PATLABOR Live-Action... Something... Is About To Be Made
Whatever it is, it's a new adaptation in the Patlabor franchise, it's going to be live-action, and it's coming in 2014.
To say that "not much is known" is an understatement: all that we have is one picture from production company Tohokushinsha Film Corporation, presented earlier today at the Tokyo International Anime Fair.
Patlabor is an anime franchise which started in the 1980s, and has so far included an OVA series of seven episodes, three movies, and a long-running popular television series.
The franchise concerns the adventures of a police squad in the near future, specialized in "labor" crime. "Labors" are big robot-suits which are generally used for construction work, but can wreak immense havoc when used for illegal purposes. To counter this, the police has a special unit with armed labors of their own.
What makes this news so exciting? Well... Patlabor has always been something special, easily set apart from most other popular mecha-series because of its focus on characters, stories and general realism. Instead of cool battles and rah-rah heroism, the series followed a group of misfits and disgraced officers, banished into the second labor squad to keep them away from a regular police career. As such, while the franchise did not lack for humor, many of the storylines were quite dour or even subversive, and very critical of Japanese society.
Patlabor is the brainchild of Headgear, a group of artists co-founded by Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii, who penned many of the stories himself. He also directed most of the original OVAs and the first two movies, both of which are absolutely excellent.
Indeed, rumors are abound that this new adaptation might be helmed by Mamoru Oshii himself. While that is pure conjecture at this point, sites like Crunchyroll provide a pretty interesting case based on past interviews. Oshii is no stranger to live-action and indeed once helped create a two minute live-action promo for Patlabor already, alas for a project which never saw the light of day.
Rest assured we will be following this development closely!
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