A 1980 film directed by Toshio Masuda with special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano dealing with the battle for Hill 203 in the Russo-Japanese War
Had two sequels of a sort, Battle Of The Japan Sea: Umi Yukaba" and "The Imperial Japanese Empire
the latter dealing with the Second Sino-Japanese War
The hill was eventually captured at stupendous loss of life on both the Japanese and Russian sides. The capture of the hill enabled the Japanese army to put pressure on the Russian pacific fleet, thus securing the Japanese victory together with Admiral Togo's "lucky" win in the coming naval battle.
This film provides tropes of:
- Actor Allusion: Tetsuro Tamba and Tatsuya Nakadai as Red Oni, Blue Oni generals? Seen that before!
- Award Bait Song: "Sakimori No Uta" by Masashi Sada; played twice in the film, once after the Sedgwick Speech by the faceless soldier, with a full choir treatment for that rendition, and the record version played during the credits.
- Body Horror: The disfigured soldier who has his face and hands burnt to a crisp who walks up to Lieutenant Koga and delivers a speech is certainly this.
- Coitus Ensues: Sadly drags down Imperial Japanese Empire.
- Deconstruction: All 3 films deconstruct the rather patriotic tone of earlier Japanese war films, with many of the tropes seen in those films being ripped apart. The kind young cadet who seems to be The Woobie? He's hiding aggression and tension of all kinds. The stoic, wise officer? Weary from years of war and just as likely to snap under pressure. Patriotic Fervor? Hides a system of corruption, The Neidermeyer, and abuse. And both sides are seen as human.
- Gorn: A war film with effects by Teruyoshi Nakano, a man obsessed practically with natural phenomena like blood, fire, and water. So naturally, the battle scenes play out like this.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Tatsuya Nakadai and Toshiro Mifune both appear prominently, as well as Akihiko Hirata making a brief appearance.
- Japanese Christian: Lieutenant Koga regularly attends church before the war.
- Man on Fire: Quite a few times.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: The effects by Nakano are limited, but the miniatures and pyrotechnics that do appear still look great today.
- Villain Protagonist: Tetsuro Tamba as Hideki Tojo in the second film.