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You’re Under Arrest: Full Throttle Collection 1 Anime DVD Review

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You're Under Arrest Full Throttle Collection 1 CoverAfter a nearly six-year break between series, the girls in blue are back to clean up Bokuto.

What They Say:
Welcome to You’re Under Arrest: Full Throttle, the follow up to Fast & Furious! The ladies of Bokuto Police Station are back, but there have been some BIG changes! Miyuki’s been in the U.S., studying American police techniques while Natsumi’s actually been serving in the military! So have these world-changing experiences had any effect on how everyone’s favorite girls in blue carry out their duties protecting the Japanese public? Have they gained a more “mature” perspective? Well. let’s just say that, if anything, they may be even wilder and less cautious than before! (Except for that blossoming “relationship” between Miyuki and Nakajima, where things are getting decidedly delicate.) Whether rescuing young orphans from yakuza types to confronting rogue wrestlers and even giant snakes, the plots have and action has never been more extreme than in the outrageous first collection of You’re Under Arrest: Full Throttle!

The Review:
This audio presentation for this release has only the original Japanese language mix in stereo encoded at 224kbps, which fairly well captures the simple design of the show. The stereo mix for the series is really very straightforward and has a full feeling to it with little in the way of directionality overall. There is some placement to be had for sound effects and dialogue at times but by and large, there isn’t a whole lot here that stands out. On the plus side, the show does sound good and it fits the material well with no problems such as dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2008, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. This first half of the series has twelve episodes spread across two discs in a six/six format. The show looks pretty good overall, though there are a few minor issues that crop up along the way that is mildly distracting at times. Colors, in general, look good and it lacks the softness we saws in the previous series as this is clearer and cleaner. There’s no cross coloration to be found of any note either though there are a few moments of noticeable line noise here and there but by and large, this is a very pleasing transfer for the show.

This release keeps to a slightly similar design to what the previous seasons have been like, whether it’s AnimEigo or ADV Films and then Sentai, with the colors and the logo itself which is nice. The main focus here is as it should be with the two lead characters providing shots of them with serious looks to their faces and even putting a gun in Miyuki’s hands. While past covers haven’t exactly tried hard to sell it because these are later seasons, this one feels like it’s putting a bit moer effort to try and draw people in and it pays off by looking more dynamic and interesting. It’s got a good look though with appealing character designs, good colors, and a solid layout. The back cover provides a bit more material as it clearly lists the episode and disc count along the top and has some decent taglines to it as it pushes its pedigree. The summary runs through the premise well enough and with a good sense of humor and there are a few shots from the show along with other artwork that looks good. The discs features are clearly listed as is the production information. The technical grid is solid as well as it covers all the important elements without issue. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

The menus for You’re Under Arrest play to the same kind of colors and layout as the front cover with each volume featuring a small bit of character artwork alongside the menu navigation. The bulk of each menu is given over to the circles in which the individual episodes can be selected, which takes up a good amount of space overall. The layout is decent though and it feels like it’s the right kind of mildly minimal menu that works for the show. Submenus that do exist are quick and easy to load and everything works flawlessly and without any lag.

The only extras are available on the second volume with a clean version of the opening and closing sequence.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
You’re Under Arrest is one of those strange shows that seems to keep getting new seasons and specials long after you figure the brand would be long dead. Similar to the sister series Ah! My Goddess also by Kosuke Fujishima, You’re Under Arrest returned to the air in late 2007 and into 2008 after the previous series ended in 2001. Few shows manage to pull that kind of return off and like the trio of goddesses, it’s a blessing each time we get a new instance of these characters.

The third season, going under the subtitle of Full Throttle, brings us another twenty-three episodes and a special, and this set gives us the first half of it. The show picks up after a few changes have gone on, but nothing that really changes the dynamics of anything. Miyuki has gone off to America for awhile to be trained in the art of profiling, something that she’s definitely suited for while Natsumi has taken to more special training with the same elite group that Tokarin is a part of. She’s managed that well and has become tougher and even more confident than before while still maintaining her sense of humor and occasional obliviousness. Their return to Bokuto is certainly looked forward to by others in the station, though there is one person missing as Saori has moved on to other things. In essence, we’re mostly back to the same cast we had at the very beginning of the first season of the series.

Full Throttle definitely plays to familiar themes as it reunites the pair once again. Both seem a touch older and more stable, which is saying a lot when you take Natsumi into account, but their bond of friendship is stronger than ever. There’s a trust between the two that is above all else, which we see in the opening episode when Miyuki is flying back from the states and befriends a young boy who is flying alone. He’s come to Japan to meet his grandfather but it’s more complicated than that as his father died recently and his mother died long ago. He’s the heir to a large corporation now and there are quite a few people that want him, for good and bad. Miyuki ends up protecting him and in turn Natsumi’s return to Bokuto is at the same time so they cross paths and easily fall into their comfort zone in working together.

The usual basic frivolity of cases that are easily wrapped up here as well, such as a former wrestler who’s frustrated by his life and is taking it out on people parking illegally in his area. Naturally, his strength is a boon to someone else and it’s pretty obvious early, but it’s fun watching him face off against Natsumi as they practically fling the cars everywhere. Another tale highlights Miyuki’s immense fear of snakes and other animals of that nature when they meet a young girl who has quite the coterie in her apartment. Her history is amusing as her parents are forced to live abroad because of the animals they brought through illegally. Miyuki and Natsumi end up dealing with her over an issue with a missing pet at first and then a snake, but it’s all worthwhile when Miyuki gets wrapped up by a giant snake.

Some of the stories aren’t all that hot, which is par for the course with the franchise. One that is just awkward with plot holes involves a car burglar who has been working the area off and on for thirty years. He’s working again and breaking into cars (and then locking them after he steals the goods or money) but he ends up with a conscience when he comes across a car with a baby in it. But instead of just getting someone to call the police or do it anonymously, he breaks into the car and tries to take care of the kid for a bit until he can figure out how to leave him somewhere. It’s just a bad huge plot hole. Another story involves a return of the robotics side of the series when Miyuki and Natsumi are chosen to test run some equipment and show it in action for a performance show. It’s not bad, just kind of silly until a former research scientist comes back to exact revenge in a bad comic book form.

These are balanced out by better episodes that focus on the characters in a positive way rather than just being goofy. The best one involves Nakajima deciding that he’s going to step up and tell Miyuki how he feels. This all starts after a movie dealing with love letters makes the rounds at the department and he decides to write her a letter expressing it all. It’s obviously not going to be easy to get it to her and there are lots of obstacles in the way, but I really liked seeing Nakajima at least making a very solid effort to try and tell her. Another fun one involving more of the cast has the traffic department taking on the special investigations group with a baseball game to try and help the chief since he keeps losing his game of Go against their guy. Having the two sides compete is fun as their personalities shine, especially with how Yoriko gets a ton of data on them, but the big obvious about all of it is that once you mention baseball you know Strike Man will appear. Having the bargain hunting mama show up at the same time is just a big old bonus.

In Summary:
One of the things I love about You’re Under Arrest is that over the years since it was first introduced in a great little OVA series, each new show has a very consistent feel to it with designs and overall approach. They aren’t reinventing it each time and newer and more modern animation techniques only bring out the core beauty more. There are obvious differences in quality from the OVA through the series since then but there’s also a lot of consistency. These stories are more of the same, but like we said in the Fast and Furious season, it’s exactly what this show is about and they do it perfectly. There are less appealing episodes here and there, but every episode gives us more Miyuki and Natsumi doing their job, living their lives and dealing with crime in their way. The show has a lot of heart and a whole lot of familiarity now. It’s a welcome show that continues to have new seasons made which is really rare but its charms continue to shine through. This set gives us twelve more episodes that give the fans exactly what they want. And this show is made purely for the fans at this point.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Closing and Opening Animation

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: March 9th, 2010
MSRP: $39.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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