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Patlabor (OVA) [Blu-ray]

4.3 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Drunk drivers are bad, but put a drunk driver in a giant robot called a Labor and you've got a disaster waiting to happen. And when REAL criminals get their hands on those same giant robots, the cops need giant robots of their own just to maintain the status quo, right? Well, that's the logic behind the development of the Patlabor program and special Labor Crime units like Japan's Section 2 in any case. But what logic fails to take into account is where to find police officers who're equally conversant with both robots and the regulations? And THAT's where the motley crew of Section 2, Division 2 comes in! With ridiculously perky tomboy Noa Izumi and gun-happy madman Isao Ohta as primary Labor pilots and the impossibly laid back Captain Goto in what passes for command, SV2 is ready to hit the streets with their twenty ton feet! But will they be taking a byte out of crime or have they bitten off more than they can chew? The law of the land and the laws of robotics are about to collide in the first Earth shattering collection of MOBILE POLICE PATLABOR!

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Seven years before his watershed feature Ghost in the Shell, Mamoru Oshii directed the first six episodes of the OVA Patlabor (1988). The sci-fi series is set in a not-too-distant future when construction and other heavy physical tasks are performed by giant robots called Labors. The Tokyo police force needs Patlabors (an elision of "Patrol Labors") to handle robots who get involved in accidents and crimes. The series owed its popularity not to its elaborate mecha battles, but to the interactions of the appealing misfit cast, which suggested Hill Street Blues transplanted into a minor Gundam adventure. Perky Noa Izumi is eager to succeed in Special Vehicles Division #2 as the pilot of the robot she calls "Alphonse." Noa's coworkers include Asuma Shinohara, the disinherited son of a heavy industry magnate; no-nonsense Hawaiian officer Kanuka Clancy; trigger-happy Isao Ota; and shrewd, understated Captain Goto. Patlabor was obviously made on a minimal budget, the stories are often inconclusive, and many details show the program's age: Goto and his officers use pay phones, computers run on punched yellow tape, and one Labor contains a 64 gigabyte ROM. But Oshii was already such a skillful filmmaker, these quibbles seem unimportant. The original incarnation of Patlabor is so entertaining, it's easy to understand why it spawned a TV series, three theatrical features, and the parody spinoff Mini Pato. The formula of an office of mecha jockeys as the Island of Misfit Toys would recur in such noteworthy series as Dai-Guard (1999) and Planetes (2003). (Rated TV 14 V: robot vs. robot violence, brief nudity, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon

(1. Second Unit, Move Out! 2. Longshot, 3. The 450 Million-Year-Old Trap, 4. L's Tragedy, 5. SV 2's Longest Day, Part 1, 6. SV 2's Longest Day, Part 2, 7. SV 2, to the North!)


Product Details

  • Actors: Miina Tominaga, Daisuke Gouri, Issei Futamata
  • Directors: Mamoru Oshii, Naoyuki Yoshinaga
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Subtitled
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Section 23
  • DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013
  • Run Time: 210 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00B2TULBQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,179 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Fantastic OVA! I have always wanted to see the Patlabor series. Being a fan of 1980s mecha anime, I found it quite difficult to resist checking this out when I saw a Blu-Ray edition being released.

The picture quality is quite amazing. I'd never seen an anime with such clean and pristine quality that you can literally see the paint and quality of the animation cel in some scenes. It is phenomenal!

The show itself is quite surprising, I thought it may have a a serious tone, coming from Mamoru Oshii of Ghost in the Shell fame, but the OVA is quite lighthearted. Not to mention, there is a considerable lack of mecha action from what looks to be primarily a mecha anime. It is focused on the the formation of the police unit that utilize the Patlabors to curb Labor (robot) crime. Quite a different spin on the genre.

The show is two handfuls of episodes plus three movies within this part of Patlabor canon. The TV series exists on its own.

Great Blu-Ray, great purchase!
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Format: Blu-ray
If you keep in mind when this was made, you'll probably enjoy it, more. The characters do seem a bit cartoonish (especially the female lead), but I think that's more a symptom of the times. Anyway, it has good merits, and is definitely worth watching, for any mecha fans. Definitely stick with it, because it really picks up, at the end. It definitely has all the hallmarks of a work by Oshii.

The main reason I wanted to write this review is to applaud the video transfer. The blu-ray release is just fantastic! Many thanks for re-releasing this, and doing such a superb job.
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Format: DVD
Japanese animators have always had an obsession with giant robots (among other things). Even back in the Sixties they were fantasizing about what it would be like to control giant humanoid machines of Awesomeness, and as the Seventies rolled on they made the robots more and more fantastic - nearly godlike superheroes in metal form, usually controlled by a young, Japanese boy who provided wish fulfillment for an entire generation of Japanese youngsters. Then came "Mobile Suit Gundam" in 1979, which took the giant robot and made it a mere tool in a future space war - no more superpowers or abilities appearing out of nowhere, with the human drama taking up as much screen time as the giant robot battles. "Gundam" invented the "real robot" genre (even if some of the robot designs were still kinda goofy) with subsequent shows following its lead in showing giant robots that could conceivably exist (never mind that giant bipedal robots over a certain size are impossible, what with weight distribution and all, but that's a topic for another day). This OVA, released in 1988, went one step further than the other "real robot" shows of the time with its premise: what if giant robots existed in TODAY'S world? "Mobile Police Patlabor" is a series that attempts to answer just that, usually with a mix of subtle humor and political intrigue.

Of course, "Patlabor" doesn't take place in 1988 (when this was originally released), but ten years in the "future" in 1998 (and 15 years now in the past for us - confused yet?).
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Format: Blu-ray
In an alternate world, technology has advanced further to the point of the creation of giant robots called Labors. The Labors were designed to help mankind build a better future. However, there are many criminals and terrorists who use labors for their misconduct and tyranny. That's where the Special Vehicles Unit comes in. Formed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, the SV Unit consists of two divisions. Their mission is to stop and arrest people who misuse Labors, using their own Labors called Patlabors (or Patrol Labors). This story chronicles the lives of squad known as Division 2 (or SV2), led by Captain Kiichi Goto, who is laid-back, yet manipulative. Our protagonists are seven officers in SV2. There's the spunky red-head Noa Izumi, Smart and hot-head Asuma Shinohara, gung-ho Isao Ota, the gentle giant Hiromi Yamazaki and the meek and married member of the squad, Mikiyasu Shinshi. Later, they are joined by the cool and by-the-book Kanuka Clancy, who used to be from the NYPD. There's also Captain Shinobu Nagumo of SV1, who acts as Goto's foil, Chief Sakaki, head of mechanics that serve SV2 and the second-in command to Sakaki and Labor nut Chief Shigeo Shiba.

In 1988, the artist group Headgear (consisting of director Mamoru Oshii, screenplay writer Kazunori Ito, manga artist Masami Yuki, character designer Akemi Takeda and mecha designer Yutaka Izubuchi) all formed to what is now known as Patlabor. This seven-episode OVA was the first of their endeavors. The show was animated by Studio DEEN (Urusei Yatsura, Ramna 1/2). It episodes vary in the sense of comedy and drama, set up against a police mecha background. All of the character are unique and their chemistry and dynamic are what makes the show interesting. My favorite character is Captain Goto.
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