By James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)
The Next Generation -Patlabor- official trailer is online and fans will be pleased to know that the production company, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation, is not only offering a feature-length film but also a live action theatrical series. Thirteen episodes (episodes 1-12 and episode 0) will be broken up up into a seven part saga.
Part one of the series will make its debut on April 5, 2014 at the Shinjuku Piccadilly cinema in Tokyo Prefecture as well as several other theatres throughout Japan. The 100-minute feature film, written and directed by Mamoru Oshii, will be shown during Japan’s Golden Week (between the end of April and the beginning of May) in 2015.
This new set of films is based on the original 1989 animated series Mobile Police Patlabor. It is a sequel to the animated Patlabor movie timeline. Patlabor was an anime and manga franchise created by Headgear, an artists group consisting of director Mamoru Oshii, writer Kazunori Itō, mecha designer Yutaka Izubuchi, character designer Akemi Takada and manga artist Masami Yūki.
Patlabor took place in Japan‘s near future of 1998 – 2002, where mechs designed for heavy industrial work were called “Labors.” The series revolved around the officers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Special Vehicle Section’s Division 2. This team had at their disposal special Labors (called Ingrams) to use as tools in enforcing the law against perpetrators who used mechs to commit crimes.
But what might appear to be science fiction in the feature film may appear more like reality. One of the unofficial stars will be a full scale, operational, robot. The “Kuratas KR01” developed by artist Korogo Kuratas and robotics engineer Wataru Yoshizaki. They were inspired by a few classic shows, namely Armored Trooper Votoms. The Kuratas will be painted yellow and it will appear as a construction Labor. The mech is built by Suidobashi Heavy Industry. It stands about 4 metres (13.1 feet) tall and has a top speed of 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) per hour.
The Next Generation -Patlabor- stars Erina Mano, Seiji Fukushi, Rina Oota, Toshio Kakei and Shigeru Chiba who will be reprising his role as Chief Shigeo Shiba.