animefringe august 2003 / feature
Animefringe Coverage:
You're Under Arrest! - Arresting Fun

Many of us anime fans are familiar with the very popular You're Under Arrest! anime series, consisting of both an OAV and TV series (based upon the manga of Kosuke Fujishima, creator of Aa Megami-sama). Both detail the chronicles of two female Tokyo traffic officers who are adept at solving crimes and getting into trouble. Recently, the anime has been made into a live action doroma (the Japanese catch-all for live action sitcoms and dramas alike), which makes sense as the anime was already in a very sitcom style format. As far as Japanese dorama go, You're Under Arrest is a blast.

The show introduces Miyuki Kobayakawa and Natsumi Tsujimoto, two female traffic cops in Tokyo, who are already well known for getting into quite a bit of trouble. In fact, both outside and within their division, they have become quite infamous for bringing down the respectability of the traffic division. Their over the top behavior often put Miyuki and Natsumi at odds with their co-workers, especially their division chief.

The first episode of the series introduces the audience to Miyuki (played by Sachie Hara), a smart woman who enjoys cars and Natsumi (Misaki Ito), the wild one of the pair. The episode also introduces the duo's co-workers. Among them are Ken Nakajima (Kazushige Nagashima), who not-so-secretly adores Miyuki (a fact that makes him the butt of jokes around the office) and Yoriko, the leader of the office girls, all of whom are looking for Mr. Right. Heading up the motley crew are the section chief, an old bear of a woman who secretly has a soft spot in her heart for the troublemaking Miyuki and Natsumi and the bureau chief, an old shougi-obsessed coot who is shrewder than he first seems.

Also in the first episode, Miyuki and Natsumi help a teenage friend, Yuka, who is being bullied by her schoolmates. Yuka confided her secrets to a guy online, who posted her private correspondence for her school to see. Now the shady online guy is taking bets as to when she'll commit suicide. Fortunately, Miyuki and Natsumi are there to stop her before she makes an irrevocable decision.

Episode two follows Miyuki and Natsumi on a hijacked bus. The bus is a getaway car for a pair of bank robbers, but it also has a number of hostages, including a young deaf girl whose mother is in for surgery. Nakajima comes to the rescue, but will he be fast enough to stop the robbers and help the girl before her mother goes under the knife?

You're Under Arrest features a lot of great action and humor. Indeed, Sachie Hara has said how sore she felt after practicing to be on the show. Both the suicide attempt and the bus hijacking are really tense and exciting. As for humor, episode one has a great scene when Natsumi meets a famous Australian swimmer and attempts to help him find his way. However, the live action show seems to (understandably) come a bit short compared to the anime (which has some of the best car chase sequences in film).

The doroma does have a bevy of great looking guys and girls though. Sachie Hara and Misaki Ito are certifiable hotties and no one in the cast (chiefs aside) is hard on the eyes. It remains to be seen if the series is quite as family friendly as the anime was, but there seems to be some playful action that make it a little more adult than the anime. As episode one starts, Miyuki and Natsumi break up what they think is a robbery at a super market. Unfortunately, only after beating up the robbers do the duo find out they just broke up a training mission for the cops and Miyuki has beaten up Nakajima, who accidentally grabbed her chest. Episode seven features a little boy who is obsessed with grabbing women's chests.

The show's presentation is that of a typical doroma from the last few years. The music is good and tends to be light techno. The opening theme, "Galaxy" by Katase Nana is a catchy tune that serves as the girls main themes.

Sadly, despite even the popularity of the anime, it's unlikely that You're Under Arrest will be available on this side of the Pacific. That's really a shame, because it is an exciting show that many anime fans would enjoy.