You're Under Arrest Vol. #01 (of 13) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Sunday, October 27, 2002
Release Date: Monday, November 04, 2002



What They Say
Natsumi decides that she's going to make it to her first day of work somewhere near the time she's scheduled ... and that means breaking about every traffic law in the city. What's to stop her? why ... officer Miyuki (she's about as omnipresent as Big Brother) of course!

The Review!
After begging by fans and a preorder signup plan, You’re Under Arrest is finally coming to DVD. With the amount of time between the beginning of the signup and the release of the discs, has it been worth the wait?

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. And then promptly rewatched it in English. Both tracks are pretty standard stereo mixes with some good moments of directionality during some key scenes, but otherwise is solid with little standing out. Dialogue is crisp and clean throughout and we noted no dropouts or distortions on either track.

Video:
Originally released in 1994, these four episodes are the OVA version of the series. Based on the 80’s manga by Fujishima, the show features his very noticeable designs and style, which means a lot of detailed character designs, especially for an OVA. This also means, most notably in the first episode, a fair amount of cross coloration. This is limited however to things like speedometers, the dolls shown in the opening and other background objects. The characters themselves rarely feature much in the way of cross coloration. The subsequent episodes also contain much less of this, giving way to just a few particular pieces such as the dolls again. Outside of this issue, I’m hard pressed to find much of anything else to complain about. The transfer shows off the colors properly, there’s no noticeable bleeding and aliasing is very minimal all told.

Packaging:
This is something of an odd packaging in that there’s a lot of material on it. The front cover itself features a nice shot of the two girls and their respective modes of transportation, with a solid looking logo below them. The discs volume is listed here as well as the four episode numbers and titles. There’s also a listing of this as the “Animeigo DVD Collectors Series”, which makes me wonder if the retail release will have different covers. The back cover is setup similar to the computer menus in the show and the main menu itself, with a list of the main Japanese production folks as well as the episode numbers, titles and a two line summary for all four episodes on this disc. There’s no real insert as we’re used to, but we do get the first couple of liner note recipe cards that cover these first twelve episodes in the first box set.

Menus:
The menus are setup in a fashion after the computers available in the girls mini patrol car, which gives it a good feel. Selections are available along the top for language and a play all feature while you can also browse down along the file folders to open each episode. Episode numbers/titles are only shown when you actually move to that folder, so when you initially start up you only see the first episode. This threw me at first and I thought that the disc only had the one episode on it. Also, when selecting an episode from here as opposed to the play all, it only plays that episode and then returns you to the menu when finished, unlike most discs that continue on to the next episode. Access times are nice and fast, though transitions from the main menu to subsequent menus are a touch slow as a piece of animation plays out along the top each time.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When AnimEigo originally released these OVA’s on VHS and Laserdisc back in the mid 90’s, they got acclaim not only for the shows premise, character designs and general pacing, but also for the dub. At the time, it was considered one of the better acted and translated ones, as well as something of a revolutionary change in style by Coastal Carolina, who actually used kids to play the role of kids in the series. The OVA’s went over very well with both crowds who got what they wanted. A well translated and adapted show.

And it’s quite a fun show, one that has a great balance between a simple joy of the characters to the darker moments of danger. The show centers around the Bokuto precinct station. Things open with Natsumi being late for her first day of work at the precinct and she’s in a rush to get there, only to end up making a few moving violations with her mini bike. She finds herself being chased by a mini patrol car, and gives a good chase through the city at that, only to find herself eventually being caught. Of course, the woman who catches her turns out to be her new partner at the station.

This part of the conflict doesn’t actually last long, though initially Natsumi doesn’t really like Miyuki, but Miyuki’s calm nature and general happy outlook (without being sugar intensive) ends up working on Natsumi. Of course, seeing Miyuki in action during a chase as well as coming to understand her mechanical abilities, Natsumi in the end opts to stick with Miyuki and be her partner. Heck, the two even end up living together to make both their lives simpler and easier to deal with.

You’re Under Arrest, in the OVA’s, moves into simple episode storytelling designed to get you more familiar with the characters. Of the four, the second episode in particular is a favorite. This one deals with a typhoon that’s moving into the area, which means that the police need to deal with making sure everyone is out of the weather and safe, but also means the arrival of a Lancia Delta that seems to appear at the same time each year, going out in the nasty weather as if it owns the empty streets. This gives “Kennie” Nakajima some good screen time as well as most of the cast, showing them going about their jobs while set against a very well animated backdrop of the impending typhoon. It’s one of those pieces where you really feel like such a thing is really happening.

The series features quite a bit of nice light hearted humor throughout, with the characters playing perfectly off of each other. The near-romance between Nakajima and Miyuki is played out well as is the gossipy nature between Natsumi and fellow officer Yoriko. The cast isn’t huge by any means, but there’s always plenty of people walking around the buildings and being involved in key moments. The humor is also nicely balanced out by some great chase sequences with Natsumi’s motorbike as well as the mini patrol car of Miyuki. A good amount of attention to detail is given to the vehicles, and the Mini that we see in the opening episode looks particularly good during the chases.

With the amount of time between when this was originally released, and the dub considered one of the best, I’m rather curious to see how it’ll fare among those who’ve not seen the show before. While there are indeed a number of changes between the dialogue and the subtitles, the majority of it gives the same general feel. Hopefully though, the new episodes from five on will have a more accurate dub. What really does shine though is the energy put into the lead roles by the actresses, which means I’m still looking forward to hearing new episodes in English.

You’re Under Arrest is a show I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, and it’s really looking to be worth the wait. Outside of the cross coloration issue in the first episode, I’m hard pressed to find anything else negative to say about this release. Well, except that it’s a long wait for the other forty-eight episodes to follow.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.



Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: AnimEigo
MSRP: 24.95
Running time: 120
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: You're Under Arrest