Director: Mamoru Oshii
Starring: Mûna Tominaga, Toshio Furukawa, Michihiro Ikemizu, Issei Futamata, Daisuke Gôri, Shigeru Chiba, Osamu Saka, Ryûnosuke Ôbayashi, Yoshiko Sakakibara, Tomomichi Nishimura, Blair Fairman, Briony Glassco, Edward Glen, Sharon Holm, David Jarvis, Ron Lepaz, Peter Marinker, Alan Marsh, Martin McDougall, Jinpachi Nezu, William Roberts, Naoto Takenaka
Genre: Anime
Studio: Ryko Distribution - Video   Release date: 1993   Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Summary: Labors are giant construction robots piloted by humans, and the Patlabor team is a mobile police force whose job is to protect the population from people who might hijack or sabotage these powerful tools. Though events of the first movie called Labor technology into question, the needs of big business outweighed the concerns of citizens, and eventually they came back into common use. The military had also begun to adopt and adapt the technology, amidst some controversy. The story picks up with a terrorist attack on a Tokyo city bridge. The suspects include Americans who want to destabilize the Japanese government, corrupt forces within the Japanese government who want to increase military spending, and Tsuge, the genius of labor technology who was misused by the government three years prior. The animation is gorgeous, particularly the cityscapes and long shots, but that's not surprising coming from director Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell). Sparkling animation would mean very little without a good story or good characters, which Patlabor 2 has in spades. At the core of the story is a quiet dialogue about the nature of peace in post-WWII Japan--how the peace has been unjust because they've ignored poverty-stricken countries in times of prosperity. Then it's back to unraveling the conspiracy and the requisite action-packed ending. These Patlabor movies are excellent, and not just for fans of anime. --Andy Spletzer

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