An anime movie set within the Sakura Wars video game series released in Japan on December 22nd, 2001. It is set in between the third and fourth games.
The movie introduces Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love character Ratchet Altair, dispatched to the Imperial Capital Tokyo from New York to work for the Imperial Assault Force's Flower division while division captain Ichirō Ōgami is in Paris, so that she would go on to found The New York Fighting Troupe, which would later be seen in Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. But darkness comes as the American company, Douglas-Stewart, under the leadership of Brent Furlong, unveils a plan to make the division obsolete by using Japhkiels, which are supposed to be unmanned mechs but are in truth, demons. Soon, the Flower Division and Ratchet are drawn into the heart of Douglas-Stewart's plans.
Like the episodes of the TV series, the film is also a self-contained story in the same continuity (no Alternate Continuity here, thankfully) and leaves no hanging plot threads behind; such as Ratchet being introduced here, and eventually goes on to appear in Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love. The movie does assume you have familiarity with the characters and game timeline (providing no explanation as to why Ohgami isn't even present for almost the entire movie, expect being mentioned about being in Paris, where Sakura Wars 3 takes place). The movie also substantially expands the world of Sakura Wars beyond Japan, exploring in greater depth the dynamics of the prototype team (which consisted of Ratchet, Orihime, and Leni) fielded in wartime Europe. The movie takes place just after the end of the third game (Paris) and before the beginning of the fourth (which ended the "Tokyo arc"). A recent production, it makes extensive use of CGI effects, particularly for the kohbu.
Sakura Wars: The Movie provides examples of:
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The IJA take over the Imperial Theater on Tanuma's orders. Fortunately, it doesn't last long.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Kaede demonstrates this trope when she takes out an IJA officer at the Imperial Assault Force's Goraigo control room by using a karate chop on his shoulder near his neck after he begins to threaten Kanna with a pistol, ordering her to stand down.
- Big Bad: Brent Furlong is the main antagonist of the film who has mafia ties.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- In the film's second half, Yokihiko helps the Flower division return to the Imperial Theater and take it back by force.
- Towards the end, Kikunojo helps destroy the Japhkiel facilities and Kayama shows up just in time to arrest Brent, but the latter escapes.
- Then, Ōgami shows up just in time to help the Flower division kill Brent.
- Bond One-Liner: Maria gives one to Patrick after seriously wounding him:Maria: Good night. Sweet dreams, Patrick."
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Orihime gets ambushed and brainwashed by Patrick Hamilton in the second half of the film.
- Call-Back: The battle with the demons use one of the boss battle music cues from Sakura Wars 2.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Brent markets the demons as Japhkiels.
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- After taking back the Imperial Theater, the Flower division easily curb-stomps the demons.
- Brent himself defeats almost all of the Flower division members to the point that he destroys Ratchet's Eisenkleid.
- When Ōgami returns, the Flower Division fights Brent with Sakura delivering the final blow.
- Darkest Hour: Occurs twice in the movie:
Sumire: What can we do, I ask you? Shoghei-Maru (the airship) has been sealed, Wind Division and the deputy commander [Kaede] are being held at the Imperial Theater. What can we do in such a predicament?
- In the second half of the film, Commander Yoneda is missing, Orihime has been ambushed and brainwashed by Patrick Hamilton, Maria is missing after attempting to investigate Douglas-Stewart, Kaede Fujieda and the Wind Division are placed under house arrest at the Great Imperial Theater, and the Imperial Flower Combat division has been placed on indefinite standby and isn't allowed back at the theater. It's even lampshaded by Sumire:
- Defiant to the End:
Kanna: Of course! We'll obey any order as long as it's designed to safeguard Tokyo. You tell me how cozying up to Douglas-Stewart is going to help. You think that's gonna make this city any safer?! (Cue karate chop from Kaede)
- When Kanna is ordered to stand down by the IJA officer before Kaede knocks him out.
- When Brent confronts Sakura in the Final Battle, she denounces Brent's actions and says that the Imperial Assault Force will not be defeated.
- Dub Name Change: Ratchet is called "Lachette" in the English dub.
- Establishing Character Music: When Ratchet enters the theater, her leitmotif from Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love makes its first appearance.
- The Evil Genius: Brent developed the Japhkiels and plans to use Douglas-Stewart to make the Imperial Assault Force obsolete.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Brent has a deep voice and is a villain.
- Face Plant: When Sakura attempts to join the Flower Division to celebrate Leni's 17th birthday, she trips over her clothes and falls face first.
- Faux Affably Evil: Brent's politeness is to mask his maliciousness.
- Foregone Conclusion: Since the film takes place after Sakura Wars 3, we already know that Ōgami will return from Paris to help his friends in Tokyo.
- Patrick deactivates a malfunctioning Japhkiel with sound waves. Guess what Kohran tells her allies after humming the same sound waves?
- Ratchet Altair arrives from New York to help learn about the Imperial Assault Force for the New York Combat Revue, and would later serve as its captain in Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love.
- Gratuitous English: In the original Japanese version, some of the dialogue is peppered with English (especially when it comes from Ratchet, Patrick and Brent). Averted in the English dub, of course.
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: After Leni's Eisenkleid is destroyed, Orihime tries to fire energy blasts at the Flower Division, but it ends up destroying her Eisenkleid, breaking free of Patrick's control.
- Immune to Bullets: Patrick Hamilton, as Maria Tachibana found out the hard way. But he's not immune to bullets with spirit power as he learned the hard way!
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Tanuma gets decked by Yoneda after the Flower Division kills Brent.
- Non-Dubbed Grunts: The Dream Division's chant for the Imperial Capital Barricade Formation and Brent's chant to transform the Japhkiels in the finale are kept in its original language in the dubs.
- Oh, Crap!: There are quite a few moments of characters realizing that they are in serious trouble.
- Sakura when she is about to fall on her face during Leni's birthday reception.
- Tanuma when a Japhkiel goes berserk in the Douglas-Stewart Factory.
- Maria when Patrick attacks her while she is investigating the Douglas-Stewart Factory.
- The IJA guard when he realizes that Ratchet is about to kill him.
- The demons' reaction when the Flower Division use the Imperial Capital Barricade Formation on them.
- Ratchet when she realizes that she destroyed Leni's Eisenkleid when she attempted to off Orihime.
- Leni's reaction when Orihime is about to attack the Flower Division again and later when she realizes that the blasts backfire on Orihime.
- Tanuma's reaction when Yoneda punches him in the face in the finale.
- One-Winged Angel: Brent merges with the remaining Japhkiels towards the end of the film. Three guesses what happens next.
- Say My Name: Leni yells Orihime's name when her Eisenkleid gets destroyed by her own blasts.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: In the second half of the film, after Maria is missing while investigating Douglas-Stewart, Sakura and whoever's left in the Imperial Flower Division decide "let's go back to the theater, take it back and get back our Kobus and defend Tokyo", even though they were placed on indefinite standby.Sakura: Hey, I know why not?Everybody Else: Huh?Sakura: Do what we can while we can. I don't want to live with regrets in my heart. Come on! Let's do this together.Iris: Let's do it!Leni: Let's do it!Kanna: Let's go for it!Kohran: I'm with you!Sumire: I suppose that we must.
- Taking the Bullet: At the end of the film, Ratchet attempts to kill Orihime, but Leni gets in the way and her Eisenkleid gets destroyed.
- Talk to the Fist: After Brent is killed, Yoneda punches Tanuma in the face.
- Tap on the Head: Kaede knocks down an IJA officer with a karate chop to the neck after the Flower Division takes back the theater.
- Villainous Breakdown: Brent loses his composure when Ōgami shows up in the film's finale.
- Voice of the Legion: Brent talks as if it was many voices speaking at once after merging with the remaining Japhkiels in the finale.
- The Worf Effect: Brent overpowers Ratchet's Eisenkleid in the finale and destroys it.