Stephen reviews: You’re Under Arrest: The Movie (1999)

youreunderarrest_1You’re Under Arrest: The Movie [逮捕しちゃうぞ Taiho Shichauzo – The Movie] (1999)

Starring Sakiko Tamagawa, Akiko Hiramatsu. Bin Shimada, Etsuko Kozakura, Rika Matsumoto, Issei Masamune, Tomokazu Seki, Ryoko Sakakibara, Takeshi Watanabe, Ikuya Sawaki, Masaki Aizawa, Masato Sako

Directed by Junji Nishimura


Back in the ’90s You’re Under Arrest was fairly popular, though not as popular as Kōsuke Fujishima’s other creation, Oh My Goddess. I never felt it was anything beyond average, but it was entertaining enough. It was a buddy cop series that mixed together action, adventure, and comedy. The two female leads, Miyuki and Natsumi, patrolled around Tokyo in some remarkably tiny vehicles (which actually do exist) with the typical humor derived from their conflicting personalities that you would expect.

The movie veers a little off course by focusing more on the entire police station rather than the main characters. This takes away from the whole buddy cop premise, and it kinda left me disappointed since that’s what I was going into the film expecting. Another missing hallmark of the series is the car chases. The villain of the film has hacked into the traffic lights and caused traffic jams all across Tokyo, which makes it pretty hard to have a fun and exciting car chase (although it was rather funny that they had to drag their patrol car around town by boat and helicopter). In fact the first half of the film has only one or two minor action scenes at all, so you have to wait quite a while before the movie finally starts to get entertaining. It takes a lot of inspiration from the Patlabor films, especially the second one, which has a very similar ending.

Continue reading Stephen reviews: You’re Under Arrest: The Movie (1999) →

Stephen reviews: Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (1987)

honneamise_1Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise [王立宇宙軍 オネアミスの翼 Ōritsu Uchūgun: Oneamisu no Tsubasa] (1987)

Starring Leo Morimoto, Mitsuki Yayoi, Aya Murata, Bin Shimada, Hiroshi Izawa, Hirotaka Suzuoki, Kazuyuki Sogabe, Kouji Totani, Masahiro Anzai, Masato Hirano, Yoshito Yasuhara

Directed by Hiroyuki Yamaga


This is the first anime produced by studio Gainax (though they did make earlier works as a different company, Daicon Film), who are famous for reshaping the entire anime industry with Neon Genesis Evangelion. It’s an art film rather than a genre film, and thus it has been acclaimed by critics (including Roger Ebert) while languishing in the commercial market. It is pretty unusual for an anime to avoid any genre alignment. Even the artsiest of anime usually fall into a genre category as well, such as the romance film Utena or the psychological thriller Perfect Blue.

I suppose I could lump it into the science fiction category since it deals with scientific content, but even that would be a stretch as the technology, though fictional, is outdated and for the most part realistic (such as the airplanes using rear propellers, a design which was seriously considered during the early days of aviation). Perhaps it fits in a broad interpretation of steampunk, but I feel uncomfortable giving it that classification either. There are some action scenes in the second half, but they aren’t central to the story really. At that point I may as well call it a romance, which is also true as far as it goes, but as with the other genres it could technically fall in, it’s just not what the film is about.

Continue reading Stephen reviews: Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (1987) →

Stephen reviews: Macross II (1992)

macross2Macross II [超時空要塞マクロスII Lovers Again (Chōjikū Yōsai Macross II – Lovers Again)] (1992)
AKA Macross II: The Movie, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross II: The Movie, Super Dimensional Fortress Macross II: Lovers Again

Starring Hiroko Kasahara, Tsutomu Takayama, Yumi Touma, Bin Shimada, Tohru Furuya, Ryotaro Okiayu

Directed by Kenichi Yatagai


Macross II is the black sheep of the franchise, and isn’t even considered a part of the real story. Partially this is because the company that owns the copyrights, Big West, hired a completely different studio to make it, thus leaving out the entire team responsible for creating the series in the first place. The other reason is simpler: Macross II just isn’t very good. Oh, if only we could brush the Star Wars prequels under the rug with the same ease that this one was forgotten.

It’s also rather difficult to call this a movie. It was made as a six episode mini-series, and while I always knew the movie version was nothing more than editing those episodes into one film, I had no idea just how lazy a job it was. All they did was hack off the opening and ending credits and string the episodes together in order. Hell, they didn’t even take out the episode titles or the eyecatch, both of which you’ll be seeing every half hour. But if they’re going to slap “the movie” on the packaging and market it as such, then I guess I can play along until the end of the review.

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