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This review is from: First Squad [Blu-ray]  [Region Free] (Blu-ray)i brought this anime not knowing there was a heavy Russian influence in the making. To be honest I'm not susre if I'd have known if this would have swayed me buying it or not. I'm glad I did get a chance to watch it though because it was pretty impressive, parts played and reminded me of Hellboy, with the supernatural investigation team particularly in mind. The premise follows a young girl who's lost her memory only to learn she was a member of an elite Russian unit call First Squad, she finds out her unit have been wiped out and she's the only survivor. This leads on to evil Nazi cultists using an ancient artefact to use an undead army to help them defeat the Russians. What gets me really is- while I appreciate this is anime and a film- there is no acknowledgement or explanation to any other party in the war against the Nazi's. My history itself is shakey but I was on the understanding Britain was fighting the Germans. That besides I was impressed by the back flash scenes, particularly with how they incorperated them as the protagonist watching a film in the cinema, I thought it was well directed and made and created a good sense of atmosphere.
What I will say is there are some flaws with this- namely that it appear, to me, as a pilot or the hope of hitting big and leading on with a seocnd film or series. I say this because there's a lot undone and explained. Firstly there are the sexy twin Nazi assassins and in general the Nazi occult who resurrect the undead army. Secondly the leader of the undead who gets his own back story as some kind of crusading knight who used black magic and threatened the world only to them be thwarted and killed. (Spoiler Alert) There is the inclusion of the rest of First Squad that the protagonist brings out of hell to help her fight in the final moments of the film, there's an obvious love interest with one of the characters and at the end they just disappear, rather than this feeling aloof and surreal it just feels unresolved. Lastly, there's an entire segement with the protagonists parents, a character even begins discussing them only to be killed straight away- you only know that they're dead some how and there's room for intrigue and drama but nothings developed.
The action is ok, the general make of the film fairing the same. I liked some aspects of the direction. But ultimately I felt let down at the end of it all.