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Patlabor: The Mobile Police – The Television Series Collection 4 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 26, 2014 by  



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More action, more fun and the series no doubt, gets you pumped and leaves you highly anticipating the 2014 anime series that will be airing in Japan. But each Blu-ray volume has given us the best looking version of “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series” to date and if anything, if you are a big fan of old school mecha anime series, “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection 4” is highly recommended!

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

TITLE: Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection 4

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 1989-1990

DURATION: (Episodes 37-47) 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: January 7, 2014

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

The war on crime and the battle for superior technology collide as Shinohara industries unleashes a rash of new Labor designs and SV2 finds itself stuck in the middle of product evaluation trials. That would be trying enough at any time, but when the department’s already being overwhelmed with handling security for the upcoming Babylon Project Conference, fighting terrorists, insurance investigators, and even tracking down monsters in the sewers, it may be the final straw that breaks the Ingram’s back.

If all that wasn’t enough pressure, SV2’s rivalry with Division One escalates to all out warfare when SV1 gets the first of the latest production models. The gloves are off and there’s a heavy metal smackdown on the horizon as Noa must strap herself into the cockpit once again to prove that her Alphonse is still the undisputed king of robotic law enforcement!

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As the Tokyo Metropolitan Police are having to deal with insurance policy claims due to the high level of damage that they have created in apprehending an enemy in order to protect the city, Division 2, the group is facing a new different challenge as a team.  From Noa taking part in a TV program, Shige having to train at the New York Police Labor Division or testing out Shinohara Heavy Industries latest prototype of an Economy Ingram, there are also plenty of terrorists and criminals the group has to capture.

Meanwhile, through Noa’s flashback episode, we learn the reason why she named her Ingram “Alphonse” in these final episodes and the final volume of “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – The Television Collection 4” from Maiden Japan.

What is “Patlabor: The Mobile Police”?

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 also the TV series on Blu-ray and DVD. And here we are with the fourth and final volume of “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection” featuring episodes 37-47.

“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.

“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.
  • Takeo Kumagami – A member of Division 2, Team 2 who trained with the Hong Kong police and is very tough. But has one weakness, she has a phobia of the supernatural and faints when she is scared by it.

Here is a brief spoiler-free synopsis of what happens in “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection 4”:

  • EPISODE 37 – The insurance company sends an investigator to check up on Division’s 2 high amount of claims due to the number of damage claims caused by the Patlabors.
  • EPISODE 38 – Someone is stealing food and alcohol at Division 2.  Who is doing it?
  • EPISODE 39 – Noa, Gomika and Ota are sent to test out Shinohara Heavy Industries new prototype, the Economy Ingram.
  • EPISODE 40 – When a fishing boat catches fire, the locals claim its the Plessie sea monster.  Division 2 is sent to investigate.
  • EPISODE 41 – Division 2 provides security for the Babylon Project Conference, a target for terrorists.
  • EPISODE 42 – Who is responsible for the robberies of ATM’s?
  • EPISODE 43 – Momoko Sakurayama’s TV show “The Working Girl” is doing a segment on women in the workplace and Noa will be featured.  But will it be good publicity for Division 2?
  • EPISODE 44 – Shige is sent to New York’s Police Labor Division and hooks up with Kanuka’s Crime Labor Attack Team (CLAT).
  • EPISODE 45 – Division 2 is invited to the military demostration of Captain Fuwa’s air-drop Labor Team.
  • EPISODE 46 – Division 1 is getting in new Labor’s, the Shinohara AV-Zero.  Meanwhile, Division 2 must stop a rampaging labor.
  • EPISODE 47 – FINAL EPISODE: After the events (in episode 46), Noa goes back home to escape her problems.

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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 4” features the following special features:

  • 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.

With the release of Maiden Japan’s fourth volume of “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series”, this is the final 10 episodes of the TV series and from her on in, the next step is to watch the OVA or films until the new series titled “The Next Generation Patlabor” begins airing in Japan later this year and hopefully will be released in the U.S. not long after.

But with these final eleven episodes, for the most part, like previous episodes, many of these episodes are stand-alone, with the exception of the last two episodes in the series.

The storytelling remains consistent and upbeat, but as one can expect, hilarious shenanigans, other challenges the team must take part in, may it be by showing around an insurance adjustor, being on TV, training new prototypes of labors and more.

But the final two episodes does go into the name “Alphonse” and why it remains special in Noa’s heart.

So, as the series has been since episode 1, there is no change of tone for these final eleven episodes.  They are upbeat, fun and full of action!

But watching “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series” 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 for this series, it looks great in HD!  Don’t pay attention to the images (featured in this review) as they are not actual screenshots.  The series look much cleaner and for the most part, the best I have ever seen of this series!

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.  But Japanese voice acting is fantastic, English dub is how I original saw this series but for those familiar with old school English dubs, its different a style of acting from today’s English dubs.

Overall, volume four of “Patlabor: The Mobile Police” features episodes 37-47 and concludes this classic anime series.  More action, more fun and the series no doubt, gets you pumped and leaves you highly anticipating the 2014 anime series that will be airing in Japan.

But each Blu-ray volume has given us the best looking version of “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series” to date and if anything, if you are a big fan of old school mecha anime series, “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection 4” is highly recommended!






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