The date is 2002, three years after the events of PATLABOR 1 – Mobile Police. The destruction of a United Nations Labor team in South East Asia begins the build-up to a deadly terrorist plan that threatens to send shockwaves throughout Japan’s military. With evidence of an impending military takeover, the scattered members of the original SVD (Special Vehicle Division) must gather to defend the city against danger. To make matters worse, the mastermind behind the operation is none other than Nagumo’s former teacher and ex-lover Tsuge.
- Title: Patlabor 2: The Movie (Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor 2 The Movie)
- Series: Movie
- Episodes: 1
- Status: Finished Airing
- Release Date: Aug 7, 1993
- Producers: Production IG, Ashi Productions, HEADGEAR
- Genre: Action, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Drama, Comedy
- Rating: PG-13
One thing that I have noticed about this OVA timeline of the Patlabor series that I have looked at is that while they are billed as mecha anime, the focus is never truly entirely on such things. That isn’t to say that the Labors are unimportant, since they are the driving force for a lot that goes on in this series. It is just more different from what I was expected and it isn’t bad by any means as long as the story and themes it presents are good.
Unlike the first movie, Studio DEEN isn’t attached to this film at all, with Ashi Productions and Production IG stepping up to the plate this time. They are pretty competent in their own right and all the characters look as they should, though older and more mature in some cases, such as with Asuma and Noa. As for the action sequences that do eventually crop up in the film, they look rather well animated as well. And it goes without saying that the music is still good, as it has consistently been in the different entries thus far.
If the last film had some rather heavy themes to it, this one is even more serious, as the city of Tokyo is threatened with missile attacks and even gas as part of a revenge scheme by someone who has lost all faith in the current status quo. There is naturally plenty of political intrigue as well, with the United States threatening to get involved if things are not solved in a timely fashion, and upper echelons of the police trying to use the situation as some sort of power grab for themselves. However, with all this political intrigue, something has to be sacrificed, and that would be the action sequences. The ones that are there are nice, but again, people going into this film for plenty of mech action might be disappointed.
Moving onto the characters, this movie actually feels like a sort of epilogue to most of the members of SV2 with what their roles are in this film. To be honest, it feels kind jarring, since a character like Noa, who was so chipper and hyper with her wide eyed enthusiasm, is now much more grounded in reality and is actually pretty conscious of how she acted when she was younger. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, as it shows development for her. I just wish that we could have seen the event that led her to this instead of it just sort of coming out of nowhere as it does. It is because that most of the SV2′s stories are “over” that we focus mostly on are Captain Gotoh and Nagumo, which means their stories finally flesh out and can also end on some concluding note.
As for other characters in this film, you have the antagonist, Tsuge, and an intelligence officer with Japan’s Ground Self Defense Forces, Arakawa. Both are important for their own reasons, as Tsuge is the one who brings most of the conflict in the film and also having ties with Nagumo. His whole philosophy is that Japan has prospered for too long without engaging in another conflict, making it seem as if the country lives in its own “illusion” as it were. It is a bit hard to describe, but it makes sense in the context of the film. As for Arakawa, he mainly serves as someone Gotoh can speak to and discuss different philosophical ideas with. It is rather obvious, but there is a lot of thinking and exploring of themes in this, so one should be well prepared for this.
So, even with all the philosophical debating and small amount of mecha action, is the second Patlabor film worth watching? I think it is, for the very fact that it is considered the “end” of the OVA timeline of the Patlabor series, and if one wanted to see how it ends, this is your chance to see it. The movie is available in the states under the same conditions as the first film, so it should not be that hard to get as of this writing.