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First Squad (2009)

Elena Chebaturkina , Cassandra Lee Morris , Yoshiharu Ashino  |  NR |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

List Price: $14.98
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First Squad (English Subtitled)   $2.99 $9.99

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Product Details

  • Actors: Elena Chebaturkina, Cassandra Lee Morris
  • Directors: Yoshiharu Ashino
  • Format: 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: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005WMQ5WI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,136 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Unfinished Battle 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, no live action on the version I saw 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish there was more... 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Their Moment of Truth came and went June 30, 2012
By R.K.
Format:Blu-ray
I admittedly, had high hopes for this one, as a far of World War II especially the obscure aspects i.e. the Occult resources that both sides experimented with during the war, I thought this would be an interesting idea but unfortunately what looks good on paper isn't always good in practice.

The story follows the exploits of the Russian First Squad, a unit with the Red Army's Division 6th Division, Nadya, the sole survivor of a German attack on the training camp carries on the mission of herself and her former squadmates to combat the paranormal forces being used by the SS and the Ahnenerbe who are seeking to turn the war in their favor by using the 12th Century Crusading Order of the Sacred Cross.

As I said I admittedly had high hopes for this film, I had seen the trailer and had been trying to track down a reasonably priced copy so that I could watch it...well I did and let me just say that the wait was not worth it.

The characters never really develop, we meet Nadya and get some back story on her but as for the rest of her squad mates, we see them in flashbacks and when Nadya goes into the ghost realm to track them down to help them combat Baron Von Wulff (The leader of the crusader army) in the final battle; other than that they're a footnote. The plot jumps around at times, characters come and go and the movies feels slightly disjointed, I felt after seeing the movie that this was a highlight reel someone had put together of interesting scenes from a series or as a promo for a series.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I am kind of new to anime but i loved this one, espiclily how they included the interviews.
It defiantly earned 5 stars in my book.
Published 3 months ago by charles hayes
5.0 out of 5 stars Anime was Good
its came in good condition with no problem it is an excellent anime and it was amazing to watch and see
Published 7 months ago by Mitchell
3.0 out of 5 stars anime
this is a great anime and i couldnt be any happy. i will be buy from this again . and the price is not bad at all
Published 10 months ago by thomas
1.0 out of 5 stars Awfully droll film
Not a lot happens in this film, nothing is resolved, and it leaves you hanging at the end. Felt more like a setup for a series. It was terribly voice acted. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Fuji Ninja
3.0 out of 5 stars First Squad
I was intrigue in renting this movie and its a good movie to past the time. The ending could a been a little better, but its not bad.
Published 11 months ago by carlos gonzalez
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This movie was an interesting concept it kinda had the feel of band of brothers with the interviews but kept it to the sci fi\ fantasy feeling to it I liked the whole idea of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by joshua facchwtti
4.0 out of 5 stars First Squad
very interesting premise for an anime, i wish this was more along the lines of a series. for what is here it is very good but a lot more back story would go a long way to make it... Read more
Published 13 months ago by J. Schaffran
5.0 out of 5 stars A great movie
I don't understand why so many people had issues with this movie. I thought it was simply great, and a lot of fun. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Gregory R. Snyder
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed
The trailer showed to be in english and it was in a different language. waiste of money!!! I don't recommend it.
Published 14 months ago by archer
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad movie. Russian Major and I loved it.
I pretty much just wanted to write a review because I saw a great many people complaining that the movie was too short, it just ended without resolve, and that it just wasn't good. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Crow
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