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Patlabor the Mobile Police: The Original OVA Series (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 26, 2013 by  



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For oldschool anime fans, especially the anime fan who grew up watching this classic mecha anime series, “Patlabor the Mobile Police: The Original OVA Series” is full of action and full of old school anime goodness from cel drawn artwork and yes, even the older Japanese and English dub track are included and for an OVA series that is 25-years old, on Blu-ray, it’s the best I have ever seen and heard of this series! One of the oldest anime OVA’s to be released on Blu-ray in the United States, “Patlabor the Mobile Police: The Original OVA Series”, is a series that I highly recommend!

Image courtesy of © 2013 Maiden Japan. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Patlabor the Mobile Police: The Original OVA Series

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 1988-1989

DURATION: (Episodes 1-7) 210 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:33:1), English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: Maiden Japan

RATING: TV 14 V

Release Date: April 30, 2013

Originally Created by Masami Yuuki

Directed by Naoyuki Yoshinaga

Screenplay by Hiroyuki Hoshiyama, Kazunori Ito, Mamoru Oshii, Michiko Yokote, Naoto Kimura, Tetsuo Takashi, Hibari Arisu

Music by Kenji Kawai

Character Design by Akemi Takada

Mechanical Design by Yoshinori Sayama, Yutaka Izubuchi

Produced by Taro Maki

Anime Production by Bandai Visual, Sunrise, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation

Featuring the following voice talent:

Miina Tominaga/Elisa Wain as Noa Izumi

Michihiro Ikemizu/James Wolfe as Isao Ota

Osamu Saka as Seitaro Sakaki

Ryunosuke Ohbayashi/Michael Schwartz as Kiichi Goto

Tomomichi Nishimura as Detective Matsui

Toshio Furukawa/Dan Green as Asuma Shinohara

Yoshiko Sakakibara/Adriana as Shinobu Nagumo

You Inoue/Angora Deb as Kanuka Clancy

Drunk drivers are bad, but put a drunk driver in a giant robot called a Labor and you’ve got a disaster waiting to happen. And when REAL criminals get their hands on those same giant robots, the cops need giant robots of their own just to maintain the status quo, right? Well, that’s the logic behind the development of the Patlabor program and special Labor Crime units like Japan’s Section 2 in any case. But what logic fails to take into account is where to find police officers who’re equally conversant with both robots and the regulations? And THAT’s where the motley crew of Section 2, Division 2 comes in! With ridiculously perky tomboy Noa Izumi and gun-happy madman Isao Ohta as primary Labor pilots and the impossibly laid back Captain Goto in what passes for command, SV2 is ready to hit the streets with their twenty ton feet! But will they be taking a byte out of crime or have they bitten off more than they can chew? The law of the land and the laws of robotics are about to collide in the first Earth shattering collection of MOBILE POLICE PATLABOR!

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When it comes to mecha anime series of the early ’90s, “Patlabor: The Mobile Police” was one of the series that many American fans of early anime fandom were very aware of.

An anime and manga franchise created by Headgear, a group consisting of director Mamoru Oshii, writer Kazunori Ito, mech designer Yutaka Izubuchi, character designer Akemi Takada and manga artist Masami Yuki.

Before the 47-episode anime television series aired on television beginning in 1989, the series began as a manga series and then later as an OVA in 1988.  By 1989, a total of seven OVA’s were released and as the popularity of the manga and anime series became, it would lead to light novels, more OVA’s, more animated films and video games.

In March 2013, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation announced a live-action film based on the Patlabor franchise set for theatrical release in 2014, meanwhile Maiden Japan has begun releasing Patlabor OVA and the TV series in the United States.

With “Patlabor the Mobile Police: The Original OVA Series”, the story is a bit different from the TV series and was produced by Sunrise.  Originally distributed in the U.S. from Central Park Media and featuring an early English Dub, the OVA released by Maiden Japan will include both the Japanese soundtrack and the Central Park Media English dub released in 2000.

Here is a brief spoiler-free synopsis of what happens in “Patlabor: The Mobile Police -The Original OVA Series”:

  • EPISODE 1 – Noa joins the second division of the Special Vehicles Unit 2 (SV2) and must apprehend an armed terrorist Labor, but the problem is that their Labors are stuck in a traffic jam.
  • EPISODE 2 – The mayor of New York is coming to Tokyo and the Tokyo Police Force are assigned to protect the mayor.  To help them, the New York Police force send Kanuka Clancy, a Japanese-American to assist SV2.
  • EPISODE 3 – Is there a sea monster off Tokyo Bay?  The SV2 must stop whatever is causing problems in Tokyo Bay.
  • EPISODE 4 – A hostage situation is taking place at a video shop and SV2 are called in to stop the criminals.
  • EPISODE 5 – While SV2 are on vacation and military rebels invade Tokyo.
  • EPISODE 6 – Part 2, the military rebels are threatening with the fact they may have a nuclear weapon.  Can SV2 save the day?
  • EPISODE 7 – A labor is stolen and it may contain a Labor, the SV2 team attempt to capture the truck.

“Patlabor: The Mobile Police – The Original OVA Series” features the following characters:

  • Captain Kiichi Goto – Captain of Tokyo Metropolitan Police Division 2. Laid back but very good at his job as the leader of Division 2.
  • Noa Izumi – The lone female member of Division 2, Team 1. Obsessed with Labors.
  • Asuma Shinohara – Part of Division 2, Team 1, Asuma is the son of the head of Shinohara Heavy Industries which develops the labors in the world.
  • Hiromi Yamazaki – Part of Division 2, Team 1. Known for his tall height. Very soft spoken and kind. But unfortunately, too tall to fit in a labor cockpit.
  • Isao Ohta – Part of Division 2, Team 1 and is gung-ho and impulsive. Tends to think he’s a great pilot but he’s all talk and often over obnoxious and gun-happy.
  • Kanuka Clancy – A temporary member of Division 2, a half Japanese-half American sent to New York City to assist SV2.
  • Mikiyasu Shinshi – A member of Division 2, Team 2 and the lone member who is married. He is devoted to his obnoxious wife and while quite and good natured, he can show his anger when someone makes fun of him or his wife.
  • Captain Shinobu Nagumo – A stern captain of Division 1.

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VIDEO:

“Patlabor the Mobile Police: The Original OVA Series” is presented with a new 1080p transfer. Newer anime fans should know that this is before digital, this was hand painted, hand drawn cell work and but with that being said, this is the best these OVA episodes have ever looked. Colors are well-represented, great detail of line art and more.  It’s a clean presentation and there was cleanup to the overall OVA series…it looks fantastic!

I have been very pleased to see how these older series are looking on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Patlabor the Mobile Police: The Original OVA Series” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. I grew up watching the original Japanese soundtrack and felt the acting especially by voice actress Miina Tominaga, was able to capture the emotion of the character of Noa Izumi.  But this is old school English dubbing from the old Central Park Media releases which truthfully, I was not a big fan of.  But for those who don’t mind older English dubs, both Japanese and English dialogue including the music sound great.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Patlabor the Mobile Police: The Original OVA Series” comes with no special features.

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I’m one of old school mecha fans who watched the OVA’s during the old days of anime club screenings, early anime cons and also watching them in straight Japanese or via early fan subs.

I admit to be biased to “Patlabor the Mobile Police” because it was part of the mecha police series that was popular among anime fans at the time, but it was also a title that received its fair share of tweaks for its films.

Back then, “A.D. Police” was more about human beings and their hatred towards Boomers, “Dominion Tank Police” was more about the use of capturing criminals via a tank, “You’re Under Arrest” was more about two female traffic cops catching criminals and “Patlabor the Mobile Police” was special because it dealt with an actual mecha or labor to take on criminals using their labors for illegal activity.  Humans had to fight with these Labors and control them, there was no Newtype special ability, there was no one singing music to assist in battle. It was a story about a special unit in the police force taking on criminals using Labors and they had to get the job done anyway they can!

And the group of characters featured in SV2, almost felt as they were the underdogs, because they looked like unlikely heroes but together as a team, it’s where this group shined!

While the OVA’s had correlation to the animated films, I did enjoy the TV series because many episodes could take on character development and build upon that, which the OVA series had only a few episodes.

Granted the OVA featured wonderfully painted backgrounds, great colors and on Blu-ray, “Patlabor the Mobile Police” looks absolutely fantastic and the best I have ever seen of the anime series.

While some can jump into the television series easily, it’s important to remind people that the OVA and TV series differ quite a bit on how the characters became part of SV2 and situations are quite different.  But the story are still enjoyable and the fact that you get all seven OVA’s on a Blu-ray release is fantastic, albeit I wish there were special features included.

For oldschool anime fans, especially the anime fan who grew up watching this classic mecha anime series, “Patlabor the Mobile Police: The Original OVA Series” is full of action and full of old school anime goodness from cel drawn artwork and yes, even the older Japanese and English dub track are included and for an OVA series that is 25-years old, on Blu-ray, it’s the best I have ever seen and heard of this series! One of the oldest anime OVA’s to be released on Blu-ray in the United States, “Patlabor the Mobile Police: The Original OVA Series”, is a series that I highly recommend!

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