When the level of Labor accidents begin to escalate around Tokyo Bay, police detectives Kusumi and Hata are assigned to investigate. What they discover leads to a series of government cover-ups, conspiracy concerning a new biological weapon entitled WXIII-Wasted Thirteen and a tragic, personal connection to Hata. The only hope to stop this threat is to cooperate with the military and lead WXIII into a showdown with the Labors of Special Vehicle Division 2.
- Title: Patlabor WXIII (Wasted 13: Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor)
- Series: Movie
- Episodes: 1
- Status: Finished Airing
- Release Date: Dec 10, 2001
- Producers:Madhouse Studios, HEADGEAR, Bandai Visual
- Genre: Action, Mecha, Sci-Fi, Drama, Horror
- Rating: PG-13
This last review in my Patlabor theme month came out 8 years after the second film, which is the longest gap of time between releases for this franchise. The reasons for this, I don’t really know, since the limited edition does not go into much detail on the production side of things as it did for the other films. Whatever happened on the production side of things, the one thing that is certain about this movie is how different it is compared to other entries in the series.
Once again, the production of this team is in different hands, as Madhouse Studios is behind the animation this time around, and Bandai Visual is in charge of production. The character designs are more that of the second film. In terms of action sequences, it does fall in line with other entries in the series in that regard, but, as usual, when they do show up, they are quite impressive to see. As for the music, it does fit the mood quite well, though I can’t say it was as memorable as the other entries.
This movie is certainly an outlier compared to other entries in the series as it takes place in between the other two films, time wise, and it regulates the SV2 unit characters as side characters. We instead follow two detectives known as Kusumi and Hata as they investigate the destruction of a series of Labors, only to find something more sinister behind it. There are still sci-fi elements, though unlike the political intrigue present in the other two, it delves more into straight up horror. Because of this drastic tone, some fans of the franchise might not enjoy it as well as others, but it does have its own good points in providing a different take on setting of the Patlabor franchise.
Moving onto those new characters, Kusumi and Hata are rather contrasting individuals in some areas, such as their views and usage of technology, their experience as detectives, and also how they approach the case at a certain point, though that is mainly due to Hata getting involved more on a personal level than he should. As protagonists, they are decent enough, and they never come off as incompetent or annoying in anyway. As for characters fans of the series would recognize, the members of SV2 are in here, though more in a support role and only Asuma, Noa, Ohta, and Gotoh get any speaking lines. Out of all of them, Gotoh is, like in the second film, the one who receives the most focus as he and Kusumi seem to be at least old acquaintances. The returning characters don’t receive any new bits of development, but again, this isn’t their film.
The other characters in this film include Misaki Saeko, who is a rather tragic character in her own right, as she is still grieving at a personal loss of hers, which drives her to actions beyond what any normal person would do. She isn’t the only guilty party in this as, like with other Patlabor films, their is plenty of corporate cover ups and dealings with the military, which all gets revealed down the line. Then you have Wasted 13 itself, the monster of the film. Its design does invoke a sense of terror, though, as is the case with a good deal of monster films, its origins are tragic and it tries to invoke a similar sense of tragedy for its audience.
Though it is quite a departure from the other entries in the series, I would recommend that fans of of the other movies and series to at the very least give it a shot to make up their own minds on the series. It can also be used for newcomers to get into the series, though it does not do a good job of explaining the world or setting, so there is that barrier to consider. As with all other films, there is a limited edition for this film, but this movie was put out by Pioneer, later known as Geneon, in the states as opposed to the Honneamise label. As Geneon’s US branch is gone, finding this movie will be more difficult, the limited edition more so. One last thing about the limited edition is that it includes the Minipato shorts, which are comedic skits that aired alongside the movie when it was released in Japan. Needless to say, it is quite a contrast when put right against such a dark movie as this.