Some anime are made to be shocking, some are made to be really darn cool. Other anime are romantic in their own way. This is an interesting blend of all of those and so much more (hold out for the romance, trust me…). I would regard this as one of the great anime of the late 90’s. The anime was ahead of the game for its time and the manga was quite influential to a really famous game of today, Dark Souls.
Berserk is an incredibly popular manga, but the anime didn’t do quite as well. No, don’t worry – The anime series is incredibly fun to watch. Let me put this into context for you: Amongst my favourite anime are some of the cheesiest series imaginable. I adore Nichijou, I absolutely loved Working! and I love Dragonball for it’s cheekiness, as well as Dragonball Z for how over the top it became… Then there’s Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo… So where does Berserk stand amongst these?
Oh death, gore, blood and demons! Yeah..!
So Berserk follows a lone warrior called Guts, who used to travel and fight for different groups here and there. A mercenary, as it were. Guts then comes across Griffith of the legendary Band of the Hawk. Griffith bests Guts in combat and Guts is forced to join the Band of the Hawk. He does so well with them that he quickly becomes a Raid Leader for the company. The Band of the Hawk fight against demon-like entities called Apostles, humans who have made a pledge (a sacrifice) to The God Hand, a group of archdemons.
A part of this series that truly set it apart from many other shows I had been watching at the time, was the strong theme of friendship. It felt like the anime wasn’t quite what the manga was, which explores deeper meanings. The anime, albeit gory and fast paced, felt like it was showing people the importance of coming together… Okay and a lot of gore.
The biggest crime of this series, however, is that it didn’t finish. This is a long standing manga series that was adapted to anime and it only ran over two arcs, or 25 episodes in total. With the amount of content in the world of Berserk, you’d think we’d have gotten further than we did. I’ll go more into further anime of Berserk shortly, but the first arc was over with in just one episode… Aptly episode 1! One interesting thing is although there are some strong differences in the anime series from it’s manga source, it manages to retain the story of the manga quite faithfully. So whilst there are differences, you are effectively getting the same story – Not bad going!
In 2012, two of three films came out for Berserk: the Golden Arc. The Berserk anime series followed the Golden Arc, but these films represented the start of an adaptation for the whole of the Berserk manga series. In 2013, the third of the film series came out and all three films were met quite positively. They were released by Viz Pictures and hopefully they’ll keep adapting more of the manga into films.
Also, what is up with this incredibly unfitting opening theme music?
Over all, Berserk (the original series) is brutally harsh but wonderfully well executed. It’s gory and it doesn’t hide from the series, although there are masses of modifications, a lot of detail hiding and it didn’t continue, opting out at just 2 arcs in. One day, perhaps we’ll see more of Berserk turned into films, like the three Golden Arc films. One thing is for certain though: If you’re into action, gory, bloody anime – this is one of the greatest ones of all time.
4/5 for Berserk!
Have you seen Berserk? Are you a fan of the serious Guts character? What about Griffith and his burning desire to be king? Comments below, over on Facebook or on Twitter and let’s discuss this one further!