Weekend Review – Mobile Police Patlabor (TV)

Our weekend review for this week continues with the Mobile Police Patlabor franchise, this time with the franchise’s first reset for it’s first (and, technically, only) TV series (and it’s a long one too.)

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Miina Tominaga as Noa Izumi
Michihiro Ikemizu as Isao Ota
Osamu Saka as Seitaro Sakaki
Ryunosuke Ohbayashi as Kiichi Goto
Toshio Furukawa as Asuma Shinohara
Yoshiko Sakakibara as Shinobu Nagumo
You Inoue as Kanuka Clancy
Daisuke Gouri as Hiromi Yamazaki
Keiko Yokozawa as Takeo Kumagami
Shigeru Chiba as Shigeo Shiba

Director: Naoyuki Yoshinaga
Produced by Sunrise


It’s the exact same as the premise of the OVA series. Basically, it’s a reboot, more than anything else, and it’s longer as well.

High Point

The Griffin Arc. Much as with the SDF Coup in the OVA, everyone gets their chance to shine, characters who had left for one reason or another return, and everyone gets a chance to shine.

Low Point

Takeo Kumagami – after Kanuka Clancy’s training period with Division 2 is up, she is replaced with Takeo. The problem is the writers try to make Takeo a happy medium between Kanuka’s professionalism and hyper-competence and Hiromi’s soft touch, and it really doesn’t work. The best example of this really, is in the “Plessie” episode, Takeo is scared so bad approaching what turns out to be the dock she passes out, Hiromi doesn’t.

One other beef – the OVA pretty much made up it’s mind about how hard or soft SF it was and stuck with it. Aside from the semi-fortean bit with the Kaiju Episode (which was a product of human experimentation, rather than something like Godzilla or King Kong), the OVA has no occult or magical stuff. The only real ultra-tech is the labors. The TV series on the other hand has a little difficulty making up it’s mind – we have one episode with ghosts that are actually ghosts. We have another episode, on the other hand, (the Plessie) episode, with a “Loch Ness Monster” kind of thing, which turns out to be a hoax. Make up your mind!

Nudity and Violence

A couple of male posterior shots, and minor cuts. None of the high pressure gushers common to most shonen shows (like Bleach). If you’re really, really worried about that sort of thing, there’s a very tame girl-on-girl crush.

The Scores

Originality: It isn’t just sequel, it’s a remake. The length though, does force it to tread a lot of new ground (the original series was 7 episodes, this is 40+), but it does fall into Labor-Of-The-Week. 3 out of 6

Animation: The animation is great and stays consistent throughout the series. 5 out of 6

Story: The show is extremely episodic, and with the exception of the episodes with the Griffin, you could pop in anywhere in the series and not be lost. 3 out of 6

Voice Acting: The voice acting is very good Kanuka’s VA gets a lot more english lines, and they’re pulled off very well. It also bears mentioning that Daisuke Gouri (Hiromi) is cast against type here – he normally plays the deep hulking voiced type (as shown by his work on DBZ, Project A-Ko, Fist of the North Star, etc.) but here he plays a much more gentle character and his performance in that role is stellar. 5 out of 6

Emotional Response: You get to know and like the characters, but the show never particularly tries to punch you in the gut, or tug on your heart strings over much. We do get several moments of triumph with the characters, but the response is generally minimal. 3 out of 6

Production: The art is excellent, the acting is done, and the sound is good as well – though Sunrise tend sto do a pretty good job on all their shows (even the more mediocre Gundam series had good production quality). 4 out of 6

Overall: This is a good, solid, mecha series. If you like mecha, you’ll want to get this show. Again, if you’re looking for an anime series to watch with the family (or watch with the kids in the room without having to worry about them seeing graphic violence or sex) the Patlabor TV series will give you plenty of viewing time. 5 out of 6

In total, Mobile Police Patlabor TV receives a 28 out of 42.

5 replies on “Weekend Review – Mobile Police Patlabor (TV)”

  1. I agree with your verdicts/scores except on the grounds of originality. You seem to object to the retelling of the first meetings etc. But even with that in mind there’s no way a 47 episode series can be a ‘remake’ of a 7 episode pilot! Got to disagree!

    I posted before that I’m a total Patlabor fanman. I just love the emotional interactions, which take place almost entirely within the work context.

    They are therefore nearly entirely inferred & subtle & this is what the Japanese do SO well. Western animation shows are generally gross emotionally, obvious & simplistic in comparison.

    Keep up the good work & I look forwars to your review of the 16 episode 3rd season, “The New Files” which went on some pretty strange but interesting arcs.

    • As a general rule, I dock a point or two if a show or film is a re-make, reboot or sequel by default – more or less depending on the degree of the re-make or reboot. This is a reboot, but with very little tonal changes from the OVA, and very little character changes from the OVA. It’s not show for show identical, but it’s not the same tonal shift that Battlestar Galactica got, or even the same tonal shift as between Star Trek: TOS and Star Trek: Next Gen. Consequently, that hurts the originality score.

      • I know “OVA” stands for “Original Video Animation” or some such, but it’s a really odd thing to read– even if you are referencing a seminal work.

        • It doesn’t help that OAV and OVA are completely interchangeable. I use OVA because it flows better when I explain the acronym out loud.

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