By Justin Guillou / August 11th, 2016
We are in the middle of the summer so its about time we started to give a little recap on some of the shows we have been watching. Today I am going to talk about Berserk, that is the new 2016 adaptation of the long running manga. Those of you who are familiar with Berserk, know it provides an unsettling yet incredibly captivating atmosphere. Berserk is home to an interesting plot with plenty of blood and nudity drawn in a way that puts many other manga to shame. I have always admired this series from afar, but only recently started to get into it and read the manga. I have to say, while I was very excited for this series, my enthusiasm and patience for it is actually to decrease. I did not give episode 5 its own piece because I honestly, did not have much to say about it. Thankfully episode 6 was a bit more interesting but unfortunately its not enough to keep me very optimistic about the rest of this adaptation.
In episode 5 we are introduced to a young thief named Ishidiro who starts following Guts and even attempts to wield that giant blade of his. You can take a wild guess how that ends. We are also shown more of how corrupt Mozcus is or rather, how closely he follows God’s ideals. So what happens is the Holy Chain Knights are traveling through the city of St. Albion. They are attacked by beggars who attempt to steal food from them. Of course they are stopped, however Lady Farnese realizes that among the beggars was a mother who was trying to get food to feed her dying young son. Mozcus steps up and decides to help her and gets her son medical treatment. The mother is beyond relieved however Mozcus informs her that she still committed a sin and must repent so he takes her to the torture chamber! He also makes Lady Farnese watch her suffer because we all she hasn’t been traumatized enough in this series so far. We also learn more about Luca and some of the “Services” she provides to men who enter her tent. Her so called “Sister” also happens to be Casca, whom Guts is looking for. At the End of the episode Guts fights some skeleton wheels possessed by the spirits of the dead. This part was actually pretty cool and gives us a nice little taste of the potential that can be had in this show.
Episode 6, picks up the pace a bit and we learn more about Luca and one of her other prostitutes Nina. One of Nina’s regulars, Joachim comes to see Nina and appears to be concerned about her. Nina tells him to meet her by the river that night which he does. After confessing his love to her, the two end up going to a cave that houses a cult who practice some rather bizarre things. So inside this cave, there are several people engaging in an orgy run by a man wearing a goat head. In order to complete this ritual and his induction into this secret club, Joachim has to drink this bowl filled with stew…human flesh stew. Naturally, this freaks him out, he runs, members of the cult chase after him and off a cliff. Such a cute love story! Eventually Luca and Casca find Nina to comfort her, until some of those cult pagans see Casca and realize how beautiful she is. They then force themselves on her until Casca has a vision and awakens spirits who possess these pagans and have them attack each other. The survivors of this onslaught start praising Casca as a witch.
This show’s biggest problem so far, is the pacing and it doesn’t do a great job explaining characters or the lore. To be fair, this show does not take place at the beginning of the Berserk story. So if you have read the manga or seen previous adaptations you will have a much better idea on why things are happening the way they are. It is not impossible to follow, but if they took an extra second to explain a couple things, maybe have a couple more flashbacks to provide some more backstory, it will do wonders for how the story flows. Of course there is the animation. Berserk has some of the most impressive drawings I have even seen in a manga, and I hear it only gets better as the series goes on. This adaptation does not do that justice in any way. You can tell that they were cutting corners with the animation in particular with the CG. Some scenes actually look alright but some characters just look plain weird and out of place with their bland looking expressions and polygons. Parts of the episodes are actually 2D and are drawn really well. While these scenes are mainly used to briefly emphasize a character’s expressions, it only comes off as a massive tease for how well this show could look. Its quite unfortunate because every week, I try to stay positive and hope that the animation will grow on me but it just isn’t. Seriously, if this got a slightly increased budget we could get something truly great! As is, Berserk has a ton of potential but the poor pacing and animation prevent it from really reaching the heights that it could.
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