ANIME REVIEW: WXIII: Patlabor The Movie 3 (2002) US Blu-ray

p10672832_p_v7_abUntil I got the usual monthly newsletter from Sentai Filmworks stating the movies they had on deck for September I had no clue there was a third Patlabor animated movie. I loved the first two (reviewed here and here) so it was a no brainer that I needed to review this one as well. In some regards it might be my favorite and in others not. I’ll explain, unlike the first two movies that were clearly political techno-thrillers this third one is a monster movie, and I love monster movies. Unfortunately though the crew of the SV2 is hardly in it, so much so I wondered why it was being marketed as a Patlabor movie. It’s not until the hour mark when the familiar faces from that unit come into play and even then their role is relegated to about 20-minutes, the final confrontation I should stress between Labor and monster.

Before then our main characters are two detectives trying to find out why Labors on the coastline are being attacked, demolished and the pilot killed, and when I say killed I mean something may be eating them. Like the first two movies this one comes with the customary cryptic prologue, in WXIII’s there are two fishermen out on the sea witnessing a plane fly overhead. It’s fish cargo rain down on them, before it crashes into the water.

The monster the plane was carrying is not a freak of nature but a product of experimentation run amok. Yeah, this is a Frankenstein tale and once you know that you kind of have some idea how it’s all going to end. And, yes, the ending on this one is more tragic than the previous two movies because the rule with Frankenstein tales is that the “mad scientist” has to atone for his or her sin and die with his or her creation. I say ‘her’ because the mad scientist in this tale is a chick. Detective Shinichiro Hata, the youngest of the pair of flatfoots looking into the Labor attacks, meets Noa Izumi by happenstance, and he kind of gets a crush on her, but neither one knows how they’re going to fit into the events to come. She has no clue he’s a detective, and he has no clue she’s part of a biological weapons program until all clues start to point to her.

She lost her daughter to cancer right after she lost her husband and she took her daughter’s cancer cells and merged them with some other cells and when this “monster” was born and kept living she thought she had regained her daughter again. Oh, yeah, she lives up to her mad scientist label, she really is quite mad and during the final act capture and disposal of the beast, when she’s explaining all this to Hata, all she wants to do is go to the highest point in the stadium where the confrontation is happening and basically toss herself off. For a moment, though I really didn’t think she’d die, Hata even grabs her hand at the last moment, but can’t hold on long enough and she does indeed plummet to her death. We even get to see her hit, and then a big pool of blood surrounds her. Yeah, folks, she gets as dead as she wanted to be.

The creature is giant. Perhaps not as big as Godzilla, but big enough to take down a Labor and use part of it like a shell. It’s a weird looking sea beast, and with it being part human it sports a pair of humongous tits, that don’t evolve into being until the end. Make no mistake, however,  it’s a mean and dangerous motherscratcher. We get to see it eat a few unlucky bastards along the way.

Looking into this a bit on the web I learned even though it’s a third sequel the events are supposed to be taking place between Patlabor 1 and 2, not after them. WXIII Patlabor 3: The Movie is basically a side-story, which explains why the SV2 unit only cameos in this one.

Like the previous two the animation in all departments was top-notch. Madhouse worked on this, so that’s no surprise. Animation from them is generally exceptional.

Pioneer Studios had the rights previously and they released it in two editions back in 2003, a regular DVD and an Ultimate Edition DVD. On September 8th Sentai Filmworks (aka Section23) re-releases it on DVD again and for the first time in the US on blu-ray.

81OIJaGMyiL._SL1500_Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1080p 1.85:1 high definition widescreen—5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio/5.1 Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio—English subtitles only.

The transfer is in a windowbox and it looks really good!

Extras include…

  • Mobile Police Patlabor Minipato Shorts (Episode 1: Roar Revolver Cannon!, Episode 2: Ah, Victorious 98 Model AV, Episode 3: The Secret of Special Vehicle Unit 2)

The Pioneer Studios DVD had additional extras but only the shorts were ported over. Seek this one out, people! It’s worth the buy!


About Shawn Francis

Movie collector and horror writer.
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