You're Under Arrest the Motion Picture
Bokutou Precinct rarely deals with criminals more nefarious than speeding sportscar drivers. So when Officers Nikaidou Yoriko and Aoi Futaba find a cache of illegal firearms in a stolen car, and a rash of traffic control malfunctions snarls traffic along Tokyo's streets, it is up to Tokyo's finest to figure out what's gone wrong. And of course, it'll take the talents of Kobayakawa Miyuki and Tsujimoto Natsumi to crack the case. But will Miyuki's trusty Mini-Pat and Natsumi's fierce determination be enough to stop a devious mastermind from exploiting the weaknesses of the system and crippling Tokyo, and the world, for good?
Maybe a few people were disappointed by the gentle, character-driven pace of the TV series. Not me, but I know a few even within the club. So, without further ado ... the movie.
First off, this is by far the most serious YUA offering ever made. It's fresh, it's well-written, and it actually makes a lot of sense. Now that we've seen all our favorite officers in normal situations, why don't we throw their worst nightmare right at them? It seems to be a formula for success, and the question is really if the characters and the creators can pull it off.
Now, if you remember Mobile Police Patlabor (if not, well, take this as an example anyway), Oshii Mamoru took an essentially silly series and turned it into one of the classic suspense thrillers of late 80s anime. Though not apparently as classic as Patlabor, You're Under Arrest makes a very strong effort at repeating Oshii's work, and succeeds, if not with quite as much panache.
Miyuki and Natsumi's VAs make their usual strong-willed characters work in the extreme situations posed to them, but the real star of this show has to be the Chief, who before this has been just the man-in-charge, in the shadows, as it were. The Chief's backstory and personality are fully explored and are integral to the plot, and he reveals himself to be far more clever and patient than you'd expect. (And his voice actor sounds like he should be doing Japan's version of Unsolved Mysteries. It's great!) Though I saw the ending coming about halfway through the movie, I never felt cheated out of anything as far as plot and characterization, because it was performed and laid out well.
The animation is for the most part, well-done, with absolutely gorgeous backgrounds and almost unnoticeable computer effects here and there, and above all, a typically obsessive Fujishima attention to detail, whether it be machinery, geography, or just plain looks. This is a pretty film, from start to finish, and it can be forgiven if occasionally a chase scene halts to still-frame during a moment of emphasis. The music, as well, is well-done, not nearly so understated as the TV series, but not over-the-top either. And the ending song is pretty decent too.
Of course, there are some moments that simply could only happen in You're Under Arrest, like fending off enemies with well-placed paintgun shots, the ubiquitous car/bike/miscellaneous vehicle chases (I swear, that Mini-Pat goes everywhere in this movie!), and of course, the ending (which I won't spoil, naturally.) Also, some of the movie seems to require that you know the rudiments of Tokyo geography, especially in the naming of various bridges and landmarks, and many viewers will be confused by the references to flowers halfway through the film (which apparently solves one of the precinct's problems but made little enough sense to me). And of course, Nikaidou Yoriko would never survive a real-life situation like this, but then, you could make the case that the mousy little gossip-girl is just insanely lucky.
However, none of this detracts from a solid, action-packed, and visually splendid film that should please You're Under Arrest fans, as well as fans of Fujishima Kousuke works and action films in general.
Not quite Patlabor, but darn close. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: Surprise! The Bokutou Precinct faces bombs, bullets, and the occasional switchblade in this movie. One scene in the movie is eerily reminiscent of a raid in The End of Evangelion, but the results, of course, are hardly similar. Though far more intense and violent than the usual YUA fare, there are no actual deaths, and absolutely no sexual situations or even implications.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source
Review Status: Full (1/1)
You're Under Arrest the Motion Picture © 1999 Fujishima Kousuke / TBS / Bandai Visual / Studio Deen
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