Fair for its day.
Patlabor was a pioneer in the thematic of realism and mundane utility in the Mecha Franchise. It was different, insightful, slow paced and more preocupied with a well thought introduction of Mechas than any sense of adventure or Drama.
But it hasn't aged well.
Patlabor is boring
. After more than a decade of new works, alterations, deconstructions and reconstructions of not only the Mecha Franchise but the Slice of Life genre in the different mediums, Patlabor can come as a very slowpaced, Hype, too bland work. There is nothing new to see, what there is it has been done better (or more specifically, works created catter unique tastes) by other authors, mangakas and writters.
It was groundbreaking and a pioneer, but this doesn't mean it was superior or actually good.
It's a very especialized era type of work. Of the 90's and the new Millenium, the cynicism of the generation X, the estability in Japan after the Bubble burst, the terror of the new Millenium, the desire to create more "adult and serious" works and the introduction of the Anime to the New continent.
It can come as a slightly Values Dissonance
and Seinfeld Is Unfunny
. Is not a bad work by any stretch of the Imagination but remember, many of the people who would recommend this work (both in Tvtropes and elsewhere) grew up during this age, where there in the first wave of Anime exportation, where hit with its originality and its sense of deconsturction and innovation and truly suffer from Nostalgia Filter
(also known as the Hardcore Original
Fanbase) with this kind of works.
Give it a view and go with an open mind but don't let the reviews (including this one) to paint you an excesive nice or bleak view. You may enjoy it or consider it Torture but don't expect the Moon and the stars.
Its simply a Mecha Slice of Life with a taste of Police procedural