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Episode 8: The Seven Days of Fire

 

Review by Chris Guanche

August 23, 2012

 

Summary

 

Division 2 sets up a roadblock on a highway as police cars chase a Crabman High-Leg. Ota rushes in with Unit 2 and tries to punch the Crabman, but it swipes at him with one of its legs and rips off half of his right arm. It then speeds by and jumps over Unit 1 and the roadblock into an industrial area. Ota draws his revolver and fires, but he ends up blowing off his own head because the gun is pointed backwards. Ota responds by turning Unit 2 backwards and firing over his shoulder, which causes him to hit several police cars before landing a shot on the Crabman's wheel, sending it crashing into a granary. Back at the station house, Shige asks Sakaki if they should send Unit 2 back to the manufacturer. Sakaki asks if they have spare parts, and Shige says they could fix the arm, but not the head and its sensors. He suggests sending out Unit 3 as a substitute, but Sakaki doesn't want to deploy the expensive unit unless necessary. Sakaki orders Shige to fix the arm and order a new head, and Shige tells Sakaki that all the mechanics are worn out and can't handle another all nighter. Sakaki walks into the room where several relief mechanics are sleeping and decides to send Unit 2 to the manufacturer. His attention is then caught by a porn magazine, followed by multiple VHS porn movies. Sakaki becomes furious and wakes up all the mechanics. An exhaustive search is conducted, revealing porn mags and tapes hidden in closets, in the ceiling, under floorboards and under tatamis. Sakaki has all the porn gathered together and destroyed in a bonfire, triggering the Seven Days of Fire. Sakaki establishes harsh rules banning all personal items at work, along with the playing of video games. The mechanics start to grumble, but Sakaki tells them all to shut up. Shige tries to calm him down, but Sakaki yells at Shige that he's too soft on the mechanics. Facing harsh restrictions, the mechanics start looking at porn on work computers, secretly fish at night and set up a black market for snacks and cup ramen. Noa comments that things feel strange now, but Ota agrees with Sakaki. Asuma mentions that Ota looked at the porn mags too, and Ota yells at Asuma for ratting him out. Sakaki takes Shige to Shanghai restaurant to discuss the situation. Sakaki recalls what it was like when Shige started working for him 10 years ago. Sakaki tells Shige that he'll eventually take his place, which causes Shige to have a change of heart known as "The Shanghai Betrayal."

 

Shige assembles a force of Nazi-costumed mechanics called the HQ Natives to start a harsh crackdown on the other mechanics. Shige's thugs attack the other mechanics with paper fans, setting off a wave of sabotage and anti-authoritarian terrorism. One night, Shige is alone in the bath and gets assaulted by several mechanics. Mechanics attack each other everywhere, including inside the barracks and at Shanghai. Goto comments that things are getting nasty, and while Shinobu thinks they should do something, Goto points out that the mechanics are still doing their jobs properly even with all the terror. He says no one wants to deal with this problem and report it because even Fukushima would lose his job. Goto wonders if Sakaki is the kind of person who doesn't want to grow up, but Shinobu doesn't think so. As the wave of terror continues, the various groups fracture into subgroups with various ideologies. The three factions and 11 subfactions include the Maintenance Squad Democratization Front, the Revolutionary Communique, the Reclaimed Land Report, the Free Awadachi Union, the Wrenches of Blood Alliance and the Death to Shige Corps. However, the fragmentation prevents any one group from seizing control. Shige is then kidnapped and tossed into the bay, while another group covers the hangar with propaganda. On the seventh day, Sakaki invites Goto to his house for a drink. He later takes a walk in a park and helps several children fix the chain on their bicycle. Shige's thugs prepare to attack mechanic Buchiyama, and Sakaki takes notice of a poster of an idol singer. He then starts yelling at everyone for being morons and making a mess. He asks Shige when he became a Nazi stooge and orders everyone to clean up the mess and cut down one of the guys from the rafters. Sakaki yells at everyone that they don't have personal lives at work and starts lecturing them about what things were like when he was young, thus bringing an end to the terror campaign.

 

Commentary

 

This is one of the craziest episodes of Patlabor and thus one of the funniest. Despite not featuring an apocalypse, the episode's title is a reference to the world ending event in the manga/anime Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. What starts out as a show of compassion from Sakaki turns into an all out war when he finds a frightening amount of porn stashed everywhere. This leads to bizarre and hilarious circumstances, starting with Shige's Nazi-inspired crackdown on dissidents, which in turn fuels angry reprisals and a neverending series of slaps with fans. I think there are enough fans in this episode to give even Kaname Chidori from Full Metal Panic pause. Despite all this insanity, the mechanics still manage to do all their work as normal. Aside from the opening scene, most of the members of Division 2 hardly factor into this episode, giving as a rare focus on just the mechanics. After days of escalation, the war ends as it began, with Sakaki yelling at everyone.

 

Overall Rating

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Patlabor OVA 2 Episode 8 Patlabor OVA 2 Episode 8
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