Back in the late 90s when anime was scarce with a few VHS releases here and there, I remember coming across Patlabor and enjoying the few OVA episodes I was able to get my hands on, as it had a nice blend of comedy, police procedural action, and of course giant mecha. Now here we are decades later with the franchise expanding into a TV series, another OVA series, and of course movies. Thankfully our friends at Maiden Japan have made it easy to watch all of these with the Patlabor: The Mobile Police Complete Collection set. Now anyone can hop aboard Alphonse for some fun and action-packed mecha police adventures.
Taking place in the not too distant future, mankind has succeeded in creating giant mechs used for construction called “Labors”. Of course when any new technology comes along, people will use it to do bad things, which leads criminals to use Labors to commit all sorts of illegal acts. This is where our heroes from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department come in, and their special unit that handles Labor crimes, Division Two of Special Vehicle Section 2.
Led by the extremely laid-back Captain Kiichi Goto, our heroes pilot and maintain the Patrol Labors, or Patlabors as they stop criminals from using Labors to hurt others, steal things, and such. While there isn’t a main character per se, the Labor obsessed rookie Noa Azumi definitely counts as one as she calls her Patlabor “Alphonse” and is always ready to head out on a mission. Between her and Asuma Shinohara, the son of the head of Shinohara Industries that makes most of the Labors out there, there’s always something crazy and exciting going on as they and their team take on all kinds of baddies and problems that arise. This is all happening while they learn to get along better, and that’s if they don’t kill each other first.
Being a fan of old school anime and police procedurals (as well as Mamoru Oshii of Ghost in the Shell fame showcasing some of his early talent here), I highly enjoyed this series as soon as I popped in the first disc. Speaking of discs, this collection is massive as it includes all 47 episodes of the TV series, all 16 episodes of the Patlabor the Mobile Police: The New Files OVA, all 7 episodes of the original 1988 OVA Series, and the three movies. If you’re like me and love older, mecha-filled anime with fun and funny characters that can be serious when need be, then you’ll get a mech-sized kick from this collection.
There’s also a lot of special features to go along with this awesome set, such as deleted scenes, English dubbed episodes of The New Files OVA that previously only had four dubbed and the rest subbed, along with the famous Griffon story arc. There’s also the cute and silly MINIPATO episodes, clean opening and closing animations, and more.
Fans and those who love old school anime will want to strap into their favorite Labor and use it to pick up the massive Patlabor: The Mobile Police Complete Collection set. With awesome and funny characters you’ll instantly love, cool mecha and police action, and also loads of special features, this is one sweet anime set you’ll want to add to your collection.