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The Patlabor manga (comic book) was written by the man who came up with the original concept of Patlabor, Masami Yuuki. He once joked that the Labors see more action in his manga than they do in the anime. For the most part he's right. While the anime mostly deals with the lives of the characters, a greater emphasis is placed on the Labors in the manga. Labor action sequences appear quite regularly. Masami Yuuki also stated that both the anime and manga influenced and fed off each other.

The manga version of Patlabor was published about the same time the first direct to video episode was released (1988). It was first published in Shonen Sunday Weekly Magazine, then compiled into graphic novels. The manga ran from 1988 to 1994 with a total of 22 volumes being published. A latter print run compiled the manga into larger B6 editions with a total of 11 volumes. Both editions are now out of print. A second re-print of the larger B6 sized edition was done in 2000, and may still be available in Japanese book shops.

In 1998, US company Viz began releasing the Patlabor manga in English. Unfortunately after 12 single issues (2 graphic novels), the company decided that it was no longer profitable to publish it any further.

Since very little of it has been translated into English, and even though I have obtained a full set of the manga my Japanese language skills are virtually non-existent, it is very hard for me to give a comprehensive overview of the series. Hopefully over time I will be able to flesh out the story by reading the as yet unfinished French translation of the manga.

The series follows the anime initially, and then diverts into new stories not seen in the anime, most which became the basis for many of the TV episodes. One character that is introduced early is Takeo Kumagami. Not seen in the anime until the TV series in 1990, she first appears in the manga in 1988 (Kanuka Clancy basically replaced Kumagami in the anime).

More importantly we have the very early introduction of Schaft's Utsumi, the Phantom Labor, the Griffin Labor and Bud. The Griffin arc in the manga is quite long compared to the anime, and in fact it doesn't conclude until the last story in the last volume of the manga series.

This arc also involved a new story named "Waste Product 13" and formed the basis for "WXIII Patlabor the movie 3". Unlike the film, this part of the manga was heavily based around the Special Vehicles Unit 2, Schaft and the Griffin. The detectives, Shinichiro Hata and Takeshi Kusumi, and the military colonel Goro Ishihara do not appear in the manga at all. The members and staff of the Toto Medical Laboratories, Saeko Misaki, Toshiro Kurusu (the director), and Shizuo Miyanomori (the male research scientist) all have major roles in this arc. The ending is also quite different when compared to the manga.

I am still hoping to give a more detailed look at the manga, but I unfortunately lack the Japanese language skills to do so. The French translation of the manga by Kabuto does offer a lot of hope, but as of March 2008, only 17 volumes of 22 have been published. Writing synopses of the manga is a major project of this site, but I haven't really progressed much at all with it. However I still plan on writing up as many synopses as I am able to.

 

Under Construction

 

 

 

Manga Synopses

Prologue
Chapter One: The Right Staff (Such Light-hearted Folk...)
Chapter Two: Schaft!
Chapter Three: Active Factor
Intermission (First Part and Conclusion)
Chapter Four: Game Maker
Chapter Five: Out of Standard
Chapter Six: Vs.
Chapter Seven: After Care
Chapter Eight: Helping Out
Chapter Nine: Industrial Waste Product No. 13
Chapter Ten: Strike Back
Extra Chapter One: Ota's Secret
Extra Chapter Two: Poolside
Chapter Eleven: Collapse of Division 3
Chapter Twelve: Making of Patlabor
Catch
Chapter Thirteen: Labor's Melancholy
Safety First
The Father's Daughter
Prelude to Revenge
Chapter Fourteen: Approaching Storm
Chapter Fifteen: Black Labor
Chapter Sixteen: Three Days of Hostility
Chapter Seventeen: Griffin
Chapter Eighteen: Collapse
Chapter Nineteen: Ingram
Chapter Twenty: The Right Stuff - Natural Quality

 

Availability
In English

Only two graphic novels were published (which cover the same manga in the original Japanese editions) by Viz Media in the US. In 1999 Viz decided that it was no longer profitable to publish the series, and it looks like no other company is interested in publishing the remaining volumes. In January 2006, a number of retailers listed both graphic novels as "out of print" or were in their "closeout" bins. However in late 2012, most online stores still listing the graphic novels had begun to delete them from their catalogues, signalling that Viz had finally stopped reprinting the series. In North America the two graphic novels are still fairly easy to find, and can be ordered from second hand sellers via Amazon or on ebay. Please see the English Language Manga Releases List for a complete listing of all releases, formats and product specifications for the Patlabor manga.

Title Format ISBN
Mobile Police Patlabor Volume 1 [Out of Print] Graphic Novel 1-56931-287-7
Mobile Police Patlabor Volume 2: Basic Training [Out of Print] Graphic Novel 1-56931-337-7

 

In Japanese

The Japanese graphic novels were originally published by Shonen Sunday (Shogakukan) from 1988 to 1994. They were originally compiled into 22 volumes, then republished twice over the years in a larger formats for a total of 11 volumes each. The second re-print of the larger print manga was done in 2000 complete with new dust jacket covers with photos of Patlabor model kits and is still in print. Shogakukan also published "The Starting Volume" in April 2015 as part of a promotion for the “The Next Generation - Patlabor - Final Battle in the Capital” movie. It contains a selection of stories from the Patlabor manga, a new interview with Masami Yuuki and a Shinohara Heavy Industries Safety First sticker. You can find these manga in second hand Japanese book stores online, or if you're ever in Japan, local manga and second hand bookstores. You may also be able to order them from bookshops that import Japanese books. Please see the Japanese Language Manga Releases List for a complete listing of all releases, formats and product specifications for the Patlabor manga.

Title Format ISBN
Mobile Police Patlabor Compilation Volume 1 (2000 Version) Graphic Novel (A6 Edition) 4-09-193271-1
Mobile Police Patlabor Compilation Volume 2 (2000 Version) Graphic Novel (A6 Edition) 4-09-193272-X
Mobile Police Patlabor Compilation Volume 3 (2000 Version) Graphic Novel (A6 Edition) 4-09-193273-8
Mobile Police Patlabor Compilation Volume 4 (2000 Version) Graphic Novel (A6 Edition) 4-09-193274-6
Mobile Police Patlabor Compilation Volume 5 (2000 Version) Graphic Novel (A6 Edition) 4-09-193275-4
Mobile Police Patlabor Compilation Volume 6 (2000 Version) Graphic Novel (A6 Edition) 4-09-193276-2
Mobile Police Patlabor Compilation Volume 7 (2000 Version) Graphic Novel (A6 Edition) 4-09-193277-0
Mobile Police Patlabor Compilation Volume 8 (2000 Version) Graphic Novel (A6 Edition) 4-09-193278-9
Mobile Police Patlabor Compilation Volume 9 (2000 Version) Graphic Novel (A6 Edition) 4-09-193279-7
Mobile Police Patlabor Compilation Volume 10 (2000 Version) Graphic Novel (A6 Edition) 4-09-193280-0
Mobile Police Patlabor Compilation Volume 11 (2000 Version) Graphic Novel (A6 Edition) 4-09-193281-9
Mobile Police Patlabor: The Starting Volume Graphic Novel (B6 Edition) 4-09-126157-4

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