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The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.: Season One – Part 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 4, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

 If you are looking for a fun anime series that is more gag-based with wild & crazy antics coming from each of the characters of the series, “The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.: Season One – Part One” is recommended.

Image courtesy of © 2017 Funimation. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.: Season One – Part One

DURATION: (12 Episodes) 300 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16×9), Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0 and English 5.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Funimation

RATED: PG

Release Date: December 26, 2017


Originally Created by Shuichi Aso

Directed by Hiroaki Sakurai

Series Composition: Michiko Yokote

Music by Psychic Lover

Character Design: Masayuki Onji

Anime Production: EGG FIRM, J.C. STAFF


Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiroshi Kamiya/Jerry Jewell as Kusuo Saiki

Ai Kayano/Tia Ballard as Kokomi Teruhashi

Daisuke Ono/David Wald as Riki Nendō

Haruka Tomatsu/Jamie Marchi as Kusuko Saiki (Female Form)

Kenji Nojima/Chris Patton as Kūsuke Saiki

Maaya Uchida/Megan Shipman as Chisato Mera

Masaya Matsukaze as Saiko Metori

Mitsuo Iwata/Chuck Huber as Kuniharu Saiki

Natsuki Hanae/Joel McDonald as Reita Toritsuka

Nobunaga Shimazaki/Micah Solusod as Shun Kaidō

Rikako Aikawa/Morgan Garrett as Kurumi Saiki

Satoshi Hino/Kyle Phillips as Kineshi Hairo

Showtaro Morikubo/Austin Tindle as Uryoku Chōno

Tomoaki Maeno as Makoto Teruhashi/Tōru Mugami

Yoshimasa Hosoya/Jarrod Greene as Aren Kuboyasu

Yukari Tamura/Jill Harris as Chiyo Yumehara


Saiki Kusuo is your typical 16-year-old high school student, except for one thing—he’s got psychic powers. Incredible ones. In fact, he’s so powerful, he could probably rule the world if he wanted to. Don’t be mistaken though, it’s really not as great as it sounds. After all, you wouldn’t want to hear the weird things people think or all the spoilers they know! And surprise parties? Forget about ’em.

No, this psychic genius is all about keeping a low profile. But high school isn’t about to let that happen. His quirky classmates and embarrassing parents just can’t leave him alone! He’s got the world at his fingertips, but the one thing he’ll never get…is a break.


Back in 2012, mangaka Shuichi Aso wrote and illustrated his gag manga series “Saiki Kusuo no Sai-nan” (The Disaster of Psi Kusuo Saiki).  The series received a serialization in Shueisha’s “Weekly Shonen Jump” and a total of 23 manga volumes have been published.

The popularity of the manga series would eventually ensure an anime TV series in 2016 and since then a total of 24-compilation episodes have been released and each episode featuring six short episodes.

And now the series will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Funimation titled “The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.”.  And will be released in two parts, each release featuring 12-episodes each.

The series is produced by J.C. Staff and EGG FIRM and is directed by Hiroaki Sakurai and written by Michiko Yokote.

The series revolves around Kusuo Saiki, a high school student who was born with psychic abilities and lives with his parents Kuniharu (a father who keeps sucking up to his employers) and his mother Kurumi (who can get very scary when her husband and son defy her).  Kusuo also has an older brother named Kusuke, who wears a “Telepath Canceler” on his head, so Kusuo can never read his thoughts.  But the two often argue of who is more intelligent, the psi user or the the intellectual inventor.

While his parents are normal humans but crazy, they accepted Saiki’s abilities for his special abilties.  Even though he was born reading and teleporting and being mature during the first year of his life as an infant.

As Kusuo became a teenager, he now wears two pink antennas on his head to limit his growing powers.  He has to wear glasses at all times to prevent people from turning into stone.   He never talks to anyone with his lips, he communicates telepathically.

And because he can hear everyone’s thoughts, his special abilities have given him misery and he tries to avoid any attention because he is a psychic.  He tries…

But somehow at P.K. Academy, he attracts the weirdest people.

  • Riki Nendo is a large and muscular student but very stupid.  So dumb that Kusuo can’t read his mind and it frustrates Kusuo because he can’t predict Nendo’s actions.
  • Shun Kaido is a know-it-all, conspiracy-loving person who calls himself “The Jet-Black Wings” and believes that the world is ruled by an evil organization known as Dark Reunion.
  • Kokomi Teruhashi is a girl who glows and considers herself “perfect” except by Saiki (who can read heer thoughts).  She is obsessed with tryin gto get Saiki to react to her, which he doesn’t.  And so it leads to her obsession towards him.
  • Kineshi Hairo is an energetic, sports-loving student who loves to motivate people.
  • Chiyo Yumehara – A romantic who always has painful experiences with guys.  She has a crush on Kusuo.
  • Reita Toritsuka – A psychic aware of Kusuo’s abilities.  He can see spirits and is haunted by the ghost of Nendo’s late father.

Will Kusuo be able to find a way to stay under the radar and not attract attention?


VIDEO:

“The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.” is presented in 1080p High Definition (16:9). Colors are vibrant and backgrounds are extremely detailed. Character designs are well-done and is respectful to Shuichi Aso’s manga series.  Background art is also well-painted for outdoor scenes but primarily the artwork is more focused on the characters and close-ups.  I didn’t notice any banding issues while watching the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.” is presented in Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 and English Dolby TrueHD 5.1. Featuring crystal clear dialogue and music, the series sounds good.  Surround channels is used sparsely, mainly for action sequences but it’s primarily a dialogue-driven soundtrack.  Both Japanese and English voice acting are well done.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.: Season One – Part 1” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 1 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Jerry Jewell (voice of Kusuo Saiki), Micah Solusod (voice of Shun Kaido) and David Wald (voice of Riki Nendo).
  • Textless Opening and Closing Song

I first discovered “The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.” when I first played the video game “J-Stars Victory Vs.”.  I was curious about seeing this character with pink hair with antennas and he didn’t look like your typical Jump protagonist.

Fastforward a few years later and I finally got a chance to view the anime series and realized it’s probably one of the craziest mainstream Jump-related anime series I have seen.

The anime series revolves around a boy born with special abilities and because he can hear everyone’s thoughts, because he sees everyone past their true appearance and his powers can really endanger society, he tries to keep away from people and stay under the radar.

But unfortunately, it’s not that easy.  Because he’s so aloof and quiet, he’s attracting the weirdest people at his high school and because he doesn’t give attention to the girls, a few of them have started to fall in love with Kusuo.

As for the series, these are episodes that contain six mini-stories each.  Some of them are continuations of each other but for the most part, these are episodes where Saiki has to use his powers for the greater good, well more often for his benefit in trying to drive people away from him.

But a typical episode would be like this.  For episode 11, the episode begins with a boy named Yuuta who believes Saiki is the superhero Ciderman No. 2 after seeing him use his special abilities, the next episode is about Kuniharu showing Saiki around his job at a manga editorial office, the next story features Yuuta and his family becoming Saiki’s new neighbor, the next episode features Saiki going to the summer festival and seeing one of the guys in school get pickpocketed, he becomes the next person to be robbed.  And in another episode, Kokomi and Chiyo meet each other and both wonder if the other likes Saiki.

These episodes are quite short at around four minutes each, but I enjoy the fact that each of these episodes explore the characters even more.  And yes, this is the first half of the series and character dynamics are important, but I did like how these stories build upon character introductions and mannerisms.  And to explore how crazy each of the characters are.

It’s a fun anime series so far and I look forward to watching and seeing how the anime series progresses.

The series looks vibrant and colorful on Blu-ray and the dialogue is crystal clear.  You get one audio commentary track and the opening and ending theme.

Overall, if you are looking for a fun anime series that is more gag-based with wild & crazy antics coming from each of the characters of the series, “The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.: Season One – Part One” is recommended.

Shirobako Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

shirobako

“Shirobako” is an enjoyable, humorous and entertaining look into the making of an anime series and the challenges that an anime studio encounters. But also the challenges faced by those who want to make it into the industry. “Shirobako Collection 1” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © SHIROBAKO PROJECT.  All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Shirobako Collection 1

SERIES RELEASE DATE: 2014

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition/16×9, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex of America Inc.

RATED: TV PG

Release Date: February 9, 2016


Directed by Tsutomu Mizushima

Series Composition by Michiko Yokote

Music by Shiroh Hamaguchi

Original Character Design by Ponkan8

Art Director: Tsukasa Kakizakai, Yusuke Takeda

Anime Character Design by Kanami Sekiguchi

Production by P.A. Works


Featuring the following voice talent:

Asami Takano as Misa Tōdō

Haruka Chisuga as Shizuka Sakaki

Haruka Yoshimura as Ema Yasuhara

Hitomi Ohwada as Midori Imai

Juri Kimura as Aoi Miyamori

Ai Kayano as Rinko Ogasawara

Hironori Saitō as Hironori Madoka

Hiroyuki Yoshino as Tarō Takanashi

Ikumi Hayama as Tsubaki Andō

Junji Majima as Yuuichirou Shimoyanagi


After making an animated film together in high school, Aoi and her friends Shizuka, Ema, Misa, and Midori made a promise to each other: to all get jobs in the anime industry and someday work together again.

Two years later, Aoi is learning that working as a production assistant at a small animation studio is far more demanding than she ever imagined, and Shizuka’s aspiring career as a voice actor involves more time waiting tables than recording.

Meanwhile, Ema’s slowly making a name for herself as a key animator, Misa’s moved from 2D to 3D and now works in computer graphics, and screenwriting hopeful Midori is lagging furthest behind, still looking for her first big break. But are they ready to give up on their dreams just yet? No way! Because while anime may come from inspiration, in the end it’s the ones who’re willing to put in the perspiration that make their dreams real in Shirobako!


 

In October 2014, the anime series “Shirobako”, which was a join production by Warner Entertainment Japan and P.A. Works made its debut in Japan.

A manga adaptation was serialized in ASCII Media Work’s “Dengeki Daioh” and a novel was published by Shueisha in January 2015.

And now, the first half of the series will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in North America courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

“Shirobako” (which translates to “white box”) is directed by Tsutomu Mizushima (“Big Windup!”, “Blood-C”, “Genshiken”), a screenplay by Michiko Yokote (“Ah! My Goddess: The Movie”, “Bleach”, “Naruto”, “Nabari no Ou”, “RIN-NE”), music by Shiroh Hamaguchi (“Big Windup!”, “One Piece”, “Sakura Wars”, “Girls und Panzer”), with art direction by Tsukasa Kakizakai (“Durarara!!”, “Real Drive”, “Samurai 7”) and Yusuke Takeda (“Ghost in the Shell”, “Blood: The Last Vampire”, “009-1”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing”).

The anime series would feature the voices of Asami Takano (“Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid”), Haruka Chigusa (“Amagi Brilliant Park”, “Aquarion Logos”, “Haruchika – Haruta & Chika”), Haruka Yoshimura (“Celestial Method”, “Riddle Story of Devil”, “Saki – The Nationals”), Hitomi Ohwada (“Netoge no Yome wa Onna no Ko ja nai to Omotta?”) and Juri Kimura (“Kuromukuro”, “Monster Strike”, “Mikagura School Suite”, “Queen’s Blade: Grimoire”).

“Shirobako” begins with five friends: Aoi Miyamori, Ema Yasuhara, Shizuka Sakasaki, Misa Todo and Midori Imai working on a high school animation club project together before graduation.  Utilizing each of their skills, all five make a goal to go into the anime industry and one day, each of them will work together on an actual anime.

Fastforward years later, Ema is a key animator, Shizuka is pursuing a career as a voice actress, Misa is a 3D computer graphics operator, Midori is a college student and the main character focused on is Aoi Miyamori, who works as a production assistant for Musashino Animation.

The series focuses on the inner workings of how an anime series is made for television and the challenges that Musashino Animation faces in making sure the series gets aired on television in time, but most importantly, showing viewers the production challenges before an episode is finalized.  Also, showing the various different jobs that employees partake in, while working for an animation studio.

The main story focuses on:

Aoi Miyamori – Aoi is constantly observing each of the employees but showing how her involvement in production is important.

Emi Yasuhara – Emi works hard as an a key animator for “The Third Aerial Girls Squad” and the challenges she faces in trying to get work completed for each episode.

Shizuka Sakaki – Shizuka is a struggling voice actress.  She works as a waitress at the pub and is doing all she can to get a job as a notable character for an anime series.

Misa Todo – Works as the prestigious Super Media Creations but struggles because the work is primarily for automobiles.  She is becoming dissatisfied and trying to find herself and what she really wants to do.

Midori Imai – An aspiring screenwriter still attending college, she hopes to get a job in the animation industry once she graduates.


VIDEO:

“Shirobako Collection 1” features wonderful animation by PA. Works.  Character designs are well-done and well-shaded, while backgrounds and structures are well-detailed.

I also like the detail that went into the office settings and the little things you find on the desks of employees.  But for the most part, animation is well-done and looks vibrant in HD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Shirobako Collection 1” is presented in Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0.  Dialogue is crystal clear and no signs of hissing or problematic audio issues.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Shirobako Collection 1” comes with the trailer and textless opening and endings.


While there have been anime series based on the anime and manga industry, “Shirobako” is a series that really goes into detail of the various jobs that are done by employees creating a weekly anime series but also the challenges faced in the industry.

“Shirobako” focuses on five friends who made a goal to work on an anime series together, but now into adulthood, we see how these girls have faced challenges and learning that making it in the anime industry is difficult.

And the young ladies must start from the bottom and work themselves up, we see how people like Shizuka is becoming dissatisfied as each role she takes on, is fairly small.  While Misa, who wants to grow as a 3D designer, is growing frustrated that the work she is getting is focused on automobiles and hardly on characters.   And so the seed of doubt is planted in their minds.

Meanwhile, main protagonist, Aoi Miyamori gives us a look at the animation industry through a new anime production studio, Musashino Animation.

From the disagreements that happen between staff members, disagreements on how a character cries during battle to how an episode ends.  Also, the challenges of trying to get a product finished right before deadline and ensuring it gets to the TV companies for airing.  And also a look of a staff that is pushed to the limits and one happens if one gets sick and so forth.

The series features a good balance between humor and serious moments.  And for the most part, “Shirobako” is a lively anime series that will entertain anyone who is interested in the functions of an anime studio.

“Shirobako Collection” 1 features the first 12 episodes and for the most part, the anime series looks wonderful on Blu-ray.  The soundtrack is lossless 2.0 and the English subtitles are easy to see and read.  Special features are limited to the opening and ending animations and trailer.

Overall, “Shirobako” is an enjoyable, humorous and entertaining look into the making of an anime series and the challenges that an anime studio encounters.  But also the challenges faced by those who want to make it into the industry.

“Shirobako Collection 1” is recommended!

Kamisama Kiss: The Complete Series (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

kamisamakiss

“Kamisama Kiss: The Complete Series” is a romantic comedy anime series about whether or not this human girl can make a yokai fall in love with her.  Featuring a cast of fascinating characters and an upbeat story with action and humor, “Kamisama Kiss” is an anime series for those who want something less violent and dark and are in a mood for a series more upbeat and humorous.

Image courtesy of © 2014 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Kamisama Kiss: The Complete Series

YEAR OF RELEASE: 2012

DURATION: 13 episodes (325 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, Subtitles: English

RATED: TV PG

COMPANY: FUNimation

RELEASE DATE: February 11, 2014

Original Creator: Julietta Suzuki

Directed by Akitaro Daichi

Script by Akitaro Daichi, Michiko Yokote

Music by Toshio Masuda

Character Design by Junko Yamanaka

Art Direction: Takashi Aoi

Anime Production: TMS Entertainment

Featuring the voices of:

 Shinnosuke Tachibana/J. Michael Tatum as Tomoe

Suzuko Mimori/Tia Ballard as Nanami Momozono

Akemi Okamura/Anastasia Munoz as Kamehime

Akira Ishida/Joel McDonald as Mikage

Chika Ookubo/Josh Grelle as Kotetsu

Daisuke Kishio/Sean O’Connor as Kurama

Daisuke Namikawa as Sukuna Ryuuou

Hiroki Takahashi/Ian Sinclair as Otohiko

Natsuyo Atarashi /Jad Saxtonas Onikiri

Nobuhiko Okamoto/Micah Solusod as Mizuki

Satomi Satou/Alexis Tipton as Ami Nekota

Shūta Morishima as Isobe

Vanilla Yamazaki/Luci Christian as Narrator

Yu Kobayashi/Julie Mayfield as Isohime

Yui Horie as Numa no Himemiko

Nanami was just a normal high school girl down on her luck until a stranger’s lips marked her as the new Land God and turned her world upside down. Now she’s figuring out the duties of a deity with the help of Tomoe, a reformed fox demon who reluctantly becomes her familiar in a contract sealed with a kiss.

The new responsibilities – and boys – are a lot to handle, like the crow demon masquerading as a gorgeous pop idol and the adorable snake spirit who’s chosen the newly minted god to be his bride. As the headstrong Tomoe tries to whip her into shape, Nanami finds that love just might have cute, pointed fox ears. With romance in the air, will the human deity be able to prove herself worthy of her new title?

In 2008, mangaka Julietta Suzuki created the manga series “Kamisama Hajimemashita” which was serialized in the manga publication “Hana to Yume”.

The manga series was released as a tankobon and currently is ongoing with a total of 17 volumes published.  The series would eventually receive an anime adaptation in 2012 courtesy of TMS Entertainment and is directed by Akitaro Daichi (“Animation Runner Juromi”, “Legendz: Yomigaeru Ryuuou Densetsu”, “Poyopoyo”), screenwriting by Michiko Yokote (“Ah! My Goddess”, “Big Windup”, “Bleach), music by Toshio Masuda (“Naruto”, “Excel Saga”, “Ai Yori Aoshi”), character designs by Junko Yamanaka (“Aishiteruze Baby”, “Detective Conan”, “Hamtaro”) and art direction by Takashi Aoi (“Darker than Black”, “Hell Girl”, “RahXephon”).

And now the anime series will be released as a Blu-ray and DVD combo courtesy of FUNimation in Feb. 2014.

The series revolves around Nanami Momozono, a teenage girl who’s father leaves her behind due to his gambling debts is made homeless.  Evicted from her apartment and hoping to find somewhere to live, she runs into a man named Mikage, who is afraid of dogs.

Nanami helps him out and out of kindness, Mikage allows her to live at his home while he is not there.  Telling her to tell the people that Mikage sent her to the location.

And as Nanami moves in, she finds out it is not a home but a shrine of worship and she meets two yokai (ghosts) named Onikiri and Kotetsu.

She then meets Tomoe, a fox yokai who serves as the familiar of the land god.  He absolutely detests humans but because of circumstances, he must now obey Tomoe’s every word.

And because of that, he becomes protective of her, even when she goes to school.

But overtime, as Tomoe is there for her, Nanami begins to fall in love with him, while Tomoe starts to question himself and whether he can have feelings for a human.

But life will not be easy for Nanami as she encounters other yokai such as Shinjiro Kurama, a male idol who is actually a crow tengu; Mizuki, a snake familiar who begins to fall for Nanami and hates Tomoe plus many other characters that may become Nanami’s friend or foe.  But behind the scenes, Mikage, the person who had Nanami live at his place, watches behind the scenes.  What is he up to?

VIDEO:

“Kamisama Kiss” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  It’s important to note that the series does feature beautiful character designs and at times, beautiful background and environments.  But it’s also a series that was made to look soft.  While utilizing many colors, the series has a dreamlike look to it.  So, it’s not the most vibrant anime series but some will appreciate it’s dreamlike appearance, but those who want or expect vibrant picture quality may be affected by the look of this anime series.

AUDIO:

“Kamisama Kiss: The Complete Series” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0.  The series is primarily a dialogue driven series, so it’s a front and center channel driven anime series.  There is a bit of action and this is where the English lossless soundtrack is much better in terms of dynamic range.  But both are well-acted and whichever your preference, should be happy with either soundtrack.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Kamisama Kiss: The Complete Series” comes with the following special features:

  • Episode 1 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with Jerry Jewell (ADR Director) and Tia Ballard (voice of Nanami).
  • Episode 6 Video Commentary – Featuring a video commentary with Jerry Jewell (ADR Director), Tia Ballard (voice of Nanami), Sean O’Connor (voice of Kurama) and J. Michael Tatium (voice of Tomoe).
  • Episode 12 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with Jerry Jewell (ADR Director) J. Michael Tatum (voice of Tomoe).
  • Textless opening song and all textless closing songs
  • U.S. Trailer – (1:28) FUNimation trailer for “Kamisama Kiss”.

When it comes to anime that deal with yokai, there have been interesting series in the past. From “Ghost Sweeper Mikami”, “Ghost Hunt”, “Phantom Quest Corp.”, “Haunted Junction” and “Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan”, “Kamisama Kiss” is less about quashing yokai but more of an anime series if a human and a yokai can fall in love?

In someways, there was a part of me that felt this series had a “InuYasha” feel to it.  Girl falls for supernatural guy who must obey girl’s commands but instead of living in another world, everything exists in Nanami’s real world setting.

There are plenty of fascinating characters in the anime series that can serve as antagonists, but somehow because of Nanami’s caring nature towards yokai, she’s able to make even the enemy an ally.

And quickly, the series shifts from two characters with communication issues, to a girl who falls for a yokai who detests humans and will do everything possible to show her love to him and maybe, make him fall for her.  But will he?  And can a yokai fall for a human?

For the most part, the series is upbeat and fun, it has its few emotional moments and its action scenes, but for the most part, this is a romantic comedy anime series set in a yokai setting.  It’s a series that stays true to its roots of being adapted from a shojou manga series and in essence a love story.

The Blu-ray release features beautiful character designs and animation and has a dreamlike appearance, so it is a bit soft than vibrant.  Both soundtracks are well-acted but the English lossless track is much better in terms of dynamic range because it’s a 5.1 soundtrack as opposed to the Japanese version which is a 2.0 soundtrack.  And FUNimation included two audio commentaries and one video commentary.

Overall, “Kamisama Kiss: The Complete Series” is a romantic comedy anime series about whether or not this human girl can make a yokai fall in love with her.  Featuring a cast of fascinating characters and an upbeat story with action and humor, “Kamisama Kiss” is an anime series for those who want something less violent and dark and are in a mood for a series more upbeat and humorous.

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

January 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

patlabor-4a

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!

patlabor-4b

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.

patlabor-4c

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

patlabor-4d

“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!

Patlabor: The Mobile Police – The Television Series Collection 3 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

patlabortv-c3-a

More mecha action and an awesome classic anime series, “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection 3” is highly recommended!

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

TITLE: Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection 3

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 1989-1990

DURATION: (Episodes 25-36) 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: November 5, 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

With Kanuka having returned to New York, the search is on for her replacement as Ohta’s backup. The pressure on Shinshi to step up is so severe that he contemplates leaving for a civilian job. At the same time, the powers that be are taking the opportunity to make some other sweeping changes, introducing an experienced new member to the team in the form of Takeo Kumagami.

 

However, the addition of another female to the SV2 is the least of Noa’s problems. A new series of stunning Labor-related crimes rapidly escalates into an all out war against the Mobile Police. Unlike any previous encounters, the SV2 are now up against a superior form of Labor – and possibly even better pilots! And just to make the disaster complete, the Police Chief’s proposed new economic move to cheaper Labors may ultimately result in the scrapping of Division 2’s Ingrams. As the terrifying Griffin stalks the streets and skies of Tokyo, the Second Special Vehicles Division must fight a battle for survival on multiple fronts!

patlabortv-c3-b

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 third volume of “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection” featuring episodes 25-36.

What is “Patlabor: The Mobile Police”?

“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 3”:

  • EPISODE 25 – What happens when Shinshi becomes Ota’s backup?
  • EPISODE 26 – Takeo Kumagami joins Division 2.
  • EPISODE 27 – Division 2 are out on a training mission at a group of abandoned buildings, that may be haunted.
  • EPISODE 28 – What happens when Noa and Asuma visit a game arcade and find a Patlabor game?
  • EPISODE 29 – What happens when the food from the Shanghai Restaurant doesn’t appear?
  • EPISODE 30 – A message is left behind by the mysterious black Labor…”The Griffin has arrived”.  Who is piloting this Black Labor?
  • EPISODE 31 – Division 2 must provided security for the Tokyo International Labor Show.
  • EPISODE 32 – Division 2 tries to evaluate certain events and more about the mysterious labor.
  • EPISODE 33 – Three-S are ordered by Schaft to capture Utsumi and Kurosaki.
  • EPISODE 34 – Three-S attempt to ambush the Griffin.
  • EPISODE 35 – Noa takes on the Griffin.
  • EPISODE 36 – Noa wants to be a better fighter and prove herself.

patlabortv-c3-c

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 3” features the following special features:

  • Clean Opening and Closing Animation

patlabortv-c3-d

“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 third volume of “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series”, as we approach the final 10 episodes of the series, the story which was originally all separate episodes, begin to become more connected as a mysterious Griffin appears and also a new antagonist with the Three-S becomes a major obstacle for Division 2.

Also, we get to see certain characters come out of their shell, especially Shinshi and we also get to see Noa wanting to push herself to become stronger.  Also, we have new member Takeo Kumagami joining the crew!

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.

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, volume three of “Patlabor: The Mobile Police” features episodes 25-36 and the cool thing about this volume is that the action has definitely ramped up with the later episodes and also definitely great to see the various supporting characters featured more prominently in various episodes and also great to see a new member joining the group after the departure of Kanuka Clancy.

More mecha action and an awesome classic anime series, “Patlabor: The Mobile Police – the Television Series Collection 3” is highly recommended!

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

August 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

patlabor-a

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!

patlabor-b

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.

patlabor-c

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

patlabor-d

“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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