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 Post subject: Berserk
PostPosted: February 13th, 2009, 12:51 am 
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Synopsis

A man walks through the dark night of Midland; he is a berserk warrior, a loner; a person who has suffered the reality of a harsh life, but even so he doesn’t give up. As he advances through the forest he sees demons within the shades, demons that claim he is blood and flesh for them, but as he hears those voices, the memories of a not distant past flashback through his eyes.

Guts was only an infant when he learned what to lose everything was like; his village was brutally murdered, and he was born from a dead mother, but he was picked up by a band of mercenaries who brought him up and taught him how to swing the sword and kill. His mentor was a man named Gambino, the leader of the mercenaries, and also a great warrior. He showed Guts how to become a real warrior in a very brutal but effective way, which created some kind of resentment from Guts towards Gambino but also a lot of gratitude. Some time later destine had it that Guts ended tragically killing his mentor, Gambino. After that he fled from the mercenaries, who just could not believe Guts would kill the man that had been like a father to him. He becomes a man who doesn’t have any dreams or goals, the only thing he can do well is fight with the huge sword he carries everywhere.

After a while, Guts meets with the Band of the Hawk, a mercenary group of warriors and thieves that are rumored to be invincible since they have not lost any battle. They pick a fight with Guts, but no one is able to take him down, so Caska, the female commander of the band resolves to fight him, since the rest of the men couldn’t finish him off. Neither does Caska, but Griffith, the leader of the band, takes an interest in the skillful guy so he decides to fight him. He tells Guts that he wants him, and makes a deal with him, if he wins he will become the owner of Guts, so he will have to become a member of the Band of the Hawk, if he loses he can leave as he came. Of course, Griffith, who has become a legend for being an invincible fighter, wins easily and Guts becomes part of the Band. With Guts on their side the band of the Hawk becomes stronger, and gains fame after winning many battles.

Soon the band of the Hawk takes sides with the kingdom of Midland, which has been in war with the kingdom of Tuda for a hundred years; and that’s exactly what Griffith wants, that’s how he plans to climb up to success and power by gaining fame and power through war. He has a dream and he will do anything in order to achieve it. Even if he has to kill thousands, even if the lives of his friends and comrades are to be sacrificed for his dream, he will not step back. What’s more Griffith possesses a very ancient pendant called the Behilit, or egg of the king, that came to him by chance, and which encloses the darkest of secrets…

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Review

Berserk is the tragic story of Guts, the main hero of the series, a man who has lost everything in his life. At least that’s what the first episode of the series is about. Then from the second episode and on we only see flashbacks of what happened, the events that led him to become what he is now, the berserk warrior known as the Black Swordsman.

The mood of the story is very dark. There is no such thing as happiness or peace in this series; all you’ll see will be killing, treason, and lots of gore. But despite of being all pure violence, this anime has a great story, it takes you through all the hardships that the Band of the Hawk undergo to achieve their goal, Griffith’s goal. If you’ve seen The End of Evangelion and thought the ending was tragic; then just imagine that Berserk is even worse; the ending is just too shocking; the transition towards the last moments is very quick and confusing. You’ll be just like the characters in the anime, not being able to tell if what you are seeing is actually happening. Those last moments will really drag you in, I assure it.

Berserk has an exceptional cast of characters, they are unique in their own way and have very well marked personalities. Contrary to many animes out there, here, secondary characters are well developed and when you see things like the strong friendship between the members of the Band of the Hawk, their loyalty towards Griffith, and their willingness to give it all up, even their lives if necessary, for another man’s dream (Griffith’s dream), you’ll realize that this anime really brought up the real value of loyalty, it is very impressive. That’s when we view the characters as a whole, but if you analyze them individually you’ll see that their personalities have more depth to them, mainly characters like Guts, Griffith, and Caska, which are given more emphasis with respect to character development. Their reason to be where they are, is more meaningful, and much darker (in Griffith’s case) and motivating (Guts and Caska) than in the rest of their comrades. But many of the members of the Band of the Hawk, and other characters that appear during the series have too very interesting personalities and they become very significant since they help to build up the cold and dark mood that characterizes this anime. Maybe you won’t realize it until the end, but one gets really attached to the characters, and it’s not until the most tragic moments that you realize it; that’s another reason why this anime is so crude, the characters are always facing death, and many times they lose against it. And it’s not very nice to see characters you like get killed.

The animation is the main weakness of this production. I don’t understand why an anime of such a heavy caliber had such a low budget for the animation. The animation itself is not bad, but it’s not stable, one episode will look great, and then the next will look not just as good, sometimes even the characters don’t look like themselves, but that might actually be a good thing, since real people don’t look the same everyday, people can look very different in matter of days. On the other hands the character designs were excellent, just as the manga’s. I repeat if the animation had a little more to offer, perhaps something along the line of Escaflowne, the viewing experience would have been even more joyful, still, you won’t be paying that much attention to the animation with the outstanding story that is Berserk. Maybe they should remake it, with better animation, and also adding some of the stuff that was lost in the manga-anime transition, or maybe just pick up the manga where the anime left. The story did not end at episode 25 with the anime. The manga continues from that point and goes way further, the anime covers volumes 4-13 of the manga, while the manga is already past volume 31 from 50 volumes planned, this, according to Miura, the mangaka, who plans to make it 50 volumes long.

As for the music, it is not something I can really judge in this anime. The lack of any background music during the anime is very usual in Berserk, but instead we got the cry of the masses ready to fight, the clash of swords, axes; blacksmiths doing their job, horses galloping through the forests and the rage of the soldiers during the furious sword combats. It’s better like that, since I don’t think there is any kind of music that could match the mood for a story held in a medieval age as in Berserk, and most songs would pale in comparison to the brutality and coldness of the anime. But I have to recognize that the opening and the ending themes were not that bad, I think they suited well the gloomy, depressive, and heavy mood of the story. Both songs are sung in English, although not very good English. Now, the original “seiyuus” did an outstanding job in this series, their voices suited very well their characters, especially the voice actor that did Guts. On the other hand the English cast did a very poor job. Some of the characters, Guts and Caska for example, just don’t sound right, and in some of the most important moments of the anime the voice actors failed to deliver that feeling of agony, desperation, and sadness that the scene merited. It feels like they did not try hard enough. I think that problem could easily be solved watching the subtitled version first, and when I say first I mean you’ll want to watch it again, when you do, go for the English dub, it’s not so bad that it will make you cry but it’s not good enough. In other words the Japanese audio will leave you with a much better impression.

Berserk is definitely a great anime, something that you don’t want to miss, especially if you enjoy medieval themes, engaging stories, outstanding characterization and lots of violence and gore. Berserk can be very depressive and crude, so if you think you are not prepared to watch it, do not. Some people might actually be very shocked towards the end of the series and even feel offended for its violent and sexual nature, but if you are not that kind of people then go ahead and watch it, Berserk is definitely one of the greatest anime series out there.


A little something I wrote a few years back, around 2004.

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Last edited by wolfwood on February 14th, 2009, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: February 13th, 2009, 11:47 am 
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I'm all for a remake....and than a continuation...but than again it could ruin my good memories of the series...I didn't mind the animation at all..it's just as you said...the story was so good that you didn't even notice...
Although...
The animation and art OVA's of Samurai X were a huge leap from the original series...so yes...I'm all for the remake :gatsu:

And was that review from that site you wrote for back than?....trying to remember...I think you sent me a link once...though I was a little bit younger back than :shifty:

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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: February 13th, 2009, 4:30 pm 
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Fresnokila wrote:
The animation and art OVA's of Samurai X were a huge leap from the original series...so yes...I'm all for the remake :gatsu:


That is my biggest problem with some older anime titles. They are good but the animation quality is lacking. Berserk is one of those titles where an animation update would help, plus a re-dub :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: February 13th, 2009, 7:58 pm 
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I couldn't get over how horrible the animation, dub, and music were. Totally ruined the series for me.

I also couldn't get over the emphasis on the comic relief of the fairy in the manga. Totally ruined the manga for me.

It's a complete waste of potential.

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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: February 14th, 2009, 12:09 am 
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Mmsven wrote:
I couldn't get over how horrible the animation, dub, and music were. Totally ruined the series for me.

I also couldn't get over the emphasis on the comic relief of the fairy in the manga. Totally ruined the manga for me.

It's a complete waste of potential.

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Anyway, I haven't yet seen all the episodes, but so far I'm loving this series. Despite of its low budget, I thought the animation was pretty good. Can't say anything about the dub, cuz I'm watching it in Japanese with English subtitles which is much more healthier for people according to doctors. :P Though I would have to say that I didn't care for the opening nor ending songs that much, prolly because the Engrish is so strong in them. XD Overall, this series kicks major ass... so far. :gatsu:

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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: February 14th, 2009, 12:27 am 
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Mmsven wrote:
It's a complete waste of potential.


I wouldn't go that far. But I can kinda understand how the animation turned you away. I have been turned away from a couple of "highly praised" series because I thought the animation was an eyesore.

And to anyone else thinking of watching the series, go the Gojira path and watch the sub, please.


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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: February 14th, 2009, 3:50 pm 
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There's a teeney-weeney mistake in the text:
wolfwood wrote:
they did not tried hard enough

On all other accounts a very well done review, though.

I'm still not convinced. I neither like medieval themes too much, nor do I like an overabundance of gore (anymore).

But I'm a bit curious. If the mercenaries know that Griffith will sell his own grandmother and walk all over their dead bodies to reach his pretty egotistic goals ("he plans to climb up to success and power by gaining fame and power through war (...) even if the lives of his friends and comrades are to be sacrificed"), what makes them so loyal? He must have something to offer besides money then, I suppose. I'm sure that, say, Hitler would have had less followers had he clearly proclaimed "I seek world domination even if it takes the lives of more than five million Germans and 39 million Europeans altogether!" :wtf:

Oh, Gojira: I understand you are a fan of Berserk, but please do not graphically imply that Mmsven was stupid for not sharing your opinion. :shame:

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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: February 14th, 2009, 4:17 pm 
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Ha I'm sure gojira doesn't mean that mmsven is stupid...just astonished!!
I would be...but as you say...I'm a fan :gatsu:

Now the what makes them so loyal?..thats a must read!...or maybe wolfwood can explain it well himself :lol2:

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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: February 14th, 2009, 8:41 pm 
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Fresnokila wrote:
Ha I'm sure gojira doesn't mean that mmsven is stupid...just astonished!!

If I run someone over with my car, the fact that I did not mean to does not change the outcome. :wink:

Fresnokila wrote:
Now the what makes them so loyal?..thats a must read!...or maybe wolfwood can explain it well himself

I don't mind getting spoiled if that's what you mean.

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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: February 14th, 2009, 9:57 pm 
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42317 wrote:
There's a teeney-weeney mistake in the text:
wolfwood wrote:
they did not tried hard enough

Hahaha :D , sorry about that, I should've done some proofreading. I'll fix it so it doesn't look so bad.

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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: February 17th, 2009, 2:22 am 
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42317 wrote:
But I'm a bit curious. If the mercenaries know that Griffith will sell his own grandmother and walk all over their dead bodies to reach his pretty egotistic goals ("he plans to climb up to success and power by gaining fame and power through war (...) even if the lives of his friends and comrades are to be sacrificed"), what makes them so loyal? He must have something to offer besides money then, I suppose. I'm sure that, say, Hitler would have had less followers had he clearly proclaimed "I seek world domination even if it takes the lives of more than five million Germans and 39 million Europeans altogether!" :wtf:


Actually, I don't remember the Hawks ever knowing that Griffith didn't care one lick about them. The only scenes that reveal this (unless I'm mistaken) are during the eclipse and the fountain scene where Guts overhears Griffith talking to the princess.

I really do like Berserk though. The art is extremely detailed and the writing is (IMO) quite good. The main characters are all twisted (cept for the kids) but their reasons for being twisted are given some depth. Admittedly, it's tough to get into the manga if you start from the beginning since guts comes off as a complete asshole for the first few chapters. But, if you stick with it (after the flashback arc begins) the story gets quite good. The anime is good but the opening is pretty bad.

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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: July 31st, 2009, 4:40 am 
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The animation quality is rarely a reason not to watch for me. Though, if the style is too-artistic I might do an exception. I nevermind an old animation style. I really do enjoy watching the hand-drawn anime, though I am not sure whether Berserk is 100% hand-drawn. Anyway, I like how Berserk is animated and Caska is a cute one.

Berserk's story is ok. However, the beginning is a rather boring one and the conclusion is dissappointing weak. The middle-parts are the best and most interesting. The manga might work better as it explains things more, but it's so long. In addition I don't find the demonic characters that interesting in any series. Also Guts is too invincible. Even though, Berserk is a good watch. It's nothing spectacular, only simple, good anime. I rate it three and half stars out of five.


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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: October 5th, 2010, 12:12 am 
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A new Berserk anime is on the making:

http://www.younganimal.com/berserk/cm/index.html

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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: October 7th, 2010, 6:43 pm 
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Do you already know about any differences between the first and the new series?

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 Post subject: Re: Berserk
PostPosted: October 8th, 2010, 9:19 pm 
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Jesus about freaking time they did :gatsu:

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