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First Squad is a Russo-Japanese Anime film, focusing on Nadya, the last surviving member of an elite squad of Child Soldiers with Psychic Powers, who gets (re)drafted to fight the invading Nazis in 1942. It only gets stranger from there.
Features examples of the following tropes:
- A Child Shall Lead Them
- All Monks Know Kung Fu
- Back From the Dead
- Chekhov's Gun: The only man who isn't dead in Nadya's vision is the commander who in another vision is decapitated by Baron von Wolff.
- Child Soldiers: The titular First Squad.
- Complete Monster: Baron von Wolff
- Conveniently an Orphan: Nadya's parents are dead.
- Possibly subverted for historical reality--you're a child in the western Soviet Union at this time, there's a not unreasonable chance that your parents are missing or dead. Her parents are shown as being very much alive before the war.
- Cool Airship: Not mind-blowingly cool (to some), but reconnaissance airships are scattered here and there.
- Determinator: While Nadya may be a Faux Action Girl (see below) she does deserve credit for soldering on traveling probably over a hundred miles in the Russian Winter wearing nothing more than pajamas and an overcoat, handling assassinate attempts, the cold, amnesia, the death of her friends and family, the cold, air raids, visions of every third person she meets dying horrific deaths from the war, the cold, probably underfed and malnourished from rations, did I mention that it's really really cold in Russia during the winter?
- Downer Ending: the entire events of the movie could be interpreted as Nadya simply hallucinating while improperly dosed sedatives tied up in a medical ward.
- Empathic Weapon: Sputnik-01 is guided by the pilot's mind, and so they end up in a familiar place.
- The End - or Is It?: Von Wolff escapes with his sword.
- Faux Action Girl: Nadya is the embodiment of this trope. She's ostensibly an elite soldier, but not once in the movie does she defeat or even harm a foe by her own power. Contrast this with the number of times she runs from danger or is rescued by a male comrade. Not even death itself can prevent her squadmates from doing her job for her.
- Five-Man Band
- Ghostapo--but don't worry, the Soviets have their own, too.
- Hair of Gold: Nadya.
- Homage: The climactic scene is one big homage to the Battle on the Ice from Sergei Eisenstein's film Alexander Nevsky.
- Immune to Bullets
- Journey to the Center of the Mind
- Karma Houdini: Everyone.
- Katanas Are Just Better
- Kill It with Fire: Zena's Weapon of Choice is a flamethrower.
- Killed Mid-Sentence
- Language of Magic
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Although an attempt is made to justify it.
- Magitek: The astro-radar, among others.
- The Masquerade: Twice. The Red Army is trying to hide its own paranormal program, headed by Below, and the SS is trying to hide its infiltrators in the Red Army.
- Meaningful Name: Lots.
- Mockumentary: Interspersed, and it gets more bizarre as the film goes on.
- More Dakka: Marat lives for this trope.
- Mr. Exposition: General Below serves as this.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Provides the framework for the trauma-induced Flash Back.
- Night of the Living Mooks: The Faceless Goons aspect is even lampshaded.
- The Obi-Wan: Known only as "Monk", although his name is never stated in the film.
- The Only One: Nadya is the only one who can bring the First Squad back.
- Psychic Powers: All of the First Squad are telepathically linked.
- Ramp Jump
- Right-Hand-Cat: General Below's unnamed cat.
- Semi-rigid Airships From Another World
- She Fu
- Sibling Team: The two Nazi assassins after Nadya, who are never named.
- Slo-Mo Big Air
- Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic: At least compared to the trailer the movie is downright realistic, mundane and lowkey with the supernatural presented in a way that one could convincingly argue that all of the events of the film from Nadya's perspective are really just her hallucinating from shell shock in a medical ward.
- Sole Survivor
- Spirit World
- Trailers Always Lie: The trailers promised Nazi mecha, among other things. The film did not deliver.
- Train Escape: Twice--one for each kind.
- Traintop Battle: Averted; Nadya needs to get on a different train and can't stop to do battle. Doesn't stop her pursuers from firing at her, however.
- Unflinching Walk: General Below is described as doing this.
- Waif Prophet: Nadya.
- Wall of Weapons: In the spirit world.
- War Is Hell: On multiple levels--the Eastern Front is hell all the time, and then there's an actual hell of sorts.
- Warrior Heaven: The Gloomy Valley, or the Valley of the Dead in some translations.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy: Leo.
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