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Patlabor 1 (1989)

Cast: Shigeru Chiba, Shigeru Chiba, Toshio Furukawa, more...
Director: Mamoru Oshii, Mamoru Oshii
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Manga Video
Genre: Anime, Robots & Cyborgs, Anime Feature Films, Mecha
Running Time: 100 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Giant robots are a perennial facet of Japanese animation; although Patlabor is no exception, it is more of a mystery or a conspiracy thriller than an all-out science fiction adventure. The title of this animated Japanese feature refers to a special police unit assigned to patrol the use of giant robots, or "labors." When the robotic laborers used in industry begin to go on unexplained rampages, Captain Goto of the Patlabor division must investigate; an upgrade in the labor software called the Babylon Project seems to be at the heart of the mystery. Although audiences are rewarded at the end by an exciting battle sequence, the subtle story reveals the influence of cyberpunk and Blade Runner noir on the Japanese animated cinema. ~ Jonathan E. Laxamana, All Movie Guide

Special Features:

  • Manga 2000 Previews
  • Original Trailers
  • Manga Video Fan Club Info
  • Manga Web Link

GreenCine Member Reviews

Better than OK by Redcoffin December 24, 2003 - 3:28 PM PST
5 out of 5 members found this review helpful
Patlabor 1 heels more closely to the cartoony heritage of the TV show than later films, but it's well worth watching -- especially for those without the patience to sit through the TV run. This film forms a bridge between the largely kid-centered TV episodes and the formal maturity of Patlabor 2 and Patlabor WXIII. The pacing is rather slow but the plot scheme is superficially plausible -- especially for 1989 when the idea of a corrupt operating system was less widely known. The spiritual heart of the film is the journey of Asuma and Gota, pursuing traces of the mysterious renegade programmer E.Hoba ('Jehova') through slums and old working-class districts, in the heavy heat of a stereotypically muggy, slimy, stupefying Tokyo summer. Though there are some robot fights and a good smash-bang collabsing building climax, the best part of this film is its meditation on urbanity, anonymity and life in the modern world.

It's just ok by hneline1 August 20, 2002 - 6:34 PM PDT
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
This movie has a good pedigree -- the director is Mamoru Oshii, who later created Ghost in the Shell; the art design is by Hiromasa Ogura , who worked on Jin-Roh and Wings of Honneamise. You can see the early ideas which developed into their later works, but this movie was created in 1989 and it shows. The opening sequence of the military hunting a berserk robot was beautiful but the rest of the movie didn't match up. I couldn't connect with any of the main characters, especially Noah who is a token female and who seems too hesitant and soft to be a key police mecha pilot. Some of physical distortion humor looked strange in an otherwise "realistically" drawn feature. The premise was interesting for 1989 -- a mad programmer infects a popular OS with a destructive sleeper virus -- but the story just descends into our heroes saving the day against all odds using mechas. Maybe if you're into mechas and police dramas, this would be an interesting film but otherwise it's just ok.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.21)
103 Votes
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Central Park Media Anime List 4
Check out CPM list #3 and CPM list #5 for more.
For FDGie - One disc anime picks for FDGUARINO
The 5 on top are my favorite One Disc rentals for people who don't like the wait between volumes for anime series.

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