Patlabor: Early Days Ep. 7: SV Units, Go North!


A truck pulls up to a gas station at night, and the driver goes to the bathroom. A man in a nearby phone booth walks over to the truck and steals it. A bicycle cop pulls up, and the gas station attendant tells him the truck was stolen. The cop starts to call it in, but the driver says there’s no need and runs away, although the cop tackles and arrests him. Later, the truck passes through a toll plaza and continues onto a highway. Shinobu calls the Takasaki Police Department and asks to speak to Goto since SV2 is supposed to be there for the city’s centennial celebration. On a highway, Goto tells the team about the stolen truck, and Asuma is surprised that a thief stole a truck that was already stolen, but that’s the information they got from the Beach House sympathizer they arrested. Goto tells them the truck contains a demonstration labor meant to be displayed at the International Labor Show in Harumi, but it was first stolen after arriving in the country from West Germany. Goto is hoping there aren’t any surprises when they find the truck, but he suspects there will be. With the police closing in, the truck suddenly exits at Fujioka. Goto pulls to a checkpoint and speaks with Police Superintendent Kusumoto of Gunma Prefecture. Goto asks Kusumoto to take down the checkpoint because they don’t want the thief to get off the highway. He says the truck contains something that’s probably dangerous, and the driver might get off the highway if he sees a checkpoint. They then get a report that the truck already exited the highway at Fujioka. A helicopter tracks the truck, and Shinobu tells Goto that the Foreign Affairs department is getting involved because the terrorists planned to smuggle the labor to the Communist bloc. Kusumoto tells Goto that everything is set up and asks Goto to capture the criminal before he leaves Gunma. The truck gets back onto the highway, and several civilian cars driven by police officers begin following it. Noa wonders why they’re going through so much trouble if the truck is just ahead of them, and Asuma tells her she’s thinking like Ota. The labor pilot inside the trailer calls the cab, but the thief ignores him and rips out the radio. Kusumoto asks Goto if he’s sure the thief won’t get off the highway again, and Goto says the thief is probably trying to get somewhere far like Niigata. Kusumoto thinks the truck might head to Mikuni Pass, and they get a report that two unidentified labors have been spotted there. The truck smashes into cars as it heads toward a tunnel blocked by Noa and Ota. Kanuka pulls the trailer forward so that Ota can grab the truck. Unit 1 responds slowly, allowing the truck to escape and head back into the tunnel. Ota gives chase and fires his gun at the truck. The trailer then opens, and a Brocken labor emerges from the bed. Noa jumps onto Hiromi’s trailer, and Ota damages Unit 2 while standing up inside the tunnel.

Elsewhere, Beach House terrorist Yu’ichi Moritomo, aka “The Wrath of the South Seas,” asks the driver who he is and what happened to Asanuma. Moritomo asks him if he’s a new contact, and the driver says he’s a seasonal worker who stole the truck on impulse. Moritomo then declares that they’re both comrades oppressed by the government. Asuma and Ota argue about the labor trailer, and when Noa tells them to stop arguing, Asuma reminds her the situation is partly her fault. Noa then blames Ota for blocking the road and preventing them from giving chase. They keep arguing until Kanuka tells all of them to shut up. A helicopter then lands nearby carrying Shinobu and Kaihou, and Goto gives them the truck’s current position. Kaihou tells Goto that they’ll be coordinating their operation with the Brocken’s manufacturer, Schaft Enterprises Europe. He says Schaft feels guilty about what’s happened, and given that Unit 2 is smashed up, Goto’s in no position to turn down help. Elsewhere, two Schaft Grau-Bear labors take up position outside a temple. Goto tells Shinobu he thinks Schaft is participating because they want to be on the scene to destroy evidence. He points out that SEE smuggled a military labor into the country under the pretext of being part of the International Labor Show. On a country road, the driver panics when he sees two Grau-Bears and quickly turns the truck, causing the Brocken to fall off of it. The driver gets out of the truck and runs over to the Brocken, where Moritomo tells him to take the labor to Niigata before passing out. The driver pulls Moritomo out of the cockpit and jumps in as a Grau-Bear approaches. The Grau-Bear tries to kick the Brocken, but the driver catches its foot and pushes it away. He then stands up and runs away. As the sun rises, Noa activates Alphonse and blocks the road the driver is running on. Asuma tells her she can switch with Ota if she’s scared of a three-on-one fight, and she tells him to take her to a movie later as compensation. The driver tries to run around Noa, but one of the trailer raises its deck to block him. Goto thanks the Grau-Bears for helping and tells them not to take any further action. Since he knows they’re going to try something anyway, he gives Noa permission to attack. Noa knocks one of them down and smashes the head of the other one before stabbing it with her stun stick. The other Grau-Bear attacks Noa from behind and knocks her down. It then tries to punch Alphonse, but it’s stopped by the Brocken. Noa gets up and spins the Grau-Bear in the air for damaging Alphonse, and the driver punches it. Later, the driver goes to the hospital to visit his wife and newborn baby. Shinobu asks Goto what’s going to happen to the driver, and Goto says the truck was stolen by Moritomo. She says Moritomo will talk, but Goto asks who’s going to believe a criminal over the police. Goto says they owe him for tipping them off to the Brocken’s existence and can’t arrest him, so Shinobu decides to play along.


The first Patlabor OVA series ends by going back to its roots and chasing after a stolen labor. This is the first time we’re introduced to labor manufacturer Schaft Enterprises, and they’ll become recurring antagonists in the TV and second OVA series with the labors they “test” against SV2. It’s amusing that this whole thing started off with a random guy stealing a truck that had already been stolen by Beach House. That leads to some antics when terrorist Moritomo discovers the truck driver isn’t who he thought it was. Goto guesses on the mark where the stolen Brocken is going, and he accurately guesses that Schaft would try to destroy the evidence of it smuggling a military labor into Japan. As usual, Ota overdoes things and ends up damaging his Ingram in the process, leaving Noa to do all the dirty work. The Schaft Grau-Bears almost get the better of her, so she’s lucky the Brocken intervened. It’s also amusing to see her “power up” in a fit of rage when Alphonse gets damaged by one of the Grau-Bears. With this series over, the original universe gets its next follow up in the form of the movies, which take a much different tone than the lighter style evident in most of the OVA.

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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