Patlabor TV Vol. #06 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Central Park Media
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Patlabor

Patlabor TV Vol. #06

By Chris Beveridge     September 19, 2005
Release Date: August 12, 2003


Patlabor TV Vol. #06
© Central Park Media


What They Say
After a disastrous going-away party, Lieutenant Clancy is leaving Section 2 for good. But her plane is hijacked before it’s even off the runway, and she checked her gun at the gate. Luckily, the bumbling bad guy is at least as incompetent as the police force she just left. Now, her only hope for rescue is a giant robot and the lovable lunatics of Section 2.

Contains episodes 23-26.

The Review!
The next installment of the TV series brings the focus on Clancy and the end of her time with Special Vehicles Unit Two.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its 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 look of the show in the transfer here manages to look a little improved over the first few volumes, but the print just doesn’t seem to have held up well over the years, especially with the bitrate hitting the 9’s as often as this one does. The show in general isn’t visually arresting, but looks decent. 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 very minimal, which is a huge plus.

Packaging:
Blue is the color of choice this time around in a similar style to the earlier volumes. We get the logo on the top and the volume numbering on the bottom. Through the full color center strip there’s a nice action sequence with the primary view being of the police labor. The back cover has a few shots from the show and plugs the talent behind the show. There’s a small summary of what to expect with these episodes (as well as episode numbers) and a rundown of the discs features. The reverse side of the cover has a number of black and white shots from the show and a brief bilingual cast listing. There’s a fuller talent credits list here as well as the chapter stops for all four episodes.

Menu:
Using animation of the interior of a Patlabor, there’s a segment of the menu that plays scenes from the show with the discs selections ring around it. Access times are nice and fast and the layout is pretty straightforward.

Extras:
The extras are pretty light here with the new content mostly being the art/sketch gallery material. There’s also a collection of the US trailers for the various DVD releases so far for the TV series.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
One of the worst things that can happen with a series is that you get a new volume in, all excited to watch it and see new stuff, only to have the first episode be a recap episode.

That happened with this release, where the first volume is something of a book ended episode that deals with the six month term expiration of Kanuka Clancy’s time with Special Vehicles Unit Two. She’s all business about it and insists on no “mushy Japanese sentimentality” over it, including any kind of party. Goto simply nods and accepts but the rest of the team sets things in motion to try and have a party, including breaking into her place to set things up. Clancy spends her time going through the process of writing her report for her New York bosses, which means she talks about everything that happened to her. And that means we see everything that came before.

As far as recap episodes go, it’s no terribly bad since there’s a decent amount of new footage to it. But it’s the kind of thing that you hate to see as the first thing on the disc, especially if you opt to skim past the old footage. The value/perception goes down considerably. Thankfully though, once you’re past it, there’s some good material. The series continues along and brings everyone to the airport where Clancy is heading back. Only Noa actually shows up with her and sends her on her way, seeing how as most of the guys were too embarrassed to say anything.

For Clancy though, nothing ever goes easy and she ends up on a plane that gets hijacked before it even takes off, as the hijacker doesn’t like flying all that much and is trying to get a friend out of jail. With most of the team already on site, they end up helping out through the negotiations while Clancy does her job from the inside. This was probably one of her best episodes though she does continue to be as bland as Goto for much of it, but at least we get her in a stewardess’ outfit for a good part of the show.

With Clancy actually gone though, the dynamic for the team changes slightly as Shinshi takes over her position as the back-up for Ota. That’s a position that nobody should have unless you’re someone like Clancy. Shinshi and Ota have a difficult time working together due to their completely different styles and Shinshi’s general lack of experience. Though everyone tries to cheer him up and encourage him on, he becomes more and more interested in a civilian job that he’s just been offered that’s more suited to his programming skills, never mind that it’d triple his salary and put him in a managerial position at the same time.

This episode plays nicely against the one that follows it, where it brings in new team member named Takeo Kumagami, to help flesh out the team now that Clancy is out of the picture. Her arrival ten days before her official assignment lets her spend some time getting familiar with the labors and mastering them as well as getting to know everyone. Takeo ends up being the type that’s good at everything; from mastering basic labor movements perfectly in just one day to preparing a full spread dinner that wows everyone. Most get along with her, but Shinohara keeps harping on the fact that she doesn’t fit. Noa ends up finding Takeo as someone to push her to new levels as she realized she was getting somewhat complacent. Takeo’s entrance to the scene is very nicely done here as it touches on a lot of areas.

With the exception of the initial disappointment at a recap episode, this release does a great job of taking the team and shuffling things around. I’m particularly interested to see how Takeo fits into things since she’s only a few notches different than Clancy but different nonetheless. The best material throughout is really the character interactions and this volume is no exception, especially as Goto gets a number of amusing little moments throughout. Patlabor continues to be a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Trailer Collection

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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