Reviews

Aug 12, 2017
Berserk (Anime) add (All reviews)
Sesshomaru (All reviews)
Berserk 2016, during the first episode it already became clear why so many fans would be very displeased.

For those who have not read the Manga yet, written by Miura Kentarō, the story is about a swordsman, called Guts and the way it came to the violent conflict and his wish for blood revenge. The Plot is real dark, the medieval fantasy is gritty and hyper violent as well as gloomy and real bloody. In my view the best, easiest and most rewarding way to experience the Story, is reading the Manga. There is a good reason why the Manga is successful already for such a long time. The brilliant artwork and the well thought out story that Miura-san created but we will return to this matter at a later stage.

If you choose the Anime instead, there are two ways.
1. Start with the series from 1997 because it is about the Gold Age Arc. This Arc is on a time scale in front of Berserk 2016. And on the other hand you will get familiar with characters, as well as with their relationships.
2. The other way is, watching the three movies. There are some differences between 1997 series and the movies but both ways will show you, how it all came about, so that you can go on with Berserk 2016.

The Story of Berserk 2016, is about the Conviction Arc. It starts at a time when Guts got branded and how his quest for revenge begun. That is why I recommended the Manga, the 1997 Series or at least the movies, otherwise you don`t know what happened and how it came about. There is lots of criticism that says the story gotten butchered but I guess that is a bit too rough. Nevertheless, true is that parts were left out (Black Swordsman Arc and the Lost Children). Even if that does not have an effect on the story as a whole, it is annoying. On the other hand some unnecessary scenarios that are bizarre and totally out of place (e.g. Farnese/horse) were inserted. The Manga is brilliant but Berserk 2016 only shows what the Conviction Arc is about and even in this case the directing did only half of its job. They told just the story and nearly ruined the joy to follow, due to mishandling the pacing and adding or stretching of unnecessary things. Moreover, the storytelling is jumping rushed from one scene to another, just to show as much as possible, even if it dismantles the very few good spots that it has.

The characterizations are not either worth a better judgment. The main characters do have changes in their behavior because of the torment they went through but this are the missing parts I mentioned before. Moreover some characters are completely unexplained, like Dokuro no kishi. You only know him if you read the Manga or saw the 1997 Series or the Movies. Another example is Schierke, she is thrown into the plot, just by some glances. But on the other hand comedy got a lot of screen time, delivered by Puck and Isidro. Even if they are in the Manga too, the comedy is not unconvincing, due to compression in the Anime. Quite the contrary the comedy ruins the gloomy atmosphere, which is already not convincing because of the bad visuals.

Visuals, here that word is an euphemism! Usually the topic involves artwork and animation but this would be a too restricted approach so it is also needed dealing with cinematography, colors, contrasts and 2D/3D-combining-aspects too.
Cinematography:
The ignoring of fundamental principles makes it horrible to watch Berserk 2016. The Bar-Scene is the best example. It starts like an reminiscence to the 1997 Series, in a Bar but the rest is just awful. The camera angels changes position so often that you lose the sense of space. If you found the ground again, the cutting throws you into another scene. That isn't a pleasure to watch.
Colours:
Good God! On the one hand the colour palate is blunt (e.g. Casca) and does not have a decent deep to call the upcoming atmosphere gloomy and dark at all. On the other hand it has colours that are so extreme shiny they could illuminate darkness.
Shadows:
That so called 2D/3D hybrid content characters and objects with rendering by cel shading and what almost hurts, are the shadows and the contend linear hatching that look like pencil lines. This could be a technique for a Manga but in an Anime it looks just like it has been done in a hurry. It looks cheap.
2D/3D-combination and details:
As if the already mentioned aspects are not enough, the rare 2D Characters and objects, although not outstanding, look pretty in comparison to the 3D animations. Not to mention that a lot of the more likeable scenes were taken from the 1997 series. And to put insult to injury, the 3D animated characters look like lifeless dolls, without facial expressions that could may help to identify with the characters. Details are only as important as their relevance to the plot but omitted of well done facial expressions, in an Anime of 2016 that may could humanizes the characters, what the storytelling already not achieved, cannot be overlooked. In case of such a good source with wonderful detailed art work, it is a flaw that cannot be forgiven if the visual adapting is so completely ruined. It is not the point that 3D techniques cannot be used in a pleasant way but in the case of Berserk 2016, it has to be said it looks uninspired and unprofessional, a work that just says clearly and unambiguously "make it as cheap as possible, for to earn money". A shame in relation to the Manga!

The sounds, on the one hand it seemed as if the only aspect that showed almost some effort to do at least something well. Voice acting was done by some experienced Seiyū e.g. the voices of Griffith is spoken by Sakurai Takahiro and his vita of voice acting roles is long. The same with the voice of Farnese spoken by Hikasa Yōko and even if Iwanaga Hiroaki as the voice of Guts does not have that much experience, I was astonished how well he fits into the role.
But on the other hand, some reviews did mentioned the good music arrangements and I disagree. The music is not good at all. The BGM, throughout the series often seemed peculiar and misplaced whilst or misleading. An example, Guts is walking through a (so called gloomy) forest, the only sound, falling raindrops. Not bad so far. Then he got invited to enter the brightly lit wagon and the creepy music starts. This scene is a good example for the bad directing. The imagery and the music are generally not harmonic. Danger feelings that are provoked by red eyed creatures up in the trees, why does the creepy music not start then?
The OP used some good chosen images in relation to the text and the music but this is a fake because a lot of the images were taken from the 1997 series.
The ED was completely unremarkable, just skipped.
The sound effects esp. the sound of the sword is so ridicules, although just curling his fingers around the sword handle, there is this terrible sound. The sound of the sword is artificial, omnipresent, consistent no matter what it hits, bodies, stones, skeletons. All in all it is terribly annoying.

It is not the point that I have spend a lot of time to watch this uninspired, bad executed CGI-adaptation that is ignoring some fundamental rules of how to create an enjoyable anime. What hurts the most is simple the fact that after this CGI-monster, there will be no faithfully or even well done adaption of this very good source material. Usually there is no right or wrong and we will not blame anyone, because they created something their own way but this policy is based on the assumption that the creative team knows the source and also pays attention to it. Be honest, did you have the feeling they tried to do so? It sends shivers down my spine, imagine with which Anime-stuff we will be hurt with if this is the future. You want to risk a glance at it still? Don`t say I did not warn you.

Usually, I conclude by the sentence "Have fun watching" but gave me a real hard time to watch it and no fun at all.