Anime Nevsky

by dm00


Nadya at the front

No, Alexander Nevsky does not return as a magical girl


First Squad: the Moment of Truth is a Russian-written Studio 4C production.

Nazi sorcerors conjure the Teutonic Knights, bringing them back from the dead to reprise “the battle on the ice” in the service of Hitler’s push to the east, and Soviet Intelligence’s Psychic Squad (their most valued remaining agent: 17-year-old Nadya) scrambles to thwart their plan applying the immortal principles of Dialectical Immaterialism.

The film is presented as a quasi-documentary, alternating animated story flashbacks with interviews of live-action talking heads presenting Russian and German veterans, psychologists, and historians all talking about “The moment of truth” portrayed in the film.


No Heroine of the People is complete without her samurai sword

No Heroine of the People is complete without her samurai sword nor her Young Pioneer bandana


All the dialogue is in Russian (except for some of the German veterans), all the animated dialogue (including the Germans) is in Russian.

It’s a good deal better-than-B-movie, but not really first quality — it’s not up to Studio 4C’s high standards (though it would do a lesser studio proud). The acting is a bit wooden, the film is exposition heavy (the talking heads are okay, but also the animated actors spend a good deal of time bringing one another up to speed — Nadya is blessed with shell-concussion-induced amnesia). I thought the action scenes were quite good, and there were several individual scenes that were outstanding (Nadya’s vision among the soldiers at the front; the climactic moment).


Newsreel footage

Newsreel footage


At one point Nadya’s comrades go on an amusement-park-ride through her subconscious.  This must have looked great as the staff conferred over the storyboards, but it comes off a bit cheesy in the actual film. Nadya’s own visit to the theater of the subconscious is much more successful.


There's plenty of room left for a sequel

There's plenty of room left for a sequel


Update (9 Oct):
Somehow, I missed this review by PSGels, who also liked it.

12 Responses to “Anime Nevsky”

  1. 1 animekritik October 8, 2009 at 8:53 am

    ah! i remember hearing that this was coming out and getting all excited about it, then not seeing anything and forgetting…must take a look..

    • 2 The Longcoat October 9, 2009 at 5:22 pm

      It sounds like a surefire equation for win, what with the Nazis, psychic conspiracies, zombies, and what-have-you. I heard a lot of “meh” about the actual end product though, so I’m hesitant to watch it.

      • 3 dm00 October 9, 2009 at 5:46 pm

        Longcoat: Don’t hesitate! Go look at PSGels’ review if you want a lot of anti-meh — he (or she) is quite taken with the film.

        I think the film is very good — I’ll definitely get the DVD when it is released — but I’m severely jaded and too picky to endorse it wholeheartedly.

  2. 4 psgels October 10, 2009 at 2:35 am

    I’m a he 😉

    I thnk the problem with First Squad is that people were hyped to see some epic action-movie, which this indeed isn’t. It’s an interesting semi-documentary, semi-action-movie about the history of Russia instead. Well worth the watch if you don’t mind the slow pacing.

    • 5 animekritik October 10, 2009 at 6:50 am

      when you hear undead vs psychics you kinda expect an action flic, most definitely. i’ve read several books on Barbarossa and the Eastern Front and they didn’t mention this 😀

      • 6 The Longcoat October 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm

        That’s because the evil conspiracy plotters don’t want us to know! @_@ lol.

        If someone actually wrote a book that said, “So I was on the Eastern front when a German dude in a black cloak summoned the undead, and we only managed to kill him after throwing a bucket of holy water on him,” do you think it would sell very well? It might be sensational. Hell, I would read it.

  3. 7 2DT October 14, 2009 at 7:16 am

    Is this movie’s “dialectical immaterialism” a play on Marx’s dialectical materialism, or is it actually referring to Berndt’s horribly arcane philosophy of concepts and language versus the inconceivable and inexpressible? Either way, I’m intrigued.

  4. 9 Gargron October 17, 2009 at 6:08 am

    I probably will watch it, although I’m sceptical. The WWII is not that far ago, and Russia won not by magic, but by the flesh and blood of the soldiers. My grandfather fought there, and now it’s like, the victory is being reasoned with supernatural?

  5. 10 dm00 October 17, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    The movie does an okay job of stressing the soldiers’ role (complete with live-action interviews of actors portraying veterans). In the movie, the role of the First Squad was to prevent supernatural influences from playing a role in the real battle, really.

    This is just one part of one victory in one battle — not the whole war, nor even, really, the whole battle.

  6. 11 Ruby October 26, 2009 at 2:25 am

    Ooo~ is this a movie? it looks really cool

  7. 12 Anime Yourself February 16, 2010 at 2:22 am

    @Gargron: I completely agree with you. I don’t really like the idea either.

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