Patlabor TV Vol. #10 - 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. #10

By Chris Beveridge     September 19, 2005
Release Date: March 08, 2005


Patlabor TV Vol. #10
© Central Park Media


What They Say
From the Director of RahXephon and the Screenwriter of .hack//SIGN.

Scientists have invented a new giant robot suit, and Noa’s mecha Alphonse is looking a little obsolete in comparison. Can Noa bear to leave him behind? She’ll battle terrorists and sea monsters to prove that Alphonse is still the best robot (and friend) that a girl could ever have!

Contains episodes 39-42.

The Review!
Shifting back to some stand alone tales, a bit more of the times and lives of the characters are explored.

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 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.

Packaging:
Changing the color to green for this installment, the layout is similar to past volumes with the big logo along the top and the easy to find volume number along the bottom. Through the full color center strip there's a nice action pose of the prototype Patlabor that's the focus of one episode here while Noa gets an angsty headshot behind it. 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 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. Unfortunately due to the layout/labeling of the subtitle tracks, the disc read our players language presets but went with Japanese language and song subtitles only.

Extras:
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 nearly eight months between volumes, Patlabor returns and it feels like no time has passed since I last saw this familiar crew. This volume shifts away from the bigger storylines of the past couple of volumes and goes back to the smaller tales and the ones that help build up the characters a bit as well as just have fun with the entire premise.

In a way, Noa faces one of her toughest ordeals with the opening episode here. Though she doesn't keep up on things much, she knows in the back of her head that there are going to be model upgrades someday of the police labors. So when she's asked to be one of the test pilots of the latest model that Shinohara Heavy Industries has come up with, she's really ambivalent about the entire process since it could mean the end of Alphonse. But as Asuma tells her, it's a necessary thing because they need to get more Police Labors out into the world to protect the people against all that's going on. Along with Ota and Grimoika from the first section, they take turns putting the machines through the various tests and each of them apply their own skills to them to see how well they work, what doesn't work and the kind of tuning required to get them up to speed. Each test brings the machines closer to what they're all used to but for Noa something just doesn't sit well. I liked how this episode focused on the way Noa was trying to understand why it wasn't working the way she felt it was and trying to convey it to the technicians, as well as her talks with the maintenance folks about the entire process.

Another episode that deals well with the modern day issues has the backdrop of a new committee meeting happening about the entire project in the bay that's long been causing controversy. Since there's always so many threats, the entire division seems to be guarding the place against any possible terrorists. But like things go in the TV version of the Patlabor world, it can get a bit comical and the terrorists are initially discovered sleeping in the bathroom and they slip right past Goto who does what you can presume is his best to actually catch them. It's a comical chase as the two try to avoid all the police there and they do everything they can get away, including throwing the bag that the bomb is in to push the up button in the elevator. That of course is foolish as it activates the bomb and half the upper building goes away, leaving the two stranded in an upscale rooftop bar with a bartender who doesn't blink an eye at any of this. The situation just gets even more surreal from there as each side tries to get their way and this overly calm bartender sits in the middle of all of it.

One of the more comical episodes of this volume, and one that you could see coming almost from the start, has the SVU 2 heading to an ocean side town where a Plesiosaurus has supposedly been found out after it destroyed a fishing boat. Since such a thing would be a huge discovered it could be problematic in having so many people there and the SVU 2 is brought in to handle things since the beast could be big at that. Of course, we learn early on that it's a sham being run by the village to boost tourism but it's just so comically done and with a good sense of subtlety that you almost wish they pulled it off. The episode gives more time to the characters just goofing around than normal so it was fun to see them in this kind of situation, plus Goto was even more involved than usual which made it a lot of fun.

In Summary:
Patlabor continues to be great fun for the many reasons supplied in past reviews of the series and it stands true here. It's unfortunate that things seem to be so against the series with its delays since that makes it harder for the casual fan to even want to try it. An eight month delay on top of the previous delays in the series only makes it worse, but in the end the casual fan will make out better since there will be cheap box sets that will appeal to them more. Hopefully they'll enjoy this volume as much as I did since it was a bit of good clean fun all around.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art & Sketch Gallery

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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