I'll state right now that Patlabor is my favorite anime series. Unfortunately, someone else would probably need to watch the TV episodes and manga like I have to get the same enjoyment. While the OAV series we are watching introduces the series, it really only gives a glimpse of what Patlabor is really about.
The variation in personality among the different characters and comical interactions between them are my favorite aspects about the series. I enjoy watching Goto's cunning, Asuma's brashness, and even Ohta's bullheadedness. I also find inspiration in characters like Noa, whose greatest asset is their determination to succeed. I appreciate Team Headgear's view of the future that is more or less like it is today. No suffocating cyberpunk, no post-apocalyptic holocaust, no aliens devastating the Earth. It's a bright future where about the only thing that's really different are the big robots they use for construction. I get the sense that Team Headgear is just a big group of otakus like us. Who else would have spiraling blue bullets or make parodies of Gunbuster and Godzilla?
However, Patlabor isn't limited to just fun and games. It has its own serious side, as we'll see tonight in "The SV2's Longest Day." While our heroes are off on vacation, a rogue squad of the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) stages a takeover of key parts of the Tokyo government. The members of the SV2 now have to make their way back to Tokyo in order to put up a response.
While this episode is clearly a prototype for the second Patlabor movie, it is also distinctly separate from it. The pace and focus are different. It isn't a mini-P2. Where much of the movie's focus was on the buildup leading to the takeover, "The SV2's Longest Day" focuses more on Goto's maneuvering and response. For fans of Captain Goto, this is definitely an episode to watch, as we get to see his wit and intellect at its best. In addition, we also get to look into the private lives of the SV2 officers and see some of their motivations and backgrounds.
The reference to a Yutaka Buchiyama in one newscast is an in-joke referring to the mechanical designer of Team Headgear, Yutaka Izubuchi. There was a similar in-joke in the first episode with a radio broadcast about Akemi Itoh; a reference to the character designer, Akemi Takada (who happens to be married to the screenplay writer, Kazunori Itoh).
"This isn't a robot cartoon whose main character is an autistic kid or some punk."