Special Vehicles Division 2 is back on duty, along with their Ingram Patrol Labor (Patlabor) robots. Using their courage as well as the Ingrams, Captain Goto's motley crew of officers battle crime in Tokyo city. They also deal with their personal lives, as well as the supernatural.
#1: "Condition Green ~Kinkyu Hasshin~ (コンディション・グリーン~緊急発進~)" by Hiroko Kasahara (eps 1, 2, 5, 6) #2: "Mamoritai no (守りたいの)" by Miina Tominaga (eps 3, 4, 7-9) #3: "YOU ARE THE ONE" by DAIZO (eps 10-13) #4: "IDLING for you" by Norihiko Tanimoto (eps 14-16)
#1: "Paradise no Kakuritsu (パラダイスの確率)" by JA-JA (eps 1-4) #2: "My Pace 〜My Way My Pace〜 (マイペース〜My Way My Pace〜)" by Miina Tominaga (eps 5-9) #3: "100 Carat no Mirai (100カラットの未来)" by Mako Hyoudou (eps 10-13) #4: "LONG SILENCE" by Dynamite Shige (eps 14-15) #5: "Wings to the Dream" by Kawai Kenji (ep 16)
Whether it's stories about getting drunk, saving kittens, ghosts, bath house brawls, running from giant crocodiles, fighting terrorists in devastatingly powerful robots, or reading porn, it doesn't matter. Patlabor OVA 2 re-affirms what Patlabor TV and the original OVA established, Patlabor can do anything and it will work. And no, I wasn't kidding, you will find all of that and more here despite the short episode count.
As with previous Patlabor works, the strength of this OVA is mainly in how the characters are so enjoyable, the bizarre and often surreal direction of Mamoru Oshii, and the wonderful OST by Kenji Kawai. If you have seen
and enjoyed anything Patlabor related, it is likely you will enjoy this. However, it should be noted that this OVA is particularly ridiculous even for Patlabor standards. Aside from the first half that deals with more Schaft attacks, this is mostly pure comedy and weirdness. The series has never really sold itself on loads of mecha action, but for better or for worse, there is almost none here. The OVA is still rather enjoyable regardless though, and makes for a solid view after completing the TV series.
Oshii's very deliberate and slow direction is in full effect. The comedy is reminiscent of his 1989 comedy OVA Gosenzosama Banbanzai, but perhaps not quite that level of full blown surrealism and absurdity. As previously mentioned, much of the enjoyment can come from how well developed the cast is. So it isn't a very good idea to watch this unless you are already rather familiar with Patlabor through the previous works. That isn't to say you can't enjoy this if you are not, but you will get more out of it if you already know the characters and have become attached to them. Much of the humor is derived from the awkward situations they are placed in and must deal with, and that will be lost if the viewer is not familiar with their personalities and the tone of the series. I would go as far to say that this was pretty much made to be a direct extension of the TV series, and it does in fact deal with specific events from it that will require prior knowledge to understand.
Production values aren't as high as they are with Early Days and the movies, but they are right up to par with the TV series. Kawai's music is as awesome and fitting as ever. I love how much he utilizes bass and that shines through here left and right. It's not his best work ever, but it's still great. The artwork isn't as impressive as it is in Early Days and the movies, but it's right up there with the TV series. So, sadly there doesn't seem to have been a budget increase despite it being an OVA, but it still looks great for the most part. The mechs always look incredible, but you don't see them much here.
Overall, definitely worth a watch if you are into Patlabor. Not the strongest entry of the series, but it delivers, especially if you are into weird Oshii works. The bulk of the episodes rely on off the wall humor and out there stuff, so if that sounds like your cup of tea you should enjoy it. Once the Schaft episodes are over it is pretty much a free for all of bizarre occurrences the Division 2 team members are forced to deal with, most of them ranging from fantastical to eerie or impossible. I would have liked to see something more in line with the movies and with more Labor action, but I can't say I was really displeased either, and I would watch it again. It gets bonus points for the Red Spectacles reference.
As a continuation of the TV series and as done with the original OVA, Patlabor is about a mech police force in Division 2 going about their daily lives.
The first four episodes serve as a conclusion to the TV series in a final bout with the black labor. This reason alone, if having seen the TV series, will be enough to justify watching New Files. However, the rest of the OVA series is random episodes in true Patlabor fashion as it follows the division 2 team on various adventures, work related or not. That is what makes up Patlabor The New Files.
Director Oshi (previous Patlabor)
creates a slow paced environment and well developed characters to invent any situation imaginable ranging from getting lost in the sewer system, fighting in a bath house, or even to getting hammered (drunk) on vacation.
When it came to the animation, nothing is new here. Unlike the TV series and the original OVA, New Files does not do anything to impress. It is still good, but the music is lacking along with almost zero action. This really is just another OVA series to give the viewer more of the team and their hijinks they get into. After those four initial episodes, the series falls flat in wanting more Patlabor action.
Patlabor New Files is a fun watch if having already watched the previous iterations, and just want more. Otherwise, this is the weakest of the anime series, but still remains pretty enjoyable at the same time.