Now branded for death and destined to be hunted by demons until the day he dies, Guts embarks on a journey to defy such a gruesome fate, as waves of beasts relentlessly pursue him. Steeling his resolve, he takes up the monstrous blade Dragonslayer and vows to exact vengeance on the one responsible, hunting down the very man he once looked up to and considered a friend.
Along the way, he encounters some unlikely allies, such as a small elf named Puck, and Isidro, a young thief looking to learn swordsmanship from the former mercenary. As the ragtag group slowly comes together after having decided to join Guts in his quest, they will face incredible danger unlike anything they have ever experienced before.
This series just doesn’t get Berserk. If you were looking for something similar to the 1997 anime, the movie trilogy or God forbid the manga, either drop those expectations coming into this or turn around now. At this point I can’t say that I’m angry, I just can’t be anymore. Being frustrated over a show isn’t worth anyone’s time. If you wanted the short answer that was it, but if you’re willing to keep reading bear with me- It is definitely a bit of a long one.
Berserk 2016 may very well be one of the most disappointing and painful experiences of my life. I’m not joking. As a Berserk fan I have never been more ashamed. I know a lot of people will defend Berserk simply of name alone, but I would be hard pressed to talk about this series in a positive manner just because its Berserk. After years of people wanting a new Berserk adaptation and so much support for the franchise growing in recent years, you would think this series would be an instant classic. Anime of the year. A legend. So what the hell happened?
Berserk 2016 fails in literally every category when it comes to production quality. Animation, music, sound, story---- you name it and it fails miserably. How something this amateurish and unappealing even managed to get approved is actually quite mind boggling. For those who still don’t know by now, this anime acts as a sort of pseudo-sequel series to each version of the Golden Age arc. If you’ve watched or read as far as the Golden Age arc into any of the other previous material for Berserk, that’s all you are expected to know. If you’ve never experienced the Golden Age arc, STAY AWAY from this series period. Not only is this the worst possible introduction to Berserk, but it actually spoils the events of the entire Golden Age arc in its intro ( and in a rather tasteless fashion I might add).
The story has not only been butchered, but it isn’t even a slightly decent good time on its own. For those that don’t already know, but want to continue reading anyway the story loosely follows the events occurring after Guts becomes the Black Swordsman and his journey to seeking revenge against the man who left Gut’s and his friends for dead. With everything taken from him, Guts primary focus and center of attention becomes the protection of his now mentally broken girlfriend/ lover Casca. Guts faces demons, both literally and figuratively and with the rise of a mysterious religious power in Midland on a witch hunt, he’ll have to track down the girl he left in the care of his remaining friends during his absence.
I won’t go into too much detail about the actual structure just know that several chapters of the manga have been edited and condensed to where there are several lingering questions and many plot holes. It tries to get back on track towards the middle half of the series, but even if you’ve never read the manga, the absolute rapid pace to which things are presented to you is likely to throw you off. From the filler episode 3, mentions of a certain bad ass armor, the green behelit, Schierke making an appearance at the beginning of the series, there definitely feels like there were better choices for content removal or editing. Things that just aren’t relevant to this arc, honestly could have just been removed if they simply just wanted to condense this arc. The other adaptions of Berserk always made sure to at the very least keep in the most important aspects, but Berserk 2016 falls apart in the first episode, combining about 4 to 5 volumes of material. It seems as though the staff really didn’t pick and choose wisely what should and should not have been included.
The “ART” is a putrid blend of 3d and 2d animation, I would be forgiving on HOW it looks, but how the series is actually animated is terrible. In Berserk 2016, character movements are stiff and unnatural color contrast are also absolutely ridiculous, there is often far too many shades of purple or blue where they don’t belong. With some scenes being either way to dark or way to bright. ( For example episode 1 and 2 respectively) Either you can’t tell what’s going on most of the time or you’re distracted by the day time sections of the series having little going on as far as atmosphere and background design.
To add to the choppy unrefined animation and art style, the studio for some reason thought it would be cool if they added in random pan sweep shots to make things look cooler than they actually do. My problem with this is you can’t often clearly tell what is actually going on, which is a problem that even many scenes in the Berserk animated films had. This factor applies to both the 3d and 2d sections of the series, the 3d having way to much close up action during fight scenes and the 2d scenes having so much shit flying by at once you can’t even discern what hell you just saw. The strange, serene moments that Berserk has always had is thrown out the window so the series can constantly be in your face the entire time.
There is a lack of impact in everything done in the series. Not only can the series not capture the beautiful and awkward moments that Berserk can have, but it can’t even to impact correctly. The Dragon Slayer is a prime victim of this. Every episode I feel like I’m watching a slow moving marble knock over a stack of dominos. It doesn’t have a presence and honestly it just isn’t shown off well enough. It’s all just very dull and not very interesting to look at for 12 episodes straight. Guts himself lacks presence overall not seeming all that bad ass and for a lot of moments, pretty weak for a guy that hunts demons for a living. That aside the timing is also very strange with each kill being fairly overblown and every “sex” scene portrayed as awkwardly sensual and almost fan-servicy to be quite honest with you, which is NEVER a feeling I should get from Berserk.
Now horrible design choices and color contrast aside, the sound and music is absolutely atrocious. The sound is just overall bad, you will find no calm and beauty like the theme of Guts or the sheer inspiration of songs like Forces here, just forgettable metal songs and as far as the sound effects it doesn’t fare much better. The Dragon Slayer’s sound doesn’t fare any better in sound effects for most of the series it sounds like a log being drowned under water and other sounds come out equally as muffled or flat. The Dragon Slayer is supposed to be intimidating and powerful, yet it feels like there is simply no satisfaction to be had from any of Guts’ kills. A series where taking down larger than life demons is supposed to be gratifying shouldn’t be this much of a bore to watch. Everything feels all wrong, like this wasn’t even made for Berserk fans and it just shouldn’t be that way.
To summarize it best I guess. Giving Berserk to a no name studio, with a track record of all zero notable titles was a red flag from the start. This series was a mistake. Why a studio like Madhouse, which could have captured the franchises dark tone and storytelling or Gainax, which specializes in the intense and psychological, were NOT considered for this adaption is beyond me. This could have easily been a well-made 60+ episode anime adaption. Instead of going the FMA Brotherhood or Hellsing Ultimate route and giving the fans and newcomers a satisfying, thrilling experience------we are left with this. …. A series that won’t hold up and will likely be forgotten over time, but still disappointed all the same. read more
Lets discuss things that aren't the animation, which is terrible, but everyone's already said that. Whats more offensive is their handling of the actual material. Even at the ten episode mark, the show has already taken extreme liberties with the stories it does include, and it skips the Lost Children arc entirely. What remains has been butchered beyond recognition, as they rework, reorganize, and repurpose to try and condense volumes of content into handfuls of episodes. Its fair to say that things what work in manga form don't always work in an anime, and therefore to rework some content is not only permissible, but in some cases it can be commendable. This, however, is just a hackjob, rushed in an attempt to cash in on the micro-hype generated by the films from a couple of years ago.
Additionally, the sound design is atrocious. Gut's sword sounds like it's hollow, and makes the exact same *KWANG* sound for 90% of the things it collides with. I would not be surprised if there were a dozen stock effects total that they just layered on as approximations.
P.S. The greatest tragedy is the OP, which is beautiful. It's 2D, it's well animated, and even the song is catchy. However, you then go from that, to the 3D abomination of the show. It's like a minute-long tease that shows you what could've been and then asks you to sit through what you actually got.
I do not know why they got a studio known for it's romances and slice-of-life series, but they've fundamentally asked Anne Rice to direct Clint Eastwood.
It truly saddens me that this new adaptation of Berserk we receive after patiently waiting for almost two decades had to turn out like it did. This is a far cry from what the older adaptation managed to achieve and is regarded as a timeless classic, then again the previous anime was working with arguably the best source material out there with that being the 'Golden Age' arc. The decline in quality was to be expected as Berserk certainly peaked during the conclusion of that arc with the events of the Eclipse. The problem with this current adaptation was the fact that the script writers were adamant about fully adapting the Conviction arc but at the expense of rushing the Black Swordsman arc and completely omitting the Lost Children side story arc. The latter is understandable due to the censorship that modern anime are subject to and so with current regulations it was an uncertainty from the beginning it was announced.
This adaptation focuses on Guts trying to locate and eventually rescue Casca who has very much turned into an invalid after the traumatic events of the Eclipse. This is mainly due to the negligence of Rickert who as a former Band of the Hawk member was concerned with the mental state of Caska who was under his protection the whole time. This responsibility is ultimately Guts' one in the end but would make his main objective seemingly more difficult. Learning about the details of Caska's movements, Guts along with a new companion named Isidro who is obsessed with him and aspires to emulate his heroics find themselves in the desolate refugee camp called Albion. This is where the tower of 'Conviction' run by the Holy Iron Chain Knights is located and where the main events takes place.
Apparently the damage was already done when the fans of Berserk realised that the first few episodes did not cater to their expectations. Let's be real here, anyone here knowing Berserk's relationship with CG animation should have had the mindset of wanting an average/decent adaptation, only to get a big f*ck you when butchering the source material. If you are reading this then you are a brave soul indeed after experiencing this abomination that may have scarred you permanently. The verdict of most fans by now will probably be dismissing the show and refusing to acknowledge its existence.
The series barely manages to retain the authenticity of the manga with it being a decent portrayal of a dark fantasy series. It still possesses that gritty, inhumane atmosphere that is commonly associated with Berserk. It could even pass off as a post-apocalyptic setting due to the state of events within Albion where poverty and desperation is strife due to an outbreak of the plague in certain cities in the Midlands leading to an influx of refugees seeking help. Religion is the main theme for this arc as it is seen as the way forward when experiencing hard times - basically the only means of salvation for these commoners who would do anything to survive. This is evident in the numerous amounts of individuals being put to death after being accused of being heretics hence is linked to the tower of 'Conviction', where all sorts of horrific torture and other forms of extreme brutality taking place in the name of religion.
The hate for the animation techniques used in this anime is probably the single reason why many dropped the show. I abhor the use of 3D and 2D animation ever mixing and to me are like oil and water when done in a mediocre fashion. The ratio between the two is the most disturbing factor personally, as I'm actually impressed by the hand drawn animations which are sparse and are used occasionally as a means of conveying certain facial expressions such as Guts purely concentrating for the kill. This is short lived though as we are expected to put up with the unsightly 3D which infuriates me.
3D models of the characters make up the majority of the animation but are heavily altered with shadings being applied to everyone and the rest of the designs being drawn over by the animators. If there is a positive from this show (though not many) the character designs are consistent but is not always the case as there are times when normal animation is used randomly in certain scenes such as the girls from Luca's group.
The more episodes you watch, you gradually become more accustomed to the CG which would be case for those who managed to stay on. There is no smooth movement from the animation as it can look jerky at times mainly through different shot compositions such as close ups and its use in the background. The last thing that needs mentioning was the opening had good animation but that is just pure deception compared to what actually takes place.
The sound is one aspect that probably goes unscathed in my review as the voice actors did a reasonable job at performing their characters. Characters such as Farnese and Mozgus sound just like I had imagined them when reading the manga which was unexpected. The soundtrack is a slight disappointment as it can't compare to the greatness of Susumu Hirasawa's one for the original series. This series just has one theme that I find worthwhile whereas the other has plenty to offer in comparison despite it being half an hour long. The background sound use is adequately used in most cases except for Guts and his use of his broadsword which can come off as being similar to striking a metal bannister when obliterating his enemies.
I was very much hyped about Berserk getting an adaptation because everyone hates cliffhangers after the 1997 Berserk finale. I wouldn't even call this a direct sequel as it assumes you have prior knowledge of the manga when watching and for an anime-only would be difficult to follow. This show is not worth your time and so like they say, avoid it like the plague. read more
Berserk returns with a whimper than a roar! The return of Guts and his tale feels like a horribly put together fan project.
Berserk initially had many fans, myself included, anticipating its return. In this installment of the once great franchise the story and plot lacked the intensity & excitement the original series presented. This series was supposed to follow the manga according to what is on file in the MAL/ANN database. For the most part, it didn't follow the original source as much and sort of pulled random things out its ass to improvise. I found this to be both unprofessional and lazy on the director’s end. Of the many, one of the most disappointing things about the story is its overall presentation. It comes off ass.. (He he, I wrote ass) as, lazy.
It appeared as if Berserk was only made just to cash in on the franchise some more. The story is painfully weak in terms of plot & narrative. The beginning and middle, rising action, parts of the story were perhaps the biggest turn off. The amount of action, gore and death in the story felt limited. This ruined a majority of my experience with the beginning and conclusion of the story. I strongly believe that the writing could have been much better.
Few moments into the introduction, the first episode pretty much plays homage to the original anime series. Guts arrive at bar or brothel saves a woman, etc. Except, now in the 2016 version Guts saves a woman, befriends a possibly homo-sexual fairy, who doesn't shout "Hey, Listen" and the two become buddies. I don't remember the time it takes for all of these events to happen, however I believe it was about 10 minutes into the show that I wanted to drop it simply because of that. The stories appeal is bad enough to make even people who haven't seen the show turn away from it. Lastly, the main story gets even worse when it gets taken over by an awful intrusive sub-plot that focuses more on some of the most uninteresting characters in the series. This isn't so much the case in the manga however, I digress.
Towards the middle of the series, during maybe episode 6-9 (69.. ha ha children, see I have sex jokes) the story focuses less on Guts and his goal to save or abduct his mentally disable, brown sugar skinned goddess. Instead the story decides to focus more on the supporting and non-supporting characters. This wouldn't be so bad if only the characters were not so annoying, troublesome rather. For example when the prostitutes arrive, and Elaine is first show, at this point in the story is where I felt things became horrible. . The settings that the story took place in were not as visually horrifying nor did they set the tone for any new developments. The narrative, or rather, the way that the story was told, it failed improve successful elements that the original story used.
The unfortunate thing is that although the story is somewhat part of the original work, the way that its' been directed so far, makes Berserk feel like a horribly put together fan project. Shallow story, coupled with bad action scenes, animation and horrible dialogue made me cringe.
Kentaro Miura should be ashamed for agreeing his work to be animated in CGI poorly. His Penmanship, his detail in the original work is God-Like! (No exaggerations needed.) The Golden Age Arc of the series looks like perfection compared to this ugly, unappealing and awful, simply awful visuals. Details, there was a lack of the detailed gore like dismembered bodies and such for berserk. The dark settings and somber tone berserk once had seemed to have vanished. For some strange reason, berserk, the settings seemed to have taken a JRPG style setting. Woods, forest, deserted battle fields etc. Detailed animation on these settings was very minimal and unfortunately took away a lot of the enjoyment.
In all honest though, the type of CGI, the art style is what ruined this once great series for me. I felt that I focused too much on how bad the art was that it completely turned me away from the story. It needed more work, it needed to feel more realistic not forced! Or over the type.. Or "Edgy" as the hip people say.
CGI, CGI, I still feel like CGI based anime is still a work in development. I would not be surprised if Berserk was used for this very reason and we were all the test audiences. If this is the case I do fear what else animation studios are planning to redo or "re-master" in full on CGI. I digress, using CGI over the traditional style that made berserk such an amazing series that is what hurt the series the most for me. There was simply no enjoyment, nothing to saw "wow what amazing settings or detail, and I feel that it was the CGI to blame for that.
The voice acting was on and off. Sometimes I felt that a majority of the actors were over-exaggerating when it came to screaming. When there were serious moments in the dialogue, I wasn’t convinced that events were as bad as the characters said they were. The soundtrack wasn’t impressive for the show. Fight scenes were not nearly as intense because of the music.
I was not impressed with any of the characters. Lack of character development and bland personalities is what kept me from making any sort of connection. As mentioned earlier everyone was riddled with problems and awful traits.
The show didn't seem like it was ready for release. It's sort of like a video game... which ironically there is a game coming out. There were so many problems with it that it needs patches to fix them. I felt like what was released, wasn't the shows full potential. It almost feels rushed. Perhaps they didn't have any editors to look over it before release. I don't know what they were thinking when releasing this. However, it totally could use work on the story, animation, and settings. Maybe a dialogue that isn't so stale a cat wouldn't even eat it. Overall, I simply was not impressed with Berserk 2016. read more
An article exploring the relationship between Berserk; focusing primarily on the Conviction Arc and the philosophical ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche, mostly pertaining to his book "On the Genealogy of Morality" written in 1887.