Patlabor Ep. 27: A Voice in the Darkness


Crows circle over a complex of abandoned buildings that Division 2 is using for training. Asuma comments that the buildings look as though they’re about to collapse, and Goto responds that some of them already have. After having a look inside, Asuma comments that the buildings don’t look so good to use for training, but Kumagami doesn’t think it’s a problem. Goto doesn’t think the building will be a problem, but the real problem will be getting the Ingrams inside the building. Since they only need rough data, it doesn’t matter if they cause damage because it will help with the demolition. Goto tells everyone that there are several goals in the training exercise: urban combat, disaster relief and gaining experience with condemned buildings. Goto tells everyone to remove anything of value first and practice with the dexterity of their labors. Noa and Ota maneuver their labors into the building and start removing weird paintings from the wall. Noa asks what to do with them, and when Kumagami answers that the valuable stuff is probably already gone, Ota suggests trashing the place. As the sun goes down, Asuma, Noa and Hiromi leave when the others start the night shift. Asuma asks Noa if she wants to go to a movie on their next day off, but she reminds him that it falls before payday. Goto has a smoke by the window when the door opens by itself and wind blows through the hallway. Several construction workers finish for the night and ask Kumagami if they’re really going to stay overnight. She says that they are, and the workers say to themselves that cops are brave. A cat runs off when rocks start to move on their own. Goto types up a report on his laptop, but his can of coffee moves on its own and falls off the desk. The word HELP then appears on his screen endlessly, even after he turns the machine off. Weird noises come from the door, and the ghostly image of a boy appears on screen. Goto leaves the room and sees a ghostly soldier from World War II with a katana. Ota continues working on removing paintings, and the ghost boy appears behind Kumagami. Ota turns around suddenly and tells Kumagami that he felt like someone was tugging on Unit 2, but she asks what could pull on an Ingram. Ota then freaks out when Shinshi emerges from the shadows with everyone’s dinners. The soldier attacks with the katana, so Goto grabs a pipe to defend himself. He hears weird noises from all around, but they vanish as soon as Shinshi, Ota and Kumagami walk in. Goto lies to Shinshi and says he was getting some exercise, but when he looks at the pipe it has a cut mark on it from the katana. Ota asks what he should do while Goto sleeps, and Goto tells him to just stay there.

The next morning, Noa tells Asuma that she has a weird feeling about the place, as though people live there. Asuma says that’s not possible because the place has been abandoned for years, so it could only be a stray cat or random bum. Inside the building, Ota tells Noa that he’s had strange feelings as though other people are there. Ota then says a lot of people died here during the last quake four years ago, so maybe the place is haunted. He then asks her if Unit 1 feels sluggish and mentions that Goto has been acting strangely since yesterday. Storm clouds settle over the building and start pouring down rain. Shinshi tells Asuma and Hiromi that he heard from the locals that the place is haunted. He tells them a story about a night watchman who was investigating the site after seeing lots of people in old style clothing. But when he looked closer, the men in samurai garb had no legs. Goto lets slip that the ghost he saw wasn’t like that, which freaks out Hiromi and intrigues Asuma and Shinshi. They beg Goto for details, but he tells them it’s nothing, and Kumagami asks why they’re discussing superstitious nonsense. She tells them to drop it, but Goto asks Shinshi to continue with his story. Shinshi did some investigating and reports that the buildings have always been cursed, since one was hit by a bomb during the war and another destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake. In the Tokugawa era that area was the mansion of the Hiura clan, which was wiped out when Lord Miyawaki went insane and slew his own people. Hiromi freaks out more when lightning strikes, and Kumagami yells at them to drop this nonsense. Ota says his hometown has a ghost story too, but Kumagami says she doesn’t want to hear it and storms off. Later, Ota and Noa creep through the building in a mock battle with paint ball rounds. Noa takes a hit and returns fire at Ota, but he hides behind a girder. She prepares to fire at him, but her monitor suddenly goes blank. When she exits the cockpit she sees the ghost boy standing in front of her. The ghost boy ignores what she says and points down at the ground. She then asks Asuma to escort the boy off the grounds, but he’s gone. In the temporary office, Kumagami tells everyone to drop their little joke, but Goto is curious and wants to dig where the boy pointed. She can’t believe that Goto believes this nonsense, and he admits that he’s curious. He then notes that she looks pale, which makes her embarrassed. He then points behind Kumagami, and she freaks out and throws a pile of papers at Goto’s face. She then falls to the floor and screams for everything to stop, saying she hates this sort of thing. Everyone is surprised by her sudden breakdown, but Noa thinks it’s cute. Ota and Noa start digging and find that their Ingrams are moving normally now. The ground collapses under Ota, and Unit 2 falls into an underground cavern full of skeletons. Kumagami passes out when ghosts surround them. Back at the station house, Goto reads a newspaper story about the Hiura massacre, which states that Miyawaki hid the bodies there and told the shogun that everyone died in an accident. Shinobu asks if their anger triggered the later disasters, which Goto says is possible. She then says that the newer victims must’ve been trying to help them find the old ones and jokes that Goto did community service for ghosts. Back at the condemned site, Kumagami lays down flowers, incense and a bottle of sake for the dead.


This is a pretty so-so episode that is not very impressive, save for the revelation that ghost stories are the one thing that can totally break Kumagami. Although most of the episode isn’t that interesting, it’s worth it just to see her breakdown, given that the last episode established her as being unflappable and being perfect at pretty much everything. You expect this might go the angle of the “ghosts” being bums in makeup who live in the condemned building and scare off outsiders, but no, it’s really ghosts. And in the end nothing really comes of anything.

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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