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The Red Spectacles

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The Red Spectacles (1987)

The Red Spectacles is the first film entry in the Kerberos Saga, an alternate history political thriller series by Mamoru Oshii (Director of Ghost in the Shell and The Sky Crawlers). Set in the 1950's, The Kerberos Saga depicts a history where the United States chose not to intervene in either World War, Japan sided with the Allies, and Germany defeated and occupied Japan for nearly 10 years, leaving the country in a state of political turmoil.

To cope with the increase in anti-government movements, the Japanese government founds the Special Armed Garrison, more commonly known as "Kerberos". The Kerberos squad consists of highly trained, heavily armed soldiers who utilize special suits of armor known as "Protect Gear", and is tasked with quelling anti-government movements through lethal force. As the political scene shifts, the Japanese government orders the Kerberos squad to disband. They refuse to do so, resulting in a bloody confrontation between the Kerberos Units and the Tokyo Capital Police known as the "Kerberos Riot".

The Red Spectacles picks up immediately after the Kerberos Riot and follows senior detective Koichi Todome (Shigeru Chiba), a member of the Kerberos squad who manages to escape from Tokyo, only to return several years later for unknown reasons. The film is mostly known for its unusual narrative style. After Todome returns to Tokyo, the entire film switches from color to black-and-white, and every event is told through symbolic and comedic imagery, masking the film's true tone.

A note on the dates: The Kerberos Riot was originally set during the mid- to late-1980's, with the events of The Red Spectacles occurring in 1995. The Kerberos Saga timeline was retconned as being set during the 1950's after the release of Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade).

See Also: Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Stray Dog: Kerberos Panzer Cops

NOTE: Being that this was filmed in Japan, none of the firearms are real and are most likely capfiring blowback replicas.

The following guns were used in the movie The Red Spectacles:

MG 34

The MG 34 is the primary weapon of the Kerberos squad.

MG 34 - 7.92x57mm

C96 - M712 Schnellfeuer

The Mauser M712 Schnellfeuer is the standard-issue sidearm of the Kerberos squad, and is also used by other characters in the movie.

Mauser M712 Schnellfeuer
A good shot of the C96 mid-firing
Another good shot of the C96 being reloaded.
Man...That's a dirty fridge. Note the M712's distinctive selector switch
Bunmei Muroto (Tessho Genda): "Let me give you a little present . . ."
It appears Kim Jong Il is now doing his own assassinations.
Typical Japanese weirdness, amirite?


The MAC-11 is seen in the opening shoot-out.

A man fires a MAC-10. An MGC16 is also seen in this shot


The Heckler & Koch MP5SD is seen in the opening shootout.

Hard to see, but man has an MP5SD of an unknown variant.

MGC M16 Replica

An MGC M16 replica is seen in the opening shootout.

MGC M16 replica
An MGC16 is seen in this shot on the left

Beretta Model 12

A hit squad, sent to assassinate Koichi Todome use Beretta M12s, all of whose members wear mime-like white face paint for no apparent reason. Koichi commandeers one of these submachine guns and fires it at the hit squad.

Beretta M12 9x19mm Parabellum
A close-up shot of the Beretta Model 12 ejecting brass while firing.
Koichi Todome: "Dogs, live. Cats, die."
Koichi ventilates some hit squad members coming up the stairs to his hotel room. What this screenshot doesn't tell you is that before this, he defeats all the ones already on his floor with a montage of exaggerated martial arts (while defeating another in an apparent challenge to finish off a can of bad-tasting beer without grimacing once). It also doesn't tell you that throughout this bizarre action sequence, Koichi is only wearing his ever-present sunglasses (at night).


An Uzi is seen in the aftermath of the opening shootout.

IMI Uzi 9x19mm
Top right corner

Thompson M1928

A guard outside the illegal noodle stand is seen with a M1928 Thompson.

M1928 "Tommy Gun" - .45 ACP
The guard holds the Thompson in his lap. Despite the shadows, the weapon's iconic drum magazine is clearly visible.
The guard shifts his Thompson, offering us a glimpse of the 1928's signature vertical foregrip and Cutts compensator


The cook running the illegal noodle stand has a M1911 tucked in the strap of his apron.

Original Colt M1911 - .45 ACP

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