves. I just find it a rarity today as generally ‘mature’ anime tends to feel the need to be so damn gritty you could lay it flat and call it a driveway with gore and titties slapping you in the face.
You’re under arrest lasted 49 episodes after the OVA with added specials and then a later series added in 2007. I definitely want to watch the rest of the original series as the quality so far has been consistent. Variety is the spice of life and although the character types in You’re Under Arrest are nothing new, the character’s individual personalities and its different setting is what makes it fresh to me. Also watching popular anime from the past kinda guarantees it will be good as it’s stood the test of time xD
That’s not to say this show would be for everyone, some might find traffic cops boring xD they don’t have any special powers or fight for some ancient magic mcguffin. They are just regular people with quirks. I found it charming and felt a genuine like for all the characters, even ones I’d usually hate. I’d recommend if you’re slightly interested at all to watch the first OVA episode, you won’t be sorry.