Patlabor Ep. 39: Economy Model Plans


Late at night, Noa and Asuma go off duty and notice that the mechanics are still working on Unit 1. Asuma gets onto his bicycle and grabs onto Noa’s shoulder to get a speed boost from her scooter. They stop at a doughnut shop and have snacks. Noa asks Asuma if Sakaki and the mechanics would have to work less if Division 2 used a mass production model, and he says they would. Noa then mentions the rejection of the Economy based on its performance at Harumi, and Asuma tells her the next model is being designed purely for police use. He says Division 1 needs an upgrade, but they also need a production model for police nationwide. Asuma asks what she thinks about a new model, and she says she won’t know until she tries it. The next day, Goto tells Noa that he’s sending her on a business trip because Shinohara wants police to help test its new police labors. He says that Ota will test it after her, and Shinobu adds that she’s sending Gomioka too. Noa speaks with Sakaki and says she’s not sure how to test the labor. Sakaki tells her the tests are to find problems, so she should complain about anything that feels wrong. At the Shinohara lab, Jitsuyama tells Noa that they’ve upgraded the new model in many areas and it now has higher processing power than the Ingram. Jitsuyama takes Noa inside the dome-shaped test building and unveils the Economy Type Mk. II. Noa gets inside the cockpit and activates the Mk. II for walking tests. She maneuvers the Mk. II around several large cones and sees that it handles completely differently from the Ingram. She then tries to pick up a heavy object and has trouble at first, but notes that the Mk. II is strong. After the tests are over, Asuma notes that Gomioka rated the Mk. II an 80, but Noa was harsher and gave it a 60. Noa thinks its sluggish, and Gomioka thinks it responds differently. Ota then returns and tells Noa that she’s too biased toward the Ingram. He asks why she was so hard on the Mk. II, and Asuma asks if he had a good opinion. Ota thinks on strength alone it’s enough to replace the Ingram and asks Gomioka if he agrees. Gomioka thinks it’s strong, but he points out that he’s never used an Ingram. Noa returns to the lab again, and Jitsuyama tells her she should be pleased now. She finds that the Mk. II moves completely differently, and Jitsuyama says they made changes based on the feedback from Noa, Ota and Gomioka. Jitsuyama says they want to create a production model that’s easy to operate.

Back at the station house, Sakaki tells Noa that a computer is just a tool and can’t do everything on its own. He says that even labors of the same make have subtle differences, but Noa doesn’t understand. She says those differences could be compensated for by the computer, so pilot skills aren’t important. At the research lab, Ota performs running tests and tackles a test ram. He complains about doing useless exercises and says he wants to have a practice fight. Gomioka and Noa then perform the same running and tackling tests, and Jitsuyama is surprised by how fast Noa is. Noa thinks the Mk. II still doesn’t move right, and Jitsuyama tells her that she’s only a few centimeters off target, so they’re happy with her results. Jitsuyama calls Goto and tells him that a test fight has been approved and they want to fight an Ingram. Ota is upset to learn he’s not being picked for the practice fight, and Goto tells him it was just a coin toss. Ota chases after Unit 1’s carrier and begs to fight. Asuma asks Noa if she’s afraid of fighting the new model, and Sakaki says she’s afraid that if she loses, they’ll stop using the Ingram. At the lab, Jitsuyama introduces test pilot Yamamoto and explains that Noa’s job will be to capture the attacking Mk. II. The practice fight begins as Yamamoto charges toward Noa with a large staff. In on move, Noa sidesteps Yamamoto, grabs the staff and knocks him over. She starts to walk away and gets attacked from behind, but she breaks free and gets Yamamoto in an arm lock from behind. Afterward, Shinohara decides to suspend production on a police model labor. Shinshi notes that Division 1 must not be happy about losing another upgrade, and Kumagami adds that now Gomioka won’t get to captain a new Division. Gomioka complains to Shinobu about the news and says they need the Mk. II because even as a production model it’s superior to their Pythons. Shinobu tells Gomioka to be patient and asks if they could do their job if Tokyo were flooded with identical labors. She says anything Division 1 receives must surpass the Ingram, which is the reason for the delay. Noa tells Sakaki that she realized why the Mk. II never felt right – SV2’s mechanics always made the slightest adjustments based on her feedback, while the Mk. II never got such a custom tune up job. Sakaki tells Noa that Jitsuyama still intends to create a successor to the Ingram, but they can’t beat SV2’s mechanics and pilots. Noa thinks they don’t need a new model because Alphonse is perfect.


Although this is a standalone episode, in some ways it’s an offshoot from the Griffon arc. Back then, we saw how poorly the Economy performed against the Griffon in combat. So Shinohara went back to the drawing board and created the new and improved Mk. II as a mass production model for police. Although Ota and Gomioka approve of the new model, Noa still isn’t sold on it. She is a good pilot, but she shows once again that she doesn’t at all understand the technology behind labors. In a sense, that makes her a kindred spirit to Sakaki because he’s an old school mechanic and not at all an advanced technology guy. They have some good scenes to that effect. While the Mk. II does perform well in most tests, we see that in combat it’s no match for the Ingram, so it ends up as another dead end police labor. You have to feel bad for Gomioka since Division 1 is still stuck with its crappy labors and even the Mk. II would’ve been a step up from what they have now.

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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