Patlabor Ep. 9: Red Labor Landing


A man named Ichoku Inubashiri finishes his shift on his construction job and gets on a bus, where another passenger tells him that the Ivan will be arriving at midnight in Sakata. Inubashiri then gets off the bus and is followed by a man in a suit. He then runs away and kicks the man in the face when he catches up, knocking him out. He frisks the unconscious man and finds that he’s a cop, so he takes the gun. Inubashiri then gets into a taxicab and forces the driver at gunpoint to take him to Sakata. The next day, an inspector from Public Safety named Takahata meets with Goto and Shinobu to tell them about last night’s incident. Takahata goes into Inubashiri’s background, stating that he joined the SDF, became a labor pilot and eventually developed sympathies for a terrorist group called Home of the Sea. He’s been arrested multiple times since his discharge, but each time the charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence. After the taxi ran out of gas in Utsunomiya, Inubashiri dumped it and hijacked a motorcycle, which he used to break past a police blockade. He then pulled a dine and dash in Tsuruoka and disappeared after reaching Sakata. Goto doesn’t think it’s a job for them, but Takahata then shows him a picture of the Ivan, a secretly developed Soviet military labor. One of them is coming into Sakata tonight as part of a defense contract between the Soviet Union and a Southeast Asian nation. To keep it under wraps, the Ivan left Nahodka on a civilian freighter to travel across the Sea of Japan. Takahata wants Goto’s team to go out to Sakata, but Goto says he can’t due to the red tape of getting permission to act outside of their jurisdiction. Takahata then says he came to see Goto to avoid official channels, and Goto tells him that not only is he mistaken, but that SV2 can’t fight military labors. Goto suggests going to the SDF, and Takahata yells that if he could go to the SDF, he wouldn’t be talking to Goto. Takahata then asks to borrow some off-duty officers, and Goto agrees to it after Shinobu whispers something into his ear. Takahata then leaves, and Shinobu comments that something’s suspicious. Shinobu asks Goto whom he’s going to send, and Goto recalls that Sakata is known for hatahata fish. Later, Asuma and Noa ride a train to Sakata, and she’s excited about seeing the Sea of Japan, but he tells her this is no vacation since they’re surrounded by Takahata and his men. While Noa buys hatahata and other stuff for the mechanics, Takahata explains to Asuma that his men got off at Niigata and are taking separate routes to Sakata. Asuma comments that he feels conspicuous being in his uniform, but Takahata tells him that’s deliberate so as to create the impression that SV2 is in the city. Takahata adds that the Home of the Sea terrorists aren’t the only ones who know about the Ivan, and he points out to Asuma all the undercover KGB, SAS, CIA, NATO and Mossad agents watching them. Asuma and Noa then head to the inn and discover that they have to share a room.

Later, Asuma watches TV while Noa takes a bath. She returns to the room and finds Asuma asleep, so she gets into her bedroll. She panics and smacks Asuma when she sees him reaching over for her, but he was really trying to grab some hatahata. Asuma then gets a call from Goto, who tells him that Takahata is suspicious since he claims to be an expert on the Soviets but is so focused on Home of the Sea. As Asuma talks on the phone, Inubashiri slips by right behind him and leaves the inn. Inubashiri runs to the harbor and knocks out another agent to board the freighter, where he starts fighting the crew. He gets down into the cargo hold where the Ivan is stored and gets knocked out with a rifle butt when he tries to enter the cockpit. A KGB general named Ivan Ivanovitch Ivanovsky then takes the Ivan outside where Takahata and his men are waiting. Everything was designed to make it look like terrorists stole the Ivan, but really it was a gift from Ivanovsky as part of his defection. Takahata thinks news about a terrorist incident will draw lots of media presence, allowing them to slip away with Ivanovsky and the Ivan. Noa then appears behind them in Unit 1, and Asuma orders them to surrender, telling Takahata that it’s bad form to use people. Noa asks if the Ivan will fire at her, but Asuma answers that it’s in the midst of transport, so it probably isn’t loaded with ammo. A second later, Ivanovsky fires and blows up Takahata’s car. Ivanovsky thinks he’s been betrayed and starts firing everywhere, so Asuma tells Noa to hide behind the carrier for cover. Hiromi back up the carrier so that Noa can hide behind it, but she’s forced to dive for cover when the Ivan fires again. Takahata blames Asuma for ruining everything, and Asuma blames Takahata for using him. Inubashiri then emerges from the freighter in a second Ivan and opens fire on Ivanovsky. The Ivans shoot at each other and make a huge mess until they run out of ammo, which allows Noa to rush in with her baton to attempt to disable Ivanovsky’s Ivan. However, he manages to grapple onto her, until Inubashiri slams into him and knocks him into the water. Noa immediately pulls her gun out and arrests Inubashiri for labor theft. The next day, Goto tells Asuma and Noa that the defection was covered up, with SV2 getting all the blame. Shinobu asks what will happen to Takahata, and Goto answers that he’s being demoted. Goto then asks where his hatahata is, but everyone else has already eaten his favorite food.


This episode gives us some old school Soviet espionage. Yes, the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991, before the setting of Patlabor, but no one expected that back in 1989. Goto gets a shady request for help and sends Asuma and Noa to Sakata to check out the situation. Takahata’s an odd sort, whispering about secret things and searching everywhere for spies. Maybe he’s just full of it, but I’d be really curious to know how the Mossad has a trained spy dog and what exactly its job is. Since this is Patlabor, everything turns into a big mess at the end, but it all manages to resolve itself.

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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