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2 Patlabor Anime Voice Castmembers Record for Live-Action Patlabor

posted on by Egan Loo
Noa's Miina Tominaga, Asuma's Toshio Furukawa play radio personalities in July 12 installment

Miina Tominaga, the voice actress of the Mobile Police Patlabor anime's lead character Noa Izumi, and Patlabor's Asuma Shinohara voice actor Toshio Furukawa returned to the franchise to voice roles in the live-action project The Next Generation -Patlabor-. They are contributing to the third live-action part, which will open in Japanese theaters on July 12.

The third part is made of two episodes: Episode 4 "Norainu-tachi no Gogo" (Stray Dogs' Afternoon) about a battle between terrorists and Section 2 Division 2 in a convenience store, and Episode 5 "Daikaijū Arawaru Zenpen" (A Giant Monster Appears Part I) about a mysterious giant sea creature. Tominaga and Furukawa will play offscreen radio personalities for sequences that last about a minute in the "Daikaijū Arawaru Zenpen" episodes.

Episode 4 begins when Akira is forced to take a long trip to the convenience store to grab snacks. There, she is captured and taken hostage along with other customers by terrorists who have taken over the store. Coming to search for Akira, Yūma and Yamazaki also get captured.

Episode 5 starts when a surfer suddenly disappears at sea. At the same time, a large sea monster appears. At the beach, marine biologist Nobuko Nanami is researching the incident, but the Section 2 Division 2 team just happened to be vacationing at the same seaside. They are caught in the investigation when the visiting tourists are excited to see a large robot like Labor fight a sea monster.

Former Hello! Project singer and actress Erina Mano 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).

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.

Omnibus Japan, an audio and computer graphics studio tied to Tohokushinsha Film Corporation, 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: Comic Natalie

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