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Episode 1: Ingram Activated

 

Review by Chris Guanche

June 15, 2011

 

Summary

 

As the use of labors increases in construction, so too does their use in various crimes. In response, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department creates patrol labor, or Patlabor units. In 1998, a stolen Bulldog labor rampages through the streets of Tokyo and is eventually confronted by the police department's Special Vehicles Section 2. Officer Asuma Shinohara orders the Bulldog pilot to surrender, but Isao Ota thinks they should do the arrest because they've got the pilot on DWI. The Bulldog pilots asks what's wrong with drinking and driving, so Ota rushes forward in his Taisyo. Ota tries to kick the Bulldog, but the pilot grabs the Taisyo's leg and won't let go, causing Ota to stumble across a playground and smash up a jungle gym. The Taisyo and Bulldog fall down, and Asuma sees that both pilots have been knocked out. Back at the station house, mechanic Shigeo "Shige" Chiba reports to chief mechanic Seitaroh Sakaki that the Taisyo is a loss and can't even be salvaged for spare parts. Ota thinks it's time to upgrade labors, and Asuma suggests that's useless unless they also upgrade drivers too. Sakaki tells Ota that he's too energetic and forces everyone to jog outside. Division 2 Captain Kiichi Goto tells Division 1 Captain Shinobu Nagumo that he just completed the paperwork for the new labor models, even in light of the day's disastrous arrest. Goto tells Shinobu that he used the incident to bolster the argument that they can't use outdated labors, and Shinobu wonders if Goto's problem is outdated labors or talented pilots. Goto explains that labor pilot aptitude tests are running in Hachioji, so Division 2 will end up either as an elite unit or a gang of thugs. A young officer named Noa Izumi gets off the bus outside of Shinohara Heavy Industries' Hachioji factory at the same time that Asuma and Ota arrive with the wrecked Taisyo. Ota asks factory chief Jitsuyama if the Taisyo can be repaired, but he answers that there's no need. Realizing that they haven't heard the news, Jitsuyama offers to show them the new labor. Ota shivers in excitement, and Noa approaches Asuma and asks where the labor aptitude test is. Ota dismisses the idea of someone like Noa being a pilot, and Jitsuyama tells her where the test is. He then takes Ota and Asuma to the hangar where the new police model Ingram is stored. Ota jumps onto the transport carrier, but just then a thief activates the carrier and smashes out of the hangar. Asuma wants to give chase in the command car, but the keys are in Jitsuyama's office. Noa shows up to ask for more directions, and Ota says there's no time for that. The smashes through the factory's main gate, and Noa hops onto a scooter to give chase.

 

Back at the station house, Division 1's Python units prepare to mobilize. Shinobu asks Goto if Division 2 will mobilize, but he says they're too reckless and would cause more harm. Goto then leaves in his command car and brings Mikiyasu Shinshi and Hiromi Yamazaki with him. He calls Asuma for a status report, and Asuma tells him that the carrier is on the Koshu highway heading for Takao, but that a strange female officer is in pursuit. Noa pulls up behind the carrier and tries to jump onto it, only to hit the ground when the trailer suddenly changes lanes. Noa then hops into a police car to continue her pursuit. The thief notices her behind him and pulls over, but when she stops in front he smashes the car. Noa gives chase on foot and manges to grab on to the back of the carrier. Asuma and Ota arrive at the site of the crushed car, and Goto tells them that Noa is probably ok. Goto tells Asuma to keep following, and he switches to a helicopter to give pursuit. Noa climbs into the Ingram's cockpit and enters "Alphonse" as her password. Asuma and Ota argue about the situation until they hear Noa talking inside the Ingram's cockpit. Asuma gives Noa instructions on how to raise the deck when the carrier stops. The carrier then stops at the hangar where the thief is delivering the Ingram, and Noa initiates the emergency deck up. Noa is too excited to be in the Ingram to notice that she's been surrounded by three Tyrant 2000 labors. Asuma tells her that the Ingram's 37mm revolver cannon isn't loaded, but drawing it may be enough to scare them. Noa pulls out the gun, but the thief points out that she's bluffing. Asuma tells her to put the Ingram on auto control, but she instead smacks one of the Tyrants and throws her gun at another. She then pulls out her electromagnetic baton and disables one of the Tyrants. Another attacks her from behind, but she backflips it and disables it with the baton. Goto then arrives by helicopter, and Noa is exhausted. Shinobu's Division 1 is stuck in traffic, and Goto calls to tell her that the situation has been resolved. Later, the Ingram is returned to the station house, and Goto introduces everyone to Noa as their newest teammate.

 

Commentary

 

The first episode of the TV series re-introduces us to the maniacs of SV2 with a new continuity and new origin story. It's pretty similar to the OVA's first episode in that Goto's Division 2 is receiving the new Ingram Patlabor despite its recklessness. But instead of Noa being part of the team from the start, she gets caught up in events with the theft of the Ingram from the Shinohara factory. We can see how she's already possessive of the Ingram, which she nicknames Alphonse. The startup sequence for the Ingram is somewhat evocative of the startup sequence for the RX-78-2 Gundam from the original Gundam series. In the end, this introductory episode hits all the beats: Noa is in love with labors, Ota is a violent gun freak and Asuma is caught in the middle. It's a good way to start the madness.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Buy the collection (eps 1-12) on Blu-ray or DVD from Amazon
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