Plot: What’s it about?
Three years ago, a force of special police was created to watch over the massive robots (labors) that began to do various tasks, such as military & manual work. This force was charged with making sure any robotic malfunctions were dealt with, as well as ensuring no criminal agents used the labors for illegal means. That team (the patlabors) has been up to task thus far, but soon they will come up against a challenge that even they might not be able to match. A force of United Nations labors has been demolished in Southeast Asia, which means the threat of a potential attack can be felt almost everywhere. There is a strong belief that the terrorists involved in that rampage want to stage a military takeover, which could be devastating to the people of Japan. In an effort to stop this from happening, the original patlabor squad comes together and forges an attempt to restore order and prevent the takeover. But what they don’t know is that the man behind the terrorist organization is someone they know, someone very close to them. Can this team push ahead, overcome the odds, and make the streets a safe place for normal folks again?
Unlike most sequels, Patlabor 2: The Movie manages to equal the original and in some ways, perhaps even surpass it. This film uses the same premise & also the same animation style as the original, so there is much to like here if you’re a fan of the first movie. I am not blown away by the visuals of this series, but I am pleased with the level of animation that is used. This is not the most fluid & complex work, but it rivals most other mid-level animation titles. This series focuses on the storylines & characters, which seems to more than make up for the lack of dazzling visual touches. I think the details & depth of this storyline are fantastic and continue the basic premise of the original, which is also nice. I am not a fan of this mech-anime, but I did have fun watching this entry into the genre and I can see why so many folks are taken with this series. The robot battles were very cool and I wish there were more of them, but the dialogue driven sequences won’t leave you bored, that’s for sure. I recommend this title to anime fans and especially fans of the first film, as this sequel offers more of the same.
Video: How does it look?
Patlabor 2: The Movie is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. This is an above average transfer in the end, but a couple small flaws keep the score from being higher. I saw some debris & grain at times and also noticed more than a few compression problems. These were minor cases, but I still think they should knock the score and be mentioned in this review. Aside from those issues, this is a good transfer and I detected no animation flaws with the move onto the digital format. The colors look natural, but still somewhat bright and free from smears, while contrast is stark and well balanced. I don’t think many will complain about this one, but it could have been a little better in the end.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc has two audio options to choose from, an English pro-logic track & a Japanese stereo option. I prefer the Japanese track on principle, but for this review I gave both options a listen and I was pleased with both. I give the edge to the English track, which has more range and such, but I still think the Japanese track is the one to choose. The audio on both is more than acceptable, with no serious problems to contend with. The dialogue seemed clean & clear in both cases and of course, English subtitles can be used if you don’t speak Japanese. In either case, you won’t be let down by these audio choices.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc houses trailers for this movie and the first film, as well as information on Manga’s catalog & fan club.