Patlabor: The New Files – More Character Studies

I write this knowing that I don’t write about a lot of direct follow up OVAs to any of the series that I’ve ever talked about on here. Yes, I’ve done standalone OVAs and stuff like that, but follow up ovas are different. This is because I don’t usually watch follow up OVAs. Continuation movies? Hell yes. Follow up OVAs? Nah, I don’t watch them most of the time because they feel like an extra fan service tie in that doesn’t add value to the series itself. If you like the characters in the show just being together, then great. Watch and enjoy your ovas. If you don’t and are more interested in the plot, then you don’t usually have much to plug into them for. In this instance, the Patlabor: The New Files OVA seems to have broken this pattern for me. Patlabor TV already focuses on these police officers and their daily lives. Patlabor: The New Files takes that formula and plays around with it any way it wants to.

As you have probably figured out by what I’ve said already, Patlabor: The New Files is a follow up to Patlabor on TV. 16 episodes of follow up to be exact. We still follow the adventures of Special Vehicle Unit 2 Section 2. You can read my previous Patlabor post for those character specifics. Just know that we have the Unit 1 crew with Noa Izumi as the brave Pilot, Hiromi Yamazaki as the quiet, giant carrier driver, and Asuma Shinohara with father problems as the lead car to give instructions to both units. In Unit 2 is Isao Ohta as the dangerous, gun happy pilot, Mikiyasu Shinshi as the silent but deadly mecha carrier driver, and the intellectual Takeo Kumagami in the leading car giving instructions. All of them are led by the fun, but mysterious Captain Kiichi Goto.

This OVA series does a lot of character exploration in more unique ways and perspectives then the TV series would allow it to do. The stakes can be a little crazier or each episode could be a short film digging much more into the mental realms of the cast members of the show in question. No, this isn’t something the show could do during its TV run because I feel like there was a mandate to have every character on screen in some way for the weekly police mystery or something. You know, because it is Patlabor and the show wouldn’t make sense if it didn’t have the main cast doing something each episode. The television show escalates things later on in some way. OVAS can do whatever they want. Especially if the audience is already invested the characters from the show itself. Mecha don’t make as much of an appearance here.

I feel like there are two types of episodes in this OVA that make Patlabor: The New Files what it is. The first type are the isolation episodes. Episodes that look at small groups of characters or one singular character, then sees how far it can push the situations they are in to see how they react. You know, to see whether or not they can break or to see who they truly are. I don’t want to spoil any specific situation or joke because that might ruin the experience of watching this OVA, but know that they came in all kinds of different moods. Some are various serious explorations of a character’s inside thought patterns which might make you feel better about characters. Another one might just be plain adorable and push the unity between a certain unit or two. Others are laugh out loud hilarious as you see characters try to hold their professionalism between each other toward while the situation gets weirder and weirder. It’s all stuff that I really love.

The other types of episodes are just really plain ridiculous episodes which involve putting the entire Special Vehicle Unit 2 Section 2 in situations beyond human understanding. These come in a lot of different scenarios that are and aren’t expected given the subject matter. Some of much more expansive follow ups to scenarios that happened during the TV series. The sewer episode with the alligator and perpetrator has an Aliens like sequel for instance. Or the fun, fanservice filled episode in terms of what the creators love episode has an expanded sequel too. There are also police cases which are some of the most unique and hilarious scenarios you can think of. I’ll leave what those are to the imagination because I’m sure all of you can think of funnier scenarios then what happened. Maybe. If that’s possible at any level.

Of course, there are four episodes dedicated to finishing up the Griffin storyline. You know, the super powered mecha from a company that is trying to sell it’s “I’m a Bad Guy” mecha to the investors from across the world? Yeah, woo. That happened. Oh boy did that happen. Fine, that arc being finished wasn’t completely bad or pointless. There were a lot of greats moments from it worth talking about or watching it for. The relationship between Noa and the pilot behind the Griffin are great. Especially when Noa’s kid like nature makes an appearance. Also, Kanuka Clancy came back with her Unit 3 rebuilt to help out Noa Izumi when she needed it so there was some great team work between the two. The Griffin is an overwhelming mecha after all. Just don’t like the sleazy, growthless businessman behind it. So great things did happen. I’m just not a fan of complete arc. It’s just kind of there to tie things together while everything else fun and interesting is happening in the background. It should have been shorter so we had more time for silly moments with the crew.

I don’t have that much to add to the visual aspects of Patlabor: The New Files besides how they are at least slightly upgraded from the TV Series itself. The art looked cleaner and the animation for character movements and facial expressions were more interesting and exciting as well. I don’t think the small amount of mecha action on display pushes the same level of animation and art as the The Early Days OVA. Still, the mecha action versus the Griffin was great from a sakuga perspective. I wish animation cells of Patlabor: The New Files were available anywhere because I would love to buy them. The directional style itself in this show was vastly more experimental in this ova. One episode was very noir like in tone with how the episode framed it’s characters and the added shadows for mood. Others were very energetic and fully of goofiness that the show never had for real either. Just some good exploration and experimentation all around.

I really loved Patlabor: The New Files. It’s such a fun, solid watch for an ova like this. This OVA series following or within the adventures of Patlabor on TV weren’t that necessary, but so what? It’s nice to spend some more time with these silly and interesting characters for sixteen more episodes. Sixteen more episodes for the show to do whatever it wants in ways that it wants to do them. Possibly the standard way an OVA follow up of something is treated and respected. There is a lot of love and respect put into this franchise that dipped away from the world and you can see the production team’s heart and dedication in this show from how this OVA does what it does. Headgear, the people behind this ova, love these characters and this world they created and you can see it right here in front of you. So please, only watch this OVA after you’ve watched Patlabor on TV. It will round out your experience.

Please keep an eye out for different posts for each of Patlabor’s movies around October. This may be the year that I post more gundam content, but this is also the year for Patlabor on Mechanical Anime Reviews. A franchise more people need to see and love.


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