This weekend we have a review of a rather surprising series from Mamoru Oshii – surprising in that it’s a series, and that it’s a police procedural comedy with giant robots.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Miina Tominaga as Noa Izumi
Daisuke Gouri as Hiromi Yamazaki
Issei Futamata as Mikiyasu Shinshi
Michihiro Ikemizu as Isao Ohta
Osamu Saka as Seitaro Sakaki
Ryunosuke Ohbayashi as Kiichi Goto
Shigeru Chiba as Shigeo Shiba
Toshio Furukawa as Asuma Shinohara
Yoshiko Sakakibara as Shinobu Nagumo
You Inoue as Kanuka Clancy

Directed by Mamoru Oshii (Ep. 1-6), Naoyuki Yoshinaga (Ep. 7)
Written by Kazunori Ito
Animation by HEADGEAR and Studio DEEN

Premise

In the not-too-distant future, humanity has developed Labors – mecha for general purpose use, (construction, moving really heavy stuff and so forth.) With Labors comes crimes using those Labors, so the police need Labors too. Thus, the Patrol Labor (or Patlabor) was developed. The series follows Division 2 of the Tokyo Police’s Special Vehicle Unit, which handles Labor crime.

High Point

The Self-Defense Force Coup two-parter. Everyone comes into their own here, getting a moment of heroism – especially Goto, all balanced with amounts of funny and touching.

Low Point

Episode 7 is good, but it’s out-of place. It feels a lot more like an episode of the TV series, which came later – not only in how the characters are written, but in various other elements as well (the Ingram’s riot baton doesn’t show up anywhere else in the OVA, but it’s used very regularly in the TV series), particularly the omission of the theme song.

Nudity and Violence

You see a guy’s bare butt briefly once, and kid’s animated movies have gotten away with that, so that’s no biggie. Otherwise there is no other nudity, there is no graphic violence, no blood or gore. Hell, nobody dies!

The Scores

Originality: It’s a realistic mecha show that’s also a police procedural. If that had been done before Patlabor, let me
know. 5 out of 6

Animation: The animation quality is good but it’s an OVA, they had time to work on this. There’s actually a spike in quality with episode 7, but it was made later than the first batch. 4 out of 6

Story: With the exception of the two-parter of episodes 5-6, all the other episodes are stand-alone. Each of the episodes are well written, but that still docks it a bit. 4 out of 6

Voice Acting: The voice acting is fairly well done, and the Character of Kanuka Clancy (who is from the US) does several lines in English very well. 5 out of 6

Emotional Response: The characterization of the show is very well done and you get to know the characters fairly well for what was originally meant to be a 6-episode OVA. 4 out of 6

Production: The production values of the show are pretty good, but nothing that I’d really describe as being stand-out. 3 out of 6

Overall: Overall, the show is an excellent show, and I’d describe it as being one of the top mecha series of all time – seriously. 6 out of 6

In total, Mobile Police Patlabor (The OVA) receives a 31 out of 42.