Actor Naoto Takenaka to Appear in Live-Action Patlabor
posted on by Emma Hanashiro
The official poster for Part 2 of Mamoru Oshii's live-action The Next Generation -Patlabor- series and film revealed on Monday that Naoto Takenaka will make an appearance. Takenaka voiced the pivotal role of Shigeki Arakawa in Oshii's 1993 Patlabor 2: The Movie.
Former Hello! Project singer and actress Erina Mano also stars as pilot Akira Izumino (as opposed to the earlier 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). Part 2 — with episode 2 "98-Shiki Sakidō Seyo" (AV-98, Relaunch!) and episode 3 "Tekken Akira" — will premiere in Japan on May 31.
The Patlabor franchise's 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 Itō (.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 anime film, Patlabor WXIII, was released in theaters in Japan in 2002.
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.
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 production also used Suidobashi Heavy Industry's real-life rideable robot Kuratas.
Oshii commented that the seven-part series will have a "slapstick" ambiance, 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 this 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.
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 last year that it acquired the Mobile Police Patlabor television anime series. The same company announced the rights for the video anime series last year.
Source: Cinema Today
Images © 2014 THE NEXT GENERATION -PATLABOR- Production Committee