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First Squad

List Price: $14.98
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Product Details

  • Actors: Elena Chebaturkina, Cassandra Lee Morris
  • Directors: Yoshiharu Ashino
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Russian, Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English, Japanese, Russian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: January 17, 2012
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005WMQ5WI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,625 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

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.

Customer Reviews

Not a lot happens in this film, nothing is resolved, and it leaves you hanging at the end.
Fuji Ninja
I really do hope there is more because they introduce characters but barely give them any development before it's time for the grand finale.
B. Daniel
When I got state side again I tried like hell to find this but could not find it anywhere on the internet.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Elias B. on January 24, 2012
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
"First Squad" has been on my must-buy list for quite some time now, mainly because it's subject matter intrigued me. The animation is handled by Studio 4C, whose pedigree is quite impressive and includes some classic titles like "Tikkon Kinkreet" and "Tweeny Witches." It's also one of the rare standalone anime films that gets a US release without having any attachment to a major franchise or genre. Last time I saw a movie come this out of left field was "Strait Jacket", which I absolutely adored. So after months of wait and a barely promoted release, the movie was of course a first-day purchase for me. But maybe I should've waited until some more reviews came in, because "First Squad" is one of the most frustrating anime films I've ever seen.

It's not that this Russian/Japanese co-production is what one could fairly call "bad." At it's very core, the plot which drives "First Squad" forward is quite a unique one. In the middle of World War II, Nadya is a 14 year-old psychic, the last from an elite squadron comprised of four other children. When the Russians begin to overtake Germany, the Nazis resort to calling in an undead army of 12'th century crusaders to come and wipe out their "oppressor", then proceed to merge the land of the dead and the land of the living. This would bring time itself to a standstill, bringing an end to all history past, present and future. In order to stop this from happening, the Russians enlist Nadya to travel to the realm of the dead and call the rest of her former squad back to life. Together, they may be able to stand a chance against the undead masses.

People expecting this to culminate in any sort of epic final battle, though, are going to be sorely let down.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sharptactics on January 28, 2012
Format: DVD
I was turned off by other reviews talking about "live action" mockumentary sequences. These must have been in an earlier version. The version I watched from netflix was pure anime. I may be giving it higher marks since I have no idea what this "live action" footage is all about. The version I saw had English, Japanese & Russian language tracks, i chose to watch in Russian, assuming that's how the Russian producers envisioned it. It's a great start to what, hopefully, could be a series someday. As others have mentioned, it feels like a pilot for a new series. Hopefully we'll see more of Nadya, Colonel Below, & Nadya's dead comrades in the future. All in all it did seem like an unfinished experience, now I'd like to see the original cut with the live action "interviews" included, simply for reference. A great start to something, but fans will long for more. The ending does leave you feeling cheated, but the 50 minutes or so before that is really fun & quite visually stunning.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard the Third on March 27, 2012
Format: DVD
I have to say after reading/skimming the previous comments, I have to agree with that the 'mockumentary' clips are unnecessary. But I have to guess that the filmakers were trying to intersperse the reality of the war and its suffering along with the animated segments. I do enjoy the music along with the 'summer sequence' which I think is beautifully scored, designed, and animated. So touching, of the past.

The English dub was not bad,I think the chosen voice actors fit the characters well but in a certain scene the english actor for Leo tries too hard to say the lines with a dose of emotion in such a short timing sequence. Some lines are too cliche or too mushy on purpose!

I give animation an A+, English Dub an A-.

Finslly, I can't stress enough that the animation was superb but the movie is best watched without the live-action clips unless you want a little bit of 'history' add into it. I also like to criticize that despite what other people have said of the ending that it was 'inconclusive or short or the animators ran out of ideas and pull the rug on us viewers' after watching and rewatching the 'animated' movie, I think what the animators are trying to hint is that the 'First Squad' may have won the battle, but they have yet to win the war...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Wiz TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 20, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
"First Squad" is a Russian (Molot Entertainment) & Japanese (Studio 4'C) collaboration featuring some uniquely stylized animation (with an old film effect) and an incredibly imaginative story... think maybe "Battle of the Bulge" meets "Resident Evil".

The setting is WWII along the Eastern front of the European theatre and centers on a young girl named Nadya, who is essentially being called upon by her beloved Russia to resurrect the team she lost at the beginning of the war in order to fight an undead army the Germans have summoned. The majority of this movie plays out sort of like a spy thriller (including live-action commentary which lends a feeling of historicity) but progressively becomes more horror as it focuses on the occult forces from each nation.

As expected in a war film there's plenty of gore while on the anime side there's zero fan-service and the voice acting is Russian with English subtitles (which are extremely easy to keep up with as this is not a dialogue-heavy film). It's a pretty grim story overall however I thoroughly enjoyed this relatively short movie and recommend it not only for animation fans but also for the sheer novelty of it being the first of hopefully more Anime to come from Russia. :o)
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