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.