WXIII: Patlabor Movie 3, also known as Patlabor: Wasted Thirteen. This 2001 film was the newest Patlabor animated offering for a while, being made many years since the end of the TV series and the previous film. This movie actually takes place in between the previous two movies, being more of a side-story film. Included in this release is the CG/papercraft-style shorts MiniPato, which are comedic shorts giving information about the entire Patlabor series, including plot elements and the science behind the Labors.
The movie takes place a year after the first Patlabor film. A series of fatal attacks on Labors have been happening around Tokyo Bay. Detectives Takeshi Kusumi and Shinichiro Hata are assigned to investigate the attacks. What soon first seems like a terrorist operation ends up pointing to a government-made bioweapon gone free. The truth behind the atacks has a wonderful truth to it, which I will spare from spoiling the ending.
The animation in this film is excellent. This is the best-looking Patlabor animated work to date. The animation on the Ingram is wonderful. Unfortunately, the Labors are not in the movie very much. I should point out now that the movie is mostly a detective film with some political and military drama included, with only a handful of minutes devoted to Labors, or even SV2; they are briefly in it, though their redesigns for the film look nice. The new cast fill this world well, adding a much more grounded feeling to the world compared to most characters from the original. The voice acting is pretty good in both Japanese and English. The music is lacking in quality compared to the other Patlabor media.
I’ll give this a 7/10. While a decent film in its own right, it doesn’t feel like a true Patlabor title, and thus its position as a side story. I do have hopes that the new live action series and film surpass this film, and live up to the anime, OVAs, and film legacy of Patlabor better than this did.
As I noted before, my copy of the film came with a bonus MiniPato DVD, as well as a disc full of supplemental behind the scenes material. Also included is a collectible booklet, as it says on the cover, covering information mentioned in the supplement DVD, and a nice reference book. The standard and limited editions are out of print, so it will be wise to pick them up if you find them somewhere. Hopefully someone like Maiden Japan releases this, just like the first OVA series and the anime.