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Live-Action Patlabor Brings Back Shinobu Nagumo

posted on by Egan Loo
Former police robot division leader returns as part of UN Relief Agency for Refugees

Shinobu Nagumo, the popular character from the science-fiction anime franchise Mobile Police Patlabor, is returning in episode 12 of the franchise's live-action incarnation, The Next Generation -Patlabor-. The episode "Ōinaru Isan" (The Great Legacy) is the climax of the seventh and final part of the ongoing series, and it sets the stage for the upcoming feature film.

Shinobu was the head of Section 2 Division 1 of police robots in the earlier anime projects, and she played a particularly critical role in the anime film Mobile Police Patlabor 2 the Movie. However, The Next Generation -Patlabor- is set in the year 2013 — over a decade after the events of Patlabor 2: The Movie, and after the Tokyo Metropolitan Police had disbanded Section 2 Division 1.

A certain disgraceful incident derailed Shinobu's life, and the events of Patlabor 2: The Movie led the way to her resigning from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. In the upcoming live-action episode, she is now part of the UN Relief Agency for Refugees (UNRAR). A scene from the episode shows her receiving a letter on an apparent battlefield.

Episode 12's trailer reveals that Patlabor 2: The Movie character Yukihito Tsuge will also play an important role in the final installment. The trailer hints that the main character Akira Izumino and her friends will face the most dangerous situation they have ever encountered, and that a "storm is coming."

Part seven will open in Japanese theaters on January 10, and will screen for two weeks only. People who watch the film during the first week will receive a frequent-customer loyalty card to the Chinese restaurant that plays a comic role in the story of The Next Generation -Patlabor-. During the second week, theaters will give away Shinobu's UNRAR business card.

The feature film will then follow during Japan's Golden Week holidays in the spring. Oshii commented that most of the seven-part series will have a "slapstick" ambiance, while the feature film will be serious.

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 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.

Source: animeanime.jp, Cinema Today

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