The franchise is set in an Alternate History Japan in the aftermath of World War II where so called "incidents" have completely changed the outcome of the war. United States decided to stay neutral in World Wars I and II, Japan sided with the Allies, Adolf Hitler was successfully assassinated by Claus von Stauffenberg in the 20 July plot and Germany ultimately won the war and invaded Japan after they defeated the USSR in the Battle of Stalingrad with German-made Protect Gear armor. After a decade of occupation, Germany sets up a new regime in Japan known as the Weimar Establishment, which immediately begins working on a radical economic program to rebuild the economy. While the program proves to be highly successful and the economy starts booming, it also leads to massive class divide and unrest within the country as slums start to pop up everywhere in major city centers due to mass unemployment and urban migration.
As criminals and various anti-government radical left-wing movements become too much for the authorities to handle, the government refuses to allow the Self Defence Forces to get involved in the situation due to the limitations of the new constitution and instead opts to found a new paramilitary force to protect the capital known as The Metropolitan Security Police Organization. Their armed branch, Special Armed Garrison, popularly known as "Kerberos" is given the most advanced military equipment available and they quickly put an end to the anti-government movements in the capital.
What remains of the anti-government movements go into hiding and unite under a single movement simply known as "the Sect". The Sect begins a campaign of guerilla warfare against the government in the capital and things start to get increasingly worse as clashes between Kerberos and the Sect frequently turn Tokyo streets into war zones and Kerberos unit, in response, begins to acting increasingly violently. This turns the popular opinion against the Kerberos, as the living standards in the country have improved and both Kerberos and the Sect are becoming increasingly marginalized. Without the popular opinion on their side, Kerberos unit must now fight for its survival in the new Post-War society that is emerging where it's quickly becoming obsolete.
While entries in the franchise are usually cynical and slow paced political thrillers, the franchise is best known for the extremely intimidating and cool Protect Gear armor worn by the Kerberos unit, so much so that many people only see the films because of the armor. Oshii seems to be keenly aware of this as the film covers always prominently feature the armor, even though it only gets a few minutes of screentime in all three films.
Entries in the Kerberos sagaFilms
- Kerberos Panzer Cop (1988-2000)
- Kerberos Saga Rainy Dogs (2003-2004)
- Kerberos & Tachiguishi (2006-2007) - crossover with the below mentioned Tachiguishi arc
- While Waiting for the Red Spectacles (1987)
- Kerberos Panzer Jäger (2006)
A separate continuity from the rest of the Kerberos saga. Composed of one novel and three films.
- Tachiguishi-Retsuden (novel) (2004)
- Tachiguishi-Retsuden (film) (2006)
- Onna Tachiguishi-Retsuden (2006)
- Shin-Onna Tachiguishi Retsuden (2007)
- Ilang: The Wolf Brigade (2018) — Korean remake of Jin-Roh in a different setting