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Patlabor 1 - The Movie

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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(Jul 25, 2000)
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Editorial Reviews

This stylish science fiction detective story bears the stamp of director Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell). "Labors" are gigantic robots used for everything from construction work to law enforcement, but a massive land reclamation project in Tokyo Bay is threatened by robots going on unexplained rampages.

Patlabor cops Noah Izumi and Azuma Shinohara are called in to investigate, and soon find themselves trying to decipher the apocalyptic visions of E. Hoba, who wrote the operating system for the Labor robots and then committed suicide. Hoba introduced a virus into the software that could affect robots all over world and cause unparalleled destruction. In abandoned slum apartments and high-tech construction sites, he left clues about what he was doing--and why. But are Noah, Azuma, and their friends clever enough to second-guess a genius? And will their superior officers accept their conclusions?

The first Patlabor feature has a darker tone and look than the previous OVA series. Oshii assumes the viewer already knows the characters, and doesn't bother introducing them. But this powerful tale of the dangers of over-reliance on technology is far superior to ordinary mecha features. The recent attacks of powerful computer viruses give the story an added relevance. (Unrated; suitable for ages 10 and older: occasional profanity and robot vs. robot violence.) --Charles Solomon

From the Back Cover

The year is 1999 and Tokyo's Mobile Police have a new weapon in the war on crime--advanced robots called Labors are used to combat the criminals who would use the new technology for illegal means. The suicide of a mysterious man on the massive Babylon Project construction site sets off a cascade of events that may signal the destruction of Tokyo. What is the connection between the suicide, the new mobile Police AV-XO Zero Labor, and a berserk prototype tank?

When Patlabor cops Noah Izumi and Azuma Shinohara investigate an unexplained wave of rogue Labors rampaging across the city, they uncover a sinister revenge plot to infect Tokyo's population of 8,000 Labors with the deadly BABEL virus. With the future of the city hanging in the balance and a typhoon poised to trigger the devastation, Noah, Azuma, and their teammates must destroy the source of the virus--the giant Babylon Project tower in Tokyo Bay--in a battle to the finish.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Toshio Furukawa, David Jarvis, Doug Erholtz, Mîna Tominaga, Briony Glassco
  • Directors: Mamoru Oshii
  • Writers: Kazunori Itô, Masami Yûki
  • Producers: Makoto Kubo, Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, Shin Unozawa, Taro Maki
  • Format: Animated, Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Japanese (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Manga Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 25, 2000
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305951640
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,399 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Patlabor 1 - The Movie" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I need to start by saying I have not watched anything but the Patlabor Movies so I have no clue what the series is all about. I also need to say that I bought this film on the heels of watching Macross Plus, my favorite anime EVER, and was expecting an action mech film. Boy was I suprised.

The first time I watched this, I literally fast forwarded through most of it to get the the action. Imagine my dismay when I got there and there seemed to be NONE! I threw down the movie in disgust and left.

Weeks later my friend who got me into Anime saw it and asked to watch it. I told him I thought it was crap but why not. This time...I actually watched the movie and I was blown away with its deep story, amazing imagination and palpable theme of discovery and mystery. For plot line and story, look at the other reviews, I'm just here to give opinion.

Patlabor uses Labors, or mecha, not as show stealing engines of destruction but as obvious evolutions of police enforcement. As such, there is no flashy gundam style energy exchange or more deliberate destruction of the mechwarrior fame. But what you do get is a deep plot of industrial espionage, mysterious dissapearences and a suprisingly realistic look at what future law enforcement would actually look like, detective work too.

In the end, I realized that all anime need not be about amazing action. Patlabor has a pretty good action scene towards the end but that is not why I suggest this movie. I say watch this because it shows what anime can also bring to our DVD players. A well written, well studied movie that would probably crash at the box office because everyone expects it to shoot stuff.
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Format: DVD
Let me start by saying that the movie itself rates a 5-star. I'm giving this 4 stars only because I am fairly annoyed at the English dubbing because it is obiously aimed more at children. This is NOT a movie which should be treated this way. If you're not fluent in Japanese (I only know barely enough Japanese to tell if a translation is WAY off), watch this one with the literal English subtitles. OK, a passing knowlege of post-WWII Japan helps a lot too, but that's true of any of the great Japanese Animes (Akira, Ghost in the Shell, etc). OK, to be fair, it's probably to keep a more PG rating since this Anime doesn't feature gratuitous sex, outfits as not-there as Jennifer Lopez's Acadamy Awards gown, or naked, bathing females with large get the idea.
While not quite as "deep" as Ghost in the Shell, it is still definately more of a thinking person's Anime than an animated Action/Adventure flick. As with other Anime directed by Oshii Mamoru, defitately worth buying, if only to save money on the rental fees, because this is one to watch multiple times to catch the dramatic layers you'll miss the first couple times.
If you enjoy Drama and Anime, this is a great one to get. If you are looking more for giant robots destroying each other then there a wealth of other amime with less drama and more action to suit your taste.
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By A Customer on March 17, 2002
Format: DVD
People looking for gore should turn to Ninja Scroll (my favorite movie, which I highly recommend). I think it's refreshing to see an anime that contains very little violence. It operates on detective work and technology.
The story takes place in the near future. Labors are robots that humans operate, and they're used for policing. The robots have been going berzerk; E. Hoba, the person who wrote the program for the labors, committed suicide, so it's not like anyone can turn to him. Also, it seems that Hoba was the one who created the bug in the labors anyhow.
Noah and Azuma take matters into their own hands and begin to investigate. They're basically only rookies, and it's hard for them to get approval from their superiors. It makes for quite the interesting story. I liked it a lot.
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Format: DVD
I have a small collection of anime which is growing exponentially now, thanks in part to my renewed interest in the genre after viewing this film. What seperates this from many anime is it unique use of the Mecha of "Labors" in its plot, instead of just the same robot battle fair that we've all seen. The movie does not centure around action but around the actual story and the characters as they work together (and sometimes against each other) to solve the big mystery in time to stop the terrible threat to Tokyo and possibly the entire world.
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Format: DVD
You know, in the days of fast cars, fast music(and fast lifespans for music), fast women, fast food, and any thing else that can be concidered fast(let me know if there is anything I have left out), sometimes, you need to slow down a bit. Starting with Shenmue, I came to the conclusion that not every thing has to be fast paced to be enjoyable. As far as movies go, Patlabor fits that bill quite nicely.
More of a crime drama/exploration film, I think the first thing that jumped out at me is the direction. Mamoru Oshii did an excellent job with not only the cinamatagraphy, but the setups as well. Needless to say, nothing felt jarring at all in the movie. Another thing that helped the tone of the movie was the soundtrack. The soundtrack was very well composed(not something I normally say about anime soundtracks. Especially with j-pop openings).
To me, the movie is kinda of an exploration of man and his machines. Man creates machine. Man becomes dependent on machine. Man, therefore becomes machine. It seems as though the antgonist in this movie saw this horrible revolation and commits suicide. Not before sending Tokyo to impending doom with his plan(not gonna share details. I have told enough).
I think one thing that would have made this movie better was if I had saw the original TV series(which I hear is pretty good). But alas, no DVD means no purchase as I am now on strict DVD only diet. But even so, the characters were, if not a little under developed, still deffentatly enjoyable. I just wish they had shared a little more background info. Oh well.
Another thing that I thought worked to its advantage, was the lack of gratuitous mech action. I myself am not big mecha fan. But when the scenes that had the mechs in them were, from my standpoint, more emphasised, made it better.
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