The Eternal Patlabor Debate

One thing I really like from Patlabor is the chemistry between the two main characters, Noa and Asuma. They operate in a way that defies mecha anime convention: Noa does the tough job of piloting, while Asuma does the tough job of giving orders. They complement each other very well, even better than those husband-and-wife partners out there.

The franchise has some consistently great writing that you don’t see in most of its peers, but somehow I think that the writers have deliberately made the answer to this question as obscure as possible: are they an item?

The two are often seen going out on their own. They’ve had their fair share of dates, but nothing remotely romantic has ever happened in any of them. If you’re going to sniff for that elusive hint of romance, you’ll have to do it in the wrong places. Good luck, they are few and far between. And it could really go either way–there’s no doubt that they’d make a fine couple, but their present relationship is so good that you can’t imagine the status quo being broken. Am I making sense here? Probably not.

Yes and no; that’s the long and short answer. But that doesn’t stop a good number of fans from imagining.

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10 Responses to The Eternal Patlabor Debate

  1. Why stop yourself. SHIP AWAY.

  2. G says:

    I’ve read that they do go farther than off and on dating and actually hook up in the manga but since it’s not translated passed volume three I’ll never know for sure.

    Fifty assholes doing 80 volumes of Naruto but no body can be bothered to do 22 of a good manga like Patlabor.

  3. Jacques says:

    If anyone has the source for the entire series scanned and translated online, do share them with us.

  4. 2DT says:

    I like a complex romance. Patlabor is one of those titles that always gets name-dropped in a discussion of anime history, but which precious few today have actually seen. I have to rectify that.

    • schneider says:

      You’re in luck–Patlabor is very easy to get into. The OVA is 7 episodes long and will be enough to tell you if you’re going to like the rest of the franchise.

      The movies are some of the best I’ve seen in all of anime, especially the second one.

  5. JELEINEN says:

    I found the relationship between Captains Goto and Nagumo to be the interesting one to me. That supplementary episode with the two stuck in the typhoon was so much fun to watch.

    That reminds me that I have the TV series to watch yet.

  6. Lydia says:

    Well, there is no need to wonder anymore. In Patlabor: the next generation live action is revealed that Noa and Asuma eventually got married.
    They are not the main characters here, I think they only make an offscreen voiceover, but at least the mistery is finally solved.

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