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Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 4, 2013 by  



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The classic mecha anime series “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – The Television Series” receives its first video release on HD and it’s the definitive version to own!  Highly recommended!

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

TITLE: Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection 1

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 1989-1990

DURATION: (Episodes 1-12) 300 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: July 16, 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

Giant Robots, sociopaths, madmen waving guns: these aren’t just the problems the Mobile Police have to deal with every day, these ARE the Mobile Police! But in a world where giant robots called Labors are frequently used for criminal purposes, the boys and girls in blue have to face things that are even bigger and scarier! So when police cadet Noa Izumi comes in to take a pilot aptitude test and instead initiates a high speed chase after a stolen Police Labor, it’s clear that she’s got exactly the right combination of guts, brains and just plain crazy that the Second Special Vehicles Division desperately needs. But fitting into the frequently insane lifestyle of SV2 won’t be easy. She’ll have rivals for the pilot seat of the mech that’s stolen Noa’s heart, and her patrol duties will include herding whales, exorcising hauntings and fighting rogue military units on top of the usual terrorists. On the other hand, she gets to carry the biggest handgun EVER. The wheels of justice keep turning (or, in this case, running on giant metal legs,) as SV2 hits the street in MOBILE POLICE PATLABOR TV – COLLECTION 1!

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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.

What began with a manga series and an OVA in 1988, a total of 22 manga volumes would be released through 1994, seven OVA’s released in 1988-1989, an animated film which was released in 1989 and a 47-episode TV anime series which lasted through 1990.

The popularity of the manga and anime series would lead to light novels, more OVA’s, more animated films and video games.

In 2013, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation announced a live-action film based on the Patlabor franchise set for theatrical release in 2014, meanwhile Maiden Japan has licensed the original Patlabor OVA series which was released in April 2013 and now the first volume of the TV series (featuring the first 12 episodes) on Blu-ray and DVD in July 2013.

“Patlabor: The Mobile Police” takes place in the future in which mechanical robots known as “labors” are used for construction work.

Unfortunately, there are those using labors for criminal activity and so the Tokyo Metropolitan Police have created a patrol labor unit (Patlabor) as part of their Special Vehicle Section 2, Division 2.

Here is a brief spoiler-free synopsis of what happens in “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection 1”:

  • EPISODE 1 – Noa Izumi shows up to take a labor test and ends up chasing after a stolen patlabor.
  • EPISODE 2 – Kanuka Clancy from New York comes to join the team temporarily for six months.  But a patlabor battle competition takes place within the group.  Who will win?
  • EPISODE 3 – Asuma introduces Noa to life at SV2.
  • EPISODE 4 – A group of hikers find a damaged labor in the mountains but when they see a large creature that may have damaged the labor, they report it to the police.
  • EPISODE 5 – Division 2 is sent to Mt. Fuji to stop a labor.
  • EPISODE 6 – A foreign minister has come to Tokyo to inspect the Tower City Project but an explosion happens in the tower and a fire breaks out.  Division 2 must come to help out.
  • EPISODE 7 – A new prototype Patrol Labor, the SRX-70 has arrived but the company wants its own mechanics to work on it, rather than the SV2 mechanics.
  • EPISODE 8 – Asuma, Noa and Hiromi are sent to the village of Onifuri to investigate a possible sabotage of a new highway.
  • EPISODE 9 – Public Safety agents visit the group for assistance on a case.
  • EPISODE 10 – Kanuka’s grandmother has gone missing on Christmas Eve.  The group go to search for her.
  • EPISODE 11 – Noa takes on the Brocken labors.
  • EPISODE 12 – Ohta is being arranged to meet a young woman setup by his aunt.

“Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television 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 main protagonist who is part of Division 2, Team 1.  From Hokkaido, she has developed a connection with her labor and named it “Alphonse”.  She shows great promise as a pilot.
  • 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.  He doesn’t get along with his father and so he wanted to be a civil servant and assigned to the labor units.  Smart and often assisting Noa.
  • 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 Divison 2, Team 1 from New York City sent to Japan to observe a labor unit.  An excellent labor pilot but is doing backup duty since she is only serving six months in Japan.
  • 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 – The captain of Division 1 and goes by the book.  She and Captain Goto share an office and despite being great at her job, she tends to talk back to her supervisors and is kept at Section 2.

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VIDEO:

“Patlabor: The Mobile Police” is presented with a new 1080p transfer.  Having watched this TV series back in the early ’90s, I’m very pleased about how clean and vibrant the picture quality of this older anime series looks in HD.

I have been very pleased to see how these older series are looking on Blu-ray and with “Patlabor: The Mobile Police”.  This is the best I have ever saw of “Patlabor” and I think fans that grew up watching this anime series would be very please to see how the clarity, the colors and the overall look of the series looks on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Patlabor: Mobile Police” 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.

The original English dub is also included.  While not a big fan of the oldschool English dub, it is included and now provided ala 2.0 lossless.

According to Maiden Japan, “In order to provide the most satisfactory viewing experience for both old and new fans of “Mobile Police Patlabor TV”, Maiden Japan’s production team has secured both the very latest Japanese high-definition video remaster of this iconic series, as well as the original audio masters produced for the classic English language dubbed edition.  However, when the time came to marry the two versions together, it became clear that attempting to sync all of the language options to the same video stream would have required making significant compromises in the quality of at least one of the two versions.  Therefore, to preserve the best possible quality and presentation for each version, Maiden Japan’s DVD and Blu-ray releases of “Mobile Police Patlabor TV” include the Japanese and English language editions as separate entities.  Although you will only see each episode listed once on the menu of your disc, your player will be directed to the correct version of each episode based on your current language of your choice as you will be unable to do so via your remote.”

It’s important to note that Maiden Japan has a message that the episodes had to be kept separate because the audio would not sync correctly, so if you want the Japanese lossless soundtrack, you must select it via the main menu (you can not switch it via remote).

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection 1” features the following special features:

  • Undubbed Footage – When watching the English dub, the undubbed footage shows the differences with the Japanese footage.
  • Clean Opening and Closing Animation

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“Patlabor: The Mobile Police” was probably my first exposure to a mecha anime series.

Back in 1993, attending an anime convention looking for artwork created by Akemi Takada (“Kimagure Orange Road”), I was surprised to see artwork created by Takada for “Patlabor”.

I have certainly never heard of “Patlabor” nor have I watched a mecha series but I ended up purchasing Akemi Takada Patlabor artwork and also a CD soundtrack for “Patlabor”, which was the first anime soundtrack I purchased.

What I enjoyed about the series back then was that it wasn’t a deep anime series.  It was full of humor, had action, it featured characters that were had their faults but yet they worked as a team in trying to help people.  But also taking the police storyline in a different direction by including these mecha labor units that these police officers would pilot and having to take on criminals or solve problems involving labors.

Watching this series nearly 20-years later, I noticed a lot of anime series from the ’80s and ’90s now receiving the HD transfer and some having restoration work done and literally being cleaned up.

And watching Maiden Japan’s “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – The Television Series Collection 1”, I was quite pleased with the overall picture quality.  Colors were vibrant, I didn’t notice any damage or discoloration due to age.  If anything, the series looks fantastic on Blu-ray for a series that is nearly 25-years-old.  And it’s the definitive version of the series to own because of its improved picture quality.

I was glad to see a lossless soundtrack for both Japanese and the English dub and for those who grew up watching the series with the original English dub, fans should be happy that it is included with this Blu-ray release.

Overall, it was great to watch these 12 episodes again and see it on Blu-ray but also for the fact that a new generation of anime fans will now get to watch this classic mecha anime series on Blu-ray!

For oldschool anime fans to the anime fan who grew up enjoying this classic mecha anime series, “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection 1” is highly recommended!

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