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 manga artist Masami Yūki, director Mamoru Oshii, screenwriter Kazunori Itō, mecha designer Yutaka Izubuchi, and character designer Akemi Takada.
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.
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.