Mobile Police Patlabor

Cover of the first English manga volume
(Kidō Keisatsu Patoreibā)
Genre Police procedural, Comedy-drama, Mecha, Post-cyberpunk
Written by Headgear
Illustrated by Masami Yuki
Published by Shogakukan
English publisher
Viz Media (dropped)
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday
Original run April 1988June 1994
Volumes 22
Original video animation
Patlabor: Early Days
Directed by Mamoru Oshii
Written by Kazunori Ito
Music by Kenji Kawai
Studio Studio Deen
Licensed by
Released April 25, 1988 June 25, 1989
Episodes 7
Light novel
Written by Michiko Yokote
Published by Fujimi Shobō
Demographic Male
Imprint Fujimi Fantasia Bunko
Original run October 1990October 1993
Volumes 5
Light novel
Tokyo War
Written by Mamoru Oshii
Published by Fujimi Shobō
Demographic Male
Imprint Fujimi Fantasia Bunko
Original run April 1994May 1994
Volumes 2
Original video animation
Patlabor Minimum
Directed by Kenji Kamiyama
Written by Mamoru Oshii
Music by Kenji Kawai
Studio Production I.G
Licensed by
Released March 30, 2002
Runtime 14 minutes (#1)
12 minutes (#2)
12 minutes (#3)
Movie timeline

TV timeline

Patlabor (a portmanteau of patrol and labor), also known as Mobile Police Patlabor (Japanese: 機動警察パトレイバー Hepburn: Kidō Keisatsu Patoreibā), is an anime and manga franchise created by Headgear, a group consisting of director Mamoru Oshii, writer Kazunori Itō, mecha designer Yutaka Izubuchi, character designer Akemi Takada, and manga artist Masami Yūki.

The popular franchise includes a manga, a TV series, two OVA series, three feature-length movies, two light novel series, and a short film compilation, named Minipato (ミニパト) because of its super deformed drawing style. The series has been adapted into video games and licensed products from OST to toys. Patlabor is known for using mecha – designed by Yutaka Izubuchi – not just for police or military purposes, but also for industrial and municipal jobs.

Animations from Patlabor were used extensively in the music video "Juke Joint Jezebel" by KMFDM. The manga received the 36th Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen in 1991.


The story takes place in what was, at the time of release, the near future of 1998–2002. Robots called "Labors" are employed in heavy construction work. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police has its own fleet of Patrol Labors or Patlabors to combat crimes/terrorism and deal with accidents involving Labors. The story arcs usually revolve around Tokyo Metropolitan Police Special Vehicle Section 2, Division 2. Noa Izumi is the main protagonist of the series, but all of Division 2 play roles. Hata and Kusumi are main protagonists of the third Patlabor film.

The feature films follow separate continuities, referred to as the "movie timeline" and the "TV timeline." The different OVA series follow either the movie or TV timelines. The manga also follows its own continuity.


The following releases have been arranged according to their story timelines.


Released by Shogakukan over Shonen Sunday magazine from 1988 to 1994, the 22-volume series takes place in a separate timeline.


Movie timeline

Also referred to as The Early Days. Details the origins of the Tokyo MPD's 2nd Special Vehicles Section, otherwise known as SV2.

A series of random labor incidents across the Greater Tokyo Area puts the SV2 on the case. The incidents turn out to be part of a dead programmer's diabolical plot to create a much bigger rampage.

Taking place a year after Patlabor the Movie, the film features two MPD detectives who investigate the case of missing scientists working on a genetic engineering project that runs amuck in Tokyo Bay. SV2's Section 2 is later called in to help rein in the danger.

A secret group of terrorists engineer a crisis in Tokyo in the winter of 2001–2002. The members of SV2's Section 2, who have been reassigned to other duties since the events of WXIII, reunite one more time to stop the threat.

TV Timeline

Taking place in a different continuity, the series features more adventures of SV2 Section 2, which includes an arc involving their efforts to combat an advanced Schaft Enterprises Labor called the Type J9 Griffon.

Also referred to as OVA 2 and The New Files, the series contains episodes that took place at several points between certain episodes in the TV series and after the latter's final episode. The OVA episodes also features the conclusion of the Griffon storyarc.

A three-part series of short films known as "Mobile Police Patlabor Minimum: Minipato" were shown before screenings of WXIII in 2002, Minipato uses paper puppets, CGI, and claymation to explain the rationale behind the whole concept of the series, especially how the Labors functioned in a realistic hard science fiction setting.

Live-action film

At the 2013 Tokyo Anime Fair, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation announced a live-action Patlabor film project to be launched in 2014.[1][2] On July 4, 2013, Mamoru Oshii announced that he is involved in the project, in an unspecified capacity.[3]

Called The Next Generation -Patlabor-, the project is a 12-episode series to be shown in theatrical screenings and capped off with a feature film in 2015. The series is a sequel to the original Patlabor movie timeline, wherein the Babylon Project is finally finished and Labors are no longer in widespread use.[4] On September 25, 2013, it was announced that Japanese actors Erina Mano will star as pilot Akira Izumino, Seiji Fukushi as Yūma Shiobara, Rina Oota as Ekaterina Krachevna Kankaeva ("Kasha"), Shigeru Chiba reprising his anime role as chief Shigeo Shiba and Toshio Kakei as Captain Keiji Gotōda.[5]

Video games

All Patlabor video games were released exclusively in Japan.


All of the Patlabor productions have been released in Japan and overseas in some form, except for most of the manga in North America in English. All the movies have been translated into English and are available in Region 1, 2 & 4 DVD format.

The TV series and OVAs were released in the U.S. by Central Park Media. The first two movies were released by Manga Entertainment, but later remastered and re-released in 2006 by Bandai Visual. The third movie (along with "Mini-Pato") was released by Geneon Entertainment (formerly Pioneer). Twelve sections of the manga have been translated and published by Viz Communications as single issues and in two trade paperbacks, but later dropped the manga before completing it.

Mini-Pato is available on DVD in regions 1, 2, and 4 in the Limited Edition Patlabor WXIII DVD packages.

In 2006, Bandai Visual's Honneamise label re-released the first two movies on DVD in North America with extensive bonus features and an alternate English track, and Beez Entertainment handled distribution in the UK.

Madman has the distribution rights for the movies in Australia and New Zealand in association with Manga Entertainment UK & TFC, Madman have been refused the rights to the Bandai Visual dubs of the Movies. In 2011 Madman Entertainment announced that they had secured the rights to the Early Days OVA series & the TV series from TFC, but announced on the 13th of April 2012 that due to unforeseen circumstances, Madman had indefinitely delayed their release into Australia and did not elaborate on the reasons.[6] However, Madman has since re-scheduled the first OVA for DVD and Blu-ray release on June 19, 2013. In July 2013, MVM Films has licensed the first OVA & TV series for distribution in the UK and will release them on Blu-ray and DVD.

Maiden Japan (in conjunction with Section23 Films) has licensed the original Patlabor OAV series and was released on Blu-ray and DVD April 30, 2013.[7] They have also licensed the TV series and was released on Blu-ray and DVD on July 16, 2013.[8] They will also release the second OVA series on Blu-ray and DVD on February 17, 2015.[9] All of the Patlabor films have also been licensed by Maiden Japan, with the first film to be released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 5, 2015.[10]

Reception and legacy

The manga received the 36th Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen in 1991.[11] Guillermo Del Toro has cited the series as an influence for Pacific Rim.[12]


  1. "Mobile Police Patlabor Gets Live-Action Project in 2014.". Anime News Network. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  2. 実写版 機動警察パトレイバー プロジェクト のエキストラ・ホームペー ジです。 (in Japanese). Unknown. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  3. 実写版「機動警察パトレイバー」に押井守の参加が決定! (in Japanese). Cinema Today. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
  4. "The Next Generation Patlabor Full Details". CollectionDX. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  5. "Former Idol Erina Mano Stars in Multi-Part Live-Action Patlabor". 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  6. "Madman Release of Patlabor OVA Indefinitely Delayed". Anime News Network. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  7. "Maiden Japan Licenses Patlabor Video Anime Series". Anime News Network. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  8. "Maiden Japan Licenses Mobile Police Patlabor TV Anime Series". Anime News Network. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  9. "Maiden Japan Adds Patlabor The New Files OVA". Anime News Network. 2014-10-22.
  10. "Section23 Films Adds Patlabor Film, The World God Only Knows OVAs". Anime Network. 2015-01-22.
  11. 小学館漫画賞:歴代受賞者 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007.
  12. Boucher, Geoff (2013-07-29). "Guillermo del Toro: My 10 Favorite Robots | Photo 10 of 11". Retrieved 2013-12-17.
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