Summary: Set during the opening days of World War II on the Eastern Front. Its main cast is 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. - Amazon.com
More specifically this movie centers around a young girl named Nadya, who can see the future. After facing some trials, tribulations, and revelations, Nadya must ultimately venture into the Netherworld to retrieve her fallen comrades and bring them back to the mortal world with the hopes that they will be able to successfully thwart the Nazi's plans.
The concept of this OVA is simply amazing. It puts a very interesting, tangible spin on the events of World War II, mainly in that it focuses on Hitler's obsession with the occult. While the character designs make for an aesthetically pleasing experience, the notion that the Nazis were able to summon a ruthless swordsman with hordes of zombies at his command, successfully adds an even more ominous dimension to what is undoubtedly one of the darkest periods in human history. In no way does First Squad make light of these events, but rather tries to answer the question of 'what if'; that being, what if the Nazis really had been able to channel the deepest levels Hell.
However, this movie has two major flaws - the first is rather negligible in that the subtitles read in a very awkward fashion. Simply put, it's all very stiff and unnatural. I suspect though, that this is due to the fact of the original script being written in Russian, which was likely translated to Japanese before being translated to English. There were some very noticeable times when the translations sounded very rough, and at one point there was text, but no voice. I can say this without question: the English dub is fantastic. If I'm not mistaken, the voice actress for Nadya also voiced Feldt Grace in Gundam 00. As for the rest, they all sound very familiar, but I couldn't pin them down just by listening. Still, the dub is what I would consider flawless, and delivers much more depth than just watching the subbed version.
The second flaw is quite fatal, unfortunately, and that is because this movie literally has no ending. It is a cliffhanger in the truest sense of the word, and as far as I can tell it seems unlikely a continuation is in the cards. Personally, I have a hard time imagining why this film was released seemingly unfinished. Additionally, and equally as strange, there are no special features worth mention on this DVD, save for a few trailers for other titles. With a historic collaboration such as this, I would expect a little insight into the process of making it - commentary, concept art, something.
Despite the abrupt cut-off in what is essentially the middle of the story, I liked this movie. This one, very distinct detractor will undoubtedly be off putting to many, which is extremely unfortunate because First Squad: Moment of Truth could have easily been one of those rare gems that is increasingly hard to find in recent years.
I’ve often said that Japanese anime have always had the guts to do what other animated works are often reluctant to do. Yes, sometimes, anime may go over the top; but if you are a fan of the medium, you would know exactly what I am talking about. A joint production between Japan’s Studio C and Russia’s Molot Entertainment, I believe that this may be the first time that the Japanese had collaborated with Russian writers and voice actors. It may also be the first production that … more
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Set during the opening days of World War II on the Eastern Front. Its main cast is 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.