PATLABOR: THE MOBILE POLICE
(Kidô Keisatsu Patorebâ)
Peculiarly for a director working in anime, Mamoru Oshii is someone who prefers plot to action. After two good action sequences at the start scenes of armed forces taking on a tank in the forest that play over the credits but are related to nothing else in the film; and a scene where a rampaging construction Labor is brought down Patlabor: The Mobile Police bogs down in a very talky plot. This would be all very well but, characteristic also of Mamoru Oshii, the plot is not exactly clear what is going on. The scientists scheme to destroy Japan by using a typhoon to vibrate through the shell of a partly constructed building and set up a resonant vibration that will be carried across the country and cause all Labors to rampage seems particularly hare-brained. Mamoru Oshii does at least manage get it all together for a rousing action climax destroying the Ark and with the hero fighting around the outside of a rampaging Labor. There are other moments where one can detect the Oshii influence some of the peculiarly melancholic moments of character introspection. As with almost all anime, the hero and heroine appear to be in their mid-teens and are played with an exaggerated childishness.
Mamoru Oshii returned to make a sequel Patlabor: The Movie 2/Patlabor: The Mobile Police 2 (1993), which some regard as superior to the original. Oshii was not however involved in the third film Patlabor WXIII (2002) but did return for the twenty-fifth anniversary of this film to direct The Next Generation: Patlabor (2014).
Mamoru Oshii has become a major name in Japanese animation. Oshii began working as a director in various anime tv series before making his debut as a feature director with the fantasy film Angels Egg (1982). He then went onto the childrens fantasies Urusei Yatsura: Only You (1983) and Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer (1983), both adapted from a tv series he had worked on, and then had a big breakthrough with Ghost in the Shell (1995). Oshii next made his debut as a live-action director with the stunning Virtual Reality film Avalon (2001), which later produced a sequel with Assault Girls (2009), and he returned to anime for Ghost in the Shell: Innocence (2004), The Sky Crawlers (2008), an episode of the anime anthology Halo Legends (2010) and the live-action clone wars film Garm Wars: The Last Druid (2014). Oshii has also written the anime Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1998) about a werewolf anti-terrorist squad operating in an alternate world post-War Japan, and produced the impressive short animated film Blood: The Last Vampire (2000) about a vampire government agent engaged in a war with demons.