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A complex, memorable politico-military thriller
This is a fine example of what Japanese animation can produce at its best. The style of this movie strongly reminds me of a Tom Clancy novel, which is unusual for anime. At the beginning I was a little put off by the slow pace of the movie, but as the story unfolded, I was sucked in by its complexity and realism. Indeed, the conflict and the political games between the government, the army and the police are so well constructed that I thought "this could *really* happen!"
If you liked this movie you should try to see "Jin-roh". There's the same kind of political and military intrigue but the story is more personal and close to the action than the high-circle strategy atmosphere which permeates Patlabor 2.
A stunning, powerful tragedy
This is yet another masterpiece of the anime genre. While I've seen many excellent animations, this is one of the most complex and definitely THE most serious one. In fact, it's somber. But that's what good tragedy is all about, isn't it?
The story is set in a not-too far future Japan. Rising civil unrest had given birth to a special unit of heavily-armored soldiers trained for fighting in riots and urban chaos. But now, years later, the violence has subsided. With its reason for existence gone, the only way for those special forces to survive is to integrate with the regular police forces. However, that integration is impossible due to the presence of a sub-unit of the special forces, a kind of black ops unit which is deemed undesirable by the police. So a plot is set in motion to discredit the black ops. But a rumored counter-intelligence vigilante group is watching. And they're not going to just let themselves be crushed. In the midst of this great game, two pawns of opposed factions unwittingly fall in love, a love completely without hope.
This love story is described throughout the movie with the use of a very peculiar and *fascinating* angle: the story of the little red riding hood. You simply have GOT to see it to believe all the symbolism and meaning which is interwoven between that "children's" story and the love story of the two main characters. True to the mood of Jin-roh, we get the full original version of little red riding hood, quite darker than the fairy tale we're all used to. This is no kiddie stuff.
And then of course there's the animation of this movie which is just as flawless as its story. Some action sequences are simply chilling. They're not called "heavily-armored" soldiers for nothing. Watching those guys in action... they seem more powerful and *dangerous* than any super-robot-soldier I've ever seen in anime.