Patlabor Ep. 3: Special Vehicles Section 2


Shinobu goes off the clock as Division 1’s shift ends and Division 2 takes over. She leaves after changing out of her uniform, and Goto thinks to himself about how cute she is. Asuma tells Noa that Unit 1 is a blank slate and has software only for basic motions, but its movements will improve in time with use. He then reminds her to constantly back up her data, and Kanuka interjects that the only unique part of an Ingram is the data, and moving it to another unit makes no difference. She thinks Noa doesn’t understand that since she’s written the name “Alphonse” on Unit 1. Noa then counters that Ota customized the head of his Unit 2, and Kanuka says he did that on his own. An order then comes in to load the units onto the carriers, and Noa wonders why Ota doesn’t use auto guidance. He gets it done manually, and Asuma tells Noa that it’s a sort of initiation ritual. Sakaki yells at Noa to hurry up, and she moves into position. Hiromi tells her that she’ll lose balance if she moves too cautiously, and that’s precisely what happens when she stumbles into the carrier. Asuma congratulates Noa and takes in bet money from the mechanics. Goto wonders how well Noa will do, and Sakaki comments that she’s young and has an affinity for her machine. Later, Noa, Asuma and Hiromi sit around the office on standby while waiting for a call to come in. Noa asks what they’re supposed to do while waiting for a call, and Asuma explain that they have other activities, including farming. Noa thinks that Ota is lucky since he gets to train in his Ingram, and Asuma tells her tomorrow that she’ll be training with the reserve Unit 3 to get movement data. Ota is exhausted, but Kanuka yells at him that he’s too slow in drawing his gun and locking on to a target. She has him lock on to multiple targets, and Noa imagines what those movements are like in the cockpit. Later, Noa asks Asuma if it’s ok to fish while on call, and he asks what she ate for lunch. She answers fried rice, and he explains that only the Shanghai Restaurant delivers this far out, and only for lunch. He explains that the nearest convenience store is a 45-minute round trip, and it doesn’t have enough food for everyone in the station house. Because of that, they have to be self-sufficient by fishing, growing vegetables and having a henhouse for eggs. Their speedboat then casts off to conduct offshore fishing in Tokyo Bay.

The mechanics assemble to say goodbye to Sakaki for the night, and everyone else heads for the dorm. A call comes in from the kitchen that dinner is ready, and Goto is disappointed to see that his beer has been pilfered – by Asuma. Everyone fights to get their food, and a mechanic announces that the speedboat has run aground. Shige asks Asuma for help because the mechanics don’t want to be in trouble with Sakaki if the boat sinks. Ota then gets into Unit 3, and Noa asks what’ll happen if he falls into the water. Asuma responds that Ota has over 250 hours of labor piloting time, but Ota still manages to fall into the water. Noa and Hiromi perform CPR on Ota after he’s pulled out of the water, and Kanuka says it’ll be up to Noa and Unit 1. Noa doesn’t want to do it because she fears Alphonse will rust in the water, and Kanuka boasts she could do the job herself if she wanted to. Noa then runs off, and just as Shige comments that he’s glad Sakaki is gone, a mechanic in the watchtower spots his car coming back. Shige and the mechanics panic when they hear the news, and Kanuka tells them to shut up. Shige tries to play dumb when Sakaki pulls up and says he needs some papers for a presentation tomorrow at headquarters. Shige offers to take care of the papers and tells Sakaki to enjoy the rest of is night. After Sakaki leaves, Asuma and Noa rip off the Unit 1 stickers they put on Unit 3 to camouflage it. Unit 1 is then lowered into the water, and Sakaki watches from a distance and begins driving back because he suspects they’re up to something. A lookout mechanic passes along the news, and Asuma leaves in his command car to delay Sakaki. Kanuka tells Noa to hurry up because Asuma can only stall for 20 minutes, and Sakaki finds himself stuck in a DUI checkpoint set up by Asuma. Shinshi then calls Asuma and reports that Sakaki left the checkpoint and is trying to get back via Itobashi. Noa struggles with wrapping chains around Unit 3 until Kanuka helps her in Unit 2. They then haul both Unit 3 and the speedboat out of the water with 10 minutes to spare. Units 1 and 2 are then loaded into their carriers and returned to the station house before Sakaki arrives. He inspects the hangar carefully as everyone watches from the shadows. He begins to leave until he spots water dripping from Unit 3’s finger. Goto asks if anything is wrong, and Sakaki pauses before saying everything is ok. Goto then answers a phone call about an incident in Shibuya that requires Division 2 to mobilize.


This episode helps illustrate how Patlabor is different from most other mecha shows. There’s no war or space battles here, but instead a slice-of-life examination of Division 2’s daily activities. It helps ground things that they rely on ramen and fishing since they’re out in the boonies. This is all new to Noa, so in a way she’s experiencing all this the same way that the viewer is. Sakaki has a reputation for being very strict, and everyone goes out of their way to prevent him from finding out about the muck up with the boat and Unit 3. It was pretty amusing to see Asuma tout Ota’s number of hours in a labor, only to be followed immediately by Ota screwing up. Asuma should know that 250 hours don’t count for much when it’s an idiot like Ota. In the end, the team pulls together and gets everything done. They nearly manage to fool Sakaki, but in the end he decides to let it slide even though he’s caught them red-handed.

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


Comments are closed.