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
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.
The PATLABOR 1 movie involves Division 2 dealing with a rash
of Labors running amok, with suspicion falling on the operating
system for the Labors. Suspiciously, the chief designer of the
OS, an E. Hoba, committed suicide under bizarre circumstances.
The devious Captain Goto of Division 2 enlists (using a
little trickery) officer Asuma Shinohara to get to the bottom
of things, and soon a frightening plot emerges ...
The PATLABOR 1 movie is a reasonably well put together piece
of work, with good (if not extraordinary) production values,
and an intelligent (if not extraordinary) script. It is certainly
better than much of the indifferent anime that gets churned
out on a regular basis by Japan's animation studios.
However, PATLABOR 1 is basically just a scaled-up PATLABOR
TV episode, and the only thing it really brings to the party
is better production values over the TV show.
If you like the PATLABOR TV series, you'll probably like this
movie. If you were lukewarm on the TV series, you might not
find the movie very stimulating. In comparison to the
follow-on and outstanding PATLABOR 2 movie, it looks more like
a creditable practice exercise for producer Mamoru Oshii,
preparing him for better work to come.
BUT this is nothing to hoist your nose at, Patlabor has style and class. It's in my library and it's going to stay there. So if you are a fan of mechs or a good detective story and demand a higher level of quality in artwork and plot than most, this is a good choice. If you are on the edge of buying this let me tip you over to the "yes" side.