Patlabor2 review module PATLABOR 2 (Manga Video, 109 mins, cert PG, 13.99) 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.