Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Patlabor TV Collection 2 Review Another Cop Show This Fall

Patlabor TV Collection 2

I wanted to get this collection from the cover alone with chibi Noa Izumi and Kanuka Clancy drunk on top of a red labor, labors are pilotable giant robots. It's a cop show, a Japanese anime cop show and with a slate of cop shows coming back this Fall 2013, mostly on Fox, it fits right in. What doesn't fit in per se is these cops use giant robots and are mostly considered a joke by the rest of Japan. Still the series perfectly captures the roles of a cop or work comedy. That's the Japanese for you, turning a drama/sitcom into a show for kids featuring giant robots.

 Most of the stories seem more adult at the start, many mocking popular culture and making fun of how politics gets in the way in Japan. The weekly story ends and everything is back to normal by next episode. There is a tiny continuity going with a evil organization, not much is let on in these episodes about it, except they love using timed bombs.

This is pure G.I. Joe, The Real Ghostbusters and Speed Racer plots. What should be the battles and procedures of Japan's robot riding police department is more of far out hi-jink adventures. The first episode features a oil rich prince coming to train with the Patalabor team of Unit 2. Just a note, Unit 1 is never seen doing anything or seems to be of any help whatsoever. The oil rich prince is such a cliche, but then in another episode you have the pop idol cliche episode. Pop idols love training for anything in Japan to promote their careers, it's anime tradition.  Let's have strangers who are rich or popular pilot giant robots, nothing bad could happen at all.

There's one episode on this collection that features rescuing a whale. A great look at Japanese culture's politics, which has not changed much since this show aired in the 80's. The writers and animators looked at their culture and considered it so dumb. From how the people cared about a dumb whale one minute and then didn't the next, how the government tries to please them to look good and no one having any idea how to get a whale out of Tokyo Bay. So it falls to the already lauded Unit 2 Patlabor team.

The one episode of Noa Izumi and Kanuka Clancy getting drunk and working out their problems, the only women of Unit 2 , is also a staple of Japanese anime. I

The tacked on everybody laughs sitcom ending on the end seals the deal as a classic anime.

Just want to mention how dumb bad guys are in this series. The only weapon they can wield is timed bombs and they get dismantled so much there should be a regular bomb squad technician on the team. Bad guys are not murderously evil, some are just sad. One suspect recently broke up with his girlfriend and the sullen chief of the group tried talking him out of it with possibly the worst speech on why the guy was a loser. You'll laugh at the predictable character stereotypes.

Quality wise it's not taking up the whole screen, this was devised before HD TV's. It says 1080p on the case, but at 4:3 ratio. It looks like someone went back and polished the animation for the release. Still, you''ll notice voice syncing errors and just animation faux paus. This isn't a new English voice cast, it's the original cast from when it was first dubbed and sometimes accuracy is off. In the first episode of this collection you may notice how bad  the Prince's servants voice is. He is not a robot, he won't be revealed to be a robot. Just some bad audio work. 

Robots are realistic in the series. As realistic as they can be, no super energy guns, just believable motion and abilities adding a sense of sci-fi realism to the show.

For an 80's robot cop show it fits along side those other cartoons I mentioned earlier.

The Blu-rays  were provided by the publisher for review.