Live-Action Patlabor's Premiere Dates, Visuals Unveiled
posted on by Marlene First
1st of 7-part series slated for April 5, followed by 100-minute feature film in spring 2015
Further details of the previously announced live-action The Next Generation -Patlabor- were revealed on Tuesday, including release dates and key visuals. 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, 2014 in the Shinjuku Piccadilly theater, 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 squad chief Shigeo Shiba, and Toshio Kakei as Captain Keiji Gotōda (the successor to the anime's Captain Kiichi Gotō).
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.
Images © 2014 THE NEXT GENERATION -PATLABOR- Production Committee