Vintage Patlabor; action, comedy and drama in 16 episodes
Daniel Cowden | USA | 10/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Patlabor is not your typical giant robot anime. Whole episodes go by where the characters do not use their mecha.
The "New Files" is the post-TV series follow-up, and takes Patlabor's characteristic comedy to a whole new level. Yet at the same time it contains one of the show's best set of action episodes and easily the three most touching and poignant moments of drama for the cast. Not bad for just 16 episodes.
The four episodes on Disc 1 are the only ones to have an audio track dubbed in English; Manga opted not to finish the dub process for the remaining twelve episodes, but instead to just get the thing released. Considering that the release of Patlabor DVDs began in 2001 and only just finished with the release of this set, I'm just happy they decided to release it at all. We had to wait long enough.
The first Disc can be thought of as the "Action" disc; its four episodes contain a single story arc where the Griffin -- the infamous "Black Labor" which starred in the TV series' longest connected story arc, spanning roughly five episodes -- returns for a rematch with Special Vehicles. But before it can fight the Ingrams of Division 2, it must get rid of Division 1 and it's new "Peacemaker" labors, based upon the Type Zero from Patlabor Movie 1 and the final episodes of the TV series.
The second Disc can be thought of as the "Comedy" disc; there is not a lot of action, but there are a lot of laughs. These six episodes are all one-shot stories, and frequently focus on cast members who did not get much screen time in the TV series. Whether it is "The Seven Days of Fire" which is focused on Shige and the Mechanics of SV2, or "Versus" which details battle of wits, philosophy, and drinking between officers Kumagami and Kanuka, or "The Black Trinary" which has the cast searching for a terrorist within the confines of a public bath house, all of these episodes are played for laughs, and they do a very good job of it.
The third disc could be thought of as the Drama disc. While it has its share of comedy as Division 2 takes another foray into the sewers under their base (which they previously did late in the TV series) and Asuma has a dream eerily reminiscent of Shige's fanficful CLAT episode from the TV series, the other four episodes exist for the characters, not the laughs. "Two in Karisawa" focuses exclusively on the never-before-explored relationship between Division 2's Captain Goto and Division 1's Captain Nagumo as they are stranded on the road by a typhoon, and stop for the night at the only place they can find -- a love motel. "Snow Rondo" focuses on Asuma and his romantic relationships, while "All Quiet at SV2" is a general 'feel-good' ending to the series; perhaps not with as much closure as fans would like, but with as much as is actually needed. It's also a rare episode where Asuma talkes about his family and Ota struts his stuff in a Labor -- without shooting anyone.
All in all, this collection has many of my favorite moments in Patlabor, and is a very welcome addition to my DVD library."
If you have Vol 1 already read this.
Brian Albers | Texas | 10/16/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If you have already purchased Vol1 of the New Files and are a Dub fan you should be warned. Even though this volume contains all of the episodes for New Files only the first Volume (Same as the one that came out before this set) is dubed. The rest are only subed."