3 Episode Taste Test: You're Under Arrest - Full Throttle

Coming from a franchise that started in 1989 and comprises seven manga volumes, three separate sets of OVAs, a movie and two extended TV shows, it would be easy for Full Throttle to be weighed down by a lot of baggage that has gone before it. Thankfully this isn't the case and, while the minutiae of ongoing relationships is perhaps lost, the core dynamic between the two female traffic officers and their outlandish adventures takes centre stage.

Full Throttle [...] does little to reinvent or innovate, it is very much a continuation of what has gone before

If one goes by the plethora of promotional images surrounding nearly all incarnations of YUA then the show would be nothing more than series of trite incidents designed to throw the two protagonists together and expose hidden lesbian tendencies. Whether that is forthcoming is unknown, the first three episodes consist of a two part arc concerning a young billionaire's son who is first chased by gangsters, then goes to live with his kendo uncle to become a samurai and an episode where a body builder turned vigilante ends up as a taiyaki chef but not before a tense SUV pushing battle. It is as bizarre and off-the-wall as the synopsis suggests, whether this is simply due to the franchise running short on ideas or simply the ongoing style of it will be for an audience more familiar with previous outings.

For want of a better description, Full Throttle feels very much like a nineties anime. It has the same kind of raucous disregard for plot and character development and instead focusing on action led abandonment championed by shows such as Sol Bianca, Burn Up or the divisive Bubblegum Crisis. Sure the animation is as bright and detailed and the synthesized opening isn't out of place amongst its peers, but there are evanescent and indefinable qualities that bely its heritage. When viewed analytically, You're Under Arrest - Full Throttle is blighted with minor but persistent problems. The eccentric storylines suit the episodic nature the show is known for however predictability is all to often a concern with episodes conclusively ending on a high note. The narratives lack any punch or humanity to them, mechanically relying on the established traits in the two protagonists: brash strength and charmed intelligence. The first three episodes refuse to use supporting cast members beyond cursory scene setting, a strange choice given the expectation to focus on these relationships instead of tepid action.

The series may not rely on previous series, movies or OVAs, yet it's hard not to think that one would be better off watching those instead of the languid pace of Full Throttle. Both Natsumi and Miyuki obviously trust each other, but their bond isn't tested or explored at all, instead there is some strained dialogue and not much else. Visually, both are iconic characters that few anime fans would be hard to recognise (especially given Miyuki's figure being used for Belldandy in Kosuke Fujishima's most famous series, Ah! My Goddess) and Studio DEEN continue to animate the franchise, this time with predictable results. While bright and recognisable, the animation frequently fails to impress but stays serviceable throughout the three episodes.

When all is said and done, Full Throttle is made up of the same studio and voice actors used throughout the franchise's lifetime and does little to reinvent or innovate, it is very much a continuation of what has gone before and will thus appeal to fans looking for more Traffic Violation fixes. As an introduction to the cosmos You're Under Arrest inhabits, there are likely far better ones given the breadth of work available; however the timbre and pacing will be familiar to those acquainted with more aged anime. The series is enjoyable to watch primarily due its effervescent, squeaky clean portrayal of the police force and city life in general although it is without surprise or teeth when it comes to plot or characterisation. Whether it is a worthy addition to the canon is something only fans will be able to answer, otherwise it is likeable but ultimately shallow.