Patlabor: Early Days Ep. 5: SV2’s Longest Day, Part 1


Shinobu is surprised to see Goto at the office, since all of Division 2 is on vacation. Goto explains that he felt bad being on vacation and leaving Division 1 to cover everything, but Shinobu says it’s not necessary since Division 2 would get called anyway if something happened. She suggests he go home, and Goto answers it must be nice to have a place to go to. In the distance, a mysterious man watches the SV2 station house. At the Shinohara Hachioji factory, Asuma gets past security to see factory chief Jitsuyama. Against Jitsuyama’s wishes, Asuma looks at the plans for a new prototype labor under construction. He asks what the labor is for, and Jitsuyama tells Asuma that his father doesn’t trust him. After looking at the specs more closely, Asuma realizes that it’s a military labor, and Jitsuyama explains that Asuma’s father wants to take on rival company Yotsubishi. He explains that with the first phase of the Babylon Project ending and sales to private firms dropping, it’s understandable the company would move to the military market. Jitsuyama asks Asuma if he went to visit his father, and Asuma says they instantly started arguing when he went over. He says he can’t go home and has plenty of other places he can go to. Later, Tamiko angrily chops vegetables because Asuma has shown up as an unexpected guest. She cries to Shinshi that he promised they’d spend their time together. Realizing he’s unwelcome, Asuma says he has somewhere else to go. Later, Asuma visits Kanuka, and she’s surprised he showed up without calling. He tries to hold her up with a flower as a joke, but she responds by sticking a gun in his face. They then watch a TV news report about the Japan Self-Defense Force conducting joint training maneuvers with the U.S. military, despite budgetary pressures. Asuma asks Kanuka if she’s going to spend all her vacation watching TV, but she says she’s flying back to visit her grandmother. After leaving, Asuma stands at an overpass and thinks that he doesn’t just want to get drunk and go back to the dorms. He picks up a telephone to make a call, but puts it back down and leaves. In Hokkaido, Noa eats dinner with her father in their house above their liquor store. Her father tells her she needs to get married soon, but she ignores him. Noa then takes a bath and gets phone call from Asuma. He asks her if she wants to hang out and says he’ll pick her up, but he’s shocked to hear that she lives so far away in Hokkaido. On a highway, a truck transporting a labor gets stopped briefly at a traffic checkpoint, and an officer asks them if they have a labor transport permit. The truck’s passenger hits them with the door and the truck speeds off. The police give chase, and the Atlas military labor activates and opens fire on the police with its Gatling gun.

Asuma eats food at the Tomakomai train station in Hokkaido and hears the news report about the Atlas breaking through a police traffic stop. Another customer comes in and sucks down a bowl of hot noodles. The cook asks the man if he’s from Tokyo, and he looks at Asuma suspiciously before Noa arrives to meet him. At the SV2 station house, Goto looks outside with binoculars and tells Shinobu he noticed the strange men watching them two or three days ago. Based on their behavior, he thinks they’re also cops, but he doesn’t understand why they’re there. Shinobu realizes this is why Goto decided to stay, but she says sitting around won’t accomplish anything. When the men see they’re being watched themselves, they drive off. At the hangar, Goto tells Shige that he wants to send an Ingram to the factory for maintenance, but Shige objects and says they could do the maintenance. Sakaki asks what the reason is, and Goto says it’s a hunch. Later, Ota complains about having to drive the transport trailer, but Goto points out that Shinshi is married and Hiromi is down in Okinawa. Ota asks who their enemy is, and Goto says they haven’t shown themselves yet. In Hokkaido, Asuma drinks down a bottle of sake with Noa and her father. Asuma tells Noa to get more sake, and her father abruptly decides to leave. Noa asks Asuma what he thinks Goto is doing, and Asuma answers that Goto is probably failing at getting a date with Shinobu. At night, Goto calls Shinobu and meets her outside her house in the rain. She asks what’s going on, and he says he needs to talk and doesn’t know if his phone is bugged. Shinobu tells Goto that the labor that broke through the checkpoint was military, but he already knew that. He thinks this is no terrorist incident and that something bigger is happening. Goto is serious about his suspicion and asks Shinobu for her help. As Shinobu leaves the car, the rain stops and is replaced by snowfall. The next morning, a subway employee at the Nagata station is shocked to see tanks rolling by on the tracks. Around Tokyo, the military deploys Atlas labors, tanks, personnel and helicopters. One SDF unit smashes into the SV2 station house, and a soldier tells Shige they’re commandeering the Ingrams. Another soldier reports that the other hangar is empty, and the surveillance man realizes the Ingrams must have been shipped out at night on the bay. Elsewhere, Shinobu takes up position outside the police headquarters with three Taisyo Patlabors and demands that the military withdraw. She threatens that if blood is spilled, Japan’s 30,000 police officers will see the SDF as the enemy. In a room somewhere, ringleader Kai Kiyoteru is informed that a police labor unit is in a standoff with their forces, and he realizes it’s Goto’s doing. On a street, Goto vows that he’ll hunt down Kai and stop him. Kanuka calls her grandmother and says she won’t be able to visit. Ota gets dressed, and Shinshi leaves over Tamiko’s objections. Hiromi prays at the family shrine and says goodbye to his mother. In Hokkaido, Asuma and Noa watch the news reports stating that the SDF has occupied the Diet Building, the stock exchange and the NHK broadcast center. The report identifies Kai as the mastermind, and Asuma recognizes him as the man from the restaurant. Asuma and Noa then board a train to return to Tokyo, where a war is waiting for them.


The tone of the series changes quite a bit with the first episode in this two-part story arc. The episode’s title is a play on “Japan’s Longest Day,” a term used to describe the day Japan surrendered in World War II. War is definitely at play in this episode, but it’s the start of one, not the end. Aside from the incident at the police checkpoint, there’s all sorts of subtle hints throughout the episode that something strange is going on, but everyone is oblivious to the increased military traffic on the street. That’s probably because this coup coincides with a joint SDF-U.S. training exercise. We get to see what the members of Division 2 do on their time off, and it’s surprising that Asuma is completely alone without his co-workers around. Goto catches on early that something strange is going on, and he’s proven to be right. He also seems to know Kai, but their connection has yet to be explained.

Overall Rating

Patlabor: Early Days Info

Mamoru Oshii
Naoyuki Yoshinaga

Kazunori Ito

Mechanical Designer:
Yutaka Izubuchi

Character Designer:
Akemi Takada

Musical Composer:
Kenji Kawai

7 episodes

Video Release:
Japan 04.25.1988 – 06.25.1989
U.S. 10.14.2003


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