Region: 1 - North America
Length: 650 minutes
Japanese Dolby Digital Stereo
From drunken karaoke binges to the bizarre activities of baseball-themed vigilante and all around nuisance Strikeman, the Bokuto Police station seems to be a magnet for the weird and unusual! Fortunately, car crazy Miyuki, insanely strong Natsumi, sexually ambiguous Aoi and the rest of the station's enforcers of justice are always ready to place their well-drawn bodies between the public and the line of fire! It's not just for a job for veterans though, and no prior experience is required as the thin and svelte blue line is joined by new Junior Officer Saori, earnestly attempting to make the transition from student to seasoned streetwalker... COP! We meant street COP! Get ready for non-stop, pedal-to-the-metal action and hilarity as Japan's most irregular team of police officers hits the streets for a new tour of duty in the YOU'RE UNDER ARREST SEASON 2 !
If you've never read or watched You're Under Arrest (YUA), then I'll direct you to my overview over at Ani-Gamers and this will give you a better idea. If you can't wait, then YUA is a cross-media franchise based on Kosuke Fujishima's 7 volume manga following the adventures of two Tokyo traffic cops, Miyuki Kobayakawa and Natsumi Tsujimoto. For traffic cops, they lead busy lives. The girls haven't changed all that much. Natsumi is still insane, super strong and has the appetite of a rugby team. Miyuki continues to tinker with her Honda Today and whatnot. The show itself continues with its low level zaniness with new recruits, new challenges and of course, the mind-numbingly stupid Strike Man lurking nearby as always.
When they start this season, they are joined by new recruit, Saori Saga, but we've met her before. In the first season, she was a wishy-washy teenager that the girls had trouble with but in the end she became a good citizen and a big help to them and vowed to become a policewoman just like them (her words). Sure enough, she did it and now is assigned to Bokuto Station after graduating from the academy. But Saori has changed somewhat since her last appearance and now she's all business, serious and straight. This means the station, with its weirdos and nutcases, is going to have to adjust to her way of doing things. Or that's what she thinks. So Miyuki and Natsumi have to show her the ropes. But in this season, the two friends partnership and friendship is strained to breaking point with Miyuki coming under the heaviest strain as the show's producers up the drama quotient significantly. It was interesting to watch as two friends come apart and be inches from each other but be unable to speak civilly to each other. For a fluffy show, things get dark and depressing for a while here.
On the flip side, the supporting cast are much the same and in many ways are the second player in this, next to the girls double act. If we couldn't or didn't like the supporting cast, then Miyuki and Natsumi would have nothing to bounce off of. Ken Nakajima continues to inch forward with his relationship with Miyuki but this time he faces serious competition in the form of an unlikely suitor and also external factors put his relationship with Miyuki on the brink. Scary stuff, indeed. Aoi and Yoriko return with Chie Sagamiono turning up to ruin Yoriko's day as well. This is the second time Chie gets foiled and it never gets tiring to watch her go through her "Next Time, Gadget! Next Time!!!" moment. Aoi has an episode all to herself and it's brilliant to see her finally come out and admit she likes someone. Aoi has to be my favourite female supporting cast member just because of the way she carries herself and the fact that under her prim and proper exterior, she's as much a flake as the rest of them. The Chief and Detective Tokuno take a bit of a backseat this season but there's a fantastic ghost story with the station staff and the chief's priceless in it. On the other hand, the monk from the shrine that Natsumi and Miyuki used to visit in season one turns up sporadically but it's nice to see him. Natsumi's boyfriend and rescue officer Shouji Toukairin is back and gives us a lever to one of my favourite episodes so far (see below) and of course, Strike Man's back in all his pompous glory. Add to this bombers, crazy drunks, speeding morons, overzealous superior officers and it's a cast of inmates running a 26 episode asylum. The writing in YUA is such that even if you've never seen the first season, it doesn't matter. A few episodes in and the characters are such well written archetypes, it will be like you've always known them. The episodes range from the drama heavy - "The Bus Stop Misunderstanding" and "A Man, Nakajima's Strained Endurance", to the insane "Strike Otoko's Back" and, finally, my favourite episode this season - "A Choice of Fate Between a Cake and a Steak" which is amazing to watch Natsumi muttering to herself as she goes, in English, "Steak? Cake? Steak? Cake?"
Writing by Michiko Yokote and direction by Shōgo Kawamoto is spot on and rarely falls flat. If I had a criticism it's that toward the end of the season, it looks like they are going to retread over the way the first season ended. Only by injecting some well needed drama does it turn out alright but still, I can't figure out why they didn't plot out a different ending.
Sentai Filmworks are to be commended for releasing this and while I spotted one or two misspelled subtitles, it was a good effort all round. Only sad part is, given the nature of how Sentai releases their shows, there's no dub so I miss my Animeigo dub actors. Still, I get Akiko Hiramatsu as Miyuki and Sakiko Tamagawa as Natsumi so it's all good.
YUA is harmless fun. A little bit of this, a little of that and it's easy to see why there's so much material of it. It's a concept that doesn't get old. Having said that, I recognise how the continuous sameness might put some people off but give it a chance and it may surprise you.
North American viewers can also watch the series through the Anime Network on their website.