films seen
23
average score
3.86*
nationality
Japan - 69 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

My all-time favorite director. Oshii's films thrive on atmosphere without neglecting depth of concept and plot. A visual visionary both in live action and animation, making sublime use of Kawai's skills, offering a perfect blend of form and function.

Beyond exceptional

Avalon

by Mamoru Oshii
Specifics
Japan [2001] - 107 mins
Genre
Sci-fi
More info on
rating
5.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Avalon poster

It's the ultimate live action film, made by a seasoned animator, a director who fully understands and exploits the power and appeal of an all-enveloping atmosphere.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Kokaku Kidotai 2: Inosensu
Specifics
Japan [2004] - 99 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Animation
More info on
rating
5.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence poster

Innocence is a cinematic celebration. It's an audiovisual delight, it's thematically sound and rich and it invites you to watch and enjoy it time and time again.

Angel's Egg

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Tenshi no Tamago
Specifics
Japan [1985] - 71 mins
Genre
Fantasy, Mystery, Animation
More info on
rating
5.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Angel's Egg poster

It's a strong, beautiful and extremely personal film that earned its place amongst the best work of Mamoru Oshii (and animation in general) and is the perfect example of mature animation.

Patlabor 2

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Kido Keisatsu Patoreba: The Movie 2
Specifics
Japan [1993] - 113 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Thriller, Animation
More info on
rating
5.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Patlabor 2 poster

A-grade Oshii material that should please his fans. It's an impressive tour de force, delivering a perfect mix of intriguing philosophy, intelligent writing and stunning audiovisual stimuli.

The Red Spectacles

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Jigoku no Banken: Akai Megane
Specifics
Japan [1987] - 116 mins
Genre
Comedy, Sci-fi
More info on
rating
5.0*/5.0*
toplist position
The Red Spectacles poster

A peculiar mix of slapstick, surreal comedy and meditative arthouse, with plenty of Oshii quirks, superb visuals and a strong soundtrack to make it one of the most unique projects of the 80s.

Talking Head

by Mamoru Oshii
Specifics
Japan [1992] - 125 mins
Genre
Comedy, Documentary
More info on
rating
5.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Talking Head poster

One of Oshii's true masterpieces, dazzling and surprising its audience each chance it gets. If you don't mind the vague narrative, it's a succession of fun, interesting and challenging moments.

Rare treats

Ghost in the Shell

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Kokaku Kidotai
Specifics
Japan [1995] - 83 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Animation
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
Ghost in the Shell poster

Oshii's film remains a monument of film making that still knows to impress and entrance. It's a superb sci-fi film, boasting tons of highly atmospheric scenes and a good story to boot

The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Tachiguishi Retsuden
Specifics
Japan [2006] - 100 mins
Genre
Comedy, Documentary, Animation
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters poster

The film is smart, looks and sounds great and is filled to the brim with creativity. It is immensely funny, even if you can't catch all the details on the first viewing.

Sky Crawlers

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Sukai Kurora
Specifics
Japan [2008] - 122 mins
Genre
Drama, Fantasy, Animation
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
Sky Crawlers poster

Beautifully animated and scored, sporting a strong cast of characters, an intriguing plot and a fair selection of interesting themes, Sky Crawlers is Oshii's most complete film to date.

The good stuff

Kokaku Kidotai 2.0

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Ghost in the Shell 2.0
Specifics
Japan [2008] - 85 mins
Genre
Sci-fi
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Kokaku Kidotai 2.0 poster

It was a while since I last watched Ghost in the Shell, but the film still feels like a dream.

Patlabor: The Movie

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Kidô Keisatsu Patorebâ: The Movie
Specifics
Japan [1989] - 100 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Thriller, Crime, Animation
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Patlabor: The Movie poster

Solid pieces

The Next Generation Patlabor: Tokyo War

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
The Next Generation Patoreibâ: Shuto Kessen
Specifics
Japan [2015] - 94 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Action
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
The Next Generation Patlabor: Tokyo War poster

Some ten years ago I stopped looking at the films Japan was producing, instead focusing on Japanese films that were actually ready for Western consumption. I got tired of setting myself up for disappointment. That doesn't mean I'm completely unaware of what's happening over there though. When Oshii revealed his new Patlabor live action project, my Facebook wall lit up with trailers. I left it for what it was, well aware of the slim chance I'd ever get to see it. But lo and behold, sometimes luck is on my side and when the option to see Mamoru Oshii's latest Patlabor film presented itself I jumped at it right away.

The Next Generation Patoreiba: Shuto Kessen [The Next Generation Patlabor: Tokyo War] tails a 13-episode series, very much like the original setup of the franchise. In theory it's a sequel to Kido Keisatsu Patoreba: The Movie 2, but in reality it feels a lot more like a live action remake of said film. The plot is a continuation of the Tsuge storyline introduced in the second Patlabor feature, but Oshii revisits so many landmark moments of his '93 animation classic that it becomes impossible to look at it as a mere sequel. 

Oshii has been going through some rough patches the past couple of years and those struggles are still apparent in Tokyo War. Adapting anime to live action is no easy task, regardless the film has some problems with pacing and tone. Anime-specific comedy doesn't mix well with real-life actors and the jumps between comedy and contemplative moments come quite sudden. It just feels a little awkward at times, especially when comparing it to original film, where pacing and tone were stand-out elements.

That doesn't mean there isn't a lot to enjoy though. Once you get past the weirdness of seeing all those recognizable Patlabor 2 moments redone in live action, there's plenty of vintage Oshii to soak up. From the elaborate camera work to the excellent use of music and some exquisite action scenes, there's hardly ever a dull moment. And if all the Patlabor 2 nods weren't enough, Oshii is also referencing some of his other films (the Ash basketball and of course the famous basset shot - with Oshii's very own silhouette next to it if I'm not mistaken).

There are times when Oshii's genius shimmers through, but those moments are too often interrupted by short comic interludes. I did find out afterwards that I watched the short version (there's also a director's cut that lasts an extra 30 minutes), which is a bit of a bummer since those extra 30 minutes could go a long way towards fixing the pacing problems. Whether you should watch Patlabor 2 first is also a tough question. It's a direct sequel so knowing the plot of its predecessor is definitely helpful, but there are so many references to the original that you might get stuck comparing the two rather than enjoying this film for what it is. I'm sure to give it another go when I get my hands on the director's cut, but for now it isn't quite the masterpiece I'd hoped for. Still a very good film though, especially if you're partial to the work of Oshii.

Halo Legends

by Frank O'Connor, Shinji Aramaki, Hideki Futamura, Toshiyuki Kan'no, Tomoki Kyôda, Kôichi Mashimo, Yasushi Muraki, Daisuke Nishio, Mamoru Oshii, Kôji Sawai, Hiroshi Yamazaki, Keiichi Sugiyama, Takahiro Tanaka
Also known as
Heirô Rejenzu
Specifics
Japan, USA [2010] - 120 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Action, Animation
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Halo Legends poster

Stray Dog: Kerberos Panzer Cops

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Jigoku no Banken: Kerubersu
Specifics
Japan [1991] - 99 mins
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Sci-fi
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Stray Dog: Kerberos Panzer Cops poster

Long Live the Ancestors!

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Gosenzosama Banbanzai!
Specifics
Japan [1989] - 180 mins
Genre
Comedy, Animation
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Long Live the Ancestors! poster

Mobile Police Patlabor

by Mamoru Oshii, Naoyuki Yoshinaga
Also known as
Kidô Keisatsu Patorebâ
Specifics
Japan [1988] - 25 mins
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Sci-fi, Action, Animation, Short
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Mobile Police Patlabor poster

Twilight Q

by Tomomi Mochizuki, Mamoru Oshii
Specifics
Japan [1987] - 60 mins
Genre
Animation
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Twilight Q poster

Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Urusei Yatsura 2: Byûtifuru Dorîmâ
Specifics
Japan [1984] - 90 mins
Genre
Comedy, Adventure, Animation
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer poster

The inoffensive

Assault Girls

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Asaruto Garuzu
Specifics
Japan [2009] - 65 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Action
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Assault Girls poster

Kill

by Kenta Fukasaku, Mamoru Oshii, Minoru Tahara, Takanori Tsujimoto
Also known as
Kiru
Specifics
Japan [2008] - 82 mins
Genre
Action
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Kill poster

Urusei Yatsura 1: Only You

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Urusei Yatsura 1: Onri Yû
Specifics
Japan [1983] - 101 mins
Genre
Comedy, Fantasy, Animation
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Urusei Yatsura 1: Only You poster

Worthy but flawed

Garm Wars: The Last Druid

by Mamoru Oshii
Specifics
Japan, Canada [2014] - 92 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Thriller
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Garm Wars: The Last Druid poster

Plain forgettable

Dallos

by Mamoru Oshii
Also known as
Darossu
Specifics
Japan [1983] - 83 mins
Genre
Sci-fi, Animation
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
Dallos poster