You're Under Arrest: Fast & Furious
The wacky cast of You're Under Arrest returns to the anime scene with another series filled with car chases, paintball guns and the Strike-man. It's a police comedy and it...yes, I said it's a police *comedy*, and it focuses on the exploits and adventures of two policewomen, Kobayakawa Miyuki and Tsujimoto Natsumi and their fellow officers in the Bokutou Traffic Department.
All the characters from the previous TV series are back in this one - Kobayakawa Miyuki, the expert mechanic and driver; Tsujimoto Natsumi, the woman with the appetite to rival Lina Inverse but with the "strength of a gorilla" (as described by a character in the series); Nikaidou Yoriko, the gossip dispensing station; and Futaba Aoi, the policeman who decided to become a woman to be more effective in his...er...her job.
The series also sees the addition of a new policewoman - Saga Saori, the officer wannabe from the first season. Having passed the training, she is assigned to Bokutou Station and adds to the already diverse cast there. Her vocal battles with the Strike-Man are classic, since both spout Sailor Moon-style justice speeches.
The art style and character designs have taken a large turn from the original series. Faces are more rounded and "cuter". While they still retain the look of the characters, some fans of the original series or the manga might be a bit put off by the changes in their favorite characters (ranging from Natsumi's bigger eyes to Aoi-chan's hair color change from brown to black). To some, it might even signify the intent to distance this anime from Oh! My Goddess, which shares the same character design roots.
The animation manages to retain the excitement of the fast-paced action sequences, and the quirky antics of the characters. The quality is more consistent than the first series, which suffered from serious drops in quality and noticeable character design changes. While it cannot be considered top of its class in this department, it still manages to portray a light-hearted feel to the anime. There is also a great attention to detail when it comes to the vehicles and equipment used, since Fujishima Kosuke is a mecha-freak (as can be seen in his manga and in the Oh My Goddess anime).
One of the main appeals of the original series was the diversity in the characters and the interaction between them. There is more character development here, especially with the main characters' love relationships. Towards the last quarter of the series, even elements of soap opera drama and a love triangle are introduced, which was something missing in the original.
Although it does not deal with major crimes or vice, the series does have its equal share of serious drama. There are car chases using Miyuki's modified Mini-Patrol Car, villains with more malicious intent, and even natural disasters. However, the series again does not resort to violence or blood. Miyuki and Natsumi do not use real guns, instead opting for paintball-type rifles used to block the windscreen of the driver during a car chase (and are rarely used). The police also do not make use of violent tactics and no one is killed (although I could have missed one, but it was certainly not graphic). While this seems like a good idea, people who are used to reading news reports about crime and violence may find all this hard to believe. But this anime was not meant to be taken seriously, and so viewers really should sit back and enjoy the fun.
Overall, this series remains true to the You're Under Arrest of the manga and is recommended for those who enjoy non-violent entertainment. The slight departure from the reality of police work might put off some viewers, but there are enough police dramas on TV already.
It's an effort in the spirit of the original and handled well. A great stress-reliever too (at least before the soap opera part comes in). People not used to the non-violent theme might want to subtract two stars. Fans of the original who may be put off by the change in character design can subtract one star. — Enoch Lau
Recommended Audience: No full frontal nudity but there are one or two scenes where someone bursts into a dressing room, but that's it. There is of course, the issue of Aoi-chan. Several of the jokes concern his...er...her choice of gender (including one episode about Aoi getting involved in an online romance). Parents who would have trouble explaining this character to their children should avoid letting their kids watch this anime.
Version(s) Viewed: TV (AXN-Asia), Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (26/26)
You're Under Arrest: Fast & Furious © 2001 Fujishima Kousuke / Taiho Shichauzo Production Committee
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