Patlabor Ep. 46: His Name is Zero


Noa has a dream from her childhood about her father burying Alphonse the dog. She wakes up when Division 2 gets a call to mobilize and scrambles to get dressed. Hiromi asks her in the carrier if something is wrong, and she wonders why she had that dream. Back at the station house, Gomioka and Shinobu look at the Python, and Gomioka comments that this’ll be the last time they use them. Gomioka greets Noa, and when she asks about the Python, he explains that it’s being sent off to a training center. Asuma and Shinshi discuss the new model for Division 1, and Shinshi thinks that Shinohara gave up on the idea of economy models. Asuma says they’ve gone in the other direction, and Shinshi notes that the new model is more expensive than the Ingram. Ota is upset that he didn’t get to test the new machine, and Asuma mentions that the new unit has a neuron network. Sakaki doesn’t understand and asks Shige how nerves can be added to a machine. Shige tells Sakaki to think of the computer as a brain, but Sakaki says a computer is more advanced than the human brain, so why go back to nerves? Shige uses the movements of cats and dogs to explain the benefits of a neuron network. He says a labor could keep moving if the pilot passes out, but Sakaki doesn’t like the sound of that. As everyone cleans up in the office, Noa drops an eraser and searches under the desk, where she finds a picture of Alphonse the dog. Kumagami asks if Unit 1 is the second Alphonse, and Noa explains that it’s actually the third, since the second was a cat. Asuma runs in and tells everyone that the new model has arrived. Everyone from Division 2 runs outside as the deck is raised to display the new AV-0. Shinobu jokingly asks Goto if he wants one, but he says he doesn’t need it. She then challenges him to a practice fight against the Ingram to see how they compare. A priest arrives to perform a blessing on the Zero. Afterward, Ota gets into Unit 2 for a practice fight against Gomioka’s new Zero. Ota pulls out his revolver, but Gomioka uses his stun stick to disarm Ota. Ota charges toward Gomioka, but Gomioka is easily able to evade him while dodging drum barrel obstacles. Noa notices what’s going on, and Kumagami says the barrels represent construction debris in the city. Ota tries to grab Gomioka, but Gomioka instead knocks him down, ending the fight.

Later, Gomioka asks Shinobu if she’d like to take the Zero for a ride. She asks him about its performance, and he says it’s superior to the Python in every way, but he has to consider every movement. He says it could become an icon of safety or another symbol of destruction, depending on the movements he trains into it. Hiromi brings tea for everyone, and Ota grumbles that naturally a new model would perform better. Shinshi wonders how the neuron network will perform in battle, and Noa asks why Division 1 didn’t just get Ingrams since the Zero is more expensive. Noa explains that everyone is coming out with new models, and Noa asks if SV2 has to be on the cutting edge, constantly upgrading in response to other people’s upgrades. Kumagami tells Noa not to get carried away since a labor is just a tool. She asks Ota if he could pilot an Ingram just like Noa does, and he says he couldn’t because movement patterns are unique to each pilot. Kumagami says the Ingrams are trained to individual pilots, while the Zero can adapt itself to any pilot. Noa polishes Unit 1 at night, and Sakaki asks her to join him for a snack. Sakaki comments that he doesn’t understand the electronics on the Zero. The next day, Division 2 is called to a construction site where a Hercules H21 and Bulldog are fighting. The site manager begs Goto to stop them because he already had a worker’s comp complaint yesterday. Noa hesitates when the Hercules H21 ignores her and escapes into a neighborhood area. Noa wonders what she should do and gets an idea when she spots an open parking lot. She tackles the Hercules H21 into the parking lot, where it tries to pick up a car and throw. Noa pulls out her stun stick and disables the labor before it can cause any damage. Back at the station house, Noa tells Asuma that she’s been messing up all day. She says it’s great that Division 1 got new labors, but she wonders why she isn’t happy about it. Noa wonders if it was a mistake to train Alphonse, and Asuma tells her to believe in herself. In the office, Shinshi tells Asuma that Fukushima is mad at Noa because the Hercules H21 dented a car belonging to a VIP. The VIP heard about the Zero and is complaining, and Asuma asks if the idea is that the Zero could’ve avoided that situation. As they argue, Noa overhears and runs into Unit 1’s cockpit. She says she was worried about Alphonse, but now she’s made things worse. Asuma asks her to come out, but she cries and says she wants to be with Alphonse.


The arrival of a new Patlabor marks a very emotional time for Noa as the series comes to its conclusion. We’ve seen throughout this series how attached Noa is to Alphonse, as though it were a pet. This episode makes that connection more explicit by starting with a dream from her childhood about the death of Alphonse the dog. Anyone who’s ever had a pet can understand those feelings of attachment, as well as the feelings of loss when it dies. So that’s the situation that Noa is in, because she feels that way about Alphonse and suddenly it isn’t so impressive compared to the shiny new Zero. She once again doubts herself and ends up making a minor mistake that could have big consequences for Division 2. Separately, the Zero is an impressive unit, and it’s certainly a long time coming for Division 1. Once again, there’s a good scene featuring Noa and Sakaki bonding. They both love machines, but neither of them is technically inclined. It’s good to see that sort of connection between two characters who are so far apart in age and life experience.

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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