By: RogueSymbiote & Mithrandiel
Blu-Ray Set Review
Funimation was kind enough to include the 2016 Berserk series along with our latest batch of review copies. Given the reception of the series, I understand why they didn’t necessarily put all their eggs in the Berserk blu-ray basket. It’s a perfectly respectable set, but in line with many of the lower-profile releases, doesn’t offer a lot of standout extras that series such as Myriad Colors Phantom World, or Tales of Zestiria the X had to offer.
I do really like the alternate set art featuring Guts vs Mozgus, but other than that there’s nothing in the set that really stands out. No episode commentaries, no hype-shorts cataloguing the evolution of the Berserk series…which is surprising because the manga has a pretty huge following.
You can pick up the set here.
Guts’ quest to remove the demonic brand from himself and his lover, Casca, continues in the latest installment from the Berserk franchise. This curse attracts the onslaught of flesh craving evil spirits, causing havoc in their wake. Guts, also known as The Black Swordsman, is on the run from these evil beings as well as the Holy Chain Iron Knights who believe he is connected to the catastrophe that occurred on the day of the eclipse. With obstacles from the living and the dead, Guts must hack and slash his way to ultimate freedom.
On his quest to alleviate a terrible curse, Guts is constantly running into trouble. After demolishing a few unsavory men for mistreating an elf and young boy at the local inn, Guts acquires some company on his journey. Puck, the elf, meets up with Guts directly after the encounter while the young boy named Isidro follows in hot pursuit. As night sets in, the Black swordsman is ambushed by an army of the undead. He must wield his gargantuan dragon slayer sword to cut down these villainous foes. After recieving injuries from the encounter, Guts is ultimately captured by the Holy Chain Iron Knights. Their leader Farnese is charged with the duty to bring Guts back to the Holy See in order to account for his “crimes.” Farnese interrogates and whips Guts, but is unable to break Guts’ will. While confined to a cage in the night, Puck frees his ally and the pair escape with Farnese as their hostage.
While escaping from the Holy Chain forces, the evil spirits once again find Guts. Farnese witnesses the horrors that follow Guts and must determine if he is truly guilty of the crimes of which he has been accused. In the chaos of their battle against evil spirits and a really creepy horse, Farnese is rescued by a fellow Holy Chain Iron Knight and returned to her camp. Guts visits Godo the blacksmith for some repairs and learns that Casca is missing. The Holy Chain Iron Knights escort Bishop Mozgus to St. Albion and we witness how the bishop inflicts extreme punishment against those who sin against God. Guts makes his way to St. Albion in hopes of locating Casca. We soon learn that Casca has been taken in by a prostitute named Luca.
Isidro finally catches up with Guts after engaging some Kushan scouts and hopes to learn how to fight from the imposing warrior. Farnese is shown where Bishop Mozgus performs barbaric punishments against “heretics” and is terrified by the extreme practices. Nina, one of Luca’s prostitutes participates in a pagan cult and is followed by Casca. The pagan members attempt to assault Casca, but become possessed resulting in the remaining pagans to believe she is a witch. They capture Casca and attempt to marry her off to the Great Goat while sacrificing Nina, but the man in the goat head is transformed into an evil monster. Guts arrives and defeats the evil creatures with the aid of Isidro and some members of the Holy Chain Iron Knights. Casca is captured by the Holy Chain and sentences by Mozgus to be tortured for being a witch.
After placing Casca in an iron maiden, a murderous blob consisting of evil spirits emerges from the torture device and begins to engulf the entire tower. Mozgus retrieves Casca and intends to burn her at the stake in an attempt to eliminate the evil that has begun to spread. Guts is finally able to locate Mozgus, but he and his disciples sprout wings. While Mozgus makes his escape, Guts faces off the disciples. After defeating the disciples, Guts retrieves Casca and then faces off against Mozgus. The bishop transforms into an armored monstrosity and claims his murderous actions are righteous in the eyes of God. Guts uses his ingenuity to take down the super powered foe, only to be faced with the murderous blob that continues to take over the entire fortress. The Egg of the Perfect World calls the evil spirits and sacrifices itself in order to complete the ritual required to create Griffith’s new vessel. Farnese renounces her faith and joins Guts on his quest to defeat the evil that plagues his world.
Let me start out with what this iteration of Berserk does well. The action sequences are visually engaging and hold nothing back. If you enjoy hack and slash style fighting, this is a must watch. The blood and gore are not lacking in this series. The writing does a fair job at creating a strong likability to many of the characters. The series is perfectly scored, including a fantastic intro song.
Now for the not so great aspects. If you haven’t seen the original Berserk series, many of the moments from this revisit of the franchise will fall flat. This is very much a sequel series so be sure to watch the original before taking a chance on this new installment. I am a HUGE fan of well executed animation. Even if a series doesn’t have the best storylines, I still will have fun if the animation is solid. Berserk uses a strange mix of 2D animation and extremely choppy computer generated graphics. The constant shift between the two styles was annoying and comes off as tacky. If you’re into the computer generated style of animation, you might want to give this a chance, but it’s not for me. The plot was fine, but didn’t wow me at any particular moment. I appreciated the desire to continue with the original storyline, but the final two episodes just seemed to throw a lot in at the last moment. And don’t get me started on the decision to show breasts without nipples… so random.
Overall, Berserk is worth the watch if you’ve seen the original and wish to see what has become of Guts and Casca. If the animation and plot picks up, this could be an extremely entertaining series since the creative action style is already in place. This series is meant for mature audiences as it contains “nudity,” language and gore.
Note: Funimation provided us with a review copy of this set in exchange for our honest review.
Berserk Season 164.98
- Action sequences are entertaining and visually shocking, graphic violence
- The music matches the tone of the series
- Animation is choppy and has a poor computer generated style
- If you haven't seen the original, major moments will lack meaning and severity
- The plot does not deliver any "wow" moments