The Story of Patlabor
Additional Information in this Section;
•Headgear (Creators of Patlabor)
•Development of the Patlabor Concept
•News and Site Updates
•Contact Details and Disclaimers
Patlabor is an amazing series with excellent characters, plots which range from absurd comedies to political drama, wonderfully designed mecha, and a sense of realism which you don't find in most robot anime. Unlike most robot anime character development is the main focus of the series, rather than the robots being the focus as most robot anime tends to be. In fact some of the stories don't feature any robots at all. It is essentially a workplace sitcom and almost at times boarders on "slice of life" anime genre.
Unlike most robot anime, Patlabor is set in a near future world (only ten years in the future) where robots are just everyday vehicles, like construction equipment for example. All of the main cast are adults (generally in their early 20's) who have adult problems. There are no teenagers full of angst or heroes piloting large robots against an alien enemy. It's just a refreshing slice of life, a comedy/drama set in a Tokyo police division - they just happen to use robots in their line of work.
This series was created in 1988 by Headgear, a small creative team who planed the original 6 part video series as well as the manga. A movie followed in 1989, with an additional direct to video episode released just before the movie. A TV series followed in late 1989. When the TV series was released on video, a new video episode was released with every volume (a total of 16 new episodes). The second Patlabor film was released in 1993. In 2002, a third film "WXIII Patlabor the movie 3" debuted, along with three 'super-deformed' theatrical shorts called "Minipato". A new short was placed at the beginning of each "WXIII Patlabor" print over the course of three weeks, so to see all three you would of had to pay to see the main feature three times. A 12 part live action series was released in cinemas in seven parts from April 2014 to January 2015, with a concluding full length live action theatrical feature following in May 2015. In October 2016, a 10 minute "Reboot" theatrical short was released as part of the Japan Animator Expo (aka Japan Anima(tor)'s Exhibition) short film series.
By the way, the correct pronunciation of Patlabor is PAT-LABOUR, as in Patrol Labor. It is not pronounced PAT-LA-BORE as most people tend to say it.
The Story of Patlabor
There are three universes in Patlabor; the original 7 part video series and the three movies form one universe, the TV series and second video series form the second. The third would be the manga series. Included in one of these universe, probably the the original video series, is a new 12 part live action theatrical series to be released in 2014 with a concluding theatrical feature in 2015. All three do share the same kind of world. Patlabor is set from 1998 to 2002, with the live action theatrical series set in 2013. Because of this, it's probably best to think of Patlabor as being set in a parallel universe.
In the late 1980's, the world's polar icecaps have melted causing oceans to rise. Coastal cities were effected including Tokyo. In the early 1990's barriers were constructed to stop the sea from taking the land. To aid this work, Labors (large scale industrial robots) were developed. Tokyo developed the "Babylon Project". Designed to reclaim land and eventually fill Tokyo Bay, the project had it's critics. Militant environmental groups such as the Beach House, Home of the Sea, and the Earth Defence Family used protest and sabotage to try and halt the progress of the project.
With terrorist action from these groups using Labors, and other organised crime groups using them for criminal activities, came the formation of the Special Vehicles Unit Section 2 (SV2). This section used Patrol Labors (or Patlabors for short) to combat Labor crime. The only problem is that some inside the police force, and the public seem to treat the SV2 as a joke and think they are a money pit. The SV2 hanger is stuck upon on a lot of reclaimed land in the middle of nowhere, and the first division's Labors aren't up to scratch. Division 2 does have better Labors, but the personnel isn't what you would call officer material. Most of the time disaster and bad press seem to follow them.
The story mainly follows the exploits and daily life of the hodge-podge group of people known as Division 2, as they attempt to do their jobs. They often have unwanted work forced upon them by other police units and even the military, but they always manage to get the the job done.
I created this site because I couldn't find any Patlabor websites in English that were really comprehensive. I began work on this site during September 2002, but I did not complete and publish it until April 2003. In March 2005, I renamed the website "Schaft Enterprises - A Patlabor Website". Its old name was the rather plain "Moblie Police Patlabor" (well, I couldn't think of anything else at the time). Schaft are the company that continually challenge the SV2 in their quest to obtain data for their military Labors in the Patlabor TV series and New OVA Series. I became a bit frustrated at trying to find Patlabor information, so I decided to compile every bit of Patlabor info I could lay my hands on with the idea of incorporating it into the current website. In March 2008, just in time for the 20th anniversary of the series, I revamped the look of the site, gave it a real URL and expanded it to include sections on novels, included new sections which listed music, videos, games, books and other commercial product releases, as well as greatly expanding existing sections. This site is broken up into five main sections which can be accessed via the links at the top of every page on this site;
Where you are now. This section contains general information on the website as well as subsections on the creators of Patlabor, Headgear, a section on the development and early concepts for the series and a Patlabor news and site updates section.
The World of Tokyo 1998 - 2002
This section contains information on the world of Patlabor and includes several subsections on Labors, the characters in the series and a map of Tokyo highlighting where the main action of the story takes place.
Naturally this section is about the animated versions of Patlabor and includes synopses for every episode and movie as well as release and broadcast dates and availability of them in English. Also included is sections on "The Next Generation - Patlabor -" theatrical series and feature film, and other related Patlabor animation and other filmed oddities that are somehow related to the series.
This section focuses on the Patlabor manga and novels. It contains synopses as well as information on their availability.
The Fridge - Patlabor Database
This section is for everything else that doesn't fit; comprehensive lists of Patlabor videos releases, music releases, book and manga releases, model kit releases, computer game releases, a cast and staff list, song lyrics and links to Patlabor related websites. The title of this section refers to the bank of computers at the SV2.
Since the series is practically over, I only update the site when I come across new information or if I spot a new Patlabor release like a DVD or a book. The updates are fairly irregular, sometimes happening 6 months apart or more. The site is quite big now, much larger than what previous versions were, and it may not be apparent where everything is so to find what you're looking for, so head over to the Site Map to find the sections you're interested in.
Additional Information in this Section
As this section serves as an introduction to the website, here you will find pages on the group that created Patlabor, Headgear, information on the development and early concept of the series, a link to Patlabor news and updates on the site and contact details. Just click the links below.
A GWEI Product. ©2003 - 2016 GWEI. Mobile Police Patlabor ©1988 - 1994, 2002, 2014 - 2016 Headgear/Emotion/Bandai Visual/TFC/Shogakukan/NTV/Production I.G./Akemi Takada/Masami Yuuki/The Next Generation - Patlabor - Production Committee/Khara. All other logos/trademarks are copyright of their respective owners/companies. Used for review and illustration purposes only.