This Berserk (2017) review is very detailed and it includes the time frames of certain events that occurred in certain episodes. There is a paragraph named "SPOILER (OPTIONAL)" that is mainly made for Manga readers who know what happens. I warned you so watch out for the ------- lines. The (...) with the numbers in them represents spoilers for the same paragraph. Warning - the stats may be completely unneeded, please just ignore if you just want the main review.
I wrote this review with as much fairness I could possibly harness. It's not based on any "fanboy" attitude. I made this review's overall rating different
to my own listing rating because I know very well that my 10/10 listing rating is overrated. Enjoy.
Note: When I say 2D, it doesn't necessarily mean it's totally like most of the other anime. The lines on the characters will never disappear. Trust me though, it's a lot cleaner.
The first 2 minutes of the first episode was perfectly done. From 00:07-2:07, the art was amazing and the 2D animation worked perfectly for it (Since I was using kissanime the time may vary. It's about a 6 second difference without KA). The characters had faded lines near their body parts just like the previous season but it was no doubt 2D. This was a perfect start to the anime and the opening after that scene made it even better, especially listening to another 9mm Parabellum Bullet song. Just as you finish watching the opening you will undoubtedly come upon the same CG animation as the prequel. To be frank, it was kind of disappointing. I knew what I was going into but I was unable to prevent thinking, "What would Berserk look like if it wasn't CG". The CG can get rather inadequate, yet it does grow on you. Look, I'm going to be straight foward with this... seeing the 3D characters talking and moving was very unsatisfying. It's possible that this episode will worry you for the upcoming episodes, but rest assured it does get better. During 09:07-15:50 there is a big fight. In that big fight at 10:17-10:19, 11:06-11:43, Guts and someone else clashes swords several of times (1). For this fight it was said to be swords clashing in repeated motions. I reduced the speed to 0.15 to confirm what a youtuber (Professor Anime) said, on the end he was half right. The patterns on their attacks were the same and it was similar to a game. I don't want to criticise this scene but I have to say that it could of been made better, if I must say it was a little too speedy. However, the small scene at 10:17-10:19 was not repeated motions and I've confirmed that with slow motion, though this was only my judgement. At 19:32-20:30 the scene had a mixture of 2D and 3D, specifically at 19:53-20:30 was just 2D. I couldn't ask for anything better for that bloody scene (when I said bloody I mean blood rushing out of a head and arrow shots). That short battle scene was much better than how the movies executed them. Another good animation scene was at 21:20-21:35, it was superior to all of the prequels moments. Presumably, by now you know that Berserk has it's fair share of 2D scenes, but this is very limited to just close up's and short scenes.
At 3:44-4:30, a demon (call it what you want) appeared and I must say that the animation was crap. I just didn't buy it, it was like it was cut out straight out of the manga and just put in 3D without bothering putting in better details in it. At 6:02-16:15 it was a flashback of ****** past, for the whole 10 minutes it was 2D (2). The content in that 10 minutes was very important since it was clearing up that uncertainty about her that's been going on since the prequel. Making the flashback with the 2D was what made this episode successful. At 20:34-21:00 it was missing one thing... it was nipples. It's got nothing to do with my sexual desire, it's what I think would work for such a moment. I would like to see more mature scenes because this is Berserk after all.
At 16:35-18:22 this was the area where I was most worried, but I was impressed. The soundtrack worked very well with the scene and the animation wasn't a burden to the content at all. At the scene there was a bunch of demons in a cave, it could of gone so wrong but it was saved by the 2D moments. To be honest everything was fine for me, it's other people I was worried about. Around 35 seconds out of the 1.48 minutes was 2D and I tell you this now, 17:02-17:30 was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. It was one of the best animation moments of the series since it looked professionally animated. For the first 3 episodes there were no specific flaws that needed to be said apart from a few CG scenes that not much people seem to like. The content is 8/10 worthy and you Manga readers probably agree with me.
From 11:03-11:21 a creature appears, they did a fine job animating this guy (4). After seeing them in the Manga I enjoyed seeing them move with color. I'm sure it's done in CG yet it's not half bad.
This episode here is probably the most important episode of the entire modern berserk seasons. It contains a turning point that changes what we have been seeing for the whole series to something entirely new. We have been witnessing bloodbaths and demon slaying, now a new genre kicks in and brings us to a new interesting arc (3). This episode also had a change of pace. We got a break from the constant killing and can watch the characters enjoy the peaceful time. Another important feature was the 2D. The important scenes had 2D and I got to say that this was crucial. I would of loved it if the whole series was made like that, however this is one of the flaws we have to deal with. 14:46-19:00 was entirely 2D and it was during one of them scenes they couldn't screw up like I said on episode 3. 10/10 that was, it was a dream come true watching that perfection.
I said that the last episode was the most important, well this episode was also very important. Another episode the studio couldn't mess up, they showed what we Berserk fans wanted. (6) This whole sentence can't possibly be put in non-spoiler form. Not big spoiler but things you don't know of yet. In this episode I realised how much Farenese-sama character has developed. A massive improvement and I consider her cute in 3D and 2D (waifu nearly). I had a laugh at a few scenes in this episode. Guts sword handling was better than earlier this season, I say it was the best of the modern Berserk. 3D didn't screw up anything for me for the past few weeks if I must say.
The action in this episode beats everything so far. It can sometimes look like a PC game in some scenes, but the actual fighting and such is great. At times the quality can be quite disappointing but it's very limited so it's easy to ignore. Everything other than that was pretty cool. It worked out well in the end so it's a pass.
I personally think that they reduced the cost for this episode, that also explains why it looks like there will be a recap next episode. They are serious about the big fight. Anyway this episode wasn't good as the previous ones, we can all see they skipped frames in Guts movement at times :o Back to (2016) style for half of the episode :o
This area is the biggest problem. The 2D, art, pace and movement stands out way too much. The character details of random people are lazy, it's a face palm. Trust me, at times they don't look right at all. The CG works well sometimes, but this is no doubt the biggest problem.
I personally love the art but the characters are the only ones you have to watch out for.
The movement is very frustrating, especially in the background. The background characters comes to an absolute stop and it just ruins the mood. Taking 4:33-4:38 episode 8 for example , the movement of the characters that should be moving just stopped... it looked so cheap (7). You might already know but the movement is cheesy, not all the time but just keep that in mind.
What I am about to mention can be known as the best or worst part of the animation, 3:04-16:51 from episode 4 for example. The god damn scenery, it's a killer. From that 13+ minutes the trees in the forest was all 2D, not to forget the beautiful art of the entire forest. That was the background of the CG characters doing what they were doing... just why couldn't it be the other way around? The beautiful background fully visible in such fine detail, I think it beats the characters. Most of the time for very short scenes, backgrounds, close ups, very important moments or non-moving characters is the only time you will get the best animation. In any case, it will become natural and easier to handle the CG.
The angles are fine but sometime it can be over used. When the camera moves from showing the characters face to a position just behind them, viewing what the character sees... it can get a little old. This is only me though, I notice the camera movement much more for this anime compared to everything else I've watched. I feel that it's on the edge of disappointing me. I got this feeling in episode 5 plenty of times. I do admit that episode had lot's of talking. So far the anime doesn't have any filler, but that doesn't mean they don't skip a few minor details.
The music is important to anime and this anime was spot on in this area. The opening and ending is something to look forward to. The Sound effects are more or less the same but I like the sound of Guts sword in particular. The soundtracks are the same and good as ever. In episode 3 at 6:49-7:53 the soundtrack was perfect for the scenery and speech, even though this soundtrack has been used in the other Berserk anime it still was lovely. Another great soundtrack moment would be at 16:51-17:15 in episode 2. The voice actors/actresses work well with the characters, no flaws at all in the voices. There may be some characters that will grow on you due to the VA. Seeing Puck and ...... fighting with voices was much more enjoyable compared to the Manga (5). The sound is one of the best aspects of this anime, without the soundtracks and songs... It wouldn't be as great.
Seeing my favourite manga adapted is very very exciting, I have been waiting for this for a long time. As I stated I was disappointed, yet I enjoyed it so much that I can re-watch it anytime. I always get shivers down my spine from just watching the opening and a few moments during the episodes. For the opening I like the art and basically how it was made. Just seeing the animation and movements of the white and black still characters is satisfying enough for me. I admit the manga is better but I need music and voices, I don't care about these peoples criticism.
When you look at the stats at the end, you can see that a lot of people dropped the prequel due to the CG. That is an undeniable fact, but that doesn't mean that the animation totally ruins the content. The increase of the airing score can be proof that the animation doesn't kill the material straight off. No one would rate it 7 or higher if they didn't enjoy it. That doesn't change the amount of members lost but I think it's for the better because the prequel had a lot of unneeded criticism. The people here are true fans or at least faithful fans who actually love this series regardless of the flaws. Don't think that the second season is crap because it has less members because that would be stupid thinking. Then there's people saying things like, "it might of improved since the last season but in the end its just less crap" or similar lines. The prequel wasn't crap at all, it just had flaws in the animation. The content was great and it improved so its no where near crap in my eyes. The rating wasn't crap either, it was fine. Anyway I can tell that the studio's hard work paid off, you simply can't expect a CG anime to turn into mainly 2D works in 6 months just because people want perfect everything. They did improve the amount of 2D and the scenery with their budget so I'm going to say good job to Millepensee and GEMBA.
MY OPINION (OPTIONAL):
I will now tell you my opinions of the anime. I'm going all out so I hope I don't go too far. I think that the character movement looks off, kind of like last season (I admit it improved). Sometimes you can't take it seriously, once I look at it... it's difficult to stay focused. If the studio could improve this, I would give this a 9/10 but since it's CG it can't be helped. Also I must say that the CG is better than other CG I've come across. "What can anime do that manga can't? What by definition is possible through the medium of animation that is not possible by a series of printed pictures on paper (manga)?". This here is what I think that keeps me going, the color, sound and movement. This is a good point about the anime, it has these things that the Manga doesn't have. Does it mean it's better than the Manga? No. Does it mean that we get to hear voices we only imagined in our heads? Yes. Anyway I'm just happy we have gotten this far in the anime.
The quote in the paragraph above was originally written by another user, I got his permission to add this to my review.
(1) In this battle Guts faces Zodd one-on-one. The speed of this battle is crazy to the point that you don't know what's going on. The 3D in this didn't work out that well in my opinion.
(2) A flashback of Farnese-sama's past. Regarding her past, it was slightly rushed especially around the time when Serpico had the duel and a few other parts. To be honest this isn't worth mentioning because it's very minor.
(3) This episode brings the topic of the spirit realm and the talk of Astral beings. Not to mention the newly introduced spirits called Sylphs, air elementals. The sylph sword held by Serpico was brilliant. Also the introduction to Salamanders, fire elementals. Basically the fantasy side of Beserk.
(4) This episode introduces us to the Trolls. It would of been better if their body hair didn't look like it had gel in it. btw I wasn't making fun of it, I was simply pointing out it's flaw. You should know from last season anyway.
(5) In episode 5 during 5:46-6:58, Puck and Evarella fights for an acorn. It's possible to miss it because it happens during a important conversation.
(6) Serpico tries out his sylph sword against trolls, he was the best character in this episode. The animation of the magic was brilliant, the colors too.
(7) So a troll was raping a woman in a 2 second scene and after that, 7 or so Trolls was showed in the background raping with no movement... it was very disappointing.
(+)(-) = is rating increase or decrease from the last edit.
The prequel Berserk (2016) has 45,789 users scored out of 109,467 members. That is a 63,678 users who didn't score.
Berserk (2017) on the other hand has 6,727 users scored out of 39,932 members. That means that 33,205 members who didn't score due to several reasons that you probably get an idea of. In the end 69,535 members from Berserk (2016) decided to not add the sequel to their lists. This is assuming that all users added (2016) to their list before (2017).
The prequel has a score of 6.77 and previously had a score of 6.13 when it was airing. Berserk (2017) however has the score of 7.43 (0.03+) and beats its prequels airing score by 1.31 with room for improvement. Anyone can see that there has been a improvement in the scores.
From when I first made this review, there was a big change.
For Berserk (2016), there was a 2,230 increase of users scored and a 3,455 increase of members. A increase of 1225 users not scored.
For Berserk (2017), there was a 2,197 increase of users scored and a 4,840 increase of members. A increase of 2,643 users not scored.
I basically said everything I wanted to say, I leave the decision of watching it to you. I spent a lot of time on this review, I hope it helped.
EDIT: 28/5/17 4:57 AM
Episodes watched: 9
Modified by Jeikobu11
(more to be edited)
You'd think that a stretch of 7 months would give the studio the opportunity to iron out all of the kinks that the abomination known as last season's Berserk had, and at first, it did!
For the first 3 minutes.
Without spoiling too much, this season kicks off with no CG in sight. The handrawn is all we see (well, that and all of the awful cut-fade camera angles returning also from the previous season) and it doesn't look too bad. Follow that up with a brand-new intro from returning 9mm Parabellum Bullet (another saving grace) showing off what the characters do best, and for awhile it
actually got me catiously optimistic! Maybe they really did fix all of the last season's problems!
And then the show actually began. And unfortunately, nothing has changed. The models of Guts and Casca trudge onto the screen like a bad PS1 game and proceed to talk majorly off synch while the camera cuts and fades about 20 times making hard once again to even focus on who's talking. Then to make matters worse, a battle breaks out and takes up the rest of the episode's length. Along the final nail; the same repeated animations twice in less than a minute while the camera goes full Tyler Perry Alex Cross mode. So in short, if you want to just see Berserk animated then go right ahead. But if you go in expecting anything better than what we've gotten, you're going to be incredibly disappointed. Do not let the fanboys fool you that just because it's Berserk, it warrants a pass. Avoid like the plague.
Not sure why so many people don't like the anime adaptation. Personally, Berserk was and always will be one of my favorites cause of the story, action and characters (reminds me a lot of conan comics I used to read as a kid).
I'm generally not a manga fan and only read a bit of the Berserk manga but my opinion is that generally manga can't surpass the anime as it's lacking the atmosphere (action, sound, voices) that makes people enjoy the story and associate with the characters.
About this adaptation, it continues to amaze me and keeps me interested as it seems there's so much
more to learn about the characters and so much story to be told. This could well develop into a very long anime that doesn't lose it's glory over the years.
Before I get into any detail with this show I'd like to pose a question. What can anime do that manga can't? What by definition is possible through the medium of animation that is not possible by a series of printed pictures on paper (manga)?
There's two things: sound and movement. With anime (read: animation) you can have music, sound effects and often voice acting as well. While movement can be suggested in a manga, the pictures do not literally move before your eyes like with animation.
My point here is that an animated adaption of a
manga relies on, well, animation and sound to become something arguably more than the source material. There's a lot to gain from becoming animated but it's also possible to screw this up creating a product lesser than the source manga.
In addition this assumes that adaption did not remove material from the source that affects the quality of the plot. This also assumes that the original artwork hasn't been degraded in detail and quality. However to make animation economical the art (more often than not) is degraded in quality but I believe the quality of the animation can make up for this. It's also worth mentioning that the vast majority of manga are primarily in black and white, which opens up the possible avenue of using color where there really wasn't before.
The original Berserk is a traditional manga. It is in black and white, features no true animation, and has no sound of any kind. Because of this I am going to be rating this adaptation based on the following: Faithfulness of Plot, Sound Design, Animation Quality and Color Quality. My belief is that any anime adaptation of a manga that fails in these regards is a complete failure of an adaptation.
Faithfulness of Plot:
The previous season was absolutely infamous for including an opening episode full of nonsense that contradicted the original plot. I've been told spoilers are not allowed so to be brief: Two whole arcs of Berserk were skipped and character introductions were remade to fit in with the much more condensed timeline. This is one of the reasons I gave the previous season a "1". Over time the episodes became more accurate to the source material but I want to make it clear, this is not a plus. This is not "Plot Quality" but how intact the original source material is. In some very rare occasions changes to a plot in an adaptation might actually make the plot more rational or more enjoyable but it pains me to say this isn't one of them.
So when I say something like "This season of Berserk is generally more accurate to the source material's plot.", don't take it as a plus. It is me acknowledging that the original plot still functions. Having an intact plot is not a plus for a medium like animation. It's not something it gains over the manga. So far the plot has been mostly intact outside of what one might consider nitpicks. The biggest of which is that in episode three I remember the main villain making an incredibly odd manic-villain like face that was totally and completely out of character for a generally well composed villain.
When I say "Sound Design" I first mean sound effects. Now in an average review for some other adaptation I would first jump to music. I would likely not even mention "sound design" because we have reached a point where the average anime has reasonable sound effects to match the actions of the characters and objects on screen. To be honest I can't really think of a time where this wasn't the case. But if you're a Berserk fan you know that this is not the case for this series.
The *CLANG* sound effect coming from the main character's weapon makes it sound like a frying pan as compared to a weapon referred to in the source material as "...too thick to be called a sword". It is not only irrational that such a hollow sound would emanate from this weapon, but the sheer loudness of it is absurd. There's only three or four different *CLANG* sounds ever used and they are used constantly between this season and the previous. In this season a new character wielding a hammer of immense weight shows up and it turns out that he too uses a mostly hollow, likely aluminum weapon for it also has the *CLANG* sound effect. Also a demon using a "horse head cutter" apparently also needs that same *CLANG*. Watch the first episode and in particular look for the fight between the characters "Guts" and "Zodd" and you'll understand why I spent so much time talking about one sound effect.
If you haven't watched this series than I know you may think this is just a nitpick but every time it occurs I feel a wince of anger that I'm not used to feeling from basic sound effects. I never felt this way watching the original 90's Berserk adaptation nor the somewhat weaker movie adaptations.
In general the sound design isn't the best. For example, amazing composer Susumu Hirasawa composed two songs for this show, "Hai Yo" and "Ash Crow". On their own these songs are pretty good. I still prefer "Forces" and "Aria", but these songs are no slouches. But usage is everything in an anime. Hai Yo is used incredibly frequently and is often used as background music. Keep in mind this is not a "background song". It has lyrics that regularly get talked over. I like to believe I am writing in a very dignified style so my emotions may not totally reach you so I want to make it clear that this makes me very unhappy. Very. Susumu Hirasawa's music made the 90's anime what it was. The animation quality in that show wasn't the best (better than this but still not great) but the way his music powered scenes was nothing short of fantastic. He is my favorite anime composer, bar none.
But here his music is talked over and used as episode preview music. Do you like anime by Satoshi Kon? Do you remember Paranoia Agent? Imagine the OP of that series playing not only at the beginning of every episode but often in the episodes as well at the end too and every time someone was talking over it. And the rest of the soundtrack was replaced with very generic tunes. That's what the music in this series is like. Same composer by the way, Susumu Hirasawa was there too. One track overused and yet under utilized.
But the sound design IS better than before. The clangs are a little less prevalent and the voice acting is often easier to hear now. The cast is perfectly acceptable by the way. At no point did I really feel any great or super memorable moments of acting from the cast but that's more than likely due to the animation quality making the characters look silly over anything else.
This is the sticker. This is the one you've heard about. To put it plainly, this is the fatal flaw. In the past I have been called "shallow" for caring so much about animation quality. But I want to say two things in reaction to that. First I just mentioned I loved the 90's Berserk anime despite its shortcomings and two, anime IS animation. Anime is by literal definition a Japanese adaptation of the word "animation". As stated above there are things you can do with this medium that you absolutely 100% cannot do in others. When adapting something like a light novel there's few pictures to go off of so the animators can probably get away with more than when they are adapting a manga, especially one like Berserk.
Berserk is written and illustrated by Kentaro Miura and he is well known for his immensely detailed and layered art. That isn't to say he can't put a lot of emotion into simpler drawings, he can do both. Anime often runs at a lower frame rate already than (generally speaking) western animation to acclimate for more detail but even among manga Berserk is absurdly detailed. There are images in the Millennium Falcon arc of Berserk (which is what this season is at least partially adapting) in which I simply cannot fathom a human being taking a pencil/pen and drawing line by line those images on paper.
Because you now know this you might believe it could be impossible to truly and accurately recreate the drawings of Berserk economically in a reasonable time period. And you are right. But that's fine. This is par for the course for a lot of anime. The creators of this series decided to deal with this problem by using Computer Generated Images. I'll just say CG for now.
The CG in Berserk is awful. It runs at an absurdly janky frame rate compounded by highly unnatural movement. In addition to this the creators of the show have decided to add on this fake shading by attempting fake crosshatching on everything. I mean everything. Every single character has these criss-crossing lines on their faces and bodies at all times that make it absurdly clear just how undetailed these models are. This show is mostly CG too. There are hand-drawn scenes but they in some ways might actually make the show worse. Let me explain through comparison.
In the first two Berserk movies there was a lot of this very problem. Janky CG. But in the third movie many people started to forgive Studio 4C's CG and I believe this to be for two reasons. The first being that they actually learned from their mistakes. The framerate and detail of their models did increase.
The second is that, no spoilers, but there was a good amount of supernatural and otherworldly imagery in the third Berserk movie. A lot of that imagery also shows up in this show. The thing is that 2D and 3D imagery inherently clash when the CG isn't essentially perfect. In more horrific scenes this works out well, providing a somewhat uncanny valley feeling to the proceedings.
But this new show is ALWAYS like that. Main characters are mostly rendered in CG and then suddenly switching to 2D at random intervals. It's jarring. I think I'd prefer all mediocre 2D or all substandard 3D over this. Although neither of those alternatives is something I'd want in lieu of actually good animation. And I'm not saying 3D animation is inherently bad, but this is no Gantz if you catch my drift.
That being said if compared to the previous season this show is better. Guts' model is more accurate, there's a bit more 2D animation and the general 3D animation is slightly smoother in movement.
I also want to mention something else this show screws up, camera movements. It seems almost ridiculous to talk about, I never really think about this in any other anime. But the director seems to be either overly excited to have a 3D plane to work in or is simply incompetent with camera movement (or both) so the camera in this series is almost always shaking, or spinning, or doing god knows what to be honest. As the episodes go on and there's less action and this nonsense definitely happens less but it's still quite absurd I even have to mention this. This is a failure you just don't see everyday.
The last thing an anime can do over a (black and white) manga is to add color. This show certainly tries to do this. Some colors seem to make logical sense while others are absurdly bright. In general this whole show seems to lack logical shading (see that cross-hatching thing I talked about before) and some characters are crazy bright. There's an archer character introduced a few episodes in that wears a bright pink shirt, so bright you would be able to see him a mile away, ironic is it not? I made sure to check in the manga and low and behold, in the few colored drawings of him it's a dark maroon shirt.
Again this was worse in the previous season (see: Holy Iron Chain Knights) but again this ISN'T a thing I should have to mention. Although Berserk is black and white there IS colored reference material the studio could have easily extrapolated into the show's character designs.
This show can be considered functional. You turn on an episode and it will play from beginning to end and will manage to tell a coherent story. It will have sound and movement. It is by all definitions an animated work. But is it worth watching as an adaptation? No. Absolutely not.
If you didn't know, as of writing Berserk is the single highest reviewed manga on this website. By a good margin too. It has been showered with tons of praise and I myself have given it a 10 which I want to say is very, VERY rare of me to do. I take "10's" very seriously. It's my favorite manga easy but don't take just my word for it.
Now consider this show. It's got what, a 7.37 right now? That's about 2 points lower than the manga. Is a 7.37 anime better to you than a 9.28 manga? Allow me to make an assumption too: this show would be reviewed even worse than 7.37 if people were actually watching it. The previous season left such a stink in so many mouths that this season is significantly less popular. It's less popular than Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai, which is an adaptation of a series of plastic models.
Think about that. An adaptation of the best reviewed manga on this website is less popular than middling softcore porn about a series of purchasable toys. That hurts me.
I gave this show a "3" meaning I think it is very bad. I love the story of Berserk but this show doesn't do it justice. There's so much that can be done with the medium of anime but this show fails to do any of it even though its storyboards were provided to them.
Please read the manga. Even if you've never read a manga before, please give this one a shot. This show doesn't give the original story what it deserves and fails to add more to it. In the end and after so many words that's all I can say, please read the manga and do not let the failings of this poor adaptation keep you from enjoying the masterpiece that is Berserk.