This weekend’s review, takes us out of the Patlabor TV continuity, and back to the OVA continuity, with a sequel to the first movie, set several years later, and also puts the franchise back in the hands of Oshii, who brought this movie out before Ghost In The Shell, but after the creation of his (in)famous Jin-Roh franchise, and his first live-action film, which was also in the Jin-Roh series. Can he bring the funny back, or will we start seeing some of the humor-less tone of his later works?

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Jinpachi Nezu as Yukihito Tsuge
Ryunosuke Ohbayashi as Kiichi Gotoh
Yoshiko Sakakibara as Shinobu Nagumo
Daisuke Gouri as Hiromi Yamazaki
Issei Futamata as Mikiyasu Shinshi
Michihiro Ikemizu as Isao Ohta
Miina Tominaga as Noa Izumi
Naoto Takenaka as Shigeki Arakawa
Osamu Saka as Seitaro Sakaki
Shigeru Chiba as Shigeo Shiba
Tomomichi Nishimura as Detective Matsui
Toshio Furukawa as Asuma Shinohara

Directed by Mamoru Oshii
Written by Kazunori Ito
Animation by Production I.G., Studio Takuranke, and others.

Premise

Three Years after the end of the first Patlabor movie, Division 2 has basically split up. Sakaki has retired, Kanuka has returned to the US, Asuma has gotten as job with Shinohara Heavy Industries and Noa’s working with him, Ota’s become a drill instructor and Shinshi got promoted. However, as with all things, the band must come back together, this time to stop an attempted coup.

High Point

The humor is still here, and there are some absolutely hilarious moments to be had here. Plus, the animation is fantastic.

Low Point

We really don’t get a lot of time with Division 2. This is really the Goto, Matsui, and Shinobu show. Some of the personalities of the members of Division 2 haven’t changed much, particularly Ota, Shinshi, Shige, and Hiromi. However, Noa’s gotten a lot more glum (and had stopped babying Alphonse entirely – she hasn’t even piloted Alphonse in a year) and we never find out why. By this point the Patlabor TV show had run it’s course (all 40+ episodes of it) so if you’ve stuck with the franchise you would have gotten to know the characters really well… and thus be wondering what was up with Noa.

This is also a helluva lot more political than the entire franchise has been up to this point, complete with Goto and a new character, Arakawa, getting into a discussion about “Unjust Peace” and “Just War” and whether an Unjust Peace is worth preserving. It makes for a radical tonal shift. There is still some humor left, and the humor that’s there is hilarious… but it’s a lot fewer and further between.

Nudity and Violence

This movie is a lot more grim, and more violent, but not graphically violent. We get 4 basically bloodless deaths in the first 5 minutes of the anime, which are twice the number of deaths the franchise has had up to this point. The only blood we get is a cut over the eye of one character who survives the attack that causes the other 4 deaths.

The Scores

Originality: It’s a sequel, and it takes the basic premise of the SDF Coup storyline from the end of the OVA, but tweaks it a bit. 3 out of 6

Animation: The animation quality is still fantastic. This film and Patlabor 1 definitely could stand being released on Blu-Ray, in terms of the animation quality holding up to the Blu-Ray release. 6 out of 6

Story: The story is good, but it doesn’t quite feel as distinctly “Patlabor” as the first movie did. You could change some of the characters, and take “Patlabor” out of the name, and it’d still work. That’s kind of a bad thing. 3 out of 6

Voice Acting: The voice acting is still really good. In particular, Goto, Matsui, and Shinobu get a lot more screen time, and we get to see how good their voice actors really are – and they are good. 4 out of 6

Emotional Response: It’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s great to see everyone again. On the other hand, you don’t get to see a lot of them. We see lots of Goto, lots of Shinobu (who gets more screen time here than she got in the first two movies combined) and lots of Matsui (who gets more dialog here then he gets in the rest of the franchise), and we get to really like them (particularly Matsui, who could probably support his own spinoff show). However, we’re here to see all of Division 2, and we just don’t get to see that much of them. 3 out of 6

Production: The sound quality of this is very nice, the sound effects are very well done, Engrish is kept to a minimum, with the exception of one scene, and the limited CGI is well done too. 4 out of 6

Overall: If you’re going to watch all the Patlabor movies, you might as well go see this one. If you’re going to go on a Oshii binge, you might as well see this one too. If you’re expecting something more along the lines of the first Patlabor movie, in terms of that mix of humor as well as the philosophying and introspection, you’ll be disappointed. If you didn’t like Ghost In The Shell, you won’t like this. 3 out of 6

In total, Mobile Police Patlabor: The Movie 2 receives a 26 out of 42.