Sunday, August 12, 2012

Anime Review No. 39-You're Under Arrest OVA

Hello, I'm the Eclectic Dude and I review it for the lolz.

Well, it's been a while. I got a bit busy, with projects and final exams for summer term to do in the later part of last month. Thankfully, it paid off. Hence why I changed my schedule for my blog around. I think this will be more manageable and easier for me.

Miyuki and Natsumi 
Anyway, this review is over You're Under Arrest OVA from 1994. It is the first manga series by Kosuke Fujishima, the creator of Ah My Goddess and Sakura Wars. As I stated before, I like this guy's work quite a lot. He writes character based pieces very well, and his visual style is distinct and engaging. Both of the previously mentioned titles are in my 10 favorite anime series. This series was first a manga 1987-1992, OVA 1994-95, TV Anime 1996-97, Movies/Shorts, with the most recent TV series 2007-08, and a Live-action drama as well. The OVA was done by Studio DEEN, released in US by AnimEigo (who also released the OMG OVA and Otaku no Video, both of which I have reviewed here). 

The OP is very nice, soft, light music, while the ED is more upbeat and energetic song (nice chibi dolls for one shot, I totally want one of them). 

4 episodes
1: “And So They Met”
The basic premise of this series is this: Slice of life/drama involving the cops at Bokuto station (Sumida Ward, in eastern Tokyo). We first meet Natsumi Tsujimoto (rookie new to the force) dealing with her first day. She rides a scooter with expert skill, free spirited, tomboyish, impulsive. Miyuki Kobayakawa (her assigned partner) meets up with her by chance, thinking she’s a speeder and catches up to her in little to no time. She is a mechanic (likes to fix things up) stickler for rules, dedicated to her job. 
Natsumi meets the police chief and gets assigned to Miyuki as part of the Traffic Division, handling the daily duty of upholding traffic safety. She also meets Ken Nakajima (motorcycle squad) and Yoriko (dispatcher). Ken has a thing for Miyuki, whereas Yoriko's a rumor mill meganekko. 
At first, Miyuki and Natsumi aren’t exactly friends, but shows potential for growth. This shows how Fujishima's works are all focused on: human relationships and drama/comedy/tragedy that brings. Anyway, the rest of the episode deals with a mysterious red car speeding around in the local area, leading the duo on a wild goose chase. It is a very well done car chase sequence, with lots of detailed backgrounds. Though, it's not really the focus hence why I'm not talking about it much. Nonetheless, that side plot is resolved and the episode ends with Miyuki and Natsumi deciding to room together. It nice and sweet end for the first episode and brings promise to the other episodes. 

2: “Tokyo Typhoon Rally”
A Typhoon is coming into Tokyo, and some insane dude decides to speed around during the storm, and that's the entire plot of the episode. Miyuki and Natsumi are out on patrol, meet some grade schoolers with a sick kitty (kudos to AnimEigo staff for using actual kids to voice the grade schoolers). They come across the mad speedster, but don’t do much on it as it is revealed that the sick kitty is actually pregnant, and that becomes the focus: deal with this before the typhoon hits. The heavy rain comes anyway. Miyuki set to   work on refitting Ken’s bike in order to catch the mad speedster in the wet weather. The problems keep mounting: flooded roads, the pregnant kitty, the mad speedster , power problems at the station, etc (Keep on mounting throughout the episode, creating lots of tension and dramatic buildup). The climax of the episode shows the final showdown against the mad speedster on a closed roadway, won by Ken and the girls make it just in time for Chibi, the cat, to have her kittens (touching moment). This episode is also pretty good. 

3: “Love’s Highway Stars”
Miyuki has got something going on for the weekend, the rumor mill starts up by Yoriko. Ken and Miyuki’s relationship can best described as co-workers, but it seems a bit more than that. Natsumi and Yoriko try to help the relationship out, but with little success. 
It turns out Miyuki goes off to a school reunion event, whereas Natsumi and Ken hang out with each other. She runs into old friends and admirers, lots of character development for Miyuki. She basically is devoted to her job, not having decided to get hitched soon after school. This is an oddity given how conservative Japanese society is with regards to marriage. Miyuki is a career woman, tied to her job as opposed to being a housewife. 
Natsumi and Ken go to visit Miyuki  as Ken gets concerned. However, the lapse in geographic thinking delays them-its a very comical moment. Miyuki comes back to town, runs into a misunderstanding (Natsumi driving with Ken) and assumes not the best outcome. Dealing with the misunderstanding equals very little success (not a very good track record thus far).  
Things get awkward at the office as a result. So Natsumi apologizes to Miyuki and she accepts the apology. All goes well, as the Captain basically orders Ken and Miyuki to go on a date (wait, what?!). Yerah like that would happen in any sort of reality. Of course, they are getting tracked by their fellow officers Natsumi and Yoriko. The date ends sooner due to getting back to work, ending the episode. This episode is ok, due to over-reliance on misunderstanding and rumor milling to drive the plot along. On the other hand, Miyuki gets some nice background and development from this episode, it sort of balances out in the end.     

4: “On The Road, Again”
It starts off with Natsumi and Miyuki on patrol, chasing down a motorcyclist. Natsumi hanging out with the old monk at the local Buddhist Temple hears of a new opportunity-joining the Bike Troopers. They want Natsumi to join up, but she will have to transfer to HQ. The episode's focus is how Natsumi deals with her trying to make a decision on this and the effect this decision will have on her friends (Yoriko, Miyuki and Ken). Ken and Miyuki are taking it surprisingly well, while Yoriko isn’t. 
Natsumi off to do bike training, with Yoriko now working with Miyuki. She’s slated to be escort for a local half-marathon. It is the same event that the Bokuto station will be traffic control at (massive coincidence eh?). Miyuki isn’t taking the change well as it first appeared, leading into an emotionally gripping scene. 
An incident at the half-marathon (a bike catches fire and is causing havoc, a runaway gas truck). Oh noes!!! Natsumi decides to help out, even at the cost of leaving the Bike Troopers. Crisis is narrowly averted, thank goodness. Nice ending (at least until the TV Series that came out a year later).

Final thoughts: This OVA is very good. Granted, some of the trademarks Fujishima became well-known for are a bit rough around the edges, but it shows lots of promise. The animation is very well done, though it's on the same level as the Oh My Goddess OVA, contemporary to this one. The focus is on the characters, as the plots of the episodes are rather simple and rote, but the characters and their relationships are engaging enough to carry it. The english dub is not bad, but not too good. Then again, most dubs from the 90s weren't that good, but I can tell they were trying their hardest and that should be commended. If you like Ah My Goddess and/or Sakura Wars, then check this out. 

Next time is GA Gejijutsuka Art Design Class Episode 1/First Impressions

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