The second installment of the classic mecha police series is fun, and picking up the pace
What They Say:
Piloting a giant robot isn’t just a job, it’s an obsession. At least it is if you’re Noa Izumi, the dedicated young pilot of the SV2 Team 1’s Ingram, which she prefers to refer to as “Alphonse.” Unfortunately, Noa’s not the only driven female in SV2’s lineup, and when fate puts Kanuka Clancy in charge of Noa, not only do fireworks ensue, but Captain Goto decides to throw a little alcohol on the fire!
But that’s far from the most dangerous situation facing the thin steel line, and between escorting visiting royalty and pop singers at one extreme and facing off with mysterious phantom robots on the other, there’s no rest for the weary, overworked squad. When someone starts sending threatening messages to Goto and potentially deadly “accidents” start occurring, it’s up to the whole force to band together and find the culprit before someone on the Ingram team has their plug pulled permanently!
Contains episodes 13-24.
For this viewing, I took in the English dub, which is offered in 2.0. The Japanese track is also 2.0. Maiden Japan opted to use the original US Manga Corps/Central Park Media dub, instead of recording a new one, which I assume is the reason we only have it in 2.0. With the action in it, a 5.1 mix might have been nice, but it’s not a killer. Being an older dub, it’s not as clean as newer dubs are, but it just added to the enjoyment for me. People who are picky about their dubs might grumble at it, though.
For its age (1989), this is a good looking anime. The transfer is clean, with no noticeable technical issues. The coloring is a little dull in places, but I think that’s more a reflection of the time it was made rather than a technical flaw. Like the sound, the artwork isn’t quite as clean as a modern show might be, but it looks really nice for an 80s anime.
Interestingly, the first set separated the English and Japanese dubs into completely separate tracks, making it necessary to start over if you wanted to switch between the two. You couldn’t switch on the fly. That’s not the case here, as the tracks are mixed in together like pretty much any other release. I’m guessing it’s because there’s no differences between the Japanese and English releases in these episodes.
The three discs on this release come in a single wide amaray case, with two center inserts to hold the discs. The front cover has a piece of original art with a chibi Noa and Kanuka during their drinking contest sitting around a Labor. The back has the series summary and some screens. The tagline parodies continue with “From the Streets of Setagaya…to the Tokyo Baywatch…these are the SV2 Files.” I’m enjoying these puns, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they have for later releases.
Pretty basic menu for this release. The episodes are lined up against the left hand side of the screen, with the submenus underneath. The series title is set off to the right. The colors are a fairly drab green scheme, but the selection is easy to see.
Just clean versions of the OP/ED for this release, which is a shame, because I liked the comparisons between the original, uncensored Japanese releases to the English dub. Perhaps there weren’t any here, which would also explain why the audio is truly dual this time around.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This set contains episodes 13-24 of the TV series. As we left off last time, we’re getting close to the end of Kanuka’s stay in Japan, and she’s still struggling to truly fit in with the group. In particular, she and Noa cannot seem to get along, which makes it tricky when Asuma is taken out of commission, and Kanuka is forced to step in as Noa’s Commanding Officer during missions as Noa is predisposed to question all of Kanuka’s orders. This leaves Goto with the unenviable task of trying to help melt the ice between them. And as only Goto can conceive, he decides that the best way to do that is to get them drinking and leave them alone.
While SV2 is finally getting to understand Kanuka and her motivations, a new company is moving into the security Labor industry, and seem to be targeting SV2 as their benchmark for success. The company had previously attempted to hire out their services to SV1, but were rebuffed when it was realized that they were after SV2’s operation data. They have found new avenues to enter the market, though, and SV2 are still their target.
For whatever reason, I was left mildly uninterested in the first set, as I felt it was missing out on its true potential by not exploring longer storylines. This set of episodes continued along the same pace, but I found myself enjoying it a lot more this time around. To be fair to it, I think that perhaps I just wasn’t in the right mood last time out as opposed to it getting better. I think it was always this good, but I must have been in a bad mood.
To be fair, part of it might be that I can see an bigger, overall plan for the series at this point with the security company having their sights on SV2, and that might be having an effect on my outlook, but it’s still such a small part of the series, that I don’t think it’s really that (and again, it was there in the first collection too). I do think that Patlabor will really hit its stride when it settles into this for the long haul, but even as an episodic series, there’s a lot of fun to be had here. Little of it is truly serious, yet, but it is a lot of fun.
I don’t know why, but I struggled to get into the first collection of the Patlabor TV series. That’s not the case here. I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve watched so far, and I really can’t wait for how it plays out when the confrontation with the security company comes to a head. This series has a lot of good, old-school potential for when it settles down and gets serious, and I look forward to seeing what they do with it. Recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation.
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Maiden Japan
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Sony PS3 w/HDMI Connection, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System