by John Schlosser
It is the winter of 1942, and the Russian army is preparing to launch its counter-offensive against the German blitzkrieg. In the desolated countryside, a teenage girl is traveling with a group of performers. She is a psychic, telling fortunes and seeing the future – but she is also much more. After her troupe is killed by German bombers, she encounters an old man who tells her that she is actually part of something larger, a military organization that is using supernatural forces as a weapon of war. Her visions will be instrumental in identifying the moment of truth that will change the course of the war.
First Squad is a collaboration between Japan’s Studio 4°C (Memories, Spriggan) and Russia’s Molot Entertainment.
The cinematography of this OVA is a perfect compliment to its setting. The drab colors and stark landscapes almost make it seem as if the anime has been filmed in black and white and highlights the devastation that Russian suffered during this period.
Recommended for those of you who like the way out pseudotechnology of Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell or the surrealism of Satoshi Kon’s Paprika.