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!
This story adapts episode 11-19 of the 90s anime and of the Golden Age Arc in the manga. Just like the previous movie adaptation of this trilogy a couple of things where change to fit the time that they have and some of the things they decided to remove urked me a bit because these scenes are debatable (to the least if they were important to the overall story). Now the first scene was the flash back of Casca showing how she met Griffith, this seen just like the flash back of Gut's childhood was quickly rushed
over, not as back as the Gut's flashback but it was indeed rushed over but this one can be forgiven since the assumptions that could a person who has only watched the movies can come to aren't incorrect on exactly what all went down unlike the Guts when where I mentioned before you still wouldn't know about the scar on his nose. The second scene the was removed that I felt could lead someone who hasn't read the manga or watch the 90s anime confused is the scene with Griffith leaving the castle of Charlotte. As far as I've seen in this adaptation is isn't shown how Griffith gets caught on his way out of the castle all the soldiers just show up out of know where and the reason is unexplained in this adaptation which really shouldn't have been because it's a scene that would have taken a couple of seconds to throw in there and it was the scene where the mistress of Charlotte saw them having sex and notifies the people higher up to take action. This scene was omitted and could cause confusion to a person who's only watched this movie. A couple of scenes where changed which I'm not sure which one is adapted more true to the manga and it was the scene where Griffith is getting tortured back the little crazy dude who grab's his necklace and get's startled that it glance at him thus dropping down the drain. In the 90s version the torturer isn't some little crazy guy it was an old man who ripped off the necklace and threw it down the drain himself. This isn't really a nitpick since at this moment I have no clue which version is more accurate, I'm assuming this one since it's later but I'll know soon enough when I read the manga. Other than that everything else from a story standpoint seemed ok. The inside thoughts of Griffith when he was fighting Guts was also removed which I thought was a good part in the 90s anime because it show us what Griffith was thinking and how he was going to deflect and take down Guts in their final duel. Not inner thoughts in this version and I was rather disappointed but oh well. Lastly the last scene that I remember that was changed during Guts and Boscogne where in the 90s version as far as I remember Gut's weapon gets damaged and an unknown character up on a hill tosses down another new more vicious looking Buster Sword for him to use. This unknown character obviously is going to be seen in future arcs but the point is none of that happen in this adaptation as far I remember. Gut's weapon never got damaged and he beats Boscogne with it also, now I'm not sure if the manga had this scene included or not but so I'll let it slide but it does bother me.
*If there's one new scene that I like it was the scene during Griffith punishment where it shows Guts begining his solo journey as he passes by a carriage that has the little elf for the a completely different arc (technically a future arc when speaking chronologically but if you read the manga you would know that the arc that this elf appears in takes places first before this Golden Age Arc and even though at this point I've only read 2 chapters of the manga which I did before watching this movie I caught the easter egg and I appreciate it)
Art and Animation (7/10) Good
Unlike the first movie which I thought was about 70% hand drawn and 30% CGI. This one had more fights thus more scenes was CG. It felt as for this movie it was about 50-50. And obviously the more CGI the less appealing the over movie is, but like I said before I doesn't bother me enough to not watch about it but it is indeed something that caught my eye. Just like the previous movie more nudity and sexual scenes seemed to me enough more engrossing this time around vs the 90s version which I can't know it because I'm sure the manga went even more in depth. But for the lone fact that CGI indeed pushes it's way even further into this movie I have to drop some points off because the fact that the hand drawn looks so good and for CGI to just be included more does indeed make be feel that this could have been a great adaptation from an animation standpoint if they just stuck to hand drawn for everything because it was done so well.
Sound (9/10) Great
The sound is great, nothing really out of place no memorable BGMs but definitely nothing out of place. English Dub is what I listened too and everyone sounds great once again.
Characters (8/10) Very Good
Like I said earlier with the whole rushing through the certain inner thoughts of characters and flashbacks this takes away from characterization in my opinion it didn't get the same feeling as I did when it came to empathy with the characters and their mindset with certain scenes, inside thoughts and flashbacks either omitted or rushed. I've named a couple back in the story section be here's another, another scene which was omitted was the scene with Griffith, Lord Gennon and Casca where in the 90s anime it was shown that Casca saw them together which causes a scene where Griffith expresses his desperation when it came to making sure that his dreams come with to least amount of casualties to his men as possible. This I felt was an important scene for an in depth look on Griffith's character as a whole because it shows what lengths we would go to in order to make sure his dreams were achieved. This adaptation just shows he after-math of him and Lord Gennon after the battle and Griffith stating to him "he was just a pebble in his way". I just felt the missing scenes could leave a half-ass look on Griffith overall ambition and I can't forgive this adaptation for removing it so points had to be deducted.
Enjoyment (7/10) Good
My enjoyment for this adaptation was good but that's about it. I wasn't as pulled as I was with the previous movie with the amount of scenes I felt were pulled out of this adaptation movie in comparison to the last but I guess that's what happens when you do this. Nonetheless it is what it is.
Overall (7/10) Good
More Specifically (7.60/10) Good+
I have no clue how this one is rated higher than the previous one because I felt this one was a bit worse that the first movie. A little bit too many scenes was either changed or removed to fit their movie time limit which is why I don't really like quick movie adaptations of certain series because this is the sacrifice that will have to be made when it's being made.
The Band of the Hawk have risen through the ranks of Midland's military and have earned great respect along with plenty of jealous scorn. Guts continues to serve Griffith loyally fulfilling his dream yet at the same time experiences a certain uneasiness. He soldiers on for his comrades, and the stakes begin to rise when the enemy make one final stand at their impenetrable fortress. -summary
This new Berserk remake remains somewhat of a chore to get through and it's not completely due to its very own merit. In fact, Berserk has moments of being quite good as it's jam-packed with some explosive action, above average
animation, and traces of character development focusing on main characters. These three traits alone are usually enough to propel a title to at least "very good" status, especially if it has a story to tell. So what's my beef with this anime then? Well, like a majority of fans whom loved the original series, as a remake this is a very bitter pill to swallow. The various changes and removal of content can make this a rather painful experience for some older fans.
Now in regards to the CG-blended visuals found in the first movie some people love to hate. I have to say that this movie doesn't look as bad as I've been told, it has moments of looking quite good actually. The snow laden backdrops are quite amazing bringing forth a form of innocence to follow up the bloodshed, as well as foreshadow the coming storm. There is at least one moment where this works towards some pretty good build up leading to a story-changing conclusion. This is a plus for me when looking at how poorly at times the previous volume worked on build up. The disturbing visuals on decided conflicts further delivers the horrors of war telling another part to this story, reminding viewers on the ugly face of human conflict. The action scenes themselves have plenty of moments delivering its hack and slash, resulting in the raining of body parts on the battlefield; Berserk can have some good choreography when it wants to. At the same time, the meshing of CG and various camera techniques can give off an awkward feel during some animations.
The plot further follows the battle between the kingdoms, with the Hawks being given permission by the king to take the final confrontation to their enemy. From here things begin to fall into place leading to another arc.
I can imagine plenty of newbies falling for Berserk because it does have the makings of a decent anime. Despite what some may say, there is a good amount of development for Guts to have an understanding on how he feels, and why he takes such drastic action to close things out. I understand the character enough on wanting to follow his own path, and it does have potential to create drama. Griffith's ambition is given some light cover as well, and also viewers will learn what Guts means to him. Unfortunately, some characters whom were badly handled previously just show up with various dialog as if they all of sudden mean so much, and certain encounters feel rushed and lack full believability. I can imagine some folks still walking away satisfied, but as a lover of the original series the omission of key moments and thrown out character development does bother me.
The removal of content and addition of other things really bugs me when looking at what could have made it to the final cut. Griffith's sex scene really didn't need the screen time it got; but I'm sure it was added to please some folks out there. It's a shame that other moments between Guts and Caska didn't see the light of day, as well as what drove and drives other motivations. I haven't seen the next volume yet, but I'm willing to bet right now some things will feel like they're just happening.
In closing, my overall feelings haven't changed in the slightest. I still think this remake shouldn't have been done at all; if anime companies really want to introduce Berserk to a newer audience then they simply should just re-release the original, out of print series again, and begin picking it up from the manga right there. I can see this anime getting over with newer anime fans but it won't be anything memorable, yet in the case of older fans this is something that will continue to be met with anger and will be memorable for all the wrong reasons. Personally, I'm just in the middle of this choosing to give it a fair shake, and even with that I'm sure this is a series I'll be forgetting about.
Pros: Improved visuals, main characters seem some growth
Cons: Many characters are just faces, older fans will likely be mad
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