Kerberos saga

Kerberos saga

The nihongo|"Kerberos" saga|ケルベロス・サーガ|Keruberosu saga is a science fiction saga and fictional universe created by the Japanese writer and filmmaker Mamoru Oshii in 1986. The saga is centered around the fictitious Kerberos organization. Before it was named a saga in the 2000s, it was formerly known as the nihongo|"Kerberos series"|ケルベロス・シリーズ|keruberosu shirīzu.

The Kerberos franchise consists of works based on Oshii's original story in various media. Licensed products include videos, action figures, garage kits, soundtracks, novels, essays, artbooks and guidebooks. Promotional items including posters, folding fans and mousepads were also produced.

Release chronology


Kerberos arc

*1987 : "While Waiting For The Red Spectacles" (紅い眼鏡を待ちつつ) (Oshii/Itoh) Radio drama
*1987 : "The Red Spectacles" (紅い眼鏡) (Oshii/Itoh) Live-action feature film
*1988 : "Kerberos Panzer Cop series Pt.I" (犬狼伝説 第一部) (Oshii/Fujiwara) Manga series
*1990 : "Kerberos Panzer Cop vol.1" (犬狼伝説) (Oshii/Fujiwara) Manga compilation
*1991 : "StrayDog Kerberos Panzer Cops" (ケルベロス 地獄の番犬) (Oshii) Live-action feature film
*1999 : "Kerberos Panzer Cop series Pt.II" (犬狼伝説 第二部) (Oshii/Fujiwara) Manga series
*1999 : "Jin-Roh" (人狼) (Oshii/Okiura) Anime feature film
*2000 : "Kerberos Panzer Cop vol.2" (犬狼伝説 完結篇) (Oshii/Fujiwara) Manga compilation
*2003 : "Kerberos Saga Rainy Dogs series" (Rainy Dogs 紅い足痕) (Oshii/Sugiura) Manga series
*2005 : "Kerberos Saga Rainy Dogs volume" (犬狼伝説 紅い足痕) (Oshii/Sugiura) Manga compilation

*2006 : "Kerberos Panzer Jäger" (ケルベロス 鋼鉄の猟犬) (Oshii) Radio drama series
*2006 : "Kerberos & Tachiguishi series" (ケルベロスX立喰師 腹腹時計の少女) (Oshii/Sugiura) Manga series
*2007 : "Kerberos & Tachiguishi volume" (ケルベロスX立喰師 腹腹時計の少女) (Oshii/Sugiura) Manga compilation
*2009 : "Kerberos Panzer Blitzkrieg" (tentative title) Analog/3DCG project (Oshii) Anime feature film

Tachiguishi arc

*1984: "" (うる星やつら ~必殺! 立ち食いウォーズ!!~) (Oshii/Takahashi) TV anime series, episode #122
*2004: "Tachiguishi-Retsuden" (立喰師列伝) (Oshii) Novel
*2006: "Tachiguishi-Retsuden" (立喰師列伝) (Oshii) Anime feature film
*2006: "Onna Tachiguishi-Retsuden" (女立喰師外伝 ケツネコロッケのお銀) (Oshii) Short live action film
*2007: "Shin Onna Tachiguishi-Retsuden" (真女立喰師列伝) (Oshii) Short live action film

Kerberos feature series

20-year anniversary

As a 20th year saga celebration, the Kerberos Protect-Gear's design was renewed in 2006, and a radio drama series narrating its origins was launched in Japan. A 3D CG feature film is planned for 2009.Fact|date=December 2007

In order to celebrate "The Red Spectacles"' 20th anniversary, the Kerberos Saga license owner Raiden company will release a collectible bottle of German wine, Riesling available in June 2007. [ [ Kerberos Saga The Red Spectacles 20th Anniversary] ]


Characters & organizations

All Kerberos saga characters sorted by organizations or groups.

Events timeline

Kerberos saga historical background and significant dates in both the real and fictitious History.

Main locations

*Tokyo flagicon|JapanThe saga's central location and the only city the Kerberos company is allowed to be deployed.
*Taipei flagicon|TaiwanThe modern capital of Taiwan and a refuge for exiled Kerberos. It is the destination of Koichi Todome, leader of the "Kerberos Riot" upheaval, after he left Japan and came back from Central and South America. Half of the "StrayDog" drama is set in this city with Inui seeking for his former master.
*Tainan flagicon|TaiwanThe original capital of Taiwan, the second half of "StrayDog" happens in this city.
*Stalingrad flagicon|USSRThe historical Battle of Stalingrad took part in the outskirts of the Soviet city in 1942. Parallel events happened during the battle, as narrated in "Kerberos Panzer Jäger", leading to a paradox and to the alternate geopolitical world portrayed in the Kerberos saga.

Key elements


The Protect-Gear is the full body armour used by both the Kerberos Panzer Cop and Kerberos Panzer Jäger, respectively police and military units. Various types are used within the saga.


The term "kerberos" is a reference to Hades' three-headed watchdog of hell in the Greek mythology. This fictitious creature is better known in western countries under its Latin form, "Cerberus", which is the character's name in the Roman mythology.

"Keruberosu" (ケルベロス) the Japanese render for "kerberos" first appeared in 1987, in "While Waiting For The Red Spectacles".

In "Akai Megane", Kerberos is used as a nickname for the Panzer Cop officers trio consisting of Koichi Todome, Midori Washio and Soichiro Toribe. The teammates cooperate as if one, as a metaphor for the three heads of the Cerberus, with each character completing and backing-up his comrades with his own abilities.

The term is also used within the saga as a generic term to designate all Panzer Cops wearing Protect-Gears or Light-Gears. The Kerberos is also the mascot of the Metropolitan Riot Police (首都警特機隊, "Shutokei kidotai") featured in flags, uniforms, equipment and vehicles.

However, the anti-government rioters designate the Panzer Cops with a pejorative term, "watchdog of hell" (地獄の番犬, "jigoku no banken") rather than "Kerberos".

The famous Kerberos emblem designed by Akemi Takada, first appeared as a backcover artwork in the Japanese VHS release of "Akai Megane" in 1987. Since then it is featured in most of the saga's works including "Kerberos Panzer Cop" (1988), "StrayDog" (1991), "Jin-Roh" (1999), the CD drama release of "While Waiting For The Red Spectacles" (2000) and "Kerberos Saga Rainy Dogs" (2005).

The alternate spelling "Cerberos" was used in the Dark Horse Comics edition of "Hellhounds" (1994).


As "tachigui" professionals, the legendary Fast Food Grifters have the privilege to eat in stand-and-eat street restaurants without paying. The Fast Food Grifters first appeared in the episode #122 (February 8th, 1984) of the TV anime series "Urusei Yatsura". In this episode, the Tachiguishi (立喰師) were known as "pro of tachigui" (立喰いのプロ).


*"Jãger": German word for "hunter". "Panzerjäger" was also used during World War II to designate armoured anti-tank vehicles armed with anti-tank cannon and MG34 machinegun.
*"Jigoku no banken" (地獄の番犬): Japanese for the "watchdog of Hell" aka "hellhound", aka "Cerberus".
*"Kerberos" (ケルベロス, "keruberosu"): Greek word for Cerberus (Latin), the hellhound of Hades in the Greek mythology.
*"Tachigui" (立ち食い): Japanese term for stand-and-eat street bars and restaurants.
*"Tachiguishi" (立喰師): Japanese for "Fast food grifters".
*"Panzer": German word (from the French "pancier") for "armored" from World War II.
*"Protect-Gear" (プロテクトギア, "purotekuto gia"): The full body armor used by the Kerberos Panzer Cops and Kerberos Panzer Jägers.
*"Weimar Republic" (ワイマール体制, "waimāru taisei"): The Weimar Republic ruled Germany from 1919 until 1939. This term appears in "Kerberos Panzer Cop" (Act 4, Chapter 1) and "Kerberos Panzer Jäger". The term was translated as "Weimar Establishment" in the English version of "Hellhounds" and was censored (removed) in the Korean version of "Kerberos Panzer Cop".


Dog-Master relationship

The fanatic obedience of the Kerberos to their master which was originally their unit leader, could be compared with the fanaticism of the Schutzstaffel troops toward their leading officer and by extension to the "führer". The ideological indocrination was part of the SS training program.

In a non-Europeocentrist historic view, it could be compared to the Imperial troops fanaticism toward the Emperor, or it even could be regarded as a reminiscence of the "samurai" warriors -the Japanese word for "servant"- unconditional loyalty toward their warlord or fief lord. A such relationship is still in use in the modern "yakuza" societies and available in its general hierarchy from the "aniki" to the "chinpira".

In this cultural perpective, the "stray dog" ("nora inu"), the masterless dog (or Kerberos), can be regarded as a "ronin", a masterless "samurai" (servant).

On a psychological view, the Kerberos behavior through obedience and dependence, and more loosely the Dog-Master relationship, illustrated by Inui in "StrayDog" and by Fuse in "Jin-Roh", could be patholigized as a mutual "affective addiction". The reciprocal dependence of the Master toward his Dog is one the central theme of "StrayDog", an illustration is Hayashi unveiling his desperation to get abandoned by Inui (his "Dog"/Kerberos), and saying to him in a half-desperate/half-frustated tune: "who is your master?!"

The story and characters creator himself, Oshii, asserted in a video interview that the Kerberos behavior was meant to illustrate the Duality of men, and the philosophical concept that "each encounter induce a severance" ("Source: "Making of Jin-Roh", DVD published by CTV Int'l, 2000").

Cultural impact

Japanese releases

The saga started in January 1987 with the Japanese broadcast of the radio drama series "While Waiting For The Red Spectacles" (紅い眼鏡を待ちつつ, "Akai megane o machi tsutsu"), prior to the theatrical release of the live-action film "The Red Spectacles" (紅い眼鏡, "Akai megane"). A manga series adaptation, "Kerberos Panzer Cop" ("Kenrou densetsu") started the following year and was compiled as a single volume (Acts 1~4) in 1990.

The following year was released "" (ケルベロス 地獄の番犬, "Keruberosu jigoku no banken"), the first theatrical adaptation of the manga.

In 1999, the manga series was completed (Acts 5~8) and re-released as two compilation volumes. Few months later was released "Jin-Roh" (人狼, "Jinrou") the anime adaptation of the first manga. It remains the franchise's most popular work outside Japan until today.

"" (立喰師外伝, "Tachiguishi retsuden"), an animation feature spin-off was released in theaters and DVD in 2006.

Asian releases

"Kerclros Panzer Cop 犬狼伝説", an unlicensed Chinese version of the 1990 manga volume was published in Taiwan in the early 1990s.

"犬狼傳說", a Chinese version complete volume (Acts 1~8) was available in Malaysia in 2000. A licensed, two volumes, Chinese version of the Japanese 2000 re-edition ("Frozen Version") was issued in Hong Kong the same year. A similar edition was available in Korean language in South Korea the same year.

A traditional Chinese 2-volume licensed edition was published in Taiwan in 2002.

North American releases

A six issues English adaptation of the first manga volume was published in 1994, in the United States and Canada as "". A compilation volume edition was published in 1997.

The English dubbed version of "Jin-Roh" was released in North America in 2001.

Two years later, the English subtitled version of the 1987 and 1991 live action films was released on DVD.

European releases

"Hellhounds: Panzer Cops", the English adaptation of the first manga volume, was translated in German and serialized in a German mook from 1996 to 1997.

In 1998, the American "Hellhounds: Panzer Cops" all-in-one volume was licensed and distributed in the United Kingdom.

The following year "Jin-Roh" was premiered in France and later released in Germany. It was one year before the Japanese release.

Toy lines

With each new episode release, Japanese toys and model kits manufacturers such as Kaiyodo, Medicom or Takara produce Protect-Gear scale models.

'Killzone' video game

In 2004, "Killzone" was released in North America, Europe and Oceania. "Killzone" is a Dutch FPS video game which its main characters, Helghast, are based on the Kerberos Protect-Gear created by Japanese character designer Yutaka Izubuchi. The game was released in Japan in 2005. A sequel was released in 2006 and the game series was extended in a comic book by John Ney Rieber and Anderson Garcia. This project was cancelled due to Canadian independent publisher Dreamwave Productions going bankrupt few months before the first volume was issued. " [ Trailer] "

Fan works

After the North American release of Jin-Roh, various Kerberos Protect-Gear skins were created by fans to be used in the popular Counter Strike FPS, an American video game series (1998~2004).

In 2005, "Images of the Last Battalion", an independent short anime directed by a student, Koichi Kishita, was released in Japanese film contests. The following year, the bootleg video was edited and projected as an official trailer at Mamoru Oshii's "Kerberos Panzer Jäger" launch party and Kishita joined Production I.G's 3DCG team.

Japanese and Chinese Protect-Gear fans sculpted, modificated, or repainted licensed toys. Some of these "custom" items are released as limited edition garage kits available in conventions and import action figure shops and websites.


* [ Kerberos saga official website] ("Japanese")
* [ Kerberos saga] at the "Hobby Japan" website ("Japanese")
* [ Production I.G official English website] ("English")
* [ Kenji Kawai official English website] ("English")
* [ GA Graphic official website] ("Japanese")
* [ Monthly Comic Ryu official website] ("Japanese")
* [ Production I.G Special Site] ("Japanese")
* [ Kerberos Panzer Jäger official website] ("Japanese")
* [ Kerberos Panzer Jäger@Raiden Kinema channel 2] ("Japanese")
* [ Kerberos Panzer Jäger@Raiden Kinema channel 9] ("Japanese")
* [ Mamoru Oshii's official website] ("Japanese")
* [ Kenji Kawai's official website] ("Japanese/English")
* [ JOQR Radio] ("Japanese")
* [ Images of the Last Battalion@Digital Frontier Grand Prix 2005] ("Japanese")
* [ Axis Animation] ("English")
* [ Watch Impress] ("Japanese")
* Jin-Roh DTS Edition booklet, Bandai Visual ("Japanese")
* Jin-Roh Maniaxx, Kadokawa Shoten, ISBN 4-04-853219-7 ("Japanese")
* Kenrou Densetsu, Nihon Shuppansha, ISBN 4-89048-271-7 ("Japanese")
* Kenrou Densetsu Fukyoban, Nihon Shuppansha, ISBN 4-89048-402-7 ("Japanese")


External links

* [ Kerberos saga official website] ("Japanese")
* [ Kerberos saga official shop] ("Japanese")

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