Submitted by: Yuri Klitsenko
Fr. Nikolay, spiritual teacher of Pioneer Girl Nadya, reminds me St.
Nicholas of Japan, who indeed was very much interested in the
fighting techniques of Japan. Vasiliy Sergeyevich Oshchepkov was an Orthodox
believer who as a young orphan from Sakhalin Island was personally blessed
by St. Nicholas of Japan to study martial arts at the Kodokan Institute. St.
Nicholas also introduced "self-defense without a weapon" lessons into
Orthodox Theological Seminary in Tokyo.
See: St. Nicholas of Japan and Martial Arts
FIRST SQUAD - The Moment of Truth
a YOSHIHARU ASHINO film
Nadya grew up among circus performers and she learned all sorts of tricks: juggling, throwing knives, riding horses and, most importantly – magic. After losing her parents in a raid at the start of the war, Nadya discovers that she is able to see the future and communicate with the souls of her dead friends.
This rare ability makes her indispensable to the 6th Division. Since the war began, she has been General Belov’s most valuable asset in his campaign against the Ahnenerbe.
Nadya’s nature is a blend of feminine fragility and soldierly resolve. She
clearly falls for Leo from the very first moment they meet, even though his
immaterial nature taints their relationship in melancholic hues.
BARON VON WOLFF
The 729-year-old baron is an extremely elegant villain. As the Grandmaster of the Order of the Sword he was once the world’s most powerful black magician. He is an ambitious megalomaniac whose feats of cruel rage are often followed by stretches of the deepest melancholy.
On his first visit to Russia, von Wolf led the knights of his Order into
combat in the “Battle On The Ice”. During the battle, he fell and drowned
under the ice together with his fellow crusaders. It is prophesied that he
will rise from the dead to continue his crusade after 700 years… in 1942.
FATHER NIKOLAY (aka MONK)
60-year-old Father Nikolay has a long gray beard, wears a black frock and carries a monk’s staff. As a young man, Nikolay served as a soldier in the 1905 Russo-Japanese war. He was taken prisoner and became a master of the sword and lance. The suffering and blood he witnessed made him transform his life after returning from Japan; he became a traveling monk.
Father Nikola, nicknamed Monk, traveled the entire country on foot, making
records of ancient legends and folklore. He is an irreplaceable consultant
to General Belov when it comes to history, mystical knowledge and the
interpretation of dreams and visions. He is also Nadya’s personal spiritual
* * *
The fantastical story is set in 1942 when the German army turns to occult forces to raise the spirits of their dead ancestors. To save itself, Russia's only hope is a 14-year-old psychic called Nadya who must enter the underworld to recruit her own army.
The film is loosely based on “Pioneer Heroes” a series of wildly popular
illustrated books published in Russia in the 1980s but with added
supernatural elements. The feature interweaves the animation with live
action to bring emotional weight as if it was a true historical document.
It is 1942. The Red Army is putting up a violent and effective resistance against the German invaders. 14-year-old Nadya is a clairvoyant. In a deadly air raid, the girl is shell-shocked. Recovering from her concussion, Nadya discovers a new gift – the ability to foresee the “Moments of Truth” – the most critical moments of future combat encounters, the very points at which a single person’s actions can decide the outcome of a battle.
Nadya’s ability is indispensable for the classified 6th Division of Russian Military Intelligence, which is waging a secret war against the “Ahnenerbe” – an occult order within the SS. The Ahnenerbe summons powerful prince of darkness Baron von Wolff from the realm of the dead. With him on their side, they hope to change the course of history and achieve world domination. To oppose the Baron, Nadya decides to enlist the support of her old friends from the beyond – the Pioneers of the First Squad from the realm of the dead in the belief that only the dead can fight the dead.