Review: Is ‘Patlabor: The TV Series’ Still Watchable?

With a planned remake in the works, the question will be “Is the original ‘Patlabor: The TV Series’ Still Watchable?” Yes. It is still watchable, and it’s still good. In the 26 years since it ended, technology has changed dramatically, but that change is not too jarring or noticeable within the series. We no longer think of advanced computers running on disks or about elite police carrying revolvers, but the rest lines up with today’s technology and culture. There’s no cliché 80’s pop or retro-looking character designs. Even the art style doesn’t have an outdated feel to it. The jokes, as well, hold up to a scrutinizing modern audience. The series has multiple strong women. ‘Patlabor: The TV Series’ feels like it could have been made ten years ago then almost 30.

Special Vehicles 2

There are other good reasons to give it a try:

First of all ‘Patlabor’ is hilarious. It’s filled with traditional slapstick comedy and the genuinely funny antics of its characters, without feeling too stupid or silly. It has very little sex humor or fanservice, which is refreshing. ‘Patlabor’ also has a lot of action. It has visually and technically impressive fight scenes throughout series. Some of the fights actually do leave you in suspense about who is going to win, and many make you wonder how the heroes are going to survive. ‘Patlabor’ can also transition very quickly into a serious drama. Several episodes in Part 1 feature recurring corporate villains and all of those episodes are dark and suspenseful without upsetting tempo or flow.

‘Patlabor’ is a character-centric show. The eccentricities and relationships of the main cast drive the story and the plot. Even the supporting characters feel organic given well-developed backstories. The main characters are complex, and they are just plain interesting. You’ve got: Noa, the weird eccentric girl; Asuma, the scrappy rich kid at odds with his parents; Kanuka, the seemingly perfect American; and Goto, the almost all-knowing Commander. These are compelling characters who are easy to get attached to. The characters are not unique archetypes, but neither are they ones usually found in police procedurals. They are also not retro archetypes. The personnel of Special Vehicles Unit 2 are firmly believable as an elite unit.

The ‘Patlabor’ universe not only makes logical sense, but it’s also big enough to give a sense of reality. While implausible, the origin of the labor mechs as construction equipment is continually restated and reinforced, becoming an accepted part of the background. Other background entities, such as a military labor unit and a fictitious high-tech terrorist organization, also make enough appearances to quickly become realistic groups who exist in the periphery of the story. That is good writing.

Labor Mech

Finally, ‘Patlabor’ is well formatted. While the show is usually listed as one season, it’s divided into three parts. The first part, covering episodes 1-24, was the original length planned for the show. Episodes 25-36 comprise a long follow-up arc, using villains from part 1. And episodes 37-47 neatly tie up the series. Enough is resolved at the end of each part you could stop watching and feel satisfied with what you had seen.

‘Patlabor’ is not outdated. It’s still compelling, and you should watch it.

MEET THE TEAM

Avatar
2510 POSTS14 COMMENTS
Avatar
472 POSTS9 COMMENTS
Avatar
407 POSTS8 COMMENTS
Avatar
275 POSTS6 COMMENTS
Avatar
226 POSTS5 COMMENTS
Avatar
195 POSTS0 COMMENTS
Avatar
170 POSTS3 COMMENTS
Avatar
120 POSTS16 COMMENTS
Avatar
113 POSTS0 COMMENTS
Jason Jeffords Jr
57 POSTS0 COMMENTS
Avatar
56 POSTS0 COMMENTS
Cody Walker
55 POSTS8 COMMENTS
Avatar
42 POSTS0 COMMENTS
Avatar
34 POSTS0 COMMENTS
Avatar
21 POSTS0 COMMENTS
Samuel Pratt
20 POSTS0 COMMENTS
Grant DeArmitt
18 POSTS0 COMMENTS
Patrick Kennedy
3 POSTS3 COMMENTS
David Weber
2 POSTS0 COMMENTS
Avatar
Conlan Murphy
A semi-existant Scotts-American weeb and sci-fi fanboy living in Kansas, I’m capable of both random and complicated thoughts about the world and it’s people, mostly uselessly random. Hoping to provide an interesting progressive perspective. An avid rare pair shipper and Shinji Ikari Defense Squad commando in training.

SPONSORS

The 49ers are 2019 NFC West Champs - Get your Champs Gear at Fanatics
SuperHeroStuff - Shop Now!

If you want your BUSINESS to be part of something bigger than itself, you might be a good fit to partner with Monkeys Fighting Robots.

CONTACT US

Are you a creator looking for a review of your book?
Use the form below to end us a message.

Are you a fan of the website and have a comment, question, or concern? Drop us a line, and we will gladly answer all your questions.

JOIN THE TEAM

Monkeys Fighting Robots is looking for passionate writers to drive the site’s coverage of the comic book industry. Authors will be responsible for a particular niche, providing reviews, opinion and news coverage, while building a reader community using his or her multimedia storytelling skills. The best candidates have solid writing skills, WordPress knowledge, and are engaged on social media. Do you love comic books and have a strong opinion, then we would like to speak with you.

COMIC REVIEW DIGEST, sign up today! At Monkeys Fighting Robots, we strive to talk about ALL aspects of a comic book, instead of just giving you a recap of the story.
  • Did you notice how epic the colors were?
  • That was a wicked panel layout by the artist!
  • What was the letterer thinking?
  • How did this comic book make you feel?
  • Most importantly, should you buy it?

Every Wednesday you will receive an email with our latest reviews and analyses, as well as our original comic strips and exclusive editorial content.
Thanks for signing up!