Where did we leave off last week? Oh yes: a malevolent bishop by the name of Mozgus was en route to take up residency at the Tower of Conviction. Now that he’s arrived, he is subjecting the surrounding inhabitants to horrific instances of torture in the name of God. Mozgus wastes no time in establishing himself as an evil bastard after subjecting a desperate mother to torture for trying to save her dying baby. Even Farnese seems a bit put off by his obsession with torture, especially after seeing the chamber in all of its hellish spectacle.
Meanwhile, along the outskirts of the Tower, a makeshift tent-village struggles to survive on scraps of vegetables mixed into broth. We learn more about Luca, a local prostitute who took Casca in and is now disguising her as a former prostitute stricken by disease. Luca helps to support her fellow workers by insisting on splitting all earned wages, as well as sharing out any food they get with their neighbors. In other words, Us poor folk have got to stick together.
Finally, Guts continues to search frantically for Casca, and has absolutely no time for your bullshit. Seriously. Guts kicks some serious ass in this episode, mainly concentrated within the first few minutes where he single-handedly takes out a troop of skilled assassins with his freshly optimized blade.
Awestruck by Guts’ power, the young kid from episode 1 (Isidoro) continues to tail him; not necessarily seeking an apprenticeship as much as looking to hang out with the guy wielding a huge sword and able to take out scores of skilled warriors in one giant swing of his blade. Guts is indifferent, simply stating that it might be a bad idea to tag along with him. Then, as if on cue, his brand begins to bleed as dozens of possessed spirits attack him and Isidoro begins to reconsider some of his life choices.
Berserk did a lot of things right this week. First, spotlighting Guts and his amazing prowess in battle right from the start certainly did wonders to get my attention. Even though Guts has had a number of battles in the earlier episodes, none seemed to capture the same spirit as his fight with the Kushan assassins. We also got a nice easter-egg reference to the Golden Age arc as their commander appears to be a skilled warrior that Guts has faced off with in the past. I’m already interested in how that will shake out…
The animation remained largely stable through the episode, and worked well during the various action scenes. What was previously a point of contention in some of the previous weeks seemed to go over smoothly this week.
We also were introduced to a new character, Luca, as well as getting a bit more insight into antagonist Mozgus and the collective misery of the Tower of Conviction inhabitants under Mozgus’ rule. All of these developments are certainly helping to build up a foundation for the Conviction arc.
Overall, Berserk made some steps in the right direction this week with some fantastic action and good story-building for the forthcoming arc. I hope it can take this momentum and continue ramping up through the next few weeks!