#1 Convoluted and overlong
You’re Under Arrest is a show I had my eyes on for a while because I really wanted an anime about the police. There are plenty of shows about law enforcement in sci-fi settings or with other bizarre twists, so You’re Under Arrest stood out as being set in a normal city with relatively current-day affairs. What deterred me from starting on it sooner is its length and lack of clarity.
The anime began life as a 4 episode OVA that then transitioned into a 47 episode TV series, which is listed incorrectly on Wikipedia and other websites. The 4 OVA episodes are counted as part of the TV series, which itself starts at episode 5 because of that. Hence why the TV series is listed as having 51 episodes not counting its fan-service specials. The TV series is then followed by a saga of TV shorts and a feature film. This is then followed up by You’re Under Arrest: Fast & Furious, its 1 episode tie-in special No Mercy, and finally Full Throttle, which aired after a hiatus of 6 years. This totals a bloated 98 TV episodes, 4 OVAS, and 20 shorts. Despite all its qualities, You’re Under Arrest doesn’t have the staying power to remain interesting for that long.
On top of that, the series is a licensing nightmare. While it is available for streaming in the USA, various licensors own bits and pieces of the franchise, and most of those agreements have long since expired. Physical copies are hard to come by and are cut up into way too many volumes.
For anybody who cares, this is the proper watch order for the series as of today:
You’re Under Arrest! OVA (4 episodes) > You’re Under Arrest! (47 episodes + beach special) > You’re Under Arrest! Mini Specials (20 8-minute episodes) > You’re Under Arrest: The Motion Picture > You’re Under Arrest: Fast & Furious (26 episodes) > You’re Under Arrest: Full Throttle (24 episodes)
You’re Under Arrest: No Mercy!! (1 episode)
#2 Lack of violence & action
It really bothered me how toothless of a show You’re Under Arrest! turned out to be. The cast’s adventures vary from finding lost kitties and investigating traffic violations to dealing with hardened criminals prepared to fight to keep their freedom. The show loves to show off guns and send the girls of the Bokuto Police Station to firing ranges, but those guns conveniently disappear when the chips are down.
All the police officers enjoy plot armor, so criminals always conveniently miss or merely scrape them. When those same officers are then cornered and need to fight back, all their weapons just happen to be paintball guns or fire other comedy projectiles. It completely takes me out of the story whenever it happened and I don’t see the point in it.
Not every show has to be a gorefest to entertain me, but it’s not like this show is directed at young children and I am not asking for the violence to be graphic. Criminals can just slouch over when shot and that can (and probably should) be non-fatal wounds. I just can’t buy into the idea that after a lengthy storyline where fellow officers have been wounded and nearly killed, where the lives of citizens are actively at risk, these police women would still risk everything by using paint guns they always conveniently have with them.
#3 Abysmal visuals
I am a bit of Studio Deen apologist and have been able to enjoy their works in the past, but there’s no denying that You’re Under Arrest! is some of their consistently worst work yet. Few episodes went by where I didn’t notice some detail or animation that looked notably off; and worst of all, oftentimes these would be on-screen for several seconds in such a way it would be nearly impossible not to notice.
Action scenes would constantly fall flat and characters looked weird, with my funniest screenshot being the one above. Poor Futaba just looked like that for a solid 10 seconds and it completely deflated my interest in the show. And that’s kind of the nail in the coffin for me. Despite being generally passable and managing to keep coming up with new, episodic stories, the lack of good action, the mediocre directing, and these visuals really make the show feel like grind to work through.