Patlabor Movie (1989): The Movie
機動警察パトレイバー the Movie (Kidō Keisatsu Patoreibā Za Mūbī)


At the top of a large structure in Tokyo Bay, a scientist walks to the edge and, despite the cries of onlookers, throws himself into the sea to his death. Weeks later, the Special Vehicle Division (SVD) has had little respite due to a recent rash of Labor malfunctions resulting in massive citywide destruction. No one seems to know the cause of the malfunctions; the only hint points to a cover-up involving a military-class Labor going on a rampage — without a pilot. It is soon evident that a disaster of epic proportions is taking shape, and only Gotou, Shinobu, and the SVD can counter it. If they succeed, they will be heroes… but if they fail, they will be the most hated villains in history.
Directed by
Written by
Screenplay by
Music by




July 15, 1989




  • The overall rating of the show.

Poor < Fair < Good < Great


  • Animation quality and consistency for that time. 

Poor < Fair < Good < Great


  • How well the story flows and keeps you engaged.

Poor < Fair < Good < Great


Character design
World building





The Patlabor movie was produced by Bandai Visual, Tohokushinsha and animated by Tatsunoko’s subsidiary studio I.G. Tatsunoko (later Production I.G) and Studio Deen.

Alternative titles

– Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor
– Mobile Police Patlabor: The Movie
– Patlabor
– Patlabor – The Movie
– Patlabor 1
– Patlaborai
– Полиция будущего
– פאטלייבור: הסרט ה-1
– Patlabor – Mobile Police
– Patlabor: La Película
– Kidou Keisatsu Patlabor Gekijouban
– Patlabor Movie 1
– 機動警察パトレイバー 劇場版

TL;DR Review

Patlabor: The Movie (機動警察パトレイバー the Movie Kidō Keisatsu Patoreibā Za Mūbī) is a 1989 anime film directed by Mamoru Oshii, with an original story by Headgear.

The movie has a darker subject than on the TV or OVAs. Where the TV series is often goofy, the movie goes for the suspense and mystery vibe, with a touch of silliness. If you are familiar with Patlabor, this mixed themes may make sense. If this is your first exposure to Patlabor, the blending of the themes may feel mismatched.

The animation and art are crisp, detailed, and elegant. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of gorgeous scenes of people just talking. The film is dialogs heavy. There is a lot of expositions and people chatting through most of the movie. This part can be quite dull, even though the riddle behind the scheme is intriguing.

Surprisingly, or rather not surprisingly, all the crews of the Patlabor police force survive at the end. I won’t spoil what they went through at the end, but it is a marvel that they all survived such a situation. Despite how much the movie want to build up anxiety and uncertainty, Patlabor is not that type of a show. You’ll never have a sense of danger for the crew.

Despite my criticisms on the movie, I do love the Patlabor series. It is one of the few giant mech shows where science fiction is still moderately grounded in realism. You won’t see crazy Gundam type of mech here. It is an incredible world where it could conceivably be possible in the future. Well, at least possible only in Japan.

I do recommend this movie to fans of the Patlabor series. You may still enjoy it even if you’ve never seen Patlabor, but I would suggest seeing some of the TV or OVAs first to get familiar with the tone of the show. Patlabor contains some graphic violence. Intended for young adults.

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Insert/Image Theme

– “Yakusoku no Tochi e” by Kasahara Hiroko
– “Yuuki o Tsubasa ni Shite” by Kasahara Hiroko



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