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Patlabor TV Collection 3 Anime DVD Review

6 min read

Patlabor Collection 3In this third set, we are starting to see some progress towards the ultimate conflict of the series.

What They Say:
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!

The Review:
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 Gotoh and a Labor. The back has the series summary and some screens. The tagline parodies continue with “It takes more than just S.W.A.T.…To Catch Japan’s Most Wanted” (with Japan’s Most Wanted in the same logo as the America’s Most Wanted TV series). 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.

There are no extras on this set other than some previews of other Maiden Japan titles.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This set contains episodes 25-36 of the TV series. As we left off last time, we are getting to know more about SHAFT, the securities company that is developing attack Labors to sell on the open market. They are still interested in testing their equipment against the Ingrams of SV2. The officers of SV2 might not have much of a reputation in terms of professionalism, but they are still the best Labor pilots, and the Ingrams are the class of the Labor industry.

While out on a date one afternoon, Asuma and Noa come across a Patlabor arcade game. Struggling to play it due to its poor controls and unrealistic situations, they are left frustrated when a business man and a young boy show them up and beat the game. They do not realize it at the time, but the two they meet are really Utsumi and Bud of SHAFT. Utsumi is heading up the project to develop the new Gryphon model Labor unit, and Bud is his young, and slightly deranged test pilot. When they finally decide to give the Gryphon a run out, Noa and SV2 will meet their largest test yet.

While I enjoyed the somewhat random nature of the OVA series and the earlier parts of the TV series, I am glad that we’re starting to get into the meat of the series now. They are doing a nice job of balancing the underlying humor and irreverence built into the nature of the show with the more serious issues that are now facing SV2. Utsumi is an interesting villain as he does not seem particularly interested in destruction or power or anything, but more to test his own abilities against the best of the best. Bud, on the other hand, seems fairly unhinged, and I see problems down the line with Utsumi trying to control him. So far, Utsumi has done well in holding Bud back when situations start to get out of hand, but I don’t foresee that continuing much longer.

But while the overarching story is building well, they still do a good job with their random episodes too. I was particularly a fan of episode 27 (“A Voice Calling Out in the Dark”). To give them some special training in urban combat situations, SV2 are sent out to a building site that is planned for demolition. When they get there, they hear all sorts of stories from the construction workers about strange accidents at the site that have people spooked. It is not long before it becomes obvious that the site is haunted, and SV2 have to figure out the source of the problems if they are going to complete their missions. This episode really stood out to me because it is so different from everything else this series has done so far. It is a really good ghost story, and has some great supernatural tension. It could almost be a horror movie by itself, and it was a nice, brief change of pace from the rest of the series.

In Summary:
The Patlabor TV series is really starting to pick up now. I have enjoyed the scattershot nature of it up to this point, but now that there is a clear focus, it is getting to be really good. Again, I am stunned that it has taken me this long to get around to watching it. I am really looking forward to checking out the final set and finishing off the series. Recommended.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, Japanese, English Subtitles

Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: N/A

Released By: Maiden Japan
Release Date: November 5th, 2013
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Review Equipment:
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Sony PS3 w/HDMI Connection, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System

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