Patlabor: the Mobile Police TV

Alphonse.

Rating: 3½ Rampages

Synopsis:
In the near future, construction developments have caused new machines to be created called Labors. These robotic suits keep a person safe and enable him to do the work of many men. Unfortunately, because these machines can easily be converted for military and terrorist use, governments decided the use of Labors needed to be policed, and thus the Special Vehicle Divisions were created. This is the story of one such police force, Tokyo Special Vehicle Division 2. This series chronicles the day-to-day trials and tribulations of officers in Captain Goto’s force.

Review:
A very different mecha show, this one has been described as "Blue Collar Mecha"; the machines take a back seat to the characters. The characters, though not incredibly original, do have a good deal of depth and there are some subtle hints of romance. Plenty of action, comedy, and good storytelling make this a great series to watch if you can find it.

Availability:
TV Series available subtitled through US Manga Corps.


Patlabor: the Mobile Police OVA

Rating: 3½ Rampages

Review:
The original story of Special Vehicle Divison 2 spanned into several OVA series. The art quality is better and the storytelling is quite unique (each ep is written by a different person), but the stories are pretty much the same as in the TV series. Once again, a good show.

Availability:
OVAs available subtitled through US Manga Corps.


Patlabor: the Movie

the Ingram 98

Rating: 4½ Rampages

Synopsis:
At the top of a large structure in Tokyo Bay, a scientist walks to the edge and, despite the cries of onlookers, throws himself into the sea to his death. Weeks later, the Special Vehicle Division has had little respite due to a recent rash of Labor malfunctions resulting in massive citywide destruction. No-one seems to know the cause of the malfunctions; the only hint belongs to a cover-up involving a military-class Labor going on a rampage--without a pilot. It is soon evident that a disaster of epic proportions is taking shape, and only Goto, Shinobu, and the SVD can counter it. If they succeed, they’ll be heroes...but if they fail, they’ll be the most hated villains in history.

Review:
A classic and intense story that draws you in even more than the original Patlabors. Textbook Mamoru Oshii, it has a great soundtrack by Kenji Kawai and stunning visuals. An excellent catch subbed or dubbed.


Patlabor 2

Rating: 4 Rampages SVD, section Two.

Synopsis:
Set a few years after the end of the first movie, many of the members of the SVD have moved on to greener pastures. As Shinobu is driving home one day, she witnesses one of the most horrifying events of her life, an attack on the Yokohama Bay Bridge during rush hour by what seems to be a Japanese Self Defense Force aircraft. However, with the help of a government agent, Goto and Shinobu are shown that all is not as it seems. Someone is waging a secret war on Japan, one that could have as dire repercussions as the Second World War. Once again it’s up to the SVD to save the day, and stop the genius who seems to be out to teach the world a lesson about his own "rules of engagement."

Review:
Simply breathtaking. This movie is even better than the first, in nearly every way. The art is greatly improved, the story is wonderfully deep and intense, and we are treated to hints of Shinobu’s past. All in all a true classic, dubbed or subbed.

Availability:
Movies available subtitled or dubbed through Manga Entertainment.

Babylon Project: The Mobile Police Patlabor Web Site
Welcome to Special Vehicle Section Command
The Patlabor Base