[[caption-width-right:328:It's such a clear day you can see Mount Fuji[[note]]That's NOT Mount Fuji.[[/note]].]]

->''"Labor: The common name for robots designed for heavy industrial use. The rise of labors sparked a revolution in construction and civil engineering, but labor-related crime skyrocketed as well. To combat this new threat, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police created a patrol labor unit, the Special Vehicles Unit Second Section. This was the origin of Patlabor."''
-->-- Tagline used in the Early Days [=OVA=]

''In the Criminal Justice System, HumongousMecha-based offenses are considered especially heinous. In Tokyo, the dedicated officers who deal with these vicious felonies are an [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits elite squad]] known as the [[Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit Special Vehicles Unit.]] [[Series/LawAndOrder These are their stories]].''

Set in the not-so-far-off future of 1998, this late-80s/early-90s anime, ''Mobile Police Patlabor'', is the story of police officers fighting crime with giant robots. The Special Vehicles Unit's Division 1 are a corps of competent, hard-working police who always get their man -- but ''Patlabor'' isn't about them. No, it's Division ''2'' that gets the spotlight, that scruffy, rag-tag band of half-competent cops with a propensity towards massive property damage.

Quite possibly the quintessential TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture [[HumongousMecha giant robot]] anime, ''Patlabor'' is notable for treating its mecha not as insanely powerful miracle machines, but actual vehicles with clear limitations that require constant maintenance. In fact, although there's action aplenty, most of the series focuses on the daily life of the police officers who pilot the mecha, and big robot smash-ups often take up only a minute or two, if that. It is, truth be told, a SliceOfLife series disguised as a HumongousMecha show.

Patlabor was created in 1988 by "Headgear" -- a group of creators including Mamoru Oshii of ''Franchise/GhostInTheShell'' fame and Masami Yuuki of ''Anime/BirdyTheMighty'' fame. ''Patlabor'' was planned from the start as both a manga and {{OVA}}, and a theatrical movie and ongoing TV series followed not long after. By turns a CopShow, PoliceProcedural, slice of life comedy, political thriller, and of course, a MechaShow, ''Patlabor'' had no trouble switching between genres from one episode to the next. (For the most part, though, the TV series and {{OVA}}s tended more towards comedy and light drama, whereas the movies were much more adult and sophisticated.)

''Patlabor'' was unique for its time in that it examined the impact that giant robots might have on society. Not war machines but glorified forklifts, hijacked labors (hence the name) provided a new avenue for crime and terror, thus the need for a police organization trained to deal with them. Otherwise, the Japan seen in the series was virtually identical to the Japan of today, just with slightly more advanced tech. On the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism, it fell somewhere in the middle -- it wasn't some wonderful new age of technological miracles, yet the tone was still generally hopeful and optimistic. (However, the tone of the movies, most notable in the third and final film, is decidedly more cynical and pessimistic, almost a denouncement of the original premise.)

Most of the narrative focuses on Officer Noa Izumi, an eager, fresh-faced, tomboyish young woman who's just graduated from cadet training. Noa's a mecha {{otaku}} -- the only reason she applied for the job was so she could ride around all day in her own personal robot (nicknamed "Alphonse"). One of the main themes of the series is Noa learning to take her job as an enforcer of the law more seriously.

Other main characters include:
* Asuma Shinohara, the dispossessed heir to a mecha construction company and Noa's "backup" (this is the English term used in the series--with Noa being the "forward" -- although his role would be better described as "spotter", or possibly "field commander", as there is an implication of the backup being a superior officer).
* Captain Kiichi Gotoh, Division 2's easy-going (but supremely observant) commander. A BenevolentBoss (and occasional [[ThePrankster prankster]]).
* Captain Shinobu Nagumo, Division 1's reserved, [[ByTheBookCop by-the-book]], commander and the [[LoveInterest target of Gotoh's affections.]]
* Hiromi Yamizaki, a GentleGiant who drives the Division's patlabor-carrier truck.
* Isao Ohta, another pilot and [[HotBlooded red-blooded]] alpha male gun nut. An honorable, impulsive JerkWithAHeartOfGold.
* Lt. Kanuka Clancy, a [[TheAce hot-shot]] Japanese American NYPD officer sent to observe Tokyo's mecha operation.
* Lt. Takeo Kumagami, an ultra-competent {{Bifauxnen}} policewoman brought in to replace Kanuka after she returns to the States.
* Mikiyasu Shinshi, a mild-mannered computer expert and family man. [[BerserkButton Woe to whoever]] [[BewareTheNiceOnes insults his wife]].
* Seitaro Sakaki, the gruff old chief engineer who oversees the nigh-constant patlabor repairs.
* Shigeo "Shige" Shiba, Sakaki's assistant and protege, an ineffectual gearhead.

Although very popular over in Japan, ''Patlabor'' never really took off in North America, although it has a cult following among anime fans. The first two movies were dubbed by Creator/MangaEntertainment in the mid-90s, and released to VHS and DVD in English-speaking countries around the world, but the OVA and TV series weren't imported and dubbed by Creator/CentralParkMedia until more than a decade after they ended their Japanese run. In addition, [[Creator/{{Geneon}} Pioneer]] released the third movie, [[Creator/BandaiEntertainment Bandai Visual]] re-released the first two movies with new dubs, and recently, Maiden Japan (sister company of Creator/SentaiFilmworks) has licensed the franchise and is currently re-releasing it to remastered DVD and Blu-ray. Surprisingly, the only part of the anime franchise that hasn't been dubbed in English is the last 12 episodes of the "New Files" sequel series. As for the manga, only the first two volumes were released in the U.S. and Canada. For French-speaking areas, only 18 out of 22 volumes were released.

Watch ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'', ''Anime/ArmoredTrooperVotoms'', or ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross'' if you are interested in more RealRobotGenre shows. Compare with ''[[Anime/MazingerZ the]]'' ''[[Anime/GreatMazinger Mazinger]]'' ''[[Anime/UFORoboGrendizer trilogy]]'', ''Manga/GetterRobo'', ''Anime/VoltesV'' and ''Anime/{{Daimos}}'' to have an idea of what the SuperRobotGenre is about. Contrast with ''Anime/GunBuster'' or ''Anime/SpaceRunawayIdeon'' to see what the opposite end of the scale is.

In 2013, the Patlabor franchise appeared in their first ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' game in ''Super Robot Wars: Operation Extend''.

Anime/WXIIIPatlaborTheMovie3 is a prequel movie that takes place prior to the events of the 2nd Patlabor movie.

A live-action project, set in 2013, [[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2014-01-06/live-action-patlabor-to-feature-real-life-mecha is a sequel]], not a reboot, of the series. Known as ''Film/TheNextGenerationPatlabor'', thirteen episodes were shown in theaters in seven parts, and a feature-length film airied in spring 2015.

A 10 minute animated short called ''Patlabor Reboot'' aired on October 15, 2016 as an extra short for the Anime/JapanAnimatorExpo. It's released on DVD and Blu-Ray in Japan, although it has been officially streamed on its website in Japanese with official English subs.

Several mecha from the franchise, specifically the AV-98 Ingram, Type-5G/1C Grau-Bear and the CRL-98 Pyro-Buster, will make an appearance in the 2017 SurvivalHorror game ''VideoGame/CityShroudedInShadow''.
!!''Patlabor'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: The climax of the second movie takes place in an aqueduct big enough for Second Section's Ingrams to walk upright inside it, and is almost wide enough for two of them to stand side by side.
* AceCustom: Even though the Ingrams are considered prototypes, the Labor operating systems work by "learning" the most effective movements of its pilots, customizing their functions. Visibly, all continuities give the three units different head designs after the first OVA.
* AdaptationDistillation: Shinobu is far more expressive in the manga adaptation, as opposed to the anime where she's a DeadpanSnarker instead.
* AffectionateParody: of both videogames and itself with an in-universe Patlabor arcade game, complete with missspelled ScoreScreen.
* AlternateContinuity: Three of them - the comic; the first {{OVA}} and the three movies; and the TV series and second {{OVA}}.
* AlternateHistory: Global warming got a bit more serious that sea levels started to rise up during the Cold War. This led to [=R&D=] of labors in the construction industry before various police forces and militaries found some benefit in using them. Otherwise, everything else is the same.
** [[http://imgur.com/EbqRwQ5 The opening credits to the TV series feature]] [[UsefulNotes/WeAreNotTheWehrmacht Bundeswehr]] labors ("Brocken" models shown later in the Phantom arc) standing guard at the UsefulNotes/BerlinWall.
* AndYouWereThere: Shige's bizarre dream visit to New York is mostly populated with blonde American versions of [=SV2=] personnel, down to the old maintenance chief threatening to chuck people into the Hudson.
* AnimeThemeSong
* ArentYouGoingToRavishMe: Noa was ''apparently'' expecting this from Asuma in the ninth episode: "Red Labor Landing", as they end up having to share a hotel room while on assignment. Noa waits until she thinks he's asleep before cautiously entering the room to turn in. When Asuma suddenly "awakes" and creeps toward her futon, she's clearly expecting to be groped and braces herself for the inevitable... except he completely ignores her and goes for her snack bag. Noa becomes outraged and clocks him.
-->'''Noa: (indignant)''' "I'm disappointed in you Asuma!"
%%* ArsonMurderAndLifeSaving
%%* AsTheGoodBookSays: The first movie.
%%* BadassAdorable: Noa
* BadassCrew: Division 2. Everyone has a little bit of Badass in one form or another.
* BadassGrandpa: Sakaki. Even the labor pilots fear Sakaki. Considering he's in charge of the mechanics that maintain their machines, their fear is somewhat justified.
* BattleDiscretionShot: In ''Patlabor 2'', after shooting their way past the robot tanks in the tunnels, Nagumo enters an elevator in her labor [[OhCrap only to find another robot tank about to open fire at point-blank range]]. Nagumo charges towards it screaming, "GET OUT OF MY WAY!" Cut to the elevator rising to the surface carrying Nagumo's totaled labor, whereupon she hits the eject and walks the rest of the way.
* BeachEpisode: The TV series, episode 40. Although it's the last scene of the episode that treats the viewer with a view of the team enjoying beach games and suntanning.
* BerserkButton:
** Word to the wise - ''do not insult Shinshi's wife''.
** Every time Alphonse gets damaged, Noa is not going to be happy about it.
** Even though Ohta is a living, breathing BerserkButton himself, it's worth mentioning that he really, ''really'' hates when someone disrespects the police. This applies to his patrol partners as well, and it's the reason why him and Shinohara are constantly at each other's throats.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: As mentioned above, Shinshi is an extremely mild-mannered, helpful, ''nice'' individual, but if he feels you've insulted his wife--or even ''the institution of marriage''-- he ''will'' go berserk on you (and probably injure himself as a side effect).
* {{BFG}}: The SVU labors are armed with scaled-up versions of police firearms. Other labors also use scaled-up versions of actual firearms. The ''general'' rule of thumb is that a Labor weapon has a bore diameter of a bit less than 1mm for every hundredth of an inch for the real world weapon; the Labor version of a .38 caliber revolver is a 37mm cannon, and the .44 caliber revolver scales up to 42mm - with exceptions.
** One of the Mini-Pato specials points out that they're probably using hollow-point bullets (with caps on the tips for whatever reason) to cut down on collateral damage. ...and that they're almost certainly ''not'' 37mm, being closer to ''75mm'' in all depictions.
** The big guns aren't restricted to labors, as Hiromi gets to use (hesitantly) a 20mm anti-materiel sniper rifle in the first & second films. For that matter, on the Griffon arc, Hiromi and Ohta are able to squeeze a single shot to the Griffon Labor while they have Ohta's Ingram's gun mounted at the top of the Command Car. It levels the playing field between Alphonse and Griffon by wasting the latter's monitors. Tremendously impractical, true, and it ends up injuring Hiromi... but it was totally worth the trouble!
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: In the first movie, the team's efforts just mean they got the least terrible option in the BigBad's XanatosGambit. [[TheBadGuyWins The bad guy still got what he wanted]].]]
* BlueWithShock: Happens to the pilot of a virus-infected rogue construction Labor in the first movie when he realizes that the ''Second'' Section (and in particular, Ohta) is here to rescue him. "I'M DEAD!!" (They have a reputation for collateral damage.)
* BoringButPractical: A lot of the Labors are fairly unimpressive, but functional.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: This happens at several points in the manga --
** One of the earliest examples occurs in the first chapter. Noa complains she can't keep track of all the geographical data, so Asuma tells her [[MrExposition he'll explain]] [[http://www.mangareader.net/patlabor/1/130 two pages later.]] And ''he does '' - complete with [[http://www.mangareader.net/patlabor/1/132 a map]] [[http://www.mangareader.net/patlabor/1/133 and pointer!]]
** Noa breaks the 4th wall, herself, by turning her back to the reader while taking her physical exam [[http://www.mangareader.net/patlabor/1/43 so we can't see her topless.]] While in [[http://www.mangareader.net/patlabor/1/50 this scene]], she notes that the manga's becoming more like a cartoon.
* BrokeEpisode: On a number of fronts, as [=SV2=] is on reclaimed land in the middle of nowhere, and simply getting food to feed the on-duty officers and maintenance crew justifies some spotlight time.
* ButNotTooForeign: Lt. Clancy, who is half-Japanese and half-American.
* ChanceMeetingBetweenAntagonists: Happens once in both the OVA and ''The Mobile Police/New Files'' continuities.
** About midway through ''"The [=SVU's=] Longest Day part 1"'', Asuma happens to meet Kai, while he's eating at a ramen noodle stall. He'd later learn, from Gotoh, that Kai was the leader of the rebel army that was laying siege to Tokyo.
** In the ''Mobile Police'' continuity, Asuma and Noa go to an arcade center on their day off and end up running into [[AffablyEvil Richard]] [[ChessMaster Wong]] and [[TheDragon Bado]], who would later become the [=SVU's=] main antagonists during [[WhamEpisode the Griffon arc.]]
* TheChessmaster: Yukihito Tsuge, the stoic BigBad of the second film, fits this quite succinctly, driving Tokyo to the brink of civil war while never once getting his hands dirty himself.
* ClipShow: Episode 23 of the TV Series.
* ColonelBadass: Gotoh was too observant for his superiors' liking and they didn't want him underfoot, [[ReassignedToAntarctica so they reassigned him to a command position with Special Vehicles.]] Which, as Detective Matsui observed, [[BatmanGambit "is right where he wants to be."]]
* ColonelMakepeace: Division 1 as a whole and Lt. Gomioka especially.
* CoolPlane: The fictional [[http://mekamo.web.fc2.com/021_HELLHOUND.html AH-88 Hellhound]] actually out-cools most of the HumongousMecha.
* CopShow: On paper. But Special Vehicles 2 gets called out maybe a few times during a busy week, so the show leans more towards a SliceOfLife.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Schaft Enterprises is a ruthless corporation that produces military mecha, among other things, and uses highly illegal means to test their vehicles. An odd case, in that it remains a monolithic entity with no BigBad in charge of it, though their agents Kurosaki and Richard Wong/Utsumi give it a human face. Schaft even has its own private army of mercenaries that operates in a great part of Southeast Asia.
* CrossCounter: Alphonse vs. Griffon in the TV series and manga.
%%* CrossPoppingVeins: Ohta, mostly.
* DarkerAndEdgier:
** Every one of the movies gets progressively darker than the last but surprisingly enough the first two are really low on violence and serve more as psychological thrillers. However, the third movie got away with some rather gruesome deaths and a gloomier mood.
** The Griffon Arc in both the television series and second {{OVA}}s is slightly edgier than the rest of the other episodes, but still has some comedic charm scattered about it.
%%* DayInTheLife
* DeconReconSwitch: In the second movie, any time Labors go up against war machines like tanks and helicopters, they get annihilated due to the factors of superior firepower vs. light armor. However, the movie still ends with a mecha battle between bipedal bots and [[SpiderTank spider tanks.]]
* DeconstructorFleet: Of HumongousMecha in general.
** The mechas are rarely over a dozen meters tall, so as not to crush their own feet. And one tripping will still take out a house. They don't even walk long distances, since they're stored at construction sites like any other piece of heavy equipment, and the Patlabors are transported to combat scenes in their own specialized trucks.
** FallingIntoTheCockpit is impossible as they're complicated as hell. Noa teaching her mech to tie a shoelace knot is considered proof of her being a genius pilot. Most people can't do much with even a SuperPrototype robot even if they find themselves piloting one.
** Weapons are scaled-up versions of conventional firearms. A laser shows up in a single two-part episode, but never seen again -- it destroyed all its foes, but it was ''[[AwesomeButImpractical too delicate and expensive]].''
** WarForFunAndProfit is neither fun nor profitable. Schaft Enterprises makes an attempt to pit one of their military prototypes against the police's Ingram in pursuit of combat data. What followed was ridiculously stupid, as the only people they could find willing to do such a ridiculously stupid thing were some deadbeat stoner BombThrowingAnarchists -- who fled the scene once they ''realized'' how ridiculously stupid the whole thing was.[[note]]Of course, the whole Griffon plotline, from Brocken fighting Ingram to collect its data to the Griffon itself, is a ''huge'' ShoutOut to [[Anime/{{Gigantor}} Tetsujin No. 28]]. Simply replace Brocken and Griffon with Baccus and Black Ox and the whole thing should be clearer.[[/note]]
* DetachmentCombat: The Griffon sacrifices its hydrojet pontoons to draw Noah's fire while the rest of it climbs out of the water to ambush her.
* DownerEnding: Done humorously at the end of episode 13 of ''The New Files'' (covered extensively on the [[Funny/{{Patlabor}} Funny Moments page]]).
* DreamSequence: Twice. Once with our heroes fighting supervillains in New York, later with them fighting alien invaders in space. The latter was subverted at the end when we find that the main character of the DreamSequence wasn't the one dreaming it - [[spoiler:he had actually nodded off listening to the star of the ''first'' sequence describe that episode!]].
* DrumBathing: [=SV2=] uses a bath cobbled together from a propane burner and an oil drum until the propane tank has an accident, forcing the officers to use a distant public bath.
* EagleLand: In the Aforementioned New York dream sequence. Type 2 for the most part, but the [[ShoutOut shout outs]] rampant throughout make it even more humorous.
** It's mentioned that the U.S. has threatened to take military action if the Japanese can't get their house in order in the second film.
* EasyLogistics: Subverted. The logistics woes affecting [=SV2=] are so bad, Ingram Unit 3 is rarely deployed, because most of the time it's being cannibalised for spare parts. And due to where Special Vehicles 2 is located, there are severe difficulties with feeding the maintenance staff. [[spoiler:Gotoh apparently came up with a solution, that frankly ''worries'' Nagumo about what he'd do if he didn't happen to be one of the good guys.]]
* EnergyWeapons: Only one Labor type ever uses one, and it's quickly abandoned by the corporation building them because they're too expensive and not as effective against cannons and good old-fashioned pummeling as they thought. It was likely deemed AwesomeButImpractical, as we only see it fighting the AV-98s.
* EscalatingWar: The Seven Days of Fire that result when the mechanic team's PornStash is confiscated.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Richard Wong isn't exactly ''evil'' per se, but he otherwise adheres to this. (If he'd been a bit more ruthless, for example, there would have been no need to throw so many Schaft Labors at the Ingrams, given that security at Special Vehicles 2 is practically nil. [[spoiler:And in the manga, they take advantage of this.]])
* EveryCarIsAPinto:
** Played straight with cars, but averted with [[HumongousMecha Labors]], which require a self-destruct to explode.
** Played straight with at least two labors in the 2nd movie, when [[spoiler:helicopters]] from [[spoiler:the JSDF]] attacked the [[spoiler:2nd division]].
* {{Expy}}:
** The members of Division 2 are very similar to the characters from ''Film/PoliceAcademy'' in various ways. Most obviously, Ota is [[GunNut Tackleberry]] born into a society with strict gun control laws and Hiromi is [[GentleGiant Hightower]].
** A redheaded new recruit of an armored police division? Are we talking about [[Anime/DominionTankPolice Leona Ozaki]], or her future equivalent, Noa Izumi? In addition, Noa fusses over her labor, Alphonse, just as Leona fawn over her tank, Bonaparte.
*** Both shows came out nearly simultaneously, and had the same woman voicing the fangirl.
* EyeBeams: The Phantom, the Labor that uses the aforementioned EnergyWeapons, has a creepy, skull-like face & fires the beams out of the skull's "eyes", but the main camera is actually located in the "mouth".
* EyesAlwaysShut: Richard Wong/Mr. Utsumi. They open from time to time.
%%* {{Facefault}}: CONSTANTLY.
* FarEastAsianTerrorists: Some of the antagonists the units face off in the course of the series. Ranging from radical environmentalists, Japanese-based mercenaries to rogue [=JSDF=] officers and soldiers.
* FishEyeLens: Seen often in the first & second films, particularly from the perspective of some poor bastard getting a royal ass-chewing.
* FlatCharacter: The mechanics are never really given much development, aside from Sakaki and Shige. A few of them get ''names'' in the second movie, but that's about it.
* FrothyMugsOfWater: Averted, there's no censorship regarding the episode where everyone but Gotou gets drunk. (And it wouldn't make any damn sense to do so, for one.)
* FuroScene: Notably OVA episode "Black Trinary", but [=SV2=] has a small bath the characters occasionally use.
* GatlingGood:
** The [=AH88=] Hellhound helicopters, Extor battle robots, & AL-97B Hannibal labors in the movies are all armed with 20mm rotary cannons. A JSDF helicopter flying over Tokyo in the second movie can also be seen fitted with a three-barreled door-mounted machine gun.
** On the good guys' side, Ohta is unsurprisingly a big believer in this, and [[spoiler:Clancy hooks him up with what looks like a ''GAU-8 Avenger'' towards the end of the first OVA series. Somehow.]]
* GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke: Section 2 goes toe-to-toe with a few biotechnologically-enhanced Kaijus in addition to other labors, most notably W-XIII, a genetically-engineered horror created from a combination of alien microbes and human cancer cells.
* GiantWallOfWateryDoom: Izumi barely escapes one of these in the second movie when the tunnel the protagonists are fighting in is flooded.
* GlobalWarming: While HumongousMecha are AwesomeButImpractical in RealLife, the crisis of global sea waters rising is what made their development a priority in this universe, where they were primarily valued as powerful and versatile construction machinery for efficiently building things like seawalls and levees. The police models frequently shown (and military models infrequently shown) are outgrowths of the technology used to deal with the crisis.
* GratuitousEnglish: Averted most of the time with [[InformedAbility Ameri]][[NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent can]] Kanuka Clancy, who still [[JapaneseRanguage pronounces "Roger" with an L]]. Everyone else plays the trope straight.
* GratuitousRussian:
** According to the translation and the Japanese subtitles, the Soviet labor pilot said "You Japs betrayed me", but in reality he said something like "Japanese No Hooray" or a tremendously mispronounced "Japanese nowhere" and continued to savagely violate the Russian language during the rest of the episode. [[note]]Averted with the English dub, where he speaks English.[[/note]]
** The name of the KGB general, who wanted to [[spoiler:defect]] even was "Ivan Ivanovitch Ivanovsky", a common Russian placeholder name.
* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: In 1998, there is still a Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall still exists (with West German "Brocken" labors standing guard). Judging by the 2nd movie, it has ended, so it either [[AlternateHistory ended later than in]] RealLife or it was a {{Retcon}}.
* GrievousHarmWithABody: In the first manga volume, Noa gets her first awesome moment when she rips a leg off a four-legged labor, then beats the labor into submission with it. (This particular application of the trope shows up from time to time throughout Patlabor).
* GroupPictureEnding: The finale of ''The Mobile Police/New Files'' continuity ends with a group photo of the members [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Zy_-d_wvsg SVU's 2nd Unit]], along with Shinobu, the 1st Division's captain.
* HardDrinkingPartyGirl:
** Noa and Lt. Clancy, though not "Party Girls" by any stretch of the imagination, can hold their liquor. The first time they start to bond is when they're both screaming drunk and drinking competitively. [[spoiler:Noa wins, by not having any hangover whatsoever the next day.]]
** Lt. Kumagami. Kumagami and Clancy getting drunk together at the hot springs [[spoiler: and poor Ohta paying for it]] is classic.
* HotSpringsEpisode: In the second OVA series.
* HumongousMecha: Labors come in on the smaller side, being at most about 8 meters tall. One of the Mini-Pato shorts explains that, if they were any taller or shorter, the Ingrams (and the Labors in general) wouldn't be able to do their job. Too tall, and Labors are mass-produced house-sized bulldozers (and in the way). Too short, and they're as useful for construction as [[Anime/ArmoredTrooperVotoms ATs]].
* IdolSinger: Kana from the TV series (most of [=SV2=] is a fan of hers). Also a {{Bokukko}}, though no one comments on it.
* IDontKnowMortalKombat: Izumi did badly on a ''Patlabor'' arcade game largely because she was too used to piloting a real HumongousMecha. The trope is very apt, amusingly, as the difference between the game (depicted only in the anime, as a 'hunt-and-kill' simulator) and Noa's job is about as big as the ''MortalKombat'' series and a UFC event.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Loudmouthed and trigger-happy Ohta. Who gets to shine in the episode where he goes into an ''omiai'' ([[ArrangedMarriage very formal arranged date]]) and ends up helping his prospect girlfriend, who he ''did'' like, ''save the man she loves''.
** In one episode, Noa discovers that Ohta, known for causing massive property damage, especially with his trigger-happy use of his labor's revolver, is actually a perfect shot. When she asks Gotoh about this, he points out that none of Ohta's shots have ever injured anyone.
* {{Kaiju}}:
** Subverted in episode 3 of the first OVA series, where [[spoiler:the monster walks off into the sea immediately after it appears]]. It has an appearance similar to Garia from ''Film/WarOfTheGargantuas'' ...and Hiromi Yamizaki.
** The fourth and 19th episodes of the TV series feature different monsters. The first is a mammal of some sort, a genetic experiment that escaped, and the audience only catches a brief sight of it -- it's an animation [[TheCameo cameo]] of ''LightNovel/DirtyPair''[='=]s Mughi. In episode 19, the monster is an underground-adapted [[OurDragonsAreDifferent Dragon]], which Noa insists on calling it a real Kaiju, while Kanuka [[HypocriticalHumor insists on calling it a surviving Dragon]] descended from the ones in the middle ages.
** The manga contains a different {{Kaiju}} story that involves an airline crash that accidentally releases a genetic experiment that rapidly grows into an amphibious monster that Division 2 (among others) get called out to deal with.
* LowerDeckEpisode: A few eps revolving around the mechanic team. (Shige ''insists'' that this was supposed to be the Upper Deck, in one of the Mini-Pato shorts...)
* MagicFloppyDisk: Especially prevalent in the movies where the 5" type is standard and the 3" indicates something advanced.
* MechaMooks: West German Brocken military labors, particularly in the first Phantom arc.
* MechaShow: ''Patlabor'' is the first of a rare sub-genre, that of civilian-owned and operated mecha ''not'' largely used for combat.
* MidseasonUpgrade: Almost inverted in the TV series where there are plans to downgrade from the Ingram to the cheaper Economy Model Ingram mk. I, but its performance is simply too poor. Played straight for SV1, who trade in the obsolete Pythons for AV-0 Peacemakers, a massproduction version of the PsychoPrototype "Zero" from the first movie (which was in a different continuity, but whatever). The Griffon also gets one in ''The New Files'', replacing its wings, which broke off after it crashed into a mountain, with a pair of back-mounted hydrojets.
* MoodWhiplash: From the mostly serious and adult movies, to the comical, sometimes juvenile television and OVA series.
* TheMovie: Three of them, though the third is actually a [[GaidenGame Gaiden Story]] in which our heroes appear only briefly.
* MundaneFantastic: It's a cop show with giant robots.
* MusicalSpoiler: In the TV series, at one point Nagumo and Fuwa are at a restaurant, discussing who's responsible for the mystery labor that's been running around. The song playing over the radio is Schaft's theme song, with the only lings being "We are Schaft, Schaft! We are Schaft!
* NeverFoundTheBody: Hoba in the first movie, after jumping from the Ark into the ocean. [[spoiler: In the climactic finale they pick up a signal from him in the building they're trying to demolish. Noa goes after him, but it turns out he really was dead: The employee badge with the tracker was attached to the leg of his pet raven.]]
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Nagumo's decision to reject the SRX-70 Saturn because she knew the manufacturer would use its data for military purposes leads indirectly to the disastrous events of the Gryphon Arc.
* NoFourthWall: The manga, multiple times, for the sake of comedy.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Richard Wong/Mr. Utsumi, the cold and calculating agent of Schaft Enterprises, hides behind a happy-go-lucky facade. (Mind, he actually ''is'' that happy-go-lucky under most circumstances -- he just ''stays'' that way as he calmly orchestrates a calamity.)
* {{Omake}}: The third theatrical movie was packaged with three humorous "Mini-Pato" shorts, which explained the mechanics behind the Revolver Cannon the Ingrams use, the background to the creation of the series as a whole (as well as a cynical look at the MechaShow genre), and how the perpetually cash-starved Special Vehicles 2 was able to keep feeding itself (hint: Gotoh worked some magic, apparently some of his finest).
* {{Otaku}}: Several Mecha Otaku, most notably...
* OtakuSurrogate: Noa is a borderline example as she's obsessed with giant robots, but in a very girly way. She seems to be working her way out of it by the time of the second movie.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: It's six legged (two hands, four legs), eyeless from being underground for a thousand+ years and has sensory tentacles that it can use offensively growing from the back of its head.
* OurGhostsAreDifferent: Episode 27 of the TV series features a pretty standard group of ghosts and poltergeists with unfinished business, the only thing being that they're made up of former inhabitants of ever era all the way back to Sengoku...
* ParanormalEpisode: The anime is, at its heart, a SliceOfLife, CopShow[=/=]PoliceProcedural, with HumongousMecha. But, during the 27th episode of the TV series, the [=SVU2=] encounter ghosts, while holding indoor training execrcises in an abandoned building. It turns out that the ghosts were [[spoiler: the spirits of earthquake victims, who once lived there. Their spirits couldn't rest because of an undiscovered burial site, which contained the remains of slain samurai, directly beneath the building [=SVU2=] was training in.]] The spirits were lain to rest, once it was discovered, and rites were performed on the site.
* PhenotypeStereotype: In the New York city dream, most of the characters who appear are blond haired, blue eyed versions of the core cast--with a few exceptions -- as is everyone else in New York City. They're also all [[GunNut gun crazy]]. ''All'' of them.
* PoliceProcedural: To a point.
* PostCyberpunk: You get the feeling that the Cyberpunk period happened a few years ago in-universe, and now everyone has to go back to work.
* PublicBathhouseScene: Episode 7 of ''The New Files'' has the officers of [=SV2=] searching for a bombing suspect at a bathhouse after their improvised bath explodes. All they know is that the suspect has three moles in the right armpit, so the search turns into a naked brawl. [[spoiler: The bomber turns out to be a woman, meaning the men never had a chance of finding her.]]
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits: AND HOW. They're frequently referred to as such in-universe (with "cash drain" usually added for good measure), to the point that it's a RunningGag.
* RealRobot: About as close to realistic as you can get, aside from some slightly whimsical giant police weaponry. Even military Labors are pretty delicate and lightly armed.
** The close-range Griffon (and the Phantom in a lesser extent) is an obvious exception, since it wasn't going to be mass produced and it was built without cost in mind and lots of overtime from the engineers in Schaft's Project Division Seven. Its flight, for example, was extremely limited and was brute thrust all the way, ending in crashes both times. Everybody got utterly shocked when the Griffon flew, since neither of them thought possible a Labor was able to fly (since it was earlier mentioned that making flying a Labor would be very complicated, due to its weight).
* RedShirtReporter: Momoko Sakurayama won't let a little thing like danger get in the way of a good story--or being made into unknowing hostages by a criminal labor pilot. Her anatonistic relationship with Section 2 just makes all the more fun to see Otah stuff them back in their news van by hand.
* RevolversAreJustBetter: The Ingrams carry scaled-up Colt Pythons. This is at least partly due to the fact that they're easier for the ground crew to load by hand than a magazine-fed weapon would be.
* {{Roboteching}}: Seen in an episode that parodied ''[[Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross Macross]]'' (as well as ''Series/{{Ultraman}}'' and a few other classic sci-fi shows).
* RomanticismVersusEnlightenment: The series in general remains on the Enlightened end of the spectrum and relatively idealistic - even in the worst of times. Generally, humanity growing to live with mechs coexisting with them and how they are used in society is the end result, and all other things are just consequences of it.
* RousseauWasRight: Even at its darkest, the show remains very optimistic about human nature and the future, where men and machines work together to save the day and while authority figures are far from perfect, they're much more likely to be [[HanlonsRazor harmless bumblers rather than malicious bullies]]. Nowhere does this shine through more than the second movie, where the Greater Tokyo Area being put under martial law by the Japanese Defense Agency amounts to little more than a minor inconvenience for both the civilians and the bored and put-upon [=JGSDF=] soldiers, who uncomplainingly humor onlookers who want to take pictures with their tanks.
* RunningGag:
** Noa frantically running from something, almost fainting, quickly recovering. Happens at least three times in the course of the series. Usually from something monstrous--like albino {{sewer gator}}s.
** Gotoh using Shinohara's hot-headedness and curiosity in missions to confirm suspicions that he has already glossed over ''waaaaaaay'' before. Which is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] by Shinobu during the first film, when she comments on Gotoh's habit of manipulating Asuma. He ''also'' usually does this to avoid the higher-ups noticing that he is the one that is actually ruffling the feathers.
** The unit sometimes tries to hide stuff and sneaks out from Captain Gotoh. They never succeed in getting anything past him. It shows that they are somewhat unaware of just how curious he can be.
** The unit's apparent informality towards ''everything'' in the opinion of most outsiders.
** Ohta's trigger-happy approach to ''every mission''. It's good thing that he is actually [[spoiler: an excellent shooter]].
** Shinshi's tendency to get absolutely livid when he and/or his wife is ridiculed.
** Sakaki's line to get everyone going when there's a call goes something like "Hurry up, or I'll throw the lot of you into the sea!" Even Shinohara makes fun of this at one point in the series.
** The public's perception of Division 2 is constantly mentioned to be on the lines of "violent", "freeloaders" and "a huge waste of taxpayer money". The high command's efforts regarding Division 2 is to put them into a positive publicity stunt as frequently as they can so that the public opinion aims for the better. It's apparently not enough that the Division 2 has saved Tokyo multiple times and has even backed up Division 1 when they fall short; [[spoiler: it's worth mentioning that the high command likes captain Nagumo of Division 1 way more than Gotoh of Division 2, so they don't quite help to the cause]].
** Shinohara and Noa have a habit of bickering that translates into the field. Labor 1's operation during missions usually has Noa going on a multitude of unlikely tangents while on the Labor while Shinohara pulls her down to Earth from the commanding car. He is never above making her mad or making her do stuff she doesn't want to do, she doesn't mind, except when he stops bickering... because ''THAT's'' when something's wrong.
* SchematizedProp: The opening narration of the last half of the TV series included a detailed description of the AV-98 Ingram, the show's titular patrol labor, using what was for the time ''highly'' detailed Computer Animation.
* ScoobyDooHoax: An episode featuring a "sea monster."
* SecretDiary: Kanuka was writing an ongoing report on her coworkers during her time with [=SV2=]. It's somewhat less than flattering.
* SeriousBusiness: The two Maintenance Division centric episodes end up with [[spoiler: most of Division 2 going mysteriously missing one by one, and a small civil war among the unit including beatings, [[PuttingOnTheReich nazi-esque]] "security squads," kidnappings and (non-lethal) hangings, respectively.]] The culprits? [[spoiler: Some spoiled food and the confiscation of a sizable porn stash.]]
* SewerGator: [=SV2=] encounters large albino alligators underground on two occasions --
** In the TV series episode "Underground Mystery Tour", the team learns of sewer-like tunnels beneath the reclaimed land while investigating a series of thefts at the station. Inhabitants include a horde of rats, numerous feral cats, the homeless culprit, and a giant alligator that chases everyone for the last third of the episode.
** In the New Files OVA series episode "The Dungeon Again", after a giant albino alligator is captured in the tunnels beneath [=SV2=], some of the mechanics hear a rumour that it secreted a giant pearl somewhere down there. They go missing, a rescue team is sent in, they run into booby traps left by a crazy sewer-dweller, and [[spoiler: the "pearls" turn out to be eggs]].
* ShooOutTheClowns: Cutesy mecha-fetishist Noah & wacky gun-nut Ohta get progressively less & less screentime with each progressively darker & more cynical film. Somewhat rectified in the manga & TV continuity with the Griffon Saga, which, while still mostly serious & featuring an escalating level of danger still has a major focus on Noah.
* ShootingGallery: [[TriggerHappy Otah]] gets chewed out for not only shooting an automated target, but [[CoupDeGrace charging in to smash it up with his baton afterwards]], destroying an expensive piece of equipment.
* ShoutOut: The whole Griffon plotline, from Brocken fighting Ingram to collect its data to the Griffon itself, is HUGE shout out to [[Anime/{{Gigantor}} Tetsujin No. 28]]. Simply replace Brocken and Griffon with Baccus and Black Ox and the whole thing should be clearer.
* ShownTheirWork:
** Seen [[http://www.mangahere.com/manga/patlabor/c001/102.html here]] and [[http://www.mangahere.com/manga/patlabor/c001/103.html here]], for the manga version, which used an actual map of the city of Tokyo for accuracy. Also seen in the following link with [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwNRv-lubCg the intercept sequence]] of the 2nd Movie.
** The series as a whole went out of its way to depict a real and modern Tokyo, deviating only when copyright or trademarks got in the way.
** The Ingram's design is an astonishingly well-thought out representation of how a (relatively small) humanoid mecha might work. While the proportions vary DependingOnTheArtist, they're generally depicted with a stocky, compactly-built (not to mention mostly hollow) torso atop comparatively long legs with short, thin thighs and large, flared lower legs and feet. This keeps the machine's center of gravity low, a crucial consideration in something that tall. Additionally, using extensible armatures to draw the revolver cannon from the retractable ankle holster inside the aforementioned flared legs rather than simply bending down to grab it reduces wear and tear on the joints of the Ingram's limbs and body, which are noted in the anime to need constant maintenance due to the massive loads they carry.
%%* ASimplePlan
* SittingOnTheRoof: Particularly egregious, as the Special Vehicles 2 building (formerly a manufacturing facility) has a couple of decks on the roof, and yet they still go onto the actual roof on occasion.
* SlidingScaleOfRealisticVersusFantastic: It differs depending on the media you are watching or reading.
** The two movies helmed by Creator/MamoruOshii are highly realistic with situations that could happen in the real world, as the antagonists in both are terrorists that utilize methods that can be and have been used in real life.
** The TV show is mostly realistic in its portrayal of labor crime until the main story arc kicks in, and the [=SV2=] battles Schaft and their super-robot prototypes... and monsters, dragons and ghosts too.
** The ''Film/TheNextGenerationPatlabor'' live-action series plays with this, considering that Oshii is in the helm of the project and it's a sequel to the animated movies.
* SnowMeansLove: An episode of the second {{OVA}} revolved around this trope.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: The Central Park Media release prefers to use "Gotoh", for instance, instead of "Gotou" or "Gotō". (The reason likely being that that third syllable, the "u", is typically meshed with the second when pronounced correctly in Japanese.) Maiden Japan, however, uses "Goto".
** This is also the case where Bado/Bud is concerned, since his name alternates between both spellings, as seen in the subtitles of different episodes of the anime. This is also the case of [[http://www.mangahere.com/manga/patlabor/c007/20.html the manga version]], which initially referred to him as "Baddo" (with two d's, rather than one), but eventually settled on calling him "Bud".
* SpiderTank: Many military Labors use this design rather than the bipedal form of most civilian models. (An episode of the TV series notes that, in a city, Labors have to worry about their width and turning radius.)
* StrictlyProfessionalRelationship:
** Captains Gotoh and Shinobu, it is Played Straight, with [[HopelessSuitor Gotoh]] nursing unrequited feelings for Shinobu, who strictly enforces a professional relationship between them.
** Played straight by Noa and Asuma in the {{OVA}} continuity. However, near the end of the ''Mobile Police/New Files'' continuity, their relationship [[MaybeEverAfter shows signs of becoming]] [[RelationshipUpgrade "more than friends"]].
* SuperDeformed: The "Mini-Pato" {{omake}} shorts.
* SuperPrototype:
** [=SV2=] has three prototype AV-98 Ingram mechs. One episode of the series focused on the introduction of a mass-produced line of Ingrams, subverting the trope in that the prototypes weren't exceptionally good so much as the mass-produced ones were exceptionally shoddy. Also, other kinds of mass-produced military mechs are shown to be close in quality to the Ingrams, if not flat out ''better'' in certain regards, but the Ingram has a distinct lead in agility and the experience of its pilots.
*** Shinohara Heavy Industries is actually GenreSavvy about this trope. After the poor showing their first massproduction Ingram makes, they get [=SV2=] to help them develop a new one. The resulting "Economy Model Ingram mk. II" is actually superior in some respects to the original AV-98.
** The first film has the AV-X0 "Type Zero" which was supposed to be an advanced replacement for the AV-98. It proved to be a fearsome opponent in melee combat against other labors, and when it was overtaken by the Babel virus it completely mopped the floor with Ohta's Ingram and Noa only barely managed to subdue it with a shotgun to the brain. Seeing as the Type Zero wasn't seen in the subsequent films (the AV-02 Valiant shows up instead), it can be assumed that the design was abandoned.
** The Type Zero also shows up near the end of the manga, piloted by [[spoiler:Noa]]. It actually does quite well, until [[spoiler:the bad guys deactivate the computers that did the calculations for the Type Zero -- since it was a prototype it relied on an outside unit rather than having all the hardware inside the chassis]]. In the TV anime and [=OVAs=], the Type Zero is fully functional on its own, but the software is ''designed'' to avoid collateral damage, which gets them all trashed.
* SurprisinglyGoodEnglish: Present in the original Japanese dub for the intercept sequence of Movie 2. It's in Japanese-accented but correct English.
* TeamShot: Both ending themes of the TV series, as well as the final shot of the second OVA, which brought the franchise to a close.
* TeamSpirit: Notable in a couple of ways. The maintenance crew has greater importance in the series than is usual for a Mecha Show, and Division 2 (despite being labeled a RagtagBunchOfMisfits in-universe) shows strong teamwork when the chips are down.
* ThanatosGambit: The first movie starts off with the BigBad jumping into the ocean. As a result, the police can't find out in time how his virus works. A second, [[EpilepticTree less clear gambit]], may be that [[spoiler: he attached his employee badge to his pet raven to set off a NeverFoundTheBody-paranoia, and give his pursuers a SecretTestOfCharacter. Division 2 is only able to prevent the destuction of Tokyo because they decide to try and save Hoba when they think he's alive. They wouldn't have made it to the backup-system in time if they had decided to collapse the Ark with him still in it.]]
* ThemeNaming: Most of the ''career'' cops are named for WWII admirals (Gotoh[[note]]named after Gotohda, and even sharing his nickname of "Gotoh(da) the Razor"[[/note]] and Nagumo), Ohta is probably named for the inventor of the Ohka (Baka) glider bomb - he looks frighteningly like his namesake.
* ThrowAwayCountry: Could be averted. According to an interview with the production crew, the country that shows up in the prologue of the second movie has background references to suggest that it can be Cambodia. Which does lead to TruthInTelevision since Japanese soldiers and police officers were deployed in Cambodia, years after the end of the Second Pacific War as [=UN=]-mandated personnel.
* TrialByFriendlyFire: In the second movie, a pair of JASDF interceptors very nearly fired on allied aircraft over Tokyo, due to hacking of Japan's air defense network [[spoiler:thanks to Tsuge's hackers]].
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: The franchise started in 1988, but was set in 1998. Aside from underestimating the leap in technology, they got just about everything else right.
%%* UnnecessaryCombatRoll: In giant robots, even.
* UsedFuture: To a point, as nothing is really much worse for the wear in 1998 than it was in 1988, aside from what a decade might do to something.
* VillainTeamUp: Episode 42 of the TV series, titled appropriately Enough "The Men Who Returned" features 3 previous villains teaming up--and forming a PowerTrio.
* WelcomeEpisode:
** As far as Noa is concerned, she was the only one who got an introduction in the TV anime. The first OVA has the entire Division 2 transfer to Special Vehicles 2 the same time[[note]]Noa actually gets to the building before the others, since they took the bus and she has a scooter[[/note]], and the manga starts with Noa still in training ''before'' getting any sort of Labor instruction.
** Played straight with Kanuka[[note]]the exact method of which changes with each continuity - she notably arrives ''after'' Kumagami in the manga[[/note]], and with Kumagami to a less jarring extent.
%%* WholeEpisodeFlashback
* WholePlotReference:
** An entire (dream) episode devoted to an ''Series/{{Ultraman}}'' homage, specifically harking back to the series ''Series/UltraSeven'' with the squad acting secretly as a monster/alien defense team. They even go for some of the classic sound effects and the big bad of the episode is an {{Expy}} of Ultraman's classic enemy: Zetton. Noa gets to transform using a Beta Capsule version of the Ultra Eye into ''Ingraman''. In fact, all the monsters and Ultramen who appear have the faces of military or police labors. The Zetton has the face of the Griffon, Ingraman is Noa's Ingram "Alphonse", "Zero" is the AV-0 Peacemaker.
** The third episode of the first OVA is a hilarious ''Film/{{Gojira}}'' send-up, down to the one-eyed MadScientist and the "Oxygen Destroyer" (actually a bit of dry ice in a plastic tube).
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: Takeo Kumagami is extremely afraid of ghosts. She hides it initially with skepticism, but the mask soon falls away. One the Ghosts spirits are put at rest, she presents the spirits with an offering of flowers, sake and an incense stick.
* XanatosGambit: Mixed with the ThanatosGambit above: By killing himself, the BigBad has left the police with only three choices: [[spoiler: Do nothing and let Tokyo's infrastructure get wrecked, destroy all Labors, or destroy the Ark thereby dooming the Babylon Project.]] Since the BigBad is TheFundamentalist who feels that LuddWasRight, all three options suit him.
* ZombieApocalypse: The big battle in the first movie is a HoldTheLine action to prevent civilization from being destroyed against an onslaught of slow moving, dumb, but relentless horde of opponents that are afflicted with a highly contageous virus that infects one of the good guys and turns it against his friends. Only instead of living dead humans, it affects ''construction mecha'', the kind that were meant to ''easily demolish buildings'' and are used throughout the Tokyo Bay area.

''"This page is about a work of fiction... but in ten years, who knows?"''