Friday, January 10, 2014

FIRST SQUAD: THE MOMENT OF TRUTH

I recently bought First Squad when rightstuf.com was having their massive holiday sales; I also got me the Birdy the Mighty: Decode series for $15, which made me real happy. Back to First Squad: what we've got here is an animation by Studio 4°C, scripted by Russian author Alexey Klimov and Eiko Tanaka. Already a strange concoction, right?


First Squad, being a one shot OVA and all, throws us into a pre-established world and catches us up as we go along, exposing that during WWII Russia fought Germany through both military and occult means. The main character Nadya attended a Russian cross between boot camp and Xavier's School for Gifted Mutants, and honed her clairvoyant powers. He singular mission? To stop dead German crusader Baron von Wolf from being revived, as he would kill the Russian army with his ghost forces. 

I can't say with a straight face that First Squad is any good, of course. I mean, a secret occult war is a great concept on its own, and the movie has a lot of cool ideas and is endearing in that 1980s and 90s action/adventure/fantasy way, but the film ultimately tries doing too much with its 75 minutes. Nadya's a prototypical amnesiac being chased by twin German blondes, is rescued by an old wizard who mentions she's destined to save Russia, has to go into the nether realm to find allies, and barely gets to fight von Wolf in what is the shortest climax I've ever seen. 


I wouldn't mind seeing First Squad: The Moment of Truth turned into a much longer animated series. I feel like most stand alone OVAs are made with that as the secret goal anyway. With all the money that goes into an animation, a single direct-to-DVD release can't be a huge return on investment. Can you please make a First Squad series, Studio 4°C?

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