Tuesday, December 31, 2013

PATLABOR: THE NEXT GENERATION (2014) The Legendary Anime Series Goes Live!


The just-unveiled advance poster for PATLABOR: THE NEXT GENERATION!

Originating in the late 1980s, MOBILE POLICE: PATLABOR, is a long-running animated series created by a collective calling themselves Headgear, consisting of director Mamoru Oshii (GHOST IN THE SHELL), writer Kazunori Ito (GAMERA 2), mecha designer Yutaka Izubuchi (YAMATO: 2199), character designer Akemi Takada (GATCHAMAN), and manga artist Masami Yuki (BIRDY THE MIGHTY). The extremely popular story has spawned several OVAs, television series, feature films, and manga, centering on the exploits of Tokyo Metropolitan Police Special Vehicle Section 2, Division 2 -- which use the titular Patrol/Labor robots against crime and terrorism. Now, these beloved characters will come to life in an all-new series of live action films, which take place in 2013, several years after the original PATLABOR adventures took place.

Initial teaser poster unveiled earlier this year at the Anime Fair.

During the Tokyo International Anime Fair on March 21, 2013 at the, Tohokushinsha Co. Ltd., made the announcement of a live action PATLABOR: THE NEXT GENERATION for 2014, which was followed by a press conference streamed over the Nico Nico Live website on September 25, 2013. In a similar distribution style to SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: 2199, there will be seven theatrical films released through Shochiku, made up of twelve 48-minute episodes, plus a ten-minute prologue (Episode Zero), commencing on April 5, 2013 in six-week intervals (May 31, July 12, August 30, October 18, November 29, and January 1). While the cast and crew have been announced, there has yet been no listing for a visual effects director.

Crew prepping to shoot one of the full-scale Ingram AV-98 props.

Produced on a budget of2 billion (approximately $19,222,000 USD), PATLABOR: THE NEXT GENERATION began shooting in June 2013 under the watchful eye of Supervising Director Oshii, who also wrote all of the episodes with Kei Yamamura (THE IRRESPONSIBLE CAPTAIN TYLOR), while individual episodes are being helmed by Oshii (directing 0, 6, & 12), Takanori Tsujimoto (BUSHIDO MAN) directs 2, 4, & 8, Kiyotaka Taguchi (NEO ULTRA Q) directs 9 & 10, and Hiroaki Yuasa (MOON) directs 3, 5, & 11. And fans can rejoice that the original PATLABOR composer, Kenji Kawai (GUNHED), is also returning for this new production. To insure realism, two impressive, full scale AV-98 Type Ingram Labors, standing a full 8 meters tall (approximately 27 feet), along with their heavy towing equipment, built for in-camera interaction with the cast.

Director Oshii (far right) with the main cast of the new PATLABOR.

Actress and singer Erina Mano (KAMEN RIDERKAMEN RIDER WIZARD & FOURZE: MOVIE WAR ULTIMATUM) headlines as Akira Izumino (taken from Oishii's "parallel world" Patlabor novel published in 2011), Seiji Fukushi (ASK THIS OF RIKYU) as Yuma Shinobara, Rina Ota (BRAIN MAN) as Kasha, Toshio Kakei (BAYSIDE SHADOWN: THE FINAL) as Captain Keiji Gotoda, Shigeru Chiba (DRAGON BALL Z: BATTLE OF GODS) reprises his role as Maintenance Chief Shigeo Shiba, and Yoshikatsu Fujiki (KAMEN RIDER BLACK-RX) as Yoshikatsu Buchiyama. Principal Photography on PATLABOR: THE NEXT GENERATION is set to wrap this month. Additionally, an all-original live action feature film, written and directed by Oshii (with a running time of 100 minutes), will follow during the Golden Week holiday in 2015.

Watch the first teaser trailer, here!

Please visit the official Japanese website, !

Stateside fans can also catch up on the phenomenon as US-based anime label, Maiden Japan recently scored the license for the animated MOBILE POLICE: PATLABOR television and OVA series -- check out their website, !
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