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I've been an anime fan since i was 11, and now, in the year 2002 over 10 years later, i'm delighted to say that i still find such remarkable titles such as this. As a standard mark....my favourite anime movies include.....Akira, Jin-Roh, Princess Mononoke, Cowboy Bebop, Grave Of The Fireflies, Wings Of Honneamise, and so on.
The first Patlabor movie was one of the first anime i ever saw, and whilst it is now finally starting to show its age, it's follow up remains a benchmark in both the standards of animation and story-telling that animated features have managed to achieve. And being directed by the now legendary Mamoru Oshii who would expect anything less. But for the third film the Patlabor usual suspects disperse and let a new team handle it with the only consistant contributor being the finest composer in animated or live action films in the east... Kenji Kawai.
Importing the japenese dvd i was salivating at the chance to watch this highly anticipated sequel and a day after i've finally managed to qualm my excitement to review it.
I have to say that i was blown away by this flick. The animation is continuously gorgeous and at times just ridiculously beautiful with an attention to detail that i have never seen before. The characters aren't going to be easy to get to know if you've never seen any of the other Patlabor films or series, but center here around the detectives rather than the Labor operatives themselves. Its a wonderful touch to see the regulars of the series wander about in the background in certain scenes following their perspective of the film that would usually be what we got to see. The story is quite remarkable. Not because it's not slightly familiar to this sort of anime (especially the sub-dued, dreamlike government conspiracy plots that tend to regularly be used on the Patlabor flicks) but because it's pulled off with an elegant ease and makes far more sense than most people would probably give it credit for.
Not wanting to give any of the deliscious surprises away....this film plays out like a cross between Patlabor 2, a Tom Clancy novel, and a hefty slice of Godzilla. That's right. I really don't want to say anymore about the plot though. The animation style is the very best of both worlds comprising of Jin-Roh style realism set to Ghost In The Shell detail and elegance. And of course - the music is absolutely superb.
If i have any flaws with this film it's that the outcome is rather predictable, but it doesn't really seem to be the directors intentions to keep you guessing anyway. So if you are the type of person who wants twists and turns and action packed anime look elsewhere. There's pretty much no humor, barely any action(although when there is its all the more punctuated for its absence elsewhere) and only features the Patlabors themselves in the last 15 minutes or so. However if you find that they aren't enough gentle, genuinely interesting, sumptuous and mature anime out there then this will probably end up as one of your favourite films of all time....animated or otherwise.....just like me.
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