Patlabor Movie 2 -

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Manga Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 118
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Patlabor

Patlabor Movie 2

By Chris Beveridge     September 19, 2005
Release Date: September 26, 2000

Patlabor Movie 2
© Manga Entertainment

What They Say
The date is 2002, three years after the events of Patlabor 1. The destruction of a United Nations Labor team in South East Asia signals the beginning of a deadly terrorist plan that threatens to send shockwaves throughout Japan?s military. With evidence of an impending military takeover, the scattered member of the original SVD must gather to defend the city against danger. To make matters worse, the mastermind behind the operation is none other than Nagumo?s former teacher and ex-lover Tsuge. Can Nagumo stay true to her oath to uphold the law in the face of Tsuge?s destructive plan for revenge? The countdown to armed revolution and panic on the streets of Tokyo begins now!

The Review!
The second Patlabor movie is rather similar to the first movie in many ways, but most importantly in the director. Mamoru Oshii heads up another big philosophical movie, though this time hits the marks far better than he did in the first movie.

Patlabor 2 is presented in dual language format. The Japanese language is presented in its original stereo mix and the English track is in an upgraded pro-logic format, though initial advertising lists it as a 5.1 track. Both tracks sound quite good and use a fair amount of directionality, even on the 2.0 Japanese track. We didn't detect any distortion or dropouts in the audio track and were pretty pleased with it overall, though of course we would have loved to have had the Japanese 5.1 track that was made back in 1998 for the region 2 release.

On the video side, things look very good. The movie is thankfully presented in letterbox format, preserving its original theatrical aspect ratio. There was a minimal amount of pixellation and artifacting throughout the movie, giving it a very solid image. There's a good number of blacks and dark grays throughout and all looked very well done. There were a few extremely minor rainbows scattered about early one, though most could only be seen when paused. The only real video error is during the layer change, it's very abrupt and lasts for about 2 seconds, making it extremely jarring and noticeable. Of course, we were very disappointed to learn that the movie would not be anamorphic as the quality of the animation truly cries out for it. We did watch the majority of the movie in a slightly stretched mode though and it looked very good.

Much like the cover of the first movie, the artwork used for this is somewhat dull and very serious looking. It does fit the feel of the movie though, so it's fairly appropriate. The back cover gives a good rundown of the movie and lists all the key Japanese staff. Features listings is nicely done although once again no region coding icon is on this disc.

The menu system appears to be directly lifted from the first movie's disc with a few alterations tossed in and some different trailers. The menus are however very quick to access and function quite good. No real surprises here.

Patlabor 2 is a rather complex political/sociological drama that focuses on the role of Japan in the world with regards to how it views wars in other countries and maintains its own peace.

Try selling that to the general anime market.

Thankfully, Patlabor has some good name recognition going for it with the director and for being known as one of the trio of big budget movies from the early 90's that are hardcore fan favorites. And being a sequel to an already popular movie certainly doesn't hurt.

Patlabor 2 is very hard to describe without giving a lot away, as the movie is about peeling away the layers of society through the story and said societies relationship with the outside world. Written as a near-future story with really only one element of science fiction (the Patlabors themselves, which are very underused in this movie), much of it can be seen as an insight into the psyche of a national consciousness and give some understanding to the thinking behind it. Having an avid interest in Japanese society and culture, I really find such stories to be among the most interesting.

The storyline is almost entirely dialogue driven with the exception of the final ten minutes or so. Some brief bits of action are scattered throughout, but they primarily serve the storyline and not vice versa. The bulk of the story also focuses on the two Captains of Section 2. Through investigation and the changing level of panic in the country, the two work their way towards unraveling who is behind the terrorist attacks.

The movie contains very high production values and looks fantastic. The character designs are extremely well animated and designed. The flow and movements of each of the characters is dead on for the personalities, for the main characters at least. With the slow pace of the movie, the soundtrack also follows the same course with some subtle pieces playing throughout and the occasional big sweeping score.

There's one particular segment that really stands out on this disc is about halfway into it. The city has fallen under control of the civil government who uses the military to take hold of it. The citizens watch what's going on via their televisions and in the streets as the tanks and other personnel vehicles make their way throughout the city. Some of the soldiers are humanized, others are dangerous looking figures.

All of this begins against the backdrop of a grim and gray fall season. As the sequence plays out, the days and nights get colder and the snows begin to fall in a most hypnotic fashion. The way its animated is gorgeous and blends quite well with the characters and the settings. Watching people walk through it, watching the tanks rolling by... the entire feel of the segment at this point is very somber.

Watching this portion of the movie in the darkness of night, stretched on our widescreen set and with all the lights out, it was an extremely powerful and involve sequence. Though a good amount of the movie felt like a rehash in terms of layout of the first movie, I enjoyed this one a lot more.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 4.0 Language,English Subtitles,Original Trailers

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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