At the turn of the twenty-first century, policing in Tokyo has taken a very unique approach: officers fight crime with cutting-edge mecha called Patlabors. Division 2 of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Special Vehicle Section 2 is one team entrusted with these powerful weapons, but its assembly of clumsy eccentrics could prove a challenge all of its own. Under the staunchly old-fashioned leadership of Chief Sakaki, there are, among others, deadpan Captain Goto, mecha-obsessed Noa Izumi, and straight-talking Asuma Shinohara. Follow them as they try to outwit mad terrorists one minute and survive dysfunctional team dynamics the next!
Many years in the future, crime is out of hand. In order keep the city safe, the Tank Police were created. The Tank Police are an elite unit that uses massive tanks to bring criminals to justice, yet many feel they do more damage than they are worth. Leona is a rookie, and within her first few days on the force she is already knee-deep in trouble.
Both series are incredibly similar in premise and feel. They're both action-comedies from the 80's (with all that entails) and they're about police officers that use rather extraordinary means in order to keep the peace: mechas in Patlabor and, unsurprisingly, tanks in Dominion. And not only that, they both star a female police officer that's really attached to her vehicles of choice.
In the early 21st century, insectoid organisms are invading the galaxy, searching for new stars to house their young. Mankind's only defense lies with space cadets such as Takaya Noriko, daughter of a celebrated admiral killed in battle, and Amano Kazumi, the top of her class. With their skill and the power of the mecha known as GunBuster, the girls must help fight to protect the galaxy from total annihilation...
These 1980s OVAs give us enthusiastic female leads in a mecha action premise that has a mix of strong characterisation and humour. Gunbuster has more of an epic, star-spanning storyline while Patlabor remains grounded (even if it does serve up some very weird images itself) but fans of one title should definitely give the other a whirl.
In the futuristic city of New Port, the crime rate is so high that only police armed with tanks can handle things. Meet Leona and her partner Al, proud members of Tank Police. Together with their mini-tank Bonaparte they fight crime on the streets of New Port... while simultaneously causing havoc in the process. Their old enemy Buaku may not be around anymore, but there are still other criminals to chase and plenty of objects to be blown up. Whether it be dealing with the Puma sisters to putting a stop to evil corporations, Leona will stop at nothing to cause a ruckus – much to the chagrin of poor Al.
The Dominion Tank Police saga and Patlabor are both police shows with a hefty dose of sci fi and humour, and have a great many similar characters, most notably Izumi Noa and Leona Ozaki. Both young women in predominantly male units, they share a passion for their machines, and name them.
Neither show takes itself too seriously, and both the animation and writing are above par for OVA series.
In the year 2075, humanity has spread to the stars, along with their technology, colonies, and... waste? At such great speeds in orbit, even a tiny bolt can cause a tragic disaster. Enter the team of the half division. Their job? To gather the garbage and debris that circles the Earth, in order to keep space safe. From broken-down satellites to bolts and nails, there's nothing that the underpaid and underappreciated staff can't salvage. Join Hachimaki, Tanabe, Fee, and the rest of the gang as they risk their lives to keep space clean, and keep their wallets... empty.
Planetes, like Patlabor, is about a special down-and-out team of eccentrics in a science fiction world charged with a peculiar task. The show begins as strongly episodic and whimsical as Patlabor but uses its latter half to create a serialised conflict that develops the characters to much greater depth. If what you enjoyed most about Patlabor was the quirky team dynamics and hard technology, then you'll love the sensitivity and realism of Planetes.
The government has passed the Media Betterment Act, establishing a military police force to stop the spread of "negative influences harmful to society;" and in response, libraries have organized their own military units to protect freedom of expression. After being saved by a Library Defense Force agent in a bookstore, Kasahara is inspired to enlist in the Library Defense Force. Although she proves quite athletic and capable, she must endure the harsh but meaningful training of her instructor and superior officer, Doujou. As she learns how to be a good soldier, she participates in LDF operations, helping protect literary freedom for everyone.
Both are slightly futuristic (Patlabor more so), and focuses about new and special branches of government: library military forces and police mecha task forces. There is lots of focus on characters, a good amount of humour and are very down to earth.
If you liked either one you should do yourself a favour and check the other one out.