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Live-Action Patlabor's Ingram Cockpit Unveiled in Photos

posted on 2014-01-20 02:00 EST
Mamoru Oshii's series & film project to debut on April 5

The official website for Mamoru Oshii's live-action The Next Generation -Patlabor- series and film project posted photographs on Monday. The photographs from the project's first part showcases the cockpit of the eight-meter-tall robotic mecha AV-98 Ingram.

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At the end of the 20th century, the world was changed with the advent of labors — giant robotic mecha used in industrial tasks for the advancement of technology. To combat the crimes perpetuated in these labors, police established sections of patrol labors or "Patlabors." It is now the 21st century, when the next generation of Patlabor comes to the fore.

The project begins with a seven-part series, which is composed of an "episode 0" and 12 full episodes helmed by the project's chief director Mamoru Oshii and other directors. Then, Oshii is directing and writing a feature-length film that will open in 2015.

The first part is set to premiere on April 5 in the Shinjuku Piccadilly and other theaters, followed by the rest of the seven parts:

Part 1: April 5, 2014
Part 2: May 31, 2014
Part 3: July 12, 2014
Part 4: August 30, 2014
Part 5: October 18, 2014
Part 6: November 29, 2014
Part 7: January 1, 2015

Each episode is projected to be about 48 minutes long, with the prequel episode 0 scheduled for about 10 minutes. Finally, the feature-length film will open during Japan's Golden Week holidays in spring 2015, and it is expected to run about 100 minutes long.

The Next Generation -Patlabor- project is not a remake of the earlier Patlabor anime stories, but a completely new work. The story is set in Tokyo in 2013, and it represents the "third generation" of Patlabor. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police has disbanded its Section 2 Division 1 of police robots, and Section 2 Division 2 barely survived the budget cuts due to the long recession.

Former Hello! Project singer and actress Erina Mano will star as pilot Akira Izumino (as opposed to the anime's heroine Noa Izumi). The cast also includes Seiji Fukushi as Yūma Shiobara, Rina Oota as Ekaterina Krachevna Kankaeva ("Kasha") from Russia, Shigeru Chiba reprising his anime role as maintenance crew chief Shigeo Shiba, and Toshio Kakei as Captain Keiji Gotōda (the successor to the anime's Captain Kiichi Gotō).

Other cast members include:

  • Yoshinori Horimoto as Team 2 pilot Harao Ōta (rightmost in poster)
  • Shigekazu Tajiri as Team 1 carrier driver Hiromichi Yamazaki (rear row, second from the left)
  • Kohei Shiotsuka as Team 2 carrier driver Shinji Osakeya (rear row, second from the right)
  • Yoshikazu Fujiki as Buchiyama, the maintenance crew's second-in-charge (second from the left)

The production is budgeted at 2 billion yen (US$20 million), and principal photography ran from June to the end of December. The two life-size Ingram robots were built at the cost of several tens of millions of yen (several hundred thousand US dollars). The film also used Suidobashi Heavy Industry's real-life rideable robot Kuratas as Labor robots.

Oshii commented that the seven-part series will have a "slapstick" ambience, while the feature film will be serious. Oshii and Kei Yamamura are writing the scripts for the series, and Kenji Kawai is returning to the franchise to compose the music for both the series and the feature film.

The production company Tohokushinsha Film Corporation announced at France's Japan Expo in July that Oshii is involved in next year's live-action project of HEADGEAR's Mobile Police Patlabor anime. Omnibus Japan, an audio and computer graphics studio tied to Tohokushinsha, is co-producing the new project. The company worked on the graphics in Ghost in the Shell and the Evangelion films.

The series' original concept of police officers piloting robotic mecha (patrol labors or "Patlabors") was developed by HEADGEAR, a group consisting of director Oshii (Ghost in the Shell, Sky Crawlers), script writer Kazunori Ito (.hack, Dirty Pair), mecha designer Yutaka Izubuchi (Eureka Seven, Mobile Suit Gundam franchise), character designer Akemi Takada (Kimagure Orange Road, Urusei Yatsura, Fancy Lala), and manga creator Masami Yuuki (Birdy the Mighty). The franchise spawned two original video anime, a television anime series, and three anime films. The last film, Patlabor WXIII, was released in theaters in Japan in 2002.

Central Park Media released the OVAs and television series in English before filing for bankruptcy in 2009. Manga Entertainment, Bandai Visual USA, and Geneon released the three films stateside but are since out of print. The North American licensing company Maiden Japan announced in March that it acquired the Mobile Police Patlabor television anime series. The same company announced the rights for the video anime series in January.

Sources: Mantan Web, Comic Natalie

Images © 2014 THE NEXT GENERATION -PATLABOR- Production Committee


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