The story continues where the last movie leaves off. The main focus is Guts reflecting on what Griffith defines an equal and true friend and the decision that Guts comes to and the effects it has on the team. Of course by revealing this, if you have any familiarity with the manga and/or the 1997 series, you have an idea of where it starts and where it ends. However, there will be 3 cameos from manga exclusive characters in this movie which is quite a treat.
The animation feels more uneven in this than it does in the last movie. This is more prevelant in slow
motion. It feels really choppy like a disc in your game system skipping at times. But it runs much more smoothly at faster speeds. The violence and the gore is very well graphically depicted and makes up for some of the flaws this series has. The violence is just manically massive which is of course the nature of the franchise. I really enjoyed the scene where Guts becomes the 100 man slayer. But to me, the series broody effects would be more immersing if it was more grainy like in the 1980s and 1990s animation styles.
The difference in soundtrack compositions is also more notable. It is more orchestrated and has more acoustic sounds as opposed to the grand chorus style of Hirakawa Susumu. I feel for some fans who have had exposure to the previous series and the games, it will feel unnatural. But to newcomers, I suppose it does work. Other than that, the soundtrack reflects the atmosphere pretty good but of course I'd rather have Hirakawa do everything again.
In this movie, I felt that the performance of Guts' new seiyuu isnt really that great. These are part of the story arcs was where the original seiyuu really captured Guts. Caska's new seiyuu I just don't feel. Sakurai is ok as Griffith, but doesnt have the coldness that Morikawa Toshiyuki has. I really don't feel the voice acting in this one. I thought the last movie was ok, but this movie really made me miss the original voice cast. I suppose newcomers without any exposure to the original series or the games will be fine with the voice acting. Nobutoshi Canna really defined Guts in the original series and in the DC and PS2 games. I feel that this new voice actor just doesn't capture Guts as intimidating or as a bad ass. To me, he comes across way too much as a sarcastic cynic and tries to bring too much humor to the character.
In the end, I feel the only way we can see the true potential of these new Berserk installments is when this trilogy is over. What the fans want to see is the post golden age arc animated. Quite frankly, I am glad we have these new installments, but I want to see the berserker armor animated and all the other bad ass shit. And get the old seiyuus and Hirakawa to do the series again.
The 2nd Berserk movie picks up exactly where the first one left off: watering down the Berserk story and character development, and assaulting our eyes with CGI that would be decent for a late PS2 or early PS3 title, but completely unacceptable for a modern movie that got released in theaters!
We get to see the epic battle between the Band of the Hawk and the hilariously named Purple Rhino Heavy Cavalry. As you no doubt already surmised...the battle looks like total crap! Then we get tons of scenes with the Hawks celebrating because there is a very limited amount of time and this movie wants
to get the important stuff in. Remember the sub-plot revealing how Midland's politics work? The one with the royal hunt, the attempt to assassinate Griffith, and Guts' counter assassination that results in him killing a child? They cut that out. The fact that Guts felt great guilt over that act and it played a huge role in the story for both his character development and his decision to ultimately leave the Hawks...who cares about that? Instead of even alluding to that sub-plot, just have Guts leave for no reason. We need to spend 10 minutes of screen time on a wonderfully Narm, shit CGI sex scene with Griffith, featuring questionable quality violin accompaniment. This movie is meant to introduce Berserk to a new generation and of course THAT was the part of the story they really needed to see. Fuck Guts' character development. Griffith's throbbing CGI, 240p resolution cock is FAR more important. Important characters like the devious minister Foss, and the Queen were axed, because that screen time obviously needed to go to Corbowitz and the goblin dungeon keeper. Corbowitz and the goblin were such critical parts of the story and atmosphere of Berserk. This technique of shitty adaptation has been passed down through the Corbowitz family for 3,000 years!
The film badly waters down the story and characters of Berserk, constantly making horrendous decisions to cut out important parts and leave in pointless parts. The CGI is very slightly improved over the first film, but still looks like absolute SHIT. If you are looking to get into the Berserk franchise, read the manga or watch the original anime. Don't waste your time on the first 2 movies. The 3rd movie actually isn't bad, but that is another review!
It goes without saying that due to the storyline compression, since it is a movie, after all, there will be some changes in opposition towards the anime series. I kept saying( as I always do when people make adaptations of books, for instance): "This is not how it happened in the anime! They omitted this, they omitted that, they added this, he wasn't there at the time..." and so on and so forth. It did affect some things immensely, this compression, and addition, and it amounted mostly to how we see the characters in both movies, especially this one.
Whereas in the anime series we
get to see Griffith in one light, in the movies he appears more humane, new layers of him are being exposed, or should I say, emphasized. In the anime series, the emphasized themes were gradual character development, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, points of view on all that. In the movie adaptations, we don't get to see that much of character development. The movie mainly reveals more layers to the characters.
What is the most striking is the underlined homoerotic inclinations on Griffith's part towards Guts, I believe. Casca's character is pretty much unchanged. But, you'll see for yourselves.
Sometimes I really didn't like how they packed up the things and events, especially if I find such things crucial for the building of opinions about one character on the part of another (flashbacks instead of storytelling). However, there were really things worth omitting without doing any damage to the storyline. All in all it remains unchanged, and the message is somewhat conveyed. I'm still debating whether the anime series was more profound than this piece.
As for the animation, as one reviewer said, some motions sequences looked like they really needed debugging. Other than that, the new approach to things and new technology used to make this movie and its prequel, still leaves me puzzled. For ones who like battle scenes, I think this will be feast for the eyes. I especially enjoyed them!
Music and sound was okay, I think that the music used in battle scenes added to them being more dramatic and left me really excited. The spirit of the battlefield and the spirit of the Band of the Hawks is very well conveyed!
As for the voice actors, I think Griffith's voice actor managed to convey his overall character and charisma perfectly, thus made me thoroughly enjoy the battle scenes even more.
Overall impression is that I find this movie to be very good (8), especially for ones who haven't watched the 25 episodes of the anime series, this will be candy for the senses. The series will later fill up what is missing. And definitely this one will nicely warm you up to the third movie, which will be released February 2013.
To conclude, this movie is a must-watch and I hope it won't leave you disappointed. Enjoy yourselves!
Griffith's words about true friends still resound in Guts' head. They haunt him on the battlefield and in his downtime, making him question his moves and motivation. This doesn't stop him from fighting for Griffith as the Band of the Hawk joins the other forces of the king to take down Doldrey, a nigh impregnable fortress that has never been successfully besieged. In between battles, Guts continues to ponder where his life is headed if he sticks with the Band of the Hawk, strengthens his bond with woman warrior Casca, and ultimately makes a decision that will have a great impact not only on his
future, but on the rest of the Hawks' as well.
So, if you’re like I and you watched the first movie before the series but you managed to watch the second movie after (or at least the dub version that aired on Neon Alley), the events taken place mostly resembles of episodes 11-19 with a few parts that might have been skipped over, most likely the events that happen in episode 18 but it doesn’t stray too far from its narrative with a few scenes that involve the characterization of Casca, her past, and her dealing with the misogynist warrior she went up against….oh, and the way she deals with him in the end is very satisfying, that is, if you thought what happened in the series wasn’t deserving enough of that guy.
Characterization does exist in here but mainly for the main three characters, that being Guts, Griffith, and Casca and for the other members like Corkus, Rickert, Pippin, Codeau, etc. are merely just side characters doing whatever in the background and there were some slight changes in characterization, especially Griffith in the last 25 minutes of the movie, but if you already know what happens in that runtime, you don’t need me to explain it.
The animation is just about the same as the last movie, as while Studio 4°C continues to struggle with their problems of CG usage in the movie as it still looks like an early computer demo of the movie rather than the finished product and the music is still as epic as the last movie and the series, the theme from last time is still here although the end credit music has a change in instruments for the first half.
The Viz Media/NYAV Post dub is on par with the last film although I thought in the first half, Carolyn Keranen’s performance as Casca felt less energetic than she did in the TV series, but mostly in the scenes where she’s being confronted by Guts. Marc Diraison’s performance was more light-hearted as Guts than the last time and the unimportant characters’ performances, as forgotten as they are, rate from OK to acceptable.
FINAL VERDICT: Well, I don’t have much to say as I already did say it in the last review but if you want to know more about Berserk in under less than 10 hours, the movies are a good deal. This one does have all the action and battles from the series but missing a few important details that can make it incomplete to others. Still, I would give it a watch and then a potential buy.
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