Patlabor Ep. 38: The Underground Mystery Tour


At the SV2 station house, mechanics Kubo and Kazu argue over the theft of 240 dried fish, with blame going to Kazu’s cat. Sakaki declares that if his men have time for cooking and pets, they don’t need to fish, so he forbids use of the speedboat. After he leaves, Shige assigns Kubo and Kazu two two weeks of bathroom cleanup as punishment. Inside the office, Noa comments to Asuma that a lot of things seem to have gone missing. Kumagami mentions that some of Goto’s whiskey was stolen from a locked cabinet, and Noa says someone stole her snacks. Hiromi stumbles in and reveals that three of his chickens are missing. Kumagami says they have to stop this, whether it was an insider or an outsider. Noa thinks they should clear things with Goto first, and he agrees to their request. At night, Shige walks patrol with a dog named Wyndham and spots a burglar fleeing from the station house. Everyone runs out and gives chase through the crop field, but they lose sight of the burglar. Ota fires his shotgun into the water and demands that the villain reveal himself. Wyndham grabs hold of a piece of cloth from the burglar’s clothes. Once morning hits, they find a manhole, which Sakaki explains to Goto and Shinobu was used to haul trash to the landfill that they now inhabit. Sakaki says the tunnel was closed once the landfill was complete, but the tunnels remain and crisscross the entire area. Shinobu asks Sakaki how he knows this, and he answers that he heard talk about it because there were some accidents and workers died in the tunnel – without their bodies ever being found. Goto wonders if they can seal the tunnel with concrete, but Shinobu thinks they should investigate what’s happening. Goto tells everyone that they’re not getting backup from HQ, so they have to head into the tunnel to find the fugitive. Asuma thinks that Shinobu was happy to dump this problem on them, but Noa points out that Division 1 is on standby. The manhole is opened and a winch is set up to lower Ota and Shinshi into the tunnel. Shinshi thinks the tunnel is creepy, and Ota tells him to show some backbone. Shige tracks them with a responder, but Noa wonders if they’ll be ok. Suddenly, something jumps out of the water.

After Ota and Shinshi fail to report in for two hours, Goto sends Asuma, Noa, Hiromi and Kumagami down to investigate. Shinobu starts to wonder if they should’ve just sealed the tunnel, and Goto says there are things in the world you shouldn’t mess with. Asuma reports in as Shige tracks his transponder location on a computer map that updates as they keep exploring. Sakaki looks at the map and comments that it’s much bigger than he expected, and Shinobu wonders if they should pull the team up and get reinforcements. The transponder detects movement from 50 meters ahead, and a flood of rats runs over everyone. Noa bites down on Asuma’s hand, while Kumagami passes out. They then lean against a wall, which collapses and sends them falling into another room. Noa dropped her flashlight, so she turns on her flare and finds the room filled with countless feral cats. Everyone manages to escape the wild cats, but they drop their radio. Sakaki wonders if they should send more people in, but Shinobu says it’s too risky since they don’t know what’s down there. As everyone checks what equipment they still have, Asuma reveals that he dropped the radio and transponder, so they’re completely lost. Noa asks Asuma where he’s leading them, and he says he’s wondering the same thing. Noa thinks it’s weird that the rats ignored them, like something was chasing them. Kumagami wakes up as they all hear a strange noise and immediately passes out again. The light approaching them turns out to be Shinshi and an unconscious Ota. Shinshi mentions they were attacked by a huge albino crocodile, which suddenly appears and starts chasing them. They seek shelter in a room and find that it’s full of food and all their stolen stuff. Asuma starts biting into a chicken, which Hiromi recognizes as one of his from the tag on its leg. The burglar then walks in, and they give chase when he runs away. The crocodile starts chasing them again, so they all start running faster. They reach the light at the end of the tunnel and emerge on a construction site, but the crocodile keeps chasing them. Later, Goto tells Shinobu that the burglar was Fumihiro Tadayama, a temp worker who was employed at the landfill in 1990. After a bout of unemployment he returned to the landfill and began living in the tunnels, where he stole water, food and power. Tadayama stole things in small quantities so that they wouldn’t suspect him. The tunnel is then sealed and covered with concrete.


Labors take a backseat in this episode as the members of Division 2 head underground to investigate a mysterious series of thefts. Of course, this being Patlabor, things have to get weird. crocodiles living inside sewers is a well-known urban legend, so it’s no surprise that the show makes use of one to terrorize the team. We know that Kumagami has a low tolerance for scary things, so her frequent fainting is also no surprise. In the end, it all turns out to be the work of a thieving bum, but even he falls prey to the crocodile for a Benny Hill-style chase scene. I do like how Goto keeps sticking it in Shinobu’s face that he recommended just sealing the tunnel from the beginning, because as usual, he was right.

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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