All posts by Adam

Berserk 2016: Episode 2

Several things stood out in this second episode, but fortunately, the much-maligned art style was not one of them. I guess I must be getting used to it.

BerserkEp21At least they smell a little better than the last army he took on.

During the encounter between Guts and the Holy Iron Chain Knights, Guts doesn’t recall having done anything to make a priest arrest him. What I wonder is, had the knights happened to witness Guts fighting animated skeletons (and a large, hungry demonic tree), would they have wanted to arrest him less, or more? Religion didn’t seem so front and center in the 1997 series when compared to this episode, but it makes sense considering the setting of Berserk. It’s too bad Guts didn’t have a reply to the commander’s question about where all the blood came from!

I was a little surprised when she mentioned the countless bodies they found, providing no recognition of the fact that most of them were skeletons. Exactly what was she accusing Guts of?

The knights are lucky (or perhaps, unlucky) that Guts is injured and wiped out after his recent fights. If there’s anyone who could fight his way out of a situation like this one, it’s him, and that would be true even without a bonus elf to provide support.

I really love the way gruesome demonstrations of Guts’ skill are animated. The slow motion and music accompanying Guts’ first display of prowess with his sword really works for me:
BerserkEp22Guts is in trouble now! Hmm, those four soldiers are lined up pretty nicely….
BerserkEp23Oh, I guess he CAN use that giant sword after all…

The best part is how Serpico can see the attack coming from a mile away. He’s the only knight not shocked by the outcome of Guts’ exchange with the four soldiers. Throughout the episode, there are several instances where Serpico is portrayed as the most capable member of his unit from behind the scenes. Still, you have to respect Azan for offering to take Guts on right after seeing four of his men simultaneously cut in half. His backstory is pretty unique, but I’m surprised Guts knew the story or cared enough to tell it. Sadly, I am forced to assume that such a chivalrous man will not last long in the world of Berserk; not now that he has encountered Guts and his baggage.

Later, Guts is brought to Farnese’s command tent for questioning. Farnese’s inexperience at command and, in my opinion, lack of competence really shows in this scene. I’d point to the moment when she screams and starts wildly flailing at Guts as a prime example of this, but to be fair, in ye olden times, that was probably considered normal conduct.

Puck’s response to Guts getting flailed, Passion of The Christ style.

Guts doesn’t seem to notice or care that Farnese has been wildly slashing him.

Just when I was starting to hate Farnese for abusing a chained-up Guts, we get a scene where she realizes the error of her ways and decides to whip herself as well in a show of solidarity…or at least, that’s how my mind wants to interpret the scene. Around this time, Puck starts offering commentary on what he witnesses in a way that I find really funny, and I really have to hand it to his voice actor, Kaoru Mizukara, for her delivery here. This part of the episode also marks the beginning of a sequence of several very funny retorts from Guts.

I found Farnese’s inability to see Puck rather interesting considering that, up until now, we had no evidence that anyone was unable to see elves. I guess in the world of Berserk, being a pious religious zealot is far worse than being a thug or a bandit. (Just like in our world! -Karen)

The last scene is perhaps my favorite: Serpico is the only one whose eyes and mind can keep up with Guts; Serpico alone is able to pursue Guts; Just when it seems like Farnese may be rescued….

Berserk Ep25
Serpico learns what is truly terrifying about Guts.

Tune in next week for more fun, multiple-torsos-separated-from-the-body-action! (Or watch Re:Zero, which is kind of doing the same thing lately.  -Karen)

Berserk 2016: Episode 1

Karen recently informed me that the new season of shows was coming out and I should let her know if I was interested in covering any of them. I told her (in all honesty) that I hadn’t been following the schedule and was open to suggestions. She asked me what I was looking for, so I requested something light and breezy….

Berserk Ep1 Pic1

Ah yes, the opening scene of any cheerful and uplifting anime. Just the thing I needed to get myself into the proper, fun-in-the-sun mood for summer.

In all seriousness, I’m a fan of the 1997 series and ecstatic that Berserk is being animated again (albeit in a weird style that makes me feel nearly as uncomfortable as episode 25 of the previous series did). Episode 1 does not disappoint, but it does show that, once again, the anime will not always follow the manga. One of the things I’m most interested is how the writing will (or won’t) be interwoven with what was shown the 1997 series.

The first scene is clearly aimed as much at manga readers as first-time viewers: many important characters are revealed briefly. However, if I didn’t know better, I’d think the fine swordsman-in-black walking towards the camera was the Hawk of Darkness; odd segue. In a throwback to the 1997 series, the opening credits summarize the history between Guts, Griffith, and Casca. If I had to complain about something in this episode, it would be the decision to deform Puck’s appearance so soon after introducing him (not that I really think it should ever happen).

Berserk Ep1 Pic2

While left-Puck could use some pants, right-Puck seems to need a slightly larger slice of the budget (which should be available considering the money they saved on pants).

[Where…where are his BOY PARTS????-Karen]

At first glance, Puck seems out of place in what is otherwise a serious and violent setting where nothing is sacred. However, you quickly realize that Puck’s character is needed to balance against the endless waves of darkness and evil. Puck’s ability to revert to his happy-go-lucky self shortly after horrible experiences contrasts Guts’ method of dealing with adversity: be too much of a badass to ever get shaken.

One scene does show, however briefly, that there is still a shred of humanity within Guts. While it’s fun to imagine him as an unstoppable machine, he’s just a man who’s been to hell and back again (I dare say literally), and will most likely need the support of others both to help manage the road ahead and to help him with his own internal struggle. And he has a really big sword (the late in the episode reveal was a nice anime-only touch).

Berserk Ep1 Pic3

[Adam didn’t send in a caption for this one, so I’ll take over…except I don’t watch Berserk and I have no idea what’s going on. This looks scary; I’ll be over here watching New Game! and leave the rampaging, putrifying skeletons to you brave people. -Karen]

Puck: You should run!
Guts: You’re free to go, if you want.
Puck: Why? What’s the point? There are so many… you’ll get yourself killed!
Guts: That’s nothing new.

And that’s Berserk. Looking forward to episode 2.