Three years after the Babylon Project conspiracy is resolved, the members of Kiichi Gotou's Patlabor unit have gone their separate ways. Gotou remains with the Patlabor team, accompanied by Shinobu Nagumo, his romantic crush and comrade.
Playing into the public's skepticism toward the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, a terrorist organization begins to work from within the military to cause destruction and mass civil unrest throughout Japan. Nagumo learns that the mastermind behind the growing terrorist plot is none other than Yukihito Tsuge, her former mentor and lover.
Gotou reassembles his former Patlabor team, spearheaded by pilot Noa Izumi. Leading the team into a mission to arrest Tsuge, Nagumo must come to terms with her complicated past relationships in order to save Japan.
In the technologically advanced cityscape of 1999 Tokyo, the lines between man and machine blur as humanity grapples with the rise of Labor technology. These intelligent, robotic tools serve a slew of uses, in construction, transportation, and crucially, in law enforcement. The members of the Special Vehicle Section 2, Division 2 are at the forefront of this brave new world, tasked with handling Labor-related crimes.
The story takes a dark shift when a terrorist cell strikes at the heart of Baybridge City making a massive airborne military fortress which wreaks havoc on the cityscape, plunging the Tokyo Bay into chaos. Our plucky band of police mecha-pilots must step into the breach, rising above fear, intrigue, and deception, to uncover the malevolent force behind this assault.
Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor 2 the Movie is a brilliantly thorough, cerebral approach to the mecha genre. Unlike other animes of similar theme, this movie provides an introspective and politically nuanced take on law enforcement, conflict, and most importantly, the human coexistence with advanced mechanized labor tools.
Director Mamoru Oshii, veering away from the light-hearted source material of the anime series, paints a very different, darker picture of the world. It’s mere optimism replaced by a grave sense of reality, laden with political intrigue and terrorist threats. If you are someone who appreciates an in-depth narrative weighing heavy on socio-political themes – this is a must-watch!
The art and animation are simply impeccable. Steeped in realistic imagery imbued with a painterly quality, the creators spared no expense to make this film visually captivating. The mecha versus mecha battle sequences, interspersed with the poignant investigation scenes, display an exemplary balance between high-octane action and intellectual engagement.
Now, what stands out in this film is the sound design. It is all about the subtle details: the soft whirring of the mechas, the eerie serenity of the Tokyo Bay, and the hauntingly beautiful musical score – all of these elements create an immersive soundscape which draws you in and keeps you engaged throughout.
Complementing the compelling narrative and stunning animation is the intricate character development. Despite being a sequel, the movie does an excellent job of establishing each character’s context and role, imbuing both protagonists and antagonists with depth and relatability.
Be it the thought-provoking narrative, the unforgettable characters, the impeccable animation and sound design, or just the simple thrill of watching robotic mechas square off against each other, Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor 2 the Movie has everything to offer.
Whether you are a die-hard fan of the series, or unfamiliar with the genre, this movie guarantees a unique anime experience for everyone. So, is it worth your time, your rental fee, or your streaming subscription? In one word – Absolutely!
So, go along, enjoy the experience and remember – everyone has a child inside them who just loves mechas!
Overall Rating: 9/10.
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