Patlabor TV Vol. #07 - 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. #07

By Chris Beveridge     September 19, 2005
Release Date: January 13, 2004


Patlabor TV Vol. #07
© Central Park Media


What They Say
A rollicking cops and robots adventure! There's something strange in Section 2's neighborhood, and it looks like a haunted house! Can Noa use her giant robot suit to bust some ghosts?

Contains episodes 27-30.

The Review!
It’s another six months, to that means it’s time to roll out another volume of Patlabor!

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:
Yellow 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 labors in action. 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 decent considering the transitional animations that are played and the layout is pretty straightforward.

Extras:
The extras are fairly similar to previous volumes with a brief video gallery for both full color art and shows from the show as well as a separate black and white sketches gallery. The unique extra this time around is a “Tribute to Kanuka Clancy”, which is like a fan tribute kind of video piece about the character with lots of action shots from her and text blurbs about her along the way.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Patlabor continues on its merry way with these four episodes that again push the characters and their personalities. The only thing that continues to dampen my enthusiasm for the show is the overly lengthy release schedule. With this one out in the middle of January and the previous on in August, that’s got to be a hard way to maintain any momentum and it’s easy to see why a lot of people are just waiting for the box sets to come along every once in awhile.

There’s some good fun to be had in this volume. Though something of a traditional story in anime, the opening episode has the bulk of the unit going to an abandoned mansion that’s been assigned for demolition. Goto has decided to help out by using it as a training session and having the team come in over shifts in their labor units to remove paintings from the walls and other trivial matters that help them build up their skills with critical and sensitive work. With a story like this, it becomes quickly obvious to those working the night shift that something isn’t quite right, especially when Goto ends up dealing with a soldier ghost in the hallway. With the premise of helping to finish out some past deeds, you get a traditional piece that plays up the strengths of the cast nicely here.

One of the best pieces on this volume has Noa and Asuma going out for a date on their next day off, complete with the minor squabble over who has to pay since it’s before their next payday. These two have slowly gotten some time together as their relationship builds at a snails pace, but when they do get out it’s quite cute. With their budget limitations, they end up doing the dinner and a movie gig but Noa wants to do something more exciting with her vacation time. So what better to do than to head to the video game arcade… Asuma manages to get away with it at least since Noa discovers that there’s a big Patlabor game. What plays out beautifully is that since the controls are nothing like an actual labor, both of them completely suck at it and are ridiculed over their performance before being shown up completely. It’s very amusing watching them argue over control layout when it isn’t even the purpose of the game.

Though they go pretty far for a joke, there’s one episode where the entire unit from the pilots to the mechanics gets taken down for the count. It’s a very long way that they go to pull off the “why” of the episode, but the payoff here is great with how the public perceives the entire event and how it actually happens. When an entire department is taken out by something so simple, it’s not going to go over well unless you’re not involved in any way.

In Summary:
Patlabor continues to be a fun show that mixes a bit of action with a lot of character moments into a winning combination. These episodes are no exception and those who have stuck it out this far are probably of the same mind. The only thing dampening the enjoyment of it is the release schedule, which only bothers people who like to watch as things are released. Those buying this long after it’s out are able to snag the box sets, I envy you. Going six months between releases is painful.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery,Sketch Gallery,Tribute to Kanuka Clancy

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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