"In the near future, advanced robots called "Labors" are used worldwide for civil and military operations. In order to combat criminals who might misuse this new technology, the Tokyo police department's Special Vehicle Division (SVD) is equipped with Patrol Labors, or Patlabors, to fight urban crime."
"The date is 2002, three years after the events of Patlabor - Mobile Police. The destruction of a United Nations Labor team in South East Asia begins the build-up to a deadly terrorist plan that threatens to send shockwaves throughout Japan's military and government power structures. When police take over, they must gather the scattered members of the original SVD to defend the city against danger. But the mastermind behind the operation is none other than Nagumo's former teacher and ex-lover Tsuge. Can Nagumo stay true to her oath to uphold the law in the face of Tsuge s destructive plan for revenge? The countdown to armed revolution and panic on the streets of Tokyo begins now..."
"Based on an acclaimed comic book, video and television series, Patlabor 2 is based on an original story by HEADGEAR and directed by Mamoru Oshii.."
Director: Mamoru Oshii Screenplay: Kazunori Itoh Character design: Akemi Takada, Masami Yuuki Mecha design: Yutaka Izubuchi, Shoji Kawamori, Hajime Katoki Music: Kenji Kawai Copyright: Headgear/Emotion/TFC/INC/Shogakukan Language Format: English Language Running time: 109 mins Certificate: PG Label: Manga Video Catalogue no: MANV 1106 Price: £13.99 Release Date: 6th November 1995 Also available in a box set with Patlabor 1 for £19.99 (MANV 1102).
Where the first Patlabor was all guns, renegade robots, put-upon heroes and conspiracies, the second is all guns, put-upon heroes and conspiracies! The difference, apart from the lack of renegade robots, is the big improvement in the story. The pacing, the tension, the reality of what the bad guys are up to - everything combines to produce a thriller worthy of the name.
I recommended Patlabor to fans of, or those new to, the genre. I'm happy to recommend Patlabor 2 to everyone who enjoys a good film. Go out and get it! [Marlon Seton]
The first Patlabor movie was also released by Manga Video. In both movies and a prior TV series, advanced robots called Labors are used for construction and military operations, and employed by police to combat possible misuse. In PATLABOR 2, the destruction of an United Nations force in a South East Asian country triggers the build up to a terrorist plan that, through carefully staged incidents, sends shockwaves that threaten to topple Japan's military and government power structures. Shinobu Nagumo, a senior officer in the robot Police, realises that the mastermind behind the operation is none other than her former lover and teacher, Tsuge. This movie is a blend of SF and political thriller, with very little in the way of shoot-em up action. Rather it builds on character and incident, with a restrained style which includes a number of quietly visual interludes. Despite the PG rating, this is really a video for more mature viewers, including those who grew up with PATLABOR. The dubbing on this edition is excellent, (much better than Manga's PATLABOR 1). All considered, this is one of the finest animated movies you are likely to see: PATLABOR 2 was judged the best animated film of 1993 in Japan. Verdict: go buy this!! [Geoff Cowie]
Carl Horn: I was very apprehensive about seeing how this turned out, due to inside word I had heard and the problems with the dub of the first film--and the overriding fact that I consider PATLABOR 2 to be one of the three best anime films ever made. For those reasons, I am happy to say, and I believe most of the audience (who applauded enthusiastically) would agree with me, that the dub turned out well, and improved upon the PATLABOR 1 dub in a number of aspects. In the opening, pre-credits sequence, the dubbing is a bit unconvincing emotionally--in part, due to the "adding dialogue where there was none" syndrome, but, especially after Arakawa makes his appearance, the dub slips into a smooth groove which continues all the way to the emotional impact of the end. As a caveat, let me say that I have seen little of the original PATLABOR beyond the first two films (yet formed a very high opinion of it based on just that). As a consequence, I do not have a highly-developed sense of how the characters "should" sound. I can observe that the English actors do not always sound like their Japanese counterparts in PATLABOR 2. However, all their voices seemed to work for me. Arakawa, in particular, came off well as the government functionary who is intelligent, yet with a bureaucratic calm to him that suggests professionalism and also a "pragmatic" view of morality. I would have no trouble seeing this voice as that of an American intelligent agent. Goto and Shinobu are also handled well, and since these are the three main characters, the voice-acting' core is secure. One aspect of the voice-acting that may prove controversial is that some minor characters (none of the members of SVII, as far as I could determine) such as pilots and soldiers speak with a Southern or British accent. Of course, there is a considerable range of accent in Japan, so this sort of thing is not outside the realm of realism. Having only seen the original three times, I'm also not equipped to answer definitively about changes in dialogue. However, they appear to be less than those done in PATLABOR 1, and this new dub corrects some of the mistakes of that one. For example, the idea that SVII is an outcast unit, a dumping ground, is restored, and the biblical quote in P2 is this time delivered correctly, as the King James Version (One thing that is added is that when Arakawa refers to the concept of a "just war," he notes that the last one was called that--only it was against the Nazis, "our allies." Such a statement, while perfectly true, would be almost as controversial in a Japanese movie as admitting Japan actually invaded China during the war). You do get the impression, while watching the dub, of actually looking at the world geo-political situation through Japanese eyes, and with a bit of empathy as well. This is exactly what Oshii thought Americans would be unable to do if they saw the movie, yet I think the dub allows it. Its long dialogue passages are generally delivered well. A non-anime fan I went with asked me, "Are the other movies like this?" and I had to answer, "not really." There is not a doubt in my mind that PATLABOR 2 is the best anime film since 1991's OMOHIDE PORO PORO (ONLY YESTERDAY), and, even after seeing GHOST and MEMORIES, I still feel that way. It is a provocative, beautifully animated, and fundamentally adult film that reflects the best and the most challenging side of anime as an art form.