Anime's answer to COPS (and to a lesser extent, the other version of COPS).Natsumi Tsujimoto is a new policewoman, late for work on her first day at Bokuto Police Station. She hops on her moped and drives recklessly at top speed toward the police station on the sidewalk, down the stairs, and with consummate skill. Unfortunately, policewoman Miyuki Kobayakawa spots her and chases her down.When Natsumi gets to the police station, she learns that she has been assigned to be Miyuki's partner. The two spar at first, but eventually become close friends, with Natsumi occasionally deploying her moped from the back of their kei police car to corner traffic offenders...Originally known as Taiho Shichauzo; it started as a manga by Kosuke Fujishima, then became an OVA, and now has been through three TV anime series (52+26+24), an animated movie and a Live-Action Adaptation with a Playstation game.
Provides examples of:
AirplaneAirport Of Love: Episode 48. An entire fleet of them, since it takes place in Narita Airport, with a special version of the opening theme.
Almighty Janitor: It might not be obvious at first, but this is essentially what Miyuki and Natsumi are. Despite being mere traffic cops, they've received more specialist training and are more skilled than most other cops shown in the show. For example, by Full Throttle, Natsumi has both been a former member of the Tokyo MPD's Special Assault Team as well as the JGSDF Rangers.
Anime Accent Absence: Variation. In the English dub, Aoi has a naturally feminine and high pitched voice. In the original and the Latin-American dub, her voice is a bit lower than the other girls.
Anime Theme Song: "100 MPH no Yuuki" (Courage at 100 MPH), the first opening theme, sung by Miyuki and Natsumi's seiyuu.
And "Boku de Aru Tameni" by Flying Kids, immediately succeeding it. The song has proven popular enough for contestants to sing it on an NHK singing contest.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Aoi and Yoriko are sent undercover onto the train lines to catch a pair of thieves, Aoi spends far more time arresting perverts.
Justified in that this was Aoi's original assignment going undercover as a woman and train molesters are still a big problem in Japan.
Art Evolution: The most noticeable being season 2 to season 3, though there's a noticeable change (de-evolution) from the OVAs to season 1. The series has gone through several design changes during its run, each to fit the style of the time period. Most noticeable being the eyes which have gotten more big, colorful and bright.
Very apparent◊ in the manga, where originally the characters looked nothing like their iconic designs.
Ascended Extra: Saori Saga in the anime. In the first season, she only appeared on a couple of episodes as nothing more than a Recurring Extra. In the second season, she becomes a police officer with about the same screen time as Yoriko and Aoi, appearing on almost every episode.
Bad Santa: Episode 11 of the first season had a crook who pretended to be Santa break into people's houses. Natsumi and Miyuki find the children distraught over what happened, cuing one of their many Crowning Moments Of Heartwarming.
Perfectly illustrated in one episode where Yoriko imagines herself stealing Natsumi and Miyuki's love interests. While Natsumi is just standing open-mouthed in shock, Miyuki ends up firing dual Uzis into the air!
Big Damn Movie: The anime is about a close group of cops living life, going through romance problems, and whatever else comes their way. It's typically humorous, with an occasional Drama Bomb. The Movie deals with the gang defeating terrorists, and is more or less non-stop action and drama.
Brand X: Averted in that their cruiser is not only obviously a Honda Today, but even has the stock Honda "H" on the hood that's normally replaced with an Imperial chrysanthemum badge on Japanese police cars (including the others in the series).
Averted with all the vehicles in the series, for that matter.
Chekhov's Gunman: The Scooter Lady appeared a few times briefly before being formally introduced.
Chickification: Played for Laughs with Miyuki, during the mini-specials after the first season. Notably screaming her lungs out when assaulted (and proceeding to electrocute the guy with her car's engine) and her fear of ghosts getting Turned Up to Eleven wherein even a ghost story make her cry and cower in fear. However, any time Miyuki is scared, Hilarity Ensues.
Cool Car: The girls' mini-patrol car, which Miyuki retrofitted with a larger (and then re-bored) dual-overhead-cam engine, a turbocharger and a nitrous oxide booster. Also, Miyuki's personal Toyota S800.
Cool Bike: Ken's souped-up Suzuki GSX and the patrol-modified Kawasaki KLE-500 he rides in "Tokyo Typhoon Rally." Also, Natsumi's Moto Compo.
The red Mini that a Shinto monk uses to outrun any of them takes the cake.
Chie Sagamiono's Porsche 911 patrol car (which her father bought for her), as far as she's concerned.
Natsumi's Subaru R2. When she bought it because she had just destroyed her brand new bike, it was a wreck. But after learning she was scammed, she starts feeling depressed which prompts Miyuki to transform it from the Alleged Car into a chain driven, motorcycle powered police go-kart.
Cool Old Guy: The Section Chief and Detective Tokuno, senior officers at Bokuto, are both about fifty (which is, on average, twice older than most of the other people in the show) and steer their precinct rather impressively.
Let's not forget Daimaru, Ken-chan's father who's still a Badass Biker despite being almost in his 60's.
Oshou, much? A 70-odd-year-old ex-cop Shinto priest who bombs around Tokyo in a Mini ERA Turbo?
Date Peepers: The second half of the third OVA has Miyuki and Ken ordered to go on a date by Da Chief so they can sort their troubles, then several officers peep on them and keep him informed. The reason? Miyuki mistakenly believes that Natsumi had a one-night stand with Nakajima, since she saw them racing together very early (when in truth, they just went out to talk and ride their bikes). That seriously disrupted their partner dynamics, and everyone was worried for their sake ("These love triangles, they never end well!").
Defeat Means Respect: StrikeMan comes to regard Natsumi as his arch-nemesis, whom he dubs as "the infamous Homerun Girl," after she repeatedly knocks each of his pitches out of the park. Their alleged rivalry is one-sided, as Natsumi thinks he's a nutjob, and would rather not have to put up with him.
It gets lampshaded in episode 25, Run, Strike Man, Run!:
Used by Miyuki and Natsumi to trip up a burglar in their apartment, though they're wearing black bodysuits underneath.
Also happens to a ninja who is helping the gang improve their traffic safety Sentai show, but he overhears the girls talking about lingerie and Miyuki's breasts getting bigger. Though when he finally gives in to temptation to peep, he sees Aoi.
Used by Aoi in the manga to catch a thief on Halloween.
Double Take: Saori's reaction when she's told to "take the wheel" during her first high-speed chase.
Dramatic Wind: Parodied in one of Strike Man's appearances, where the wind itself was generated by a mini electric fan placed beside him.
Drives Like Crazy: While Natsumi is an excellent biker, do not be in the same car with her if she's behind the wheel. Though how she earns her license is one of the funniest episodes in the series.
Eagleland: Yoriko's rival from the academy hires the best gunwomen from the world, including a Marine to challenge the Bokuto station to a mock gunfight. Two crooks see the apparent cold blooded killing of the losers and are spooked.
In the No Mercy!! special, Natsumi and Miyuki are temporarily transferred to the LAPD as part of an exchange program, and America is shown in a type 2 light.
The Eighties: The manga. It shows very much in the casual outfits the girls wear. Thankfully, the anime updated the series to be set in the mid 90's to late 2000's (depending on the season).
Expy: A Halloween chapter in the manga has Nakajima in a Batman costume. In the English version he goes by the name of "Police Man."
The Faceless: Aoi's face as a male is never completely seen. The closest we get is in episode 5 when we see her face, with bangs covering her eyes, and in episode 6 of Full Throttle when we see it completely... while she's dressed as a girl.
Fanservice: More in the mini-specials than the TV series, but it isn't entirely absent from those either.
The extra episode, "Directing Traffic at the Beach" is made of this.
Foreshadowing: The Section Chief's visit to the Tokyo Tower in episode 34 of the first season turns out to be an important plot point in The Movie.
For Science!: The motivation of a Mad Scientist in episode 10 of Full Throttle when he tried to interrupt a robotics convention with his Spider Tank, which he claimed would revolutionize law enforcement. He was promptly subdued by Natsumi. Within seconds.
Heroic BSOD: Miyuki is prone to these because she does not like change. She'll often snap out of it when inspiration hits though.
Hero Stole My Bike: Both Natsumi and Miyuki did this before to deal with emergencies. Special mention goes to Miyuki in episode 1 of Full Throttle when she "borrowed" a van to escape from an armed assailant who was targeting a boy accompanying her, which culminated in a spectacular Chase Scene.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Natsumi and Miyuki, obviously. Ostensibly they're just work partners and roommates, but they became inseparable almost immediately. Episodes when circumstances threatened to set them apart are the main sources of drama in the show.
Aoi and Yoriko fit into this, to a lesser extent.
He Who Fights Monsters: All of the rogue police officers featured in this series went rogue because they were too obsessed with their ideals and forgot that their primary duty was to serve the public and not hunting criminals like a vigilante.
Improbable Weapon User: Strike Man's arsenal gets more and more bizarre with each appearance, climaxing with spiked baseballs.
Improbably Female Cast: Of the whole main cast there's only three males — the Chief, Nakajima and Toukairin, and for Toukairin it's debatable: despite being Natsumi's Love Interest and the lead whenever he appears, he is a guest character and does so in barely a quarter of all episodes. Aoi is physically male too, but for all narrative intents and purposes she is a woman - starting with referring to her with feminine pronouns, and the implication of her being trans sexual rather than a Wholesome Crossdresser. All other males in the show are clearly in supporting roles.
Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The officers in the LAPD station where Miyuki and Natsumi are transferred to during the No Mercy!! special look just like the officers back in Bokuto Station, albeit with different skin tones and exaggerated personal traits compared to their Japanese counterparts.
Large Ham: Nakajima and Strike Man especially, but almost everyone to some extent.
Nakajima and Strike Man even hammed it up together once — in a requisite Beach Episode.
Natsumi breaks out the ham and cheese herself on occasion. Her "official apology" upon being late for her first day at Bokuto has to be seen to be believed. Also, any time they visit the preschool, Natsumi and Ken deliberately ham it up for the kids' amusement.
Lovely Angels: Natsumi and Miyuki. Also, Aoi is so feminine that she and Yoriko also fall here to an extent.
Love Makes You Crazy: After being saved from some muggers, a guy becomes so obsessed with seeing Natsumi and Miyuki's smiles again that he ends up trying to stage more scenes for them to respond to and even goes so far as to assault them.
Mask Power: Completely subverted — Strike Man is an amusing clown.
May-December Romance: Daimaru and his second wife Sena, who's younger than Daimaru's son Ken. Yoriko later meets Prince Saki Abdusha, who falls for her despite him being a teenager and Yoriko being in her early to mid twenties.
Meaningful Name: The Chief's name is "Chief" — or, more correctly, "Kachou", "section chief", his actual position, just written in different kanji.
Meet Cute: Natsumi's first meeting with her new partner results in Miyuki pulling her over for reckless driving.
Miyuki: (writing out a traffic citation) Let's see, we have driving the wrong way on a one-way street, driving on a pedestrian thoroughfare, failure to obey posted signs, failure to obey a police officer, and this is a 30-kilometer speed zone, so you were going... 20 kilometers over? But I'll overlook that one, since you did save the kitty's life.
Natsumi: (stunned look, with the caption bar "Suspension of License")
Miyuki: So, if you'll just sign here, Ms. Natsumi Tsujimoto...
Mistaken for Gay: The LAPD officers in the No Mercy OVA assume that the Chief and Shou, the undercover detective are thought to be gay when they were seen heading to a motel. Turns out that it was not the case.
Mood Whiplash: Happens near the end of the first series, when a trio of rogue cops terrorize Tokyo. Ken breaks his leg and Natsumi breaks her arm trying to catch them, Miyuki has a near-breakdown over her two closest friends getting hurt, and the ordeal only ends when the ringleader rolls his car trying to avoid a blockade and dies from the impact.
The Movie. The series is a workplace romantic comedy; the movie is a straight drama about stopping a terrorist cell from destroying Tokyo's transportation network thanks to a rogue MPD officer's notes on a theory on how a first world nation's transportation system can be taken out by well-armed terrorists.
Off Model: The first season kept on switching from excellent animation to Off Model. It eventually decided to go with a middle animation; Not as high-quality as the original episodes but not as mediocre as the others. The other seasons have better quality. On occasion, they'd slip up eye colors in the first season. Natsumi would be given brown instead of purple eyes, and Miyuki would be given purple instead of blue. Though to be blunt, this was animated by Studio DEEN, the queen of this trope.
Oh, Crap: Miyuki's face when she finds out that the paintball arena the group is going to has monsters for opponents.
Older Than They Look: Kachou is fifty, but looks barely 35. Oshou, too, "still has it goin' on" despite the fact that he has to be at least in his sixties or seventies.
While their ages are never confirmed, the main girls seem to be this due to the fact they say they're old when compared to twenty something year olds. Then again they could just be exaggerating the Christmas Cake trope.
Out-Gambitted: No matter what elaborate plan the crooks have, Miyuki figures it out.
Overly Long Name: While acting as Santa Claus Man, Strikeman said his motorcycle's name was "Black Dragon" a.k.a. "Richard Mason Harrelsdion Primshewley D'erygore Provence Stuart Spowith Ventura Richardson Akitaka the Third". Even he wouldn't repeat.
Paintball Episode — One episode features Chie Sagamiono challenging Yoriko to a paintball match; another one features the Bokuto officers visiting an amusement park with a paintball arena (in the anime)/laser tag arena (in the manga).
Pet the Dog: Episode 5 of Full Throttle featured a serial burglar who has been burglarising vehicles for over thirty years when he rescued a baby from a possible heat stroke from a locked vehicle in one of his burglary attempts out of nothing but compassion.
Porn Stash: There's one in the station supposedly for an investigation. Nakajima gets caught sampling the selection.
Posthumous Character: Episode 20 of Full Throttle featured a high school girl who was killed in a traffic accident. Her diary was found by Natsumi who, not knowing the identity of the owner, decided to read it and her life was recounted via Flash Back and Posthumous Narration.
Powered Armor: One episode of Full Throttle deals with Natsumi learning to use an experimental powered exoskeleton designed to help in police rescue work.
Power Limiter: Strike Man likes to think his arm guards are these.
Qurac: Episode 22 of the first season featured Prince Saki Abdusha from the fictional Middle Eastern kingdom of Aburada, who was on a self-imposed exile in Japan due to an imminent coup d'état in his country. He also mentioned it as a desert country. He decides to return at the end of his episode, and even offers asks Yoriko to go there with him - she refuses, but goes to the airport to say goodbye.
Just in case someone claims suggestion a might have been about any other tall monster, there was a silhouette.
Shown Their Work: At the end of the first episode, Miyuki and Natsumi are eating a late picnic lunch and doing so well out of sight since police officers are not allowed to be seen eating in public while in uniform in Japan.
Sick Episode: Episode 17 of Full Throttle featured Natsumi bedridden as a result of catching a flu. By chance, a cat burglar was raiding the very apartment where Natsumi was staying the same day and had the misfortune of bumping into her, who despite being in a fevered delirium, managed to subdue the burglar... as well as passing the flu to him.
Sitting on the Roof: The main characters of the series like to hang out on the roof of Bokuto Station and do all kinds of things, ranging from musing by oneself to having lunch with each other.
Small Girl, Big Gun: Natsumi. Becomes Small Girl Even Bigger Guns in Full Throttle, where she goes for training with the JGSDF Rangers.
Technology Porn: This was created by Kosuke Fujishima, after all. The story can sometimes focus a little excessively on the nifty features of Miyuki's and Natsumi's police car. And her off-duty car. And the bikes. And the modifications made to all of those...
Theme Tune Cameo: The first opening theme is playing on the radio in episode 19, and Natsumi sings the third opening theme in episode 43.
In episode 11 of Full Throttle, Miyuki hums the opening theme while working on her patrol car.
Transsexual: Never outright confirmed, but Aoi is heavily implied to be one. It's one of the most realistic portrayals of transsexuality in anime too, not to mention that she's treated quite respectfully by her coworkers after her introduction.
It may have been confirmed, though without saying any transgender related terms. She is thought of as being female almost all of the time, and transsexuality tropes have appeared relating to her. Episode 6 all but goes out and says "transsexual"; A character says that her "natural flow" leads toward her being a woman, and goes on to say that he doesn't care if she's male or female (signifying she's a girl instead of a crossdresser). The original manga implies she had interests in crossdressing and feminine thoughts before becoming a police officer too.
Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Practically every male who meets Aoi falls into this one. Notable examples include the Bokuto Precinct officers and then Aoi's former classmates in episode 5, and the idol singer Go Kitaoji in episode 24.
This happens to the girls in Episode 5, when Yoriko bursts into the locker room with all the hot gossip on the "smart, rich, eligible bachelor" who's just joined the department...
Verbal Tic: Toukairin is from Akita and it shows, mostly in characteristic northerner's "-s" that he adds to anything he says.
Scooter Mama often ends sentences with zamasu (a variation of desu which connotes a condescending attitude) or zamasu yo. (The French version of the manga translated it as "nom d'une pipe!")
Wholesome Crossdresser: Subverted. Despite her initial introduction as a vice cop "gone native" in pursuit of sex criminals, Aoi may be transsexual rather than transvestite. She does state on several occasions that her heart is that of a woman despite her male body, she's generally referred to as female rather than a crossdressing male, and she's in an online relationship with a man in the second season.
Although in Natsumi's case she only works on her own bike when she's forced to.
Miyuki's abilities are turned Up to Eleven in the mini-specials, where she was shown to have designed her very own home security system, a handheld multi-fireworks launcher and a handbag with an in-built tracking device that clamps onto unauthorized users* i.e., snatch thieves, releases tear gas, plays pre-recorded screams and shouts, among other gadgets and reaches its peak with the missile launcher shaped like a woman's bust.
Yamato Nadeshiko: Miyuki might be one of the straightest examples created by Fujishima. She's tallish, dark-haired, beautiful but not a bombshell, well-loved and respected by everyone, soft-spoken but not to be trifled with, and very dedicated to her work and duty as a policewoman.
Aoi fits in as well, being very ladylike and gentle but also plucky as well. The most noticeable differences are: her hair is lighter than the standard, and she's trans sexual rather than a cis woman.
You Know What You Did: Actually the reverse. An incident very late in the Manga has Natsumi waking up in Ken's bed with no clothes and a bad hangover. They think that nothing happened but due to a combination of alcohol (Natsumi) and blows to the head (Ken), they can't remember anything. Miyuki is not going to take this on faith and Ken's too honest and wishy-washy to lie.
Played for laughs in the first season's ghost story episode, where Edo-era Ken and Miyuki are husband and wife, and the narrator asks why they're blushing so much.
You Look Familiar: Every supporting character in the No Mercy! special is more-or-less an Americanized version of their Japanese counterpart. It's Lampshaded multiple times and even used as a plot point in one case.