Patlabor: The Next Generation is the latest project in the vast Patlabor franchise. Patlabor is the creation of Headgear a group of writers within the anime and manga industry. The Patlabor franchise spans across anime, manga and now live action.
Patlabor: The Next Generation will be a completely new story and not a remake, it will be set within the movie timeline but with a new cast of characters. The story will be in the same slapstick style as the Patlabor: Early Days Original Video Animation with the movie taking a more serious approach. Within the Patlabor franchise different timelines are in place and commonly referred to as Manga Timeline, Movie Timeline and TV Timeline. Although they observe different continuities they all follow the exploits of Special Vehicle Section 2 Division 2.
The live-action project will consist of 12 episodes which will receive theatrical screenings spread throughout 2014-15 and 1 movie planned for release in spring 2015. Each episode will run around 48 minutes with the exception of episode 0 which will be a 10 minute short film. Episode 0 ‘Glory to Special Vehicles Section Two’ will serve as a prologue to the main series by giving a history of Special Vehicle Section 2 Division 2.
The first episode will be released on April 5th with episode 0 airing on March 2nd, each episode will then be release periodically throughout the year.
The chances of Japanese dramas making their way outside of Japan are extremely rare but with this project being more akin to a series of movies there is always a possibility. The chances increase further with the recent release of thePatlabor: Early Days OVA on Blu-Ray/DVD here in the UK by MVM.