10 Minutes of Live-Action Patlabor's Press Conference Posted
posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web news site posted a 10-minute video from the press conference for the live-action Patlabor project that was held on Wednesday. The stars, alongside the project's chief director Mamoru Oshii, and project head Hiroshi Ōkubo, appeared on the project's actual Chiba-area set in costume alongside a full-scale, 8-meter-tall (about 26-foot-tall) Ingram robot. Ōkubo announces the project's format in the below video.
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 squad chief Shigeo Shiba, and Toshio Kakei as Captain Keiji Gotōda (the successor to the anime's Captain Kiichi Gotō).
The project will begin with a seven-part series that distributor Shochiku will run in special theatrical engagements in Japan, starting next April. The seven parts are composed of an episode 0 (about 10 minutes long) and 12 full episodes (about 48 minutes long) helmed by the chief director Oshii and other directors. Then, Oshii is directing and writing a feature-length film (about 100 minutes long) that will open in 2015. The title of the feature will be announced later.
The production is budgeted at 2 billion yen (US$20 million), and principal photography is running 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).
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 OAVs 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.