A thrilling fight scene and further movement towards a world-shifting event results in a strong entry this week on Berserk as we near the end of the summer season.
The episode opens with the creepy egg-monster scaling the side of the Tower of Conviction in order to look down on the hellish scene playing out below. The attack from the Skull Knight has left it mortally wounded, but it still appears to be striving towards a final goal.
On its way to the summit it comes across the deformed baby-demon that has come to Casca’s rescue on a few occasions thus far, and wraps it up comfortably in its tongue before consuming it. I have a bad feeling about the two demonic entities together; the baby seems to carry some potent demonic energy, and the egg is destined to hatch a “new world”. Yeah. Bad news.
Meanwhile, at the base of the tower a mob of zealots demands Casca be burned at the stake in order to appease the demonic forces that have sprung up in the refugee camp.
Guts fights desperately to get to her, but just when it seems as though Casca’s ultimate fate had been decided, Isidoro once again demonstrates his marginal value to the group by performing a daring rescue that involves a risky dive, lots of rope, a metal pole and a boulder.
I’ve really appreciated the increased attention to the peripheral characters in the last few episodes. While Isidoro was a bit of a pill before, he obviously takes his role as the comic relief very seriously. The banter between him and puck certainly lightens the mood in an otherwise dark series. If you weren’t aware by now, you begin to understand that Isidoro isn’t going anywhere anytime soon…and to get used to his antics.
Anyways, after Isidoro daringly rescuing Casca from the bloodthirsty mob, Mozgus immediately turns his attention on them.
Unfortunately for Mozgus, Guts has had enough of these shenanigans. He commences their battle with a very subtle and nuanced approach:
Despite the attempt, Mozgus soon reveals his true form and the fight begins in earnest. It’s the battle we’ve been awaiting for over a month now – Guts finally goes toe-to-toe with the fanatical Father Mozgus in order to bring his reign of terror to an end. He is a formidable opponent, as his stone-skin is nearly impervious to harm. Learning of the death of his other followers, he certainly has no intention of letting Guts off easy.
The fight is fairly short, but certainly doesn’t lack intensity. You can almost feel each blow from Mozgus’ stone wings. With each swing of Guts’ trademark greatsword, Dragonslayer, the impact of metal on stone lets you know just how tough the enemy is. Even Guts is surprised when the blade fails to even make a dent.
Despite Mozgus’ apparent immunity to the blade due to his overly tough skin, Guts is able to identify a weak spot where he initially impaled him. After a solid pummeling from Mozgus, he’s able to deftly place a couple of small explosives in the cracked outer shell, blowing it wide open and allowing him to easily finish off the demon.
While Guts is victorious, we see an interesting angle on the outcome as the stone angel who was keeping the monsters at bay is slung from the tower wall and crashes at the feet of his followers. A woman screams in disbelief and the rest of the crowd wails in lament as the demons essentially go to town on the masses gathered at the base of the tower.
Like with anything Berserk related, there’s no real “happy” ending here. Sure, Guts was fighting to free Casca, and Mozgus was on a fanatical witch-hunt that resulted in hundreds of innocent people being horrifically tortured and killed. Yet, he was still able to keep the jello-monsters at bay and try to save the citizens in the process. Essentially, it was the refugees who were ultimately sacrificed instead of Casca. I’m sure Guts has no complaints.
The episode concludes with Guts making a game-plan to survive the night. The gelatinous monsters have now surrounded the tower, and hundreds are dying by the minute as it attempts to infiltrate the building. Wielding torches and blades, Guts is determined to survive along with Isidoro, Casca, and even the uptight Farnese and her comrade-in-arms Serpico.
The animation does appear to be improving, albeit slightly, with each passing week. The style largely remains the same, but it seems like they’re making better choices when it comes to leaning more heavily on 3D animated scenes, and are trying to soften the look of the show so it doesn’t look so blocky. These improvements were noticeable during the fight between Mozgus and Guts, and was one of the reasons the climactic fight felt so satisfying.
We’ve got a couple episodes left in the season, and I’m interested to see where it goes from here. While others shows like Orange are losing my interest more and more with each passing week (more on that in an upcoming review), Berserk has managed to keep my attention and impress me more and more with each passing week.