Patlabor TV Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Patlabor

Patlabor TV Vol. #02

By Chris Beveridge     September 19, 2005
Release Date: June 11, 2002


Patlabor TV Vol. #02
© Central Park Media


What They Say
From the director of Ghost in the Shell Featuring some of the top talents in Japanese animation! * Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) * Yutaka Izubuchi (Record of Lodoss War) * Kazunori Ito (Maison Ikkoku) * Akemi Takada (Kimagure Orange Road) Not Just Another Girl-Loves-Giant-Robot Movie Everybody loves Alphonse – a giant robot with huge guns to match! But technology marches on, and his police officer pilot may be forced to abandon him for a newer model. She’ll have to prove that Alphonse is still strong enough, big enough, and cute enough to stay on the force. Together, they’ll rescue a famous politician, hunt down a pesky demon, and solve a national conspiracy… all while causing worse trouble along the way! Contains episodes 6-10.

The Review!
After realizing that the first volume sold well enough, CPM’s finally released the second volume with another five episodes of a fan classic title, just under a year later. Thankfully there’s only five or six months until the next volume.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in it's original language of Japanese. Much like the first volume, this is a pretty standard sounding early 90’s TV series stereo soundtrack, so you get some stereo effects with the music, but most of this feels like a center channel production. Some of the effects and action make decent use of the front soundstage, giving the hint of some directionality, but in general it's a simple mix. The English track was spot-checked, and no noticeable issues were detected there.

Video:
The transfer here manages to improve slightly over the first volume, partially due to their being less actual print damage in the form of nicks and scratches. The show in general isn’t visually arresting, but looks decent over here. The blues in the backgrounds tended to be the main area showing macroblocking while the only other noticeable problem throughout is aliasing during many panning sequences. Cross coloration looks non existent, which is a huge plus.

Packaging:
The cover for this release has an easy job of being better than the first volume, since stick figures would have meshed better than that one in retrospect. We get an animation shot close-up of Noa while the images of falling labors from a tall building are behind her. The back cover provides a couple of animation shots and a decent summary of what the show is about. While no episode titles are included, they do list the numbers on the disc as well as mentioning that this is volume 2 in several places. The discs features are also clearly listed. Being in a clear keepcase, the reverse side of the cover is in black and white and shows off a few more bits of animation artwork. Chapter selection, bilingual actor credits and general production credits take up the remaining space here.

Menu:
Using some of the images from the front cover as well as some general Patlabor styled graphics as a grid, there’s a segment of the menu that plays scenes from the show underneath the selections for the disc. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is pretty straightforward.

Extras:
A couple of interesting extras have been included in this release. The first is a seven minute video piece that’s done as a Behind the Scenes look at the dubbing of the show. It’s extremely corny and silly, very much like many of the Japanese bits like this, where everyone pokes a bit of fun at each other. A selection of production sketches and artwork make up the nearly three minute video. There’s also a couple of multipage text items, with an interview with the screenwriter and another with the characters.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the main team now established, this batch of episodes decides to focus on various single episode situations up until the last one. So far, things are going well in just showing off how the teams work and don’t work well together as well as slowly expanding on the politics of this timeline and Japan’s place in it.

As such, there are a couple of rather fun episodes. The opening episode was a good spot of fun in dealing with a reporter whose with a number of officials as they show them one of the more ambitious building projects. While there, a fire breaks out that causes them all to get stuck on the floor they’re on. As luck would have it, only the Ingram’s are really equipped to handle a situation like this, where they have to be lowered from the outside to get inside. While this is fairly straightforward, it turns into nothing more than a massive marketing ploy by the PR division of the police, as they try to turn the image of the SV division around.

Another episode ends up dealing with some historical situations, bringing the amusing visions of giant painted Oni running through the mountains with their striped undergarments. This tale from the past, of haunting demons, has caused a construction project to be halted as the labors being used have all been destroyed. While the episode itself is extremely predictable, it works well in showing how the labors have begun to be really assimilated into regular society, and relatively ignored by people.

For most of these episodes, there’s little in the way of real character growth, instead they focus more on keeping you familiar with what to expect from them. We get lots of scenes with Ota being outrageous and wanting to shoot big weapons as well as Noa being all gung-ho about keeping her labor clean. The only one who really gets any good minor growth is Goto, if only because we start to see how his subtle and almost deadpan style allows him to get away with managing the system to his advantage. The only thing keeping him off his balance is Shinobu, who takes the more direct approach.

While we definitely enjoyed these episodes, the enthusiasm we had back during the first volume has slackened off quite a bit. I want to see more, no doubt about that, but it’s not something I’m going to be on the edge of my seat about. This is good character driven mecha fun, with the mecha taking second seat to the characters.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Behind the Scenes,Meet the Characters,Meet the Screenwriter,Art & Sketch Gallery

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

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