Script error Script error
Images of the Last Battalion is a 2"29, black and white, Retro-fiction 3DCG/Animation short film directed by Koichi Kishita (岸田 幸士) in 2005, then he was student at the Digital Hollywood graduate school of Tokyo (デジタルハリウッド株式会社). This work was officially released at the Raiden theater in May 2006, as a trailer for Mamoru Oshii's Kerberos Panzer Jäger.
Images of the Last Battalion is a student concept work, it is designed like a trailer and it focuses on a Waffen-SS battalion from World War II. In the work, the soldiers are equipped with early Protect-Gears designed my Mamoru Oshii in his Kerberos saga.
The concept work's original title and length were altered when entering different festivals, hence different designations, including Image of the LastBattalion appearing in the 3" title screen added by DFGP officials.
Kishita's self-production impressed Mamoru Oshii as it demonstrates a striking visual influence by one of his own production, Avalon. Since then, Kishita became member of the Production I.G studio. He debuted in the 3D team of xxxHolic, the anime adaptation of a manga by Clamp .
- Images of the LastBattalion (2'29, 01.2005)
- 19th Digital Contents Grand Prix: Digital Creators Competition 2004 (DCAJ): 2nd, "Best Prize"
- Image of LastBattalion (2'32, 04.2005)
- Digital Frontier Grand Prix '05 (DFGP): 1st, "Best VFX Award"
A Kerberos Panzer Cop tribute
The photography and editing are perhaps inspired by Production I.G directors works, such as Oshii's Avalon (アヴァロン) feature film released in 2001, from which it borrows various visual effects such as motion blur among other After Effects filters, and Hiroyuki Okiura's Jin-Roh, particularly the stills used in the prologue of the 1999 feature anime.
Another inspiration could be Killzones CG cutscenes directed by Graham McKenna from the Glasgow based, Axis Animation studio. Some sequences from Images of the Last Battalion are restaging of Killzone's promo teaser and video cutscenes based on WWII key themes, e.g. the Nuremberg rally or the Trench warfare. The 2004 Dutch game inspired by the Kerberos saga was finally published in Japan, in 2005, by Sega. Killzone was finally released in Asia after the Killzone 3 E3 trailer shock.
The similarities between Images of the Last Battalion's characters and geographical background and the events portrayed in Kerberos Panzer Jäger could be interpreted as a direct motivation or inspiration to the drama series. Actually the Panzer Jäger characters were introduced within the saga back in 1999, in the Kerberos Panzer Cop part 2 (Act 5) as well as German-built tanks. According to an interview published in the Japanese news website, WatchImpress, Kishita's original short film was modified to become a "trailer" for Panzer Kerberos Jäger which was showcased at the drama series' launch party. Cosmetic changes included alteration of the SS imagery, replaced by Jäger emblems, in order to fit the Kerberos saga's thematic universe.
Similarities with Kerberos Panzer Jäger
Kishita's work quickly became famous outside Japan through online popular media such as personal blogs and anime/films forums. However a such art work remains controversial in Western countries because of its ambiguous and taboo theme: glorification tribute to the fall of a Schutzstaffel battalion. The massive use of Nazi imagery, from "SS" insignias, to Swastika and Hitler salutes could be interpreted as a Nazi propaganda film outside its Kerberos saga -unofficial- underlying reference, and apart its filmmaking and technical appreciation context.
In European countries such as Germany and France, the criminal or civil codes makes the public showing of the Swastika and other Nazi symbols illegal and punishable, except for scholarly reasons. The situation is different in Japan where the Nazi imagery is not a cultural nor historical taboo.
- Images of the Last Battalion@Digital Frontier Grand Prix 2005 (Japanese)
- DCAJ Digital Contents Association of Japan (Japanese/English)
- Digital Hollywood (Japanese)
- Axis Animation (English)
- Watch Impress (Japanese)