Patlabor TV Vol. #09 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • 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. #09

By Chris Beveridge     September 19, 2005
Release Date: July 06, 2004

Patlabor TV Vol. #09
© Central Park Media

What They Say
The mecha police comedy continues! After a disastrous target practice, Noa leaves on her own to prove her worth as a policewoman. Before she knows it, she?s hot on the trail of a thief! But can Noa defeat a dangerous criminal without the aid of her giant robot suit? Episodes 35-38

The Review!
The long running battle with the Griffin finally concludes but that only sets the stage for more solid character development.

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.

The look of the show in the transfer here manages to look a little improved over the early releases, but the print just doesn't seem to have held up well over the years, especially with the bit rate hitting as high as it does as often as it 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.

By this point it must be getting tough to choose colors, though they did go with a nice maroon shade that is used 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 pose of the Patlabor. 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.

Using animation from the show with various long shots of labors, there's also some cute animation to it when the selections are made and the backgrounds shift out, such as having one of the characters look like they're pushing the old screen off. Access times are decent considering the transitional animations that are played and the layout is pretty straightforward.

The only extra included in this volume is a brief production art and sketch gallery.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the last volume with the large multi-episode story with the Griffin and the movements made by the Planning Division 7 to forward their own goals, all of it comes to a conclusion at the opening of this volume. It's an interesting end to the battle as it shows some of the real differences between the two types of Labors as Noa goes head to head with it once more. With very little outward similarities and a completely different interior design, you'd think that Shinohara Industries would be keen to get their hands on this thing or at least adapt some of the basic differences to compensate and upgrade their own labors.

The downside to the after battle is that it's left some dissension among the ranks. Ota's continuing bluster about how he would have been able to do better doesn't bother most of the folks in SVU2 but it's something that continues to make an impact on Noa in a hard way. She takes everything so personally when it comes to her Patlabor performance and that of Alphonse that it only runs over and over in her mind. The downtime with a lot of it spent on repairing the Labor's only lets her mind run with it even more and she starts to question her abilities and whether to continue on in the division. For everyone else, they're not quite sure how to deal with it and to try and restore her confidence.

This plays a role later on in an amusing little episode where she ends up coming across some money floating down the river and finds herself on the heels of a thief, leading to some comical moments not only for herself in her attempt to prove she's a good policewoman but also for the rest of SVU2 that end up going searching for her, thinking that she's gone AWOL from the division. The best episodes on this volume though deal with the after affects of a simple mission gone bad. Well, not terribly bad, but just the usual kind of screw-ups that occur with SVU2 in the course of their normal duties.

With the accidental destruction of some vehicles after finishing out a mission, the company that insures SVU2 and the Patlabors decides to question their claims and sends an investigator down to do a re-enactment of the last incident. This doesn't sit well with just about anyone on the team but Ota complains the most about it since it forces him to relive something that he did and to do it in excruciating detail. Even worse, the insurance investigator that they sent down to SVU2 is a very nice middle aged woman with an eternal smile on her face and nothing mean to say, which makes it all the harder for Ota and the others to really dislike her. She brings in a new perspective to the group and how their operations run.

This is followed up very nicely in the next episode where the insurance company has decided that the re-enactment didn't get them all the data they needed on how the Patlabor operations go so they assign the same investigator to ride shotgun with the SVU2 for awhile until the next mission and accident occurs. Through her we get to see some of the standard police procedurals that are enacted to help deal with various situations, mostly in the use of stopping a hijacked eighteen-wheeler that's trying to get away on the cities highway. These are the parts we don't see, such as how they clear the highways and how the regular police handle the crowds and the like. It's interesting to see the off-camera moments like this and to get the fuller picture, particularly through her eyes.

Between Noa and Ota, we get some really good character development progress in these four episodes and some hints of things to come with the Griffin storyline. After the previous volume with so much outright continuity storytelling it wasn't a surprise to see this one shift back to more conventional standalone tales of a lighter nature. The after effects of the Griffin storyline are nicely played out and work towards building these characters to even more realistic levels.

In Summary:
After nearly forty episodes, Patlabor continues to be a fun and engaging show with both new twists of the serious and comical veins. The serious side is always a strong point with this series but it's the comedy and character growth that really drive the shows progress. This set of episodes helps lighten the mood after the big storyline of the last volume and takes what was learned there and challenges some of the cast members to really grow and deal with the results of it. Patlabor continues to be solid enjoyable anime that's practically guaranteed to provide entertainment.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Art & Sketch Galleries

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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