Patlabor Ep. 17: Target: Captain Goto


A man sends a cute-looking letter to Goto that has a simple message: “Die.” He then sits down to eat tempura ramen for lunch, but finds it doesn’t taste right. He decides to give a visit to Fukushima, and Shinobu suggests that Goto wear his actual shoes, which he finds are filled with cat droppings. Goto then meets with Fukushima, who criticizes him for not properly maintaining his uniform. Later, Goto has a smoke on the rooftop and thinks to himself that he has no shortage of enemies. He then nearly hits Kanuka in the face when she approaches him from behind to tell him that the meeting is starting. Later, Kanuka tells everyone that Goto has been acting strange lately and asks what they really know about him. Ota approaches Goto and tells him that Division 2 is going to do a 20-lap marathon around the station house, and they want Goto to join them. As the marathon is about to begin, Asuma says he doesn’t understand what the point is, and Ota tells him this is the best way to determine if Goto has a health problem. The marathon begins, and Goto quickly outruns everyone around the corner and hides inside the hangar while they all run the full 20 laps. Kanuka has an idea and asks Goto to teach her Kendo. After they suit up, Kanuka immediately whacks Goto on the head with her shinai, thus ending the match. Next, everyone convinces Hiromi to bring tea to Shinobu and ask about Goto. She says that Goto was well-known when she arrived and asks why Hiromi is suddenly so curious about his background. Goto pulls up in his command car and asks Shige to fix it up because a potted plant fell off a truck on the highway and hit the roof. Later, Division 2 responds to a call that turns out to be a false alarm, and Ota is upset because he got fired up for nothing. Unit 2‘s deck suddenly slams into the carrier due to a hydraulic failure, taking Ota with it. Sakaki inspects the carrier back at the station house, and Shinshi asks him if anything strange has been happening lately around Goto. Sakaki answers that he hasn’t seen anything and that Shinshi should ask Goto directly. Everyone meets to discuss the situation, and Kanuka notes that all these occurrences began happening after Goto started acting strangely. Goto examines another cute letter, and Shinobu tells him that his team is investigating weird things lately.

On their time off, Kanuka and Noa follow Goto, who is already being followed by a strange man. The man bumps into an old woman and she drops her bag, which forces him to retreat. Goto confronts Kanuka and Noa and suggests eating after all that walking. As they eat, Kanuka says she feels like an idiot, but Goto points out that the other guy following him is even more obvious. The guy hangs around outside the restaurant and runs away when approached by a waitress. Back at the station house, Asuma suggests they grab the stalker, but Noa tells him that Goto gave orders to leave the guy alone. Ota wants to bend the rules and grab the guy, and Goto walks in and tells everyone to clean up for an inspection tomorrow. The alert siren then sounds, and Division 2 responds to a call. A girder was accidentally dropped on a car, and now two Tyrant 2000 pilots are arguing over whose fault it is. Noa is distracted when she spots Goto’s stalker in the crowd, allowing one of the Tyrant pilots to grab her. The stalker tosses a carriage into the street as a further distraction, and the Tyrant slams Unit 1 into a house. The stalker then goes to a phone booth and calls his father, saying that he’s taken care of Division 2. Fukushima and the chief criticize Goto and Division 2 for the fiasco, as well as for their overall poor efficiency ratings. Goto announces that that and several other incidents are connected. He then produces the threat letter and states that forensic analysis shows it matches the handwriting of Zen Sofue, the former commander of Special Vehicles. Fukushima says that after his dismissal, Sofue and his son started a repair shop, and Goto shows everyone a picture of Sofue’s son – the stalker – along with a picture of him at yesterday’s crime scene. Later, Goto tells everyone that he managed to arrange it so that Division 2 wouldn’t face any disciplinary action. Sofue then storms into the station house’s yard and demands that Goto come outside and face him. He then activates his homemade Labor X, which starts to fall apart on its own. Its gun breaks into pieces when he tries to shoot Goto, and its legs crumble when it tries to walk. Labor X then falls over and completely collapses as Sofue blames Goto for everything. Shinobu later commends Goto for bravely facing down Labor X, but Goto tells her he only acted that way because Sakaki had already told him the labor was harmless. Everyone eavesdropping outside the door then call Goto a cheater.


For a change, we get an episode focusing on Goto. After receiving a threatening letter, he acts strangely and gets everyone’s attention. They all fail spectacularly at trying to figure out the connection between Goto’s behavior and several strange petty incidents. Goto manages to stay a step ahead of everyone, most amusingly when he approaches Kanuka and Noa while they’re attempting to follow him. Thankfully, his stalkers are even more inept than that. One of the stalkers turns out to be the former commander of Special Vehicles, and though it’s never explained what his grudge is about, I can imagine there are many things Goto did that could’ve sent him over the edge. Sofue’s labor ends up literally being a paper tiger, and it can’t even stand up without starting to fall apart.

Overall Rating

Patlabor Info

Naoyuki Yoshinaga

Kazunori Ito
Mamoru Oshii
Hiroyuki Hoshiyama
Naoto Kimura
Tetsuo Takahashi
Michiko Yokote
Hibari Arisu

Mechanical Designer(s):
Yutaka Izubuchi
Yoshinori Sayama

Character Designer:
Akemi Takada

Musical Composer:
Kenji Kawai

47 episodes

Japan 10.11.1989 – 09.26.1990


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