Mobile Police Patlabor #3
Viz Comics (1997)
original publisher: Shogakukan, Inc.“Mission 1: The Right Staff (such lighthearted folk…)” WRITER/ARTIST: Masami Yuki ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Yuji Oniki & Annette Roman TOUCH-UP ART/LETTERER: Wayne Truman COVER DESIGN: Viz Graphics EDITOR: Julie Davis
Noa arrives at the abandoned factory that will serve as headquarters for Special Vehicle Section 2 and meets her fellow Division 2 teammate, or at least three of them. She’ll be piloting the Patlabor, with her back-up being the sexist Asuma Shinohara. (His father’s company made the Patlabors.) Her fellow pilot is Isao Ota, a veteran cop with some strange ideas as to what it means to be a police officer. The other pilot and the other two backups have yet to arrive and thanks to a jerk blaming his trashing of a restaurant whose owner refuses to sell on a faulty labor, chief mechanic Seitaroh Sakaki delays the arrival of the Patlabors just to be sure since they’re from the same company, so he can give it another inspection. This leave the three that are here to do work setting up the office and some landscaping until Goto gets the call that they’re finally ready to get their Patrol Labors.
What they got right: Noa is the main character so we’ve gotten to know quite a bit about her character, her love for giant robots, and her energetic attitude mixed with her desire to be a good policewoman. We only get snippets of Asuma and Isao but we learn enough about them right quick. Asuma thinks he’s the smartest person in the room and certainly smarter than a girl despite barely knowing Noa. He even tell her “we” aren’t expecting much from her because she’s a girl. Isao wants to get right into the police work and hates all this grunt work plus he has an issue with cadets. You can feel where these characters are going to be and where they need to go to advance as characters.
What they got wrong: Sakaki already checked the Labors out before, and just seeing this guy should tell you he’s full of it when he blames the Labor. (Probably paid to force the old restaurant owner out so they can tear his place down and build something else. That’s how this usually goes.) So we get a discussion about Labors and making them walk which is fine if you like the inner working but I’m closer to Noa in my interest in giant robots. I like the character introductions but I want to see the robots fight.
Recommendation: I’m still enjoying the comic but I’m looking forward to seeing the Mobile Police actually do some crimefighting. Give this one a read. It’s a good introduction to some of our characters.