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Patlabor The Mobile Police Ultimate Collection Blu-ray Review

6 min read

Man’s relationship with machine becomes more complex in the future.

What They Say:
Building the city of the future is a tough job, but the development of Labors… giant robots specifically designed for construction and other heavy duty tasks… is transforming the world. Unfortunately, when someone puts that much power in a machine, the one thing that’s certain is that someone somewhere will find a way to use it to commit crimes. That’s why Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department has its massive Ingram Patrol Labors and the brave men and women of Special Vehicle Section 2, Division 2… including the teams most recent recruit, the mecha obsessed Noa Azumi. Get ready for some of the wildest, most incredible adventures ever as Noa and her new comrades in arms hit the street in the ultimate collection of one of anime’s most legendary creations – Mobile Police Patlabor!

The Review:
The audio presentation for this release is a pretty mixed one because of its origins. With some of the TV material being dubbed but other pieces not, it’s the kind of show where the dub on that side is treated as an extra than an actual feature. The feature films, however, get solid dubs that were produced by two different companies (which was different than the TV/OVA material) but there’s a lot to like with each of them as it’s a different way to view the property. My personal favorite is the production for the WXIII film but all three films offer good things with the dub tracks. The project as a whole is one that I watched in Japanese over the years and always go back to for revisits, however, and they’re well-presented here. The encoding for it is solid as we saw previously as we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

The presentation for this series is one in a pretty good way where we get what was previously encoded but laid out in a way that reflects the two timelines. Because it’s a mix of OVAs, TV, and films in the set there’s no consistency here since it was done over quite a few years. The bulk of the set is in a full frame format which looks great as we get the older material that looks better than anything else that we’ve seen over the years on DVD (or VHS for those going back to those days like me). The real winners are the films since they had higher budgets in production and detail and the progression there is great as well. Again, WXIII looks the best since it was the last one produced and just the quality and detail with it looks great. The set as a whole definitely gives fans what they had always hoped for in the show looking better than the composite release we had on VHS and the basic push to DVD from years ago.

The packaging for this release is one that definitely goes for compact considering all that’s here. We get a soft slipcase to hold everything in and it’s done well with a Patlabor style of silver and black with the Special Vehicles Unit 2 logo along it. It’s die-cut on both sides so that you can see the artwork on the cases inside. The TV series side goe for a brighter and happier piece with Noa in the foreground and the main team behind her in illustration for while the other side goes for a visual from the movie side with a serious Noa and the Patlabor aspects. The TV case is a thick one that has the nine discs on hinges. The back cover breaks down how they’re laid out with a nice cutaway of the Patlabor interior. The other set works similar but has a lot of production credits lists alongside the projects with who all is involved, particularly for the movies since that’s how that has to be presented. The technical aspect is well handled along the bottom for both sets, though the movie set has a lot more to dig through here. Both sets also feature a piece from the previous individual releases that I like as it breaks down the order and what pieces belong to the two timelines as the movie timeline has the original OVA series and the three films while the TV timeline has the big run plus the New Files run.

With the release retaining the extras as we saw before there’s plenty to like across the whole run. We mostly get extras on the film with things like the Minipato and the like but we also get the clean opening and closings as available and some fun deleted scenes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When Maiden Japan began acquiring the pieces of the Patlabor franchise there was a lot of excitement. The show was out of print for far too many years for something that was key a generation of fans that were introduced to anime through it, especially the films. The property was divided up between a couple of companies back in the early days of domestic anime licensing and there were plenty of disparities there. So, as the elements started to get released on high definition for the first time here we ended up with everything under one house. And what a range of materials there are.

This set brings us the original TV series that ran for 47 episodes. It also has the 16 episode New Files series and the original 7 episode OVA series. To cap it off in a way that I really didn’t expect, it also includes the 3 feature films. These projects were all released over the years such a long time ago between Central Park Media, Manga Entertainment, and Geneon Entertainment. And seeing those out of order – and mixed timelines- made for a lot of confusion in trying to have a cohesive view of it. So this ultimate collection is just fantastic in being able to have it all together in one set and with a clearly listed order of what to watch and with what.

Having worked through all of these shows in the last couple of years and the discs being compiled versions of those with no changes, we’ll let the reviews that we produced stand for themselves in terms of content and how they’re put together.

In Summary:
Patlabor is a great franchise. It’s one that in my early days of anime was something that I had read lots about but had very limited access to as so little was licensed and it took forever to finally get more than the movies. Maiden Japan’s pickup a few years ago of the work and pulling it all together into high definition release was a great experience. And now fans and new potential fans can get the whole thing in one fantastic collection at such a low priced. There’s almost 2,200 minutes of material here with TV, OVA, and films. It’s an expansive look at what this world is like and those that inhabit it as they focus on labor crime and some really big concepts. It’s still pretty boggling that we can get all these different things together in one set and at such a great price. Some of the older aspects of this may feel unusual to newer/younger fans but this is a work that I can’t recommend enough to take a chance on and experience.

Japanese Language, English Language (Partial), English Subtitles, Deleted Scenes; English Dubbed Episodes of Griffon Resurrected, SCHAFT’S Counterattack, The Greatest Showdown in History, and GAME OVER; MINIPATO 1, 2 & 3; Clean Opening Animation and Clean Closing Animation

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

Released By: Maiden Japan
Release Date: November 6th, 2018
MSRP: $129.98
Running Time: 2161 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: Mixed

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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