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For the main article, Patlabor saga; see Patlabor.
Patlabor: The Movie

Region 1 L.E. DVD Cover
Directed by Mamoru Oshii
Produced by Studio Deen
Tohokushinsha Film
Written by Kazunori Itō
Starring Shigeru Chiba
Music by Kenji Kawai
Distributed by Japan Bandai Visual, Shochiku
Canada United StatesUnited Kingdom Image Entertainment, Beez Entertainment
Australia Manga Entertainment
Spain Manga Entertainment (Former), Selecta Vision
Release date(s) Japan 1989
Running time 83 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Followed by Patlabor: The Movie 2

Patlabor: The Movie (機動警察パトレイバー the Movie, Kidō keisatsu patoreibā the movie) is a 1989 anime film directed by Mamoru Oshii, with an original story by Headgear. It was produced by Production I.G, Studio Deen, Bandai Visual Co. Ltd and Tohokushinsha Film Corporation Limited. It is part of the Patlabor anime and manga series.



Set in the near future, Tokyo is undergoing a huge re-development program: old suburbs are being demolished and man-made islands are being constructed in Tokyo Bay. Dominating the scene is the Ark, a huge man-made island of steel, from where the Babylon project is coordinated, and where they manufacture and test the labors, large man-operated robots that are used in most of the construction work.

One day, as dusk approaches, a programmer by the name of Eiichi Hoba jumps off the Ark, a smirk on his lips, committing suicide.

Some time later there are several incidents where labors that were manufactured by Shinohara Industries malfunction, start operating of their own accord and go on the rampage even after they have been turned off. These include construction and military labors alike. These labors are either on routine missions and go out of the pilot's control, or else they are unmanned, which means that they should never have started up in the first place.

The police force itself uses labor units to deal with the unruly ones. Division 2 in particular finds itself dealing with incidents almost around-the-clock and no rational explanation can be found for the disturbances.

Investigations made by Captain Gotoh and Sergeant Asuma Shinohara of Division 2 conclude that the rampaging labors have one thing in common: each were installed with H.O.S — Hyper Operating System, the latest software program to be installed in the labor computers. At first Asuma assumes that a bug is the cause but Gotoh believes that it was deliberately done by Eiichi Hoba, the programmer who committed suicide.

The Hyper Operating System has been installed in all the labors in Tokyo including the Ingram 98 which is used by the police. This puts Officer Noa, a labor pilot, and the Special Division police force in a worrying state because they fear the labors might go berserk while on duty and harm the public. Shige, the programmer responsible for Division 2's computer systems, later returns from New York where he has been helping to set up similar labor units. He informs the team that he did not install the HOS due to his own doubts about it. Asuma, who has been working to the point of exhaustion on the investigation, is furious to learn that Gotoh knew about this and didn't tell him.

Gotoh is a subtle manipulator: he reasoned that not telling Asuma would push the younger man into dedicating himself into finding a solution before anyone got hurt.

Meanwhile, at Gotoh's request, Detective Matsui investigates Hoba's background and finds that his work, thinking and convictions were somewhat related to references in the Bible. For example, the Ark could be said to be named after Noah's Ark; a virus Hoba created displays the word "Babel" all over the computer screens; and he used the name Jehovah while at MIT. Why he decided to associate this with the biblical references remains a guess but Gotoh does come to the conclusion that Hoba planned this labor rampage for some time, and that he committed suicide in order to make his plan irreversible.

Asuma and Shige follow-up the investigation and discover that wind speeds can trigger the H.O.S. into making a labor to go on the rampage via resonance caused by city buildings. Using a computer simulation they are horrified to discover that a combination of typhoon-speed wind acting on the Ark could trigger all the labors in Tokyo on to a massive rampage. As if foreseen by Hoba before he died, a typhoon is reported to be on its way towards Tokyo Bay and the Ark.

Informed on Asuma and Shige’s findings, Gotoh pushes his superiors for clearance to destroy the Ark. Although the conclusions are greeted with scepticism, Gotoh surreptitiously convinces the police commissioner to OK his proposal, agreeing that whatever happens the blame will be put down to the typhoon.

As the storm approaches, Special Vehicle Division 2 makes preparations. A top officer, Kanuka Clancy, even returns from abroad in order to aid them in their mission. The squad faces a double-race against time: one group, led by Asuma, must go to the Ark and demolish it before it causes all the labors to go berserk and destroy Tokyo. Meanwhile, back on the mainland, Shige must find convincing evidence of Hoba's guilt or else the demolition will not be justified and they could all end up in jail.

Asuma's team arrives on the Ark, which has been evacuated due to the approaching typhoon. After battling it out with some guard robots, Hiromi, Asuma and Shinshi break into the control room in order to set the sequence for the Ark's self destruction. Meanwhile Kanuka, Noa and Ohta cover their backs and battle the activated construction labors that are going on the rampage due to the typhoon.

Kanuka uses an AVXO-zero, one of the very latest labors, and which is equipped with the faulty HOS. At first she manages to keep it under control but then it turns against her colleagues.

As the Ark is destroyed, the final battle between Ingram and Zero comes down with the Ingram suffering heavy damage. But with quick determination and wit, Noa manages to destroy the zero’s PRAM system using her shotgun. With that the threat of the labors rampaging across Tokyo eliminated at the cost of the Ark, Hoba's plan has been foiled.


Biblical references

The film includes a number of references to the Bible:

  • Numerous Biblical verses are quoted throughout the movie.
  • The plan to have man-made islands in Tokyo Bay is dubbed the Babylon Project.
  • At the centre of the project is the giant metallic island-factory called the Ark.
  • Hoba, the crazy programmer, used the name Jehovah while at MIT.
  • His virus is codenamed Babel.
  • When the officers are tricked into believing that he is in the sub-control room at the top of the Ark, his ID number is displayed as "666", the Number of the Beast.
  • Even the name of the principal female character could be said to have a Biblical connection: Noa (Noah) Izumi.

DVD releases

The first two Patlabor films have been released on DVD numerous times. The original release uses the same master as the Laserdisc release and offers stereo Japanese. The next release featured remastered non-anamorphic letterbox video. The third release, which the latest R1s from Bandai Visual use, features remastered anamorphic letterbox video and 5.1 sound. The Australian Madman/Manga UK R4 release uses remastered video from the Australian Manga VHS master, and includes remixed 5.1 and 2.0 sound of the Manga UK dubs.

External links

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