Berserk – Episode 8 (Review)

By: Mithrandiel

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Well, my weekly hype for Berserk grows with each new episode as the series continues to refine itself and deliver an increasingly entertaining experience. Last week ended on a bit of a cliffhanger as Guts intercepted a group of monsters in the heretics’ den, just as they were about to attack Casca. Episode 7 wastes no time getting right back into the action as Guts cleaves his way through scores of monsters before sending Isidoro ahead with Casca and Nina so they could escape. Just as they’re about to get away, a monstrous goat-beast appears, intent on consummating with Casca “the witch”.

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Squaring off with the demonic goat-beast, we see Guts employ some of Godo’s recent upgrades to his armor and weaponry, including a makeshift grenade and rapid-fire crossbow. After a brief clash with the demon, Guts prevails and cleaves off its large, horned head.

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Isidoro and the girls find themselves scaling a particularly treacherous path alongside the edge of a cliff, eventually coming to what seems like a dead end. As it turns out, it’s not a dead end – they just have to rappel down the side of the cliff with a rope. Easy, right?

Meanwhile, Guts goes from one boss-battle to another as he encounters Serpico on the narrow cliffside path. A strategic fighter, Serpico has established the conditions of the fight in such a way that Guts is at a serious disadvantage. With the sun in his eyes, his sword arm indisposed due to the nearby rock wall, and a narrow unstable path beneath his feet, Guts struggles to stay on equal footing with Serpico, acknowledging his skill with a sword.

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Unfortunately for Serpico, Guts has no time or patience for his shenanigans – and ultimately grabs Serpico’s blade with his bare hand, shattering it with his metal arm. Before he gets a chance to finish him off, Serpico slithers away and nearly takes off Guts’ head with one of his own grenades.

Probably the part of the fight where Serpico soiled himself.

Probably the part of the fight where Serpico soiled himself.

Meanwhile, at the end of the path, Joachim stumbles upon Nina after being led there by the creepy demon-eyes monster, and promptly alerts the nearby knights. As a result, Nina and Casca are captured and taken back to the Tower of Conviction while Isidoro watches helplessly from the cliff. When Guts finds out, he looks like he’s going to take Isidoro’s head clean off, but lets him go and decides to move forward to sneak into the tower and rescue Casca once again.

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Inside the Tower of Conviction, Nina ponders her fate as she asks Casca to help them escape with her “witch” powers. Of course, Casca isn’t a witch, and on top of that she’s in a drooling, non-verbal state. So, that plan goes about as well as you’d expect.

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The torturers arrive, and while they initially select Casca as their first victim, since Nina doesn’t offer any resistance or help to save her, they turn their attention to the selfish blonde instead. Nina protests, of course, but is ultimately led to the torture chamber. During her long walk, she contemplates why she’s such a bad person, and even considers telling her captors about Casca’s “powers”. However, she resolves herself to accept her fate, no matter what happens. Until the door to the torture chamber opens. (Graphic Image below – NSFW)

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With all sense of strength or resolve left in a puddle of piss between her feet, Nina is dragged into the torture chamber, screaming for mercy before the doors shut behind her. Thankfully the scene ends there, but we can only imagine what hellish ordeal Nina will be put through before her life ends. Goodbye Nina, we hardly liked ye.

As Guts, Luca and Isidoro make their way towards the tower, something isn’t right. Guts realizes his brand is “throbbing”, indicating that some demonic force resides within, something far more sinister and powerful than the run-of-the-mill monsters he’s encountered up to this point. In fact, the evil he senses is greater than even an Apostle. What could it mean?

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Berserk continues to make its upward climb following a rough start earlier in the season. As I mentioned in previous reviews, the success of the show is largely dependent on the amount of time Guts gets to shine, as well as the advancement of the meatier parts of the story. This episode delivered plenty of gritty Berserk action, as we watched Guts battle a variety of enemies from the mindless ghouls to the more advanced half-apostle, to his human enemy in the form of Serpico.

As we ramp up to the crux of the Tower of Conviction arc with some key battles just around the corner, Berserk has been on an upward climb for the last few weeks. If you had some hesitation before, or backed out of the series after the first few episodes, this would be a great time to get back into it. Looking forward to next week!

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