English: First Squad: The Moment of Truth
Synonyms: Pervyi Otryad, Первый Отряд
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: May 13, 2009
1 hr. 13 min.
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 6.251 (scored by 9567 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
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SynopsisFirst Squad is set during the opening days of World War II on the Eastern Front. Its main cast are a group of Soviet teenagers with extraordinary abilities; the teenagers have been drafted to form a special unit to fight the invading German army. They are opposed by a Schutzstaffel (SS) officer who is attempting to raise from the dead a supernatural army of crusaders from the 12th-century Order of the Sacred Cross and enlist them in the Nazi cause.
Related AnimeOther: First Squad
Characters & Voice Actors
A non-spoiler review from a native Russian.
Ok, there are many reasons this is not a good movie, and I believe the fact that it is a WW2-inspired fantasy flick isn't one of them. It's the fact that it attempts to do things well, takes itself seriously (look at the official site), announces that loudly… and fails at executing nearly every single one of them.
Perhaps the most dreadful offender is the documentary shots that *interrupt* the brief moments of action that actually happens on the screen. They attempt to explain some of the surreal and nonsensical things, but do a piss-poor job at doing so. The most unintentionally ironic comment comes from one of the psychoanalysts who says that human brain is capable of producing hallucinogenic substances by itself under certain conditions, almost completely invalidating the testimony of some of the veterans who spoke about mystic events that have supposedly happened there.
They also attempt to build up the atmosphere of the war by sharing impressions of the veterans who fought there. But it looks so out-of-place it's not even funny. By this point people should know what WW2 is. Hell, they could have *seen* it in the movie if it did a better job at showing how bad it was! And trust me, fast-paced action sequences have little to do with it. Watch Elem Klimov's Come and See (Иди и смотри / Idi i smotri) for a very realistic war movie with very little action and nearly no gore that still manages to instill almost primordial sense of fear and desperation without the viewer actually having to experience the horrors of war firsthand. Or at least watch Grave of the Fireflies if you insist it be anime. It's not remotely as good, but it gets the job done quite well anyway. It might be laziness, it might be First Squad writers' incapability to tell things without saying them out loud, it might be something else — the result is anything but impressive.
I knew the movie was going to be nothing close to the music video that preceded it — in fact, I didn't even remember its content when watching the full-length feature. However, the fact that all the First Squad characters except the protagonist only appear in the movie for a few minutes came as a complete surprise. Obviously, none of them are developed — even the protagonist. Most of them don't even resemble people living in USSR in 30s/40s. The Russian/Soviet culture enjoys an undeservedly brief and ostentatious showing (I laughed at wooden toys, I still remember those) from time to time only to succumb to the real killers such as Zina's tank top below a winter coat. I wonder where she got it back in 1942! Nadya wielding, of all things, a *Japanese* sword using *Japanese* fencing techniques is not any less ridiculous. After all, we had a war with Japan at the beginning of the century, and fought against them again in WW2 — that's not to mention that techniques such as iaido are but completely useless against armored enemy… that is, pretty much every enemy Nadya fought with her katana. A fragile girl successfully deflecting strikes of a huge blade wielded by a muscular man in heavy armor while fighting in deep snow doesn't come off as a surprise after all that. I mean, we already brought up cliché occultism scenarios, complete disregard for anachronisms in design and logic in story development, so why not abolish laws of physics while we are at it? I won't even mention other small but important details that showed lack of professionalism on the part of designers and writers, it'll be a long and boring list that will only be required for the most ignorant out there to see the scale of failure on every level.
I'll touch the subject of art and sound quality briefly because there's not much to say about it. I've seen most of S4C's output, and I know they can do much better. But it's not bad by any means, it's just… average. Action scenes, where we actually get to see them, are acceptable if you don't count the amount of extremely unlikely scenarios, deus ex machina moments, and other tropes and banalities so common for your typical anime fare.
Oh, and one of the worst things to plague your viewing enjoyment is the fact that the movie starts abruptly, skips around a lot, and ends exactly as abruptly, leaving us with an idea of a sequel that is unlikely to ever come. There's neither coherence nor significance in everything that is shown. The whole thing just seems brainstormed and pieced together overnight. The perfect sign of an initially workable movie idea foiled by amateur writing. If there was any writing, of course. It looks like an anime movie made by anime movie fans that know how to make anime… but don't know how to make it good.
VERDICT: ambitious, but ultimately amateur fantasy flick that builds up a lot of hype and has absolutely nothing to show for it. 4/10, not enjoyable and not recommended to anyone, especially to those who are into war movies, historic events, or action in general… least of all to fellow former USSR residents.
Also, why is 4 "decent" while 5 is "mediocre"? That's pretty confusing, because this movie isn't decent, but is definitely below mediocre. read more
Fasuto sukuwaddo, a joint animation project of Japan's and Russian authors. Something, I’ve never seen before.
Allow me to share my opinion on perviy otryad.
First Squad impressed me with its storytelling. Interviews with veterans WW2 really amazed me, but I think it worked against them. The movie is 73 minutes long. It’s really hard to keep story-line ok. It was unnecessary.
At first glance, this movie would appear to be a retelling of WWII through the eyes of the Soviet Union. But look more attentively, a girl with katana?
All in all they left many details in the plot unanswered, plus this movie could have been breathtaking masterpiece, alas Russians turned story precipice.
Pretty good, not excellent. I have expected much more from the movie about WW2.
The character designs were good. The soldiers weren't spectacularly dressed and they looked exactly like you would expect a soldier from the World War2 to appear: dirty, exhausted, and frightened.
There was no real soundtrack to First Squad. This works to its advantage. The film doesn't rely on music to draw out your emotions; instead it allows its animation and sound effects to do the talking. You will hear the roaring of the planes, the buzzing of the bullets screams of people it’s the best soundtrack,because it helped to set atmosphere.
Terrible. Character development you say? There is none. Flashbacks which gave more obscure things to this anime.
Yes, it has so many flaws, but for 73 minutes it was pretty ok.
The animation and sound were the highlights of this anime, nothing disappointed me more than the pathetic story arc and character details. It’s a sure thing that there won’t be tv,ova another movie. So why they left sooo many questions?
All in all this anime is ok, it’s only 73 minutes long, you won’t lose so much of your time.
Opening Theme"Valor" by DJ Krush
Ending Theme"Blade Wind" by DJ Krush
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