Apr 20, 2004

Anime review: Patlabor TV

Well, since my first review was not beaten to death on THEM forums, I decided to give it another try. Let's see how many of those they can stomach ;d


Patlabor TV


Science Fiction, Mecha, Almost Everything*
*read the review




US: US Manga Corps


@Sunrise 1989


Full (47/47)


prerelease non-english fansub


Mobile Force Patlabor

Related Series

Patlabor OVA 1 (The Orginal Files)
Patlabor OVA 2 (The New Files)
Patlabor Movie 1,2,3

The Synopsis

In the near future, Japan becomes one of the places that rely on industrial mecha - called labours - for most labour intensive projects. Those machinges are not autonomus, they require human operator. And when some of those operators go bad, normal police are out of their league when they have to stop the huge armoured metal robots. This is when Mobile Police, Special Vehicles Sections One and Two, comes into action. What follows is the story of the (in)famous Section Two.

The Review

First, a technical note about Patlabour chronology. OVA 1 - Orginal Files - is the alternative take on the figrst part of TV series. OVA 2 (New Files) and Movies are the continuation of TV series. This should clear any misunderstandings about what to watch and when. Now, onto the main review.

Mecha. They are in the main title, the show is about police using mecha, so that means the show is full of mecha fights, duels and such, yes? *BEEEEP*. WRONG! Do you remember the * I put in the show genre? Yes, mecha stuff is a part of Patlbour. There will be superpowerful bad mecha, guest appearances by miliary combat dedicated units and battles spanning more then one episode.

But it is only a PART. An I'd say it is not even the most important one. That would be reserved for the characters. In the space of TV series we meet many of those, from the crew of SVS2 (and with dozens of mechanics, it's not a small one) to scores of recurring characters. All unique and giving the story the 'human' feel.

And that is only the begining. You want comedy? Patlabor has some comedy episodes that I rank among most hilarious ones I have ever seen. You want serious? Patlabor has some heart breaking episodes. You want romance? Sure, there are two going from the very begining to the end and several romance dedicated eps as well. There is the alien episode, the horror episode, the parody episode...

Maybe it would be easier to just say what is not in Patlabour. No hentai/ecchi, no excesive violence. Ummm... I dont recall an episode involving time travel...hmmm...but I might have forgot that one...

The plot itself is rather simple and actually apears in few episodes - most are 'sidestories'. Although all sidestories are connected whith regards to the character development issue (and there are actually *cast changes*). Think of Patlabour as of many small movies with same cast then one big one, and all will be fine.

What about visuals and sound? Keeping in mind that the series is more then a decade old (1989), it is extremly well drawn (some of the artists are responsible for today eye candies like GitS SAC, to name just one). Several openings are a standard these days (although they were not THEN). Music is noting to write home about, although some intro songs are nice.

In the end, what makes this show stand out of the crowd? My vote is characters, who like good actors, can make any script seem good, be it a comedy, action or horror.


5 stars in 5. Remove two stars if you want a superpower superhero action-only show. Remove a star if you want a series centered about one plot with very few sidestories.

Audience Appropriateness

While there is no extreme violence nor any R stuff, kids may be simply bored with little action episodes. I would say the right audience is anybody who wants to watch it after this review :)


Umm. Forgot the one for 'everybody' :)


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Reviewed by

Piotr Konieczny

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