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Patlabor: The Movie
DVD Movie 1
Due to the Greenhouse effect the earth's sea level began rising at a dramatic rate in the early 1990s. Around the world coastal cities such as Tokyo were in serious danger of being entirely flooded by the rising water. Inspired by the great dams of the Netherlands, first San Francisco, then Tokyo implemented their own dam building projects, not to reclaim land from the sea as the Dutch had, but to keep the sea from reclaiming land from the cities.
The Tokyo project was a massive project called "The Babylon Project". The scale and urgency of the Babylon Project required construction tools superior to what was currently available. Towards this goal large mechanical exoskeletons were developed based on currently available technology. These mecha, called Labors, were able to perform intricate work, as would a human, but on a much larger scale.
Not surprisingly, the creation of Labors led to the phenomenon of Labor crime. Previously trivial crimes, such as a drunken construction worker took on new significance, as one drunken Labor pilot could cause millions of dollars worth of damage, destroying entire city blocks with total impunity to conventional police tactics. Other Labor crime was not quite as trivial. In order to deal with Labor related crime, the Tokyo Police created a new department of Labor operating Police officers, the Patrol Labors, or Patlabors for short.
Recently the frequency of Labor crime has increased dramatically; rampaging Labors, a previously monthly occurrence, are now being reported several times a week. Can the Patlabor Mobile Police department find out why the Labors are going crazy, and can they do it before the Labors destroy all of Tokyo?
Patlabor is quite simply a modern Anime classic, this DVD is a must for any self respecting Otaku's library. Even if you aren't an Otaku, Patlabor is a great movie worth checking out.
To start, off let me warn you, the reader, that despite being a movie featuring huge robots which occasionally go berserk and wreck city blocks while resisting arrest, Patlabor is not an action flick. What Patlabor is, is a great detective story/police drama, which in the tradition of many (but not all) detective stories features an action packed ending precluded by a long and arduous investigation.
Still interested? Well read on.
Patlabor's artwork and animation are superb; the animation is in fact among the very best for pre-1990 anime, matched only by a select few such as Akira. The story is extremely well crafted, comparable perhaps to the Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the fact that you start with a seemingly unexplained mystery and as the story unfolds the mystery in fact becomes harder and harder to understand. Unlike Doyle's stories however, the investigation in Patlabor becomes more and more dramatic leading to a revelation not of what happened, but of what will happen if appropriate action is not taken. Appropriate action comes in the form of the movie's closing action sequence which is just enough to satisfy everyone's daily minimum required action quota.
Akemi Takada's original character designs and Yutaka Izubuchi's mecha designs are a clear breath of originality that steer clear of all stereotypes as well as being realistic and well developed throughout the plot. The mecha designs in particular are original in a field vastly devoid of originality, this originality however is a double-edged sword, and personally I did not like the mecha designs; this however is merely a subjective issue as many people do like them and they most definitely are original.
Listening to Patlabor I wished it had been recorded, or perhaps re-mixed in Dolby 5.1 or THX, not because there is any failing to the audio but because this movie sounds so good that I would have loved to hear it in 5.1 (The English track was re-mastered in Dolby 5.1, but not the Japanese track). The music and sound effects are absolutely top-notch, this is a movie that sounds absolutely… real, if you close your eyes and listen; you will believe that you are sitting with the characters.
Overall : A
+ Great plot, very well crafted. Superb sound and animation. Original.
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