Patlabor Ep. 21: Return of the Phantom


As the ferry travels through the ocean, Shinshi and Hiromi are unable to sleep due to Ota’s loud snoring. In another cabin, Noa is unable to sleep, and Kanuka tells her that she’ll have a rough time if she doesn’t get some sleep. Asuma arrives at Shinohara’s Hachioji factory, and Jitsuyama orders his mechanics to run diagnostics as soon as Unit 3’s new hardware is in place. Jitsuyama tells Asuma it’ll be another two hours, but after that he can get Asuma to Inatori on a cargo ship. Asuma asks if his father ordered the ship, and Jitsuyama tells him to just leave it be. A police officer drives through the abandoned streets of Oshima and tells the citizens they have to evacuate to the Town Hall. JSDF officers wonder where the Phantom will appear, but Kurosaki doesn’t believe it’ll leave the training grounds because the Coast Guard is on patrol. Kurosaki offers to have HSS’ labors lure the Phantom into the training grounds, and a soldier reports that the labor team in Narashino is requesting permission for an air drop. The officer says it’s too early for that because the enemy hasn’t mobilized yet. The Phantom emerges from the ocean and attacks a Saturn. A police officer who witnessed the attack reports that the Phantom went off in the direction of Sashiki. The officer orders the Samsons to be moved to the southern part of the training ground and to alert the Helldiver team. The ferry docks at Oshima, and Division 2’s carriers roll out. Kurosaki greets Goto and leaves after a bit of small talk. Goto asks Kurosaki if he’s seen the Phantom, but Kurosaki answers that he hasn’t. Noa asks Hiromi if he’s ok from his sea sickness and Ota butts in and tells him to man up. Goto tells everyone that they’re going to try to not engage the Phantom because they have an unspoken agreement with the SDF to let them handle it if it enters the training grounds. Ota thinks that’s cowardly, and when Noa asks who’s going to be commanding her, she’s surprised when he answers that he will. Asuma complains that they won’t be able to use Unit 3, but Shige gives him a movement disk Sakaki created that is a complete copy of Unit 1’s data. Shige updates Asuma on the situation, reporting that Division 2 has landed in Oshima and expects to engage in combat. At Oshima, the transport plane begins air dropping Fuwa’s Helldiver team, but the Phantom snipes one of the unit’s parachutes, sending it into freefall.

Kanuka orders Unit 2 to deploy, and Goto tells Noa to pray the Phantom doesn’t come their way. The freefalling Helldiver uses its thrusters to slow its descent, but a hard landing damages its knees and immobilizes it. Shinshi reminds Kanuka that they’re approaching the training grounds, but she responds that they have to enter the training grounds themselves if they want to lure the Phantom there. Ota tells Shinshi not to worry about it, and they smash through the roadblock into the training grounds. The Phantom then opens fire on Ota, so he stops to pull out his gun. Kanuka orders him to keep moving so that he can get in close range of the Phantom. Ota rushes into the forest, but since his monitors are jammed, he raises his seat to stick his head out of the cockpit. He barely manages to dodge a laser blast from the Phantom and returns fire, but his shots have no effect. Ota gets up and rushes in with his stun stick, but the Phantom knocks it away. Ota then punches the Phantom and grapples it from behind, but it flips him over his back and sends him crashing to the ground. Watching from nearby, Kanuka notes that’s the same move Noa used in the previous battle. The Phantom knocks away Unit 2 and moves in to attack again, but it’s forced to pull back as Fuwa’s Helldivers approach. Shinshi checks on the unconscious Ota, and Kanuka reports to Goto that the Phantom is using the same laser beam weapon from Tokyo Teleport. Noa asks Goto how long she has to sit there, and Goto tells her to wait a while longer. Inside a van, Kurosaki tells his lackey that Unit 1’s data would be a gold mine if he could get his hands on it, and he asks if the Phantom can approach Unit 1. The lackey comments that it’s too risky because Unit 1 is near civilians and it’s almost dawn, but Kurosaki doesn’t care. The Helldivers chase the Phantom out of the training grounds, and it fires at Unit 1’s carrier. Another blast destroys Unit 1’s revolver, and Goto tells Noa to stay put because the Phantom is trying to draw her out. The Helldivers open fire on the Phantom, so Noa rushes in against orders to help them. After getting bandaged up, Ota tells Kanuka that he’s sure there was a second labor in the forest. Fuwa grabs the Phantom from behind while it’s trying to fire its laser beam, and when the other Helldiver rushes in with a knife to stab it, it gets sniped from the forest. The Phantom then knocks Fuwa down and prepares to fire at her, but Noa throws her stun stick at the Phantom and knocks it away with a punch. Kurosaki orders the Phantom to fall back when its data feed is lost, and Fuwa thanks Noa for saving her again. The Phantom begins to retreat, and Fuwa warns Noa that there’s another labor out there. Shinshi shows Kanuka the shell casing left behind by the second labor. As the sun rises, Noa engages the Phantom at close range and lowers her helmet’s visor to protect herself from the Phantom’s blinding light. She tries to grab the Phantom, but it smashes Unit 1’s right hand fingers. The Phantom then picks up Unit 1 and starts squeezing it. Kanuka reports to Goto that they found a 42mm shell, which she believes came from the Saturn. The Saturn then approaches Noa and takes aim at her, but Asuma punches it with Unit 3. He then smashes its head with his foot and tosses his stun stick to Noa, which she uses to stab the Phantom through the head. Asuma knocks Noa away to safety as the Phantom self destructs. After the smoke clears, Noa thanks Asuma. Kurosaki and his lackey escape the island in a helicopter, and Goto jokingly asks Noa if she can shoot it down. Back at the SV2 station house, Goto tells Shinobu that according to HSS they never employed a man named Kurosaki. In the hangar, Noa and Asuma joke with each other as they work on Unit 1’s maintenance.


The two part battle against the Phantom concludes with a bang, literally. Just as Goto predicted in the last episode, this was all a ruse to lure out Division 2, and it worked. This time around, the shady Kurosaki is posing as an employee from HSS and working with the SDF, even as he’s sending out the Phantom against them. I think it was a miscalculation for him to talk to Goto, because he unnecessarily aroused Goto’s suspicions. Had he not, he could’ve faded away as a faceless anonymous name. He also gets greedy – not content to merely get combat data against the Ingram, he wants its actual movement disk. But thanks to a last-minute save by Asuma in the newly modified Unit 3, it’s all for naught. As one would expect, Asuma’s appearance and his actions patch up his relationship with Noa, and by the end they’re back to normal as though nothing happened.

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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