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TV Episode 1: Ingram Activated

Copyright: © Copyright 1990 Headgear/Emotion/TFC/NTV; re-released in the US by Central Park Media Corporation © 1998
Length: 24 minutes
Rating: NR, Parental Guidance Suggested
Format: Japanese Language/English Subtitled (VHS)

[ plot summary ]

The series begins with an intro to Special Vehicles Division 2 (SV-2) of the Mobile Police Patrol Labor force (Patlabor). With creaky, out of date machinery and an extremely violent labor pilot, Isao Ota, the SV-2 seems to bear the brunt of all police department jokes. It isn't until the division's Captain Gotoh informs his team they are the inheritors of the newest labor developed by Shinohara Heavy Industries, the AV-98 Ingram, that the team's morale is lifted.

New labors means new pilots and that's where our loveable heroine, Izumino Akira (Noa for short), comes in. She arrives to take a labor competency test at Shinohara Heavy Industries' main factory only to find that someone has stolen one of the coveted AV-98 Ingrams! Can Noa single-handedly retrieve the labor? Of course! She's the heroine, and a pretty darn good cop.

[ capsule review ]

The first thing that surprised me was that the Patlabor TV series has a different beginning from the previously released OVAs. The team meets in a completely different way, so for those of you who have seen the first two OVAs, forget about them for now.

Patlabor reminds me a bit of You're Under Arrest and Dominion Tank Police because of their characters and story line. The series is modeled after Masami Yuki's manga of the same title, so that means you'll love it if you're into character development, strange humor and quirky story lines. Parents should be advised since there is a lot of crashing and bashing among the labors, as well as gunfire.

But blood and guts is non-existent in this series-a disappointment for major blood and guts fans. The series is relatively old, and the animation quality rather exemplifies that. But, the comedy and the characters are still very entertaining. And for those of you into mecha and machinery, the mechanical designs might interest you.

For those of you who know and love the Patlabor soundtracks, the intro song "Sono Mama no Kimi de Ite" (performed by Nitoh Yuko), and the end song "Midnight Blue" (performed by KISS ME QUICK) are definite pick-me-ups. The background music, written by Kenji Kawai, ranges from soft and gentle to quick and mechanical-but that's the idea, isn't it? A good deal of his work here relies on synthesizers and electric keyboards. For those of you who are also Kenji Kawai fans, you might recognize his style from the background music for Blue Seed.

This first episode is a "bit of fluff" compared to some of the more dramatic episodes with heavier story lines, as fans of the first OVA and the two previously released movies might agree. Kudos to all of the seiyuu, especially Noa's character voice, Miina Tominaga (a.k.a. Yahiko in Rurouni Kenshin). There are more dramatic episodes, more action scenes, a lot more comedy to come, so stay tuned!!!

[ café rating ]

Original: Subbed: Dubbed:
Story: N/A 3 stars N/A
Direction: N/A 4 stars N/A
Acting: N/A 4 stars N/A
Animation: N/A 3 stars N/A
Music: N/A 3 stars N/A
Translation: N/A 3 stars N/A
Overall Rating: N/A 4 stars N/A

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